National Safety Month: How to Recognize and Prevent Hazards in the Workplace

Managers and employees both want to avoid workplace accidents, and a big part of avoiding accidents is being able to recognize and prevent hazards as they appear.

Because management typically isn’t available to oversee employee safety all the time, it is essential for employees to be able to recognize and prevent hazards on their own. Managers can cultivate this ability in their staff members through effective training.

Make It Personal

Employees typically put up a mental barrier between work and home life. Furthermore, we have a tendency to disregard the idea that common activities can be dangerous.

One way to start a conversation on recognizing hazards is to ask employees how many hazards they can associate with a normal household task. Then, you can move on to talking about hazards associated with routine on-the-job tasks.

If managers can get staff members to think about what must be done to keep themselves and their loved ones safe around the home, it’s easy to ask them to apply the same thinking to recognizing hazards around the workplace that might harm themselves or their colleagues.

Knowledge Is Power

Employers don’t have unlimited resources, and every single hazard cannot be eliminated. Due to this fact, showing employees how and why company leaders make choices on various safety controls and policies helps them understand how to prioritize hazards and prevent accidents.

Sharing decision-making information on safety issues can help managers talk about how to prioritize hazards. For instance, a single task may have anywhere from 3 to 30 hazards associated with it, but not all of these hazards can be addressed, nor should they be based on risk probability. Sure, a tornado might strike your facility, but that doesn’t mean your company should build an underground shelter.

Practice Identifying Hazards

Once employees have been given risk-identification training in a classroom setting, they should apply the principles they have learned. The best-case scenario is to be able to move from the classroom to a work environment and put workers through the paces.

Working individually or in teams of two, employees should be asked to find every hazard they can associated with the surroundings and various tasks. Then, employees should return to the classroom to examine their lists, prioritize the hazards and decide what the best mitigations would be based on available resources.

If it isn’t feasible to take employees into a work area, photos of real-world job sites can be used to take employees through the process. While this is not as effective as the hands-on method, it still provides a chance to apply the teachings.

Getting workers to recognize hazards are around them on their job sites every day is paramount to establishing a work culture that values safety.

Let Us Support Safety at Your Organization

At NSC, we are dedicated to upholding a strong culture of safety. If your organization is currently looking for a talent acquisition partner with a strong safety record, please contact us today.




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