Controlling Hazards and Risk at Workplace

Workplace is a place where products are prepared through many procedures including the various machineries, processes. Workplaces can be dangerous; there are many hazards that have the potential to kill, injure or cause ill health or disease. Protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace is a community expectation that makes good business sense. Workplace incidents can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives (people in the workplace, families and friends), and they can have significant financial impacts on organizations through loss of skilled staff and lost production of goods or services.

Good health and safety is all about eliminating and controlling hazards and risks. Many hazards and their associated risks are well known and have well established and accepted control measures.

Hazards and Risk

While further going through the controlling measurements we should know about the workplace hazards and risk, their nature and effectiveness.

A Hazard is something currently in, or may in future be in, the work environment that has the potential to cause harm to people. Hazards at work may include: noisy machinery, a moving forklift, chemicals, electricity, working at heights, a repetitive job, bullying and violence at the workplace.

Risk is the possibility that harm (death, injury or illness) might occur when exposed to a hazard.

Common Workplace Hazards

Mechanical Hazards

Being hit by moving vehicles, or being caught by moving parts of machinery can cause fractures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations, permanent injuries or death.

Chemical Hazards

Chemicals, compounds, materials, powders, dusts and vapors that have the potential to impair health, have adverse effects on human reproduction, cause disease or have explosive, flammable, toxic or corrosive properties.

Muscular/Body Stress

Activities that cause stress to the muscles and/or skeleton, including manual handling of goods or materials and things or circumstances that can cause a person a serious physical pain and stress.


Activities that are carried out where a person can fall or an object can fall onto people. For example in construction industry workers are always to be in danger while doing work at elevation, on the scaffolding etc.

Physiological Hazards

Events, systems of work or other circumstances that have the potential to lead to psychological and associated illness, including; work-related stress, bullying, workplace violence and work-related fatigue.

Controlling Hazards and Risk

For proper way to eliminate risk and hazards there is a need of risk and hazard management system in which first to decide the task, establishing a management or controlling committee which conducts the procedure and plan. There are few steps by which hazards and risk can be eliminated by safely managing and controlling them:-

Hazard Identification

Identifying hazards in the workplace involves finding things and situations that could potentially cause harm to people. A piece of plant, substance or a work process may have many different or specified hazards, and each of these hazards needs to be identified.

So to identify the hazards and risk we should look for:-

  • Physical work environment
  • Equipment, materials and substances used
  • Work tasks and procedures
  • Work design and management

Hazards Identifying Techniques:

  • Inspection- Regularly walking around the workplace and observing how things are done can help to predict what could or might go wrong. Inspections should not be limited to physical things such as plant, equipment or buildings and structures. The inspection should also look at systems of work and work procedures.
  • Consulting the Employee- Ask the workers about any health and safety problems they have encountered in doing their work and any near misses or incidents that have not been reported. Conducting a survey of employees and others who work at the workplace can provide valuable information about matters such as workplace bullying, occupational stress.
  • Data Analysis- Records of injuries or incidents and the results of any investigations are useful sources of information about hazards. Schedule management of incident’s records will further helpful to minimizing the chance of hazards and improves the analysis and time saving.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a process for developing knowledge and understanding about hazards and risks. A risk assessment involves considering what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard and the likelihood of it happening. A risk assessment can help to determine:

• Hazards intensity
• How harm can occur
• The likelihood that harm will occur.


The best way to eliminating hazards is to get rid of it altogether. Consult your workers and their representatives who will be directly affected by this decision. Their experience will help to choose appropriate control measures and their involvement will increase the level of acceptance of any changes that may be needed to the way they do their job. The following task should be performed while controlling the hazards and risk:-

  • First priority should always be to eliminate the hazards.
  • If the hazards can’t be eliminated, try finding safer ways to carry out those tasks by substituting.
  • Less harmful substances or changing the work environment through engineering controls.
  • Also consider changing how work activities are organized and performed.

Review or Checking

The control measures that put in place should be reviewed regularly to make sure they work as planned. Common methods used to check the effectiveness of controls are:

  • Inspecting the workplace
  • Consulting employees and discussion
  • Testing and measuring
  • Analyzing records, and data

A good process for checking controls should test the ongoing effectiveness of control measures. If problems are detected, go back to any point in the methodical approach, review the information and make further decisions about risk control. Priority for review should be based on the seriousness of the risk. Control measures for serious risks should be reviewed more frequently.

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