What’s a good way to ensure that employees are aware of the hazards associated with an unfamiliar task or upset condition they are about to address?
More specifically, have them complete a checklist of potential hazards and controls before they begin, along with assessing their own mental state. It’s a key tool in an individual hazard assessment process as promoted by Vigilant safety professionals.
“There are so many variables in manufacturing that it’s not feasible to have a written procedure for everything that could possibly happen,” says Bill Kessler, Vigilant’s Safety Director. “Hazard assessment requires an employee to go through the process in their head before they start a task and forces them to stop and think about what they’re about to do.”
A Pause That Works
Does it work? Kessler cites the incident rate of one manufacturer’s maintenance division dropping from greater than 7 to 0 within a year and a half of the program’s implementation.
Hazard assessment is especially crucial when employees are performing unfamiliar tasks or working to address upset conditions.
“Those are critical situations when employees may be tempted to take shortcuts or rush to get the job done,” Kessler says. “They may not take the time to assess the situation.”
How it Works
The employee does the following:
Assesses their personal state by determining if they are feeling rushed, tired, frustrated, or complacent.
Observes their surroundings, considers the work about to be performed, identifies hazards and risks, and determines control measures.
Fills out a hazard assessment card and completes the task. Then submits the card to a supervisor who will review the cards, coach employees, and follow up on issues.
The intent of the cards is to evaluate and improve the quality of the employees’ hazard identification, work practices, and hazard control methods, making the workplace safer—especially during upset conditions.
Assistance with implementing an individual hazard assessment process is just one of the safety services available to Vigilant’s Workers’ Comp Retro Group members. Contact Vigilant and learn how we can help you raise awareness in your workplace today.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult Vigilant or legal counsel.