Finding Hazard Solutions

  1. When faced with a hazard, consider 3 possible types of solutions:
    • Change what’s used (use a safer tool, machinery, or chemical).
    • Change how work’s done (follow safer work practices or minimize time around chemical hazards and noise).
    • Change something about the location (add a barrier around the danger zone or replace damaged flooring).
    • Before After

      Man lifting wooden pallet.
      Change what's used.

      Woman lifting plastic pallet
      Handling a 20-lb pallet instead of a 60-lb pallet reduces risk for muscle strain injuries.
      Welder bent over working with fumes covering the welder's face.
      Change how work's done.
      Welder working with a ventilation system sucking the welding fumes away from the worker's face.
      Use local exhaust ventilation to remove toxic emissions from your breathing zone.

      Change something about the location.

      Keep access to electrical breaker boxes clear in case of emergency.
  2. If a hazard can be easily fixed right away, then do it. … as long as you can stay safe.
  3. Before After

    Open drawers left unattended create tripping hazards.

    Simple housekeeping helps keep other workers safe.
  4. Permanent solutions that get rid of hazards are always best. Managing fewer hazards decreases risk and can improve productivity. Temporary solutions are needed if you can’t put a permanent solution in place right away.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help keep workers safe as you work toward a permanent solution, or in combination with other solutions. Learn more about PPE and how to select it properly (hse.gov.uk).
  6. Verify your solutions against safety regulations and required programs that may specify solutions for a hazard.
  7. If you have lots of hazards that will take time to fix, prioritize them. One approach is to give top priority to the hazards that are very likely to cause the most harm. The worse the harm, the higher the priority:
    Chart ranging from "Most Harm" to "Least Harm" with "What kind of harm is possible" in between, and three flags marking different places in the timeline: "Permanent Disability or illness," "Temporary disability or illness," and "Minor cut or bruise of eye/skin irritation"
    Also consider whether harm is
    • very likely,
    • somewhat likely, or
    • not likely to occur.

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