Have you ever sat down and thought about how many injuries we have and what the most common are? Our industry can be quite dangerous. We are sometimes tired from long hours, or we may be carrying other injuries. These can lead to even more injuries. We could become distract whilst performing certain tasks. What we always need to do is be vigilant and always on the lookout. Common injuries are falls, crushing injuries and electrocution. We need to have safe systems of work in place to minimize the chance of injury. We need to think about each task and make a risk assessment. A risk assessment is where we identify that hazard and who may be harmed by that hazard. You then evaluate the risk and decide on a course of action. The law requires you to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. The is a hierarchy of control that you should follow. It starts with:
- Can you eliminate the hazard?
- Is there a less risky option?
- Prevent access/ re-design the hazard
- Administration by policies etc
- PPE – personnel protective control
This is also the order that you should look at the problem. In fact the above diagram shows which is more important and the order. Going straight to the PPE is not the solution; you have to work though the other steps first. Using PPE only should be a last resort. You also do this in consultation with your staff.
You then record your finding and implement them. From this you generate your work method statement it will detail how specific risks in the workplace will be managed. You will then always have a document to refer to when undertaking hazardous tasks. It is also a good idea to frequently review this document at regular intervals.