Many incidents are preventable, as long as you take a proactive approach to health and safety. By putting in place a system to identify hazards and manage risks, you can prevent workplace injuries and diseases. There are three basic steps:
- Identify hazards — Consider every area of your workplace when looking for hazards. Think about conditions or work activities that could put your workers or guests at risk (e.g., unguarded machinery, a wet floor). Ask your staff if they have any specific health and safety concerns.
- Assess the risks — Once you’ve identified a hazard, evaluate the risks associated with it. There are two basic questions to ask when considering a hazard: how likely is an incident, and how serious would it be if it occurred? A risk assessment will help you prioritize the hazards so you know which ones to deal with first.
- Control the risks — Once you’ve identified the hazards and assessed the risks, look for ways to control them. The basic types of controls are elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.
Types of risk controls
Whenever feasible, eliminate the hazard so there’s no risk of injury. Ask the following:
- Is the task necessary to begin with?
- Can the hazardous part of the task be removed?
- Can the task be done in such a way that no workers are exposed to the hazard?
If you can’t eliminate the hazard, substitute a safer material or process. Ask the following:
- Can a different machine or tool be used?
- Can a less hazardous material or chemical be used?
- Will alternative practices reduce exposure to the hazard?
Engineering controls are physical changes to the way tasks are done. Examples include re-designing workstations or modifying equipment to make it safer or more ergonomic.
Administrative controls are changes to the way work is organized and performed. This can include planning, organizing and scheduling of resources and staffing. Safe work practices and procedures are an important form of administrative control.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
PPE provides protection against hazards. It should be used when other safety controls are not practical, or in addition to other controls. For example, to help prevent slips, trips, and falls, make sure your workers wear slip-resistant footwear.
For more information:
- Understanding Hazards and Risks (WorkSafeBC)
- Managing Risk (WorkSafeBC)
- Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control Policy (go2HR)
- Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment Tool for Ski Areas (go2HR)
- Risk Assessment Tool for Accommodation (go2HR)