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Identifying hazards

When you work in the same place every day it is easy to overlook some hazards, so here are some tips to help you identify the ones that matter:
First, consideration should be given as to who should lead on the risk assessment or carry out an inspection on a particular area of the workplace - staff who come from other areas of the workplace are more likely to see hazards than staff who work there regularly.
The assessor needs to find out how many people could be harmed by the workplace and the activities that are carried out.
The assessor should walk around the workplace and look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm to employees, visitors or contractors.
The assessor should ask the employees or their representatives if they are aware of any possible hazards. They may have noticed things that are not immediately obvious to the risk assessor.
The assessor should review current working practices, systems and processes alongside relevant records, for example, previous risk assessments, accidents, maintenance/inspections, training records etc.
The assessor should check manufacturers’ instructions or data sheets for chemicals and equipment as they can be very helpful in spelling out the hazards and putting them in their true perspective.
Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (e.g. high levels of noise or exposure to harmful substances) as well as immediate safety hazards.
Visit the HSE website - HSE publishes practical guidance on where hazards occur and how to control them. There is a great deal of information on the hazards that might affect your business.
If you are a member of a trade association, contact them. Many produce very helpful guidance.

For each hazard you need to be clear about who might be harmed; it will help you identify the best way of managing the risk. That doesn’t mean listing everyone by name, but rather identifying groups of people (e.g. ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’).

For further help or guidance, contact PPD Safety Training on 01453 758475 to discuss your needs or concerns.


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