Danger! Are you surrounded by hazards?

What is a hazard assessment and why is it important?

Emergency Checklist

Let’s take a moment today to talk about hazard assessments. Here at AIP Safety, we want you to be able to recognize and prevent an unsafe situation before it happens, which is why hazard assessments are such a critical part of any occupational health and safety program.

A hazard assessment can be simple. Before you start any job – no matter if it is simple or complicated - take a few moments to look around you and determine if there are any items, processes or behaviors that could result in injury to you or someone else.

A hazard assessment means that you are stopping and thinking about all the things that could potentially go wrong.

Potential dangers can include things like:

  • Items that you could trip over
  • An object that could fall from a height
  • Areas where hair or clothing could get snagged
  • Equipment that is not functioning properly
  • Improperly stored chemicals
  • Moving objects
  • Overexerting yourself
  • Not knowing the proper procedure to follow
  • Wet or slippery surfaces
  • Extreme temperatures

If a hazard has been identified, the dangerous areas should be removed or processes changed to make sure that everything is safe. The goal is to prevent incidents by eliminating or controlling hazards.

Examples of elimination and control include things like:

  • wearing personal protective equipment
  • mopping up spills
  • using equipment guards
  • taking scheduled breaks
  • installing an ergonomic workstation
  • taking winter driver training

By taking a moment to complete a hazard assessment, you can keep yourself and your coworkers safe.

And, there’s another good reason for an employer to do hazard assessments - it’s the law. Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation requires employers to ensure the workplace hazards are identified and eliminated or controlled so workers stay healthy and safe on the job.

Once a hazard has been eliminated or controlled, you can proceed with the task at hand. And never forget that every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work!