A hazard assessment is a systematic approach to identifying hazards in the workplace or working environment. In basic terms, it is looking around and saying, “How can someone get hurt”, or “how can property get damaged”.
When I conduct a hazard assessment, I like to take the Full Picture approach. This is different from a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), but similar to a PPE Hazard Analysis.
A JHA is only looking at specific job tasks and identifying hazards. It has a very small scope. They are important to do, but are different than the full picture of a complete hazard assessment.
A Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessment can look at either a job task, job title, department, or working area and identify the hazards. Because, these are looking at entire areas and also take incident data into account, they are very similar to a complete hazard assessment.
When a should Hazard Assessment be done
When you are a new safety manager to either the job or the facility, one of the first steps you should take is to conduct a hazard assessment. This will give you a baseline of the hazards, allow you to create a bulleted list of the safety programs needed, a list of issues to address, and give you the big picture of the operation.
Another time to do one, may be the result of normal safety program activities. Regularly, reactive and proactive data is reviewed to identify trends. If there is ever a spike in a certain area, type of incident, or job task, a new hazard assessment should be conducted. Maybe there are gaps in the old one that need to be filled or a change in operations.
Speaking of changes… any time there is new equipment, building configurations, or processes, a new assessment needs be done.
Lastly, if all is going well and you haven’t done one in a while, it is a good practice to repeat your hazard assessment every two to three years. This is just to make sure nothing was missed and it’s still up to date. Maybe this time around look a little deeper.
What to Include in a Hazard Assessment
The easiest way to conduct a hazard assessment is to use some sort of form. It could be one you purchased from a vender or got from a colleague. You can even make one up yourself in a Word or Excel file. I prefer to use one form per area I’m assessing.
The first column on the form is a list of all the possible hazards out there – anything you can think of or can find on an internet search. You want this list to be long and don’t rule anything out. I usually start with regulations and expand from there to types exposures and types of incident or injuries.
The headings of the next columns can be a Yes/No of if the hazard exists. If the hazard exists then you want to look at other factors of the hazard, such as how often people are exposed to the hazard, the severity of the damage if an incident occurred, and current corrective action or mitigation steps.
You can use this form to develop a Risk Ranking – which we will go into further detail in a future post. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all future posts. By filling out your information right here, I will also send you a super cool Safety Program Assessment.
Now it’s your turn
That was a whole lot of information on Hazard Assessments, now I want to hear from you. In the comments below share how you do your hazard assessments.
- How often do you do a hazard assessment and who is involved?
- What was a big “Ah Ha” that you got from doing a hazard assessment? I love to here about unidentified hazards that get found during these.
Join in the conversation and share your comments below.
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.