Safety risk assessments are corporate evaluations of potentially harmful factors in a business establishment. Companies use assessments to measure the risks to be able to implement precautions to prevent injury and illness in the workplace. Because employers are legally bound to protect those within their premises, regular appraisals are required to maintain continued efficiency and safety. Valuing employee welfare is considered an indispensable common trait within successful companies because of its positive impact within interpersonal company relationships.
After evaluating the risks within a workplace, significant precautionary methods must be undertaken to minimize the danger and probable accidents. For example, employers may be required by law to retain certain records of health and other safety. These documents educate the employees about safety measures in any given situation in the work environment while also providing a blueprint for effective crisis management.
Conducting Satisfactory Risk Assessment
What makes “Risk Assessment” satisfactory? What are the methods that guarantee sufficient information when conducting a safety evaluation? According to governing body, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), business owners and facilities managers must conduct their assessment with the following steps:
- Recognize Potential Dangers and Harm
- Identify Probable Victims of Dangers
- Assess the Risks and Derive Possible Solutions to Contain and Minimize the Threat
- Implement Precautionary Methods
- Regularly Review and Update Risk Assessment File
Threats in the Workplace
Employers are legally obligated to perform safety risk assessments in their place of business. Threats to employee safety must be identified and contained as much as possible. Dangers in the workplace vary from area to area, but one proviso remains the same –employers must proactively prevent them from occurring! Injuries will be prevented if each aspect of the business is evaluated for safety.
Slip and Fall Hazards
According to the Liberty Mutual Report of 2010, falls on the same level are the most common claims for workman’s compensation. The majority of claims reflect the combined reason of employee fatigue, poorly maintained floor surfaces, and lack of sufficient floor mat systems.
Slip and falls are a serious matter. They account for over billions of dollars in paid compensation and hundreds of hours lost due to employee absenteeism. Injuries incurred from slipping on the floor take longer than a few days. Fallen workers may sometime take weeks or even months to fully recover from the accident. Because of slip and fall incidents, efficiency and output suffer, which reduces business profitability and work satisfaction levels.
Business owners and facilities managers should aim to minimize the dangers of an improperly managed floor surface. Slip and falls are dangerous because they can occur in practically every area of a building. Moreover, employees are not the only ones at risk of falling in the workplace. Clients and visitors are also potential victims.
The repetitive movements involved in construction and manufacturing can also lead to injury. The threat arises from worker fatigue caused by obstructed circulation of the blood. Fatigue can catch workers unaware, resulting in weaker reflexes and slower reaction times. Recognizing the problems associated with fatigue is the first step in improving worker efficiency and output.
Operating Heavy Machinery
Machines help increase output and efficiency, yet they present a palpable risk, which include probable loss of limb and/or life. Possible dismemberment is one of the potential dangers of having heavy machinery in a business. Conducting a risk assessment regularly, in addition to the initial safety evaluation of the machine, provides employers insights to hazards of a given machine. Regularity of checks is proportional to a machine’s complexity and frequency of use.
Not all workplace areas present the same level of risk. Areas limited only to employees of certain expertise are safer than areas where visitors and workers co-mingle. Lobbies, regular walkways, and entrances are more dangerous by the sheer number of potential victims, and not because of the extent of injury. More people are more likely to get hurt by a wet and dirty lobby floor than the one man operating a forklift. For this reason, commercial-grade carpet entrance mats and other safety matting products are highly recommended.
By aggregating their findings, assessors identify which areas present the highest risk to the highest number of people. In turn, implemented measures will contain the threat or at least minimize the risk of injury.
Workplace risk assessments are a tool that promote excellent business practices and maintain order in the workplace. Employers are responsible for their employees. Owners are required by the law to promote a healthy and safe environment where people can work. A simple and effective way to minimize threats at work is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all major areas of operations. Then, proactive measures can be taken to ensure the long term health and safety of employees and visitors.