Workplace Risk Assessment and Prevention

Workplace risk assessment is one of the many responsibilities of any business to its employees.   It is important to conduct a workplace risk assessment in order to become aware of the potential dangers and perform precautionary measures to avoid potential future accidents from occurring.   Conducting a thorough examination of facilities for possible hazards can reduce insurance premiums and minimize business liability costs, which can arise at any time.

Examining the conditions within a workplace aids businesses protect their most valuable investment: their employees.  By taking specific steps for workplace risk prevention, employers also follow governmental standards and protocols for lawful business practices.  Risk assessments help companies build appropriate and efficient incident response methods in every foreseeable situation.  Moreover, these assessments address risky areas or activities in order to forewarn employees before accidents happen.

“Workplace Risk Assessment” Definition

Workplace risk assessment is simply the examination of the work environment.  It identifies potential harmful areas and behaviors.  It also provides possible solutions and preemptive measures to be undertaken for “foreseeable and preventable incidents.”

Potentially Hazardous Areas in the Workplace

In any business environment, different areas fulfill specified purposes in which a variety of potential incidents could occur.  Often times there are no hard and fast rules to address these issues.  Each location must be dealt with on a case-to-case, area-to-area basis.  A comprehensive workplace risk assessment will enlighten and explain the risks that could happen in a specific area.  This analysis will also propose protocols and actions to prevent or minimize the damage of any given incident.

Depending on the business and the facilities for operations, a risk assessment my focus on evaluation of the following areas:

Entrances

Because of heavy foot traffic at entryways, the area requires a detailed evaluation regarding its potential hazards.  Risk assessors or facilities managers must propose methods to reduce the risk of accidents at entrances and lobbies because these areas encounter a high-volume of people on a daily basis.  The flow of traffic in these areas should always remain unobstructed.  Presenting a positive and professional image requires adequate assessment and maintenance of all entryways at all times.

Manufacturing and Assembly Lines

Workplace risk prevention does not stop with creating a safe and risk-free entrance.  The risk of employee injury is also present within manufacturing and assembly line areas.  These environments often times have employees handle heavy machinery through long and tiring shifts.   Aside from the hazards that these machines present, the risk assessment should also include topics regarding worker fatigue and its effects on reflexes and decision-making.

While majority of the injuries in the workplace involve slips and falls, all the dangers present in the manufacturing areas, especially those that involve workers potentially loosing focus or balance, should be tackled by the risk assessment document.

Freight and Loading Dock Areas

Workers in the docking and loading areas also operate heavy machinery, in addition to delivery trucks and cars.  Unlike other areas of any business, the docking and loading areas are susceptible to a variety of dangers not present in other parts of the building like seasonal and meteorological changes, employee fatigue, and fluid from vehicles.  Because of these potential threats to worker injury, assessors must provide solutions to these hazards before someone gets hurt.

Sidewalk and Outdoors

Aside from internal hazards, establishments are also responsible for the outside environment of their business. Parking lots, staircases, and sidewalks present several dangers that companies are considered liable for because it is within the limits of their premises.  State liability laws often have umbrella clauses that include outdoor environments as well as indoors.  Workplace risk assessment should also include these areas.

Workplace Risk Prevention

Minimizing the risks within the workplace is a primary directive of any employer.  One of the many ways to reduce potential hazards is investing and installing rubber entrance mats and other commercial-grade floor mats as a preemptive solution to avoidable accidents.  When employers take active measures to avoid employee injury, business can operate at a higher level of efficiency in a positive work environment.

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