KAV International Private Limited KAV International Private Limited

  The Safety Specialist  
  Recognised certification include ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18000.  
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Frequently Asked Questions
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3 Decide who might be harmed and how

For each hazard you need to be clear about who might be harmed; it will help you identify the best way of managing the risk. That doesn’t mean listing everyone by name, but rather identifying groups of people (eg ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’).

In each case, identify how they might be harmed, ie what type of injury or ill health might occur. For example, ‘shelf stackers may suffer back injury from repeated lifting of boxes’.

Remember: Some workers have particular requirements, eg new and young workers, new or expectant mothers and people with disabilities may be at particular risk.

Extra thought will be needed for some hazards:

  • cleaners, visitors, contractors, maintenance workers etc, who may not be in the workplace all the time;
  • members of the public, if they could be hurt by your activities;
  • if you share your workplace, you will need to think about how your work affects others present, as well as how their work affects your staff – talk to them
  • ask your staff if they can think of anyone you may have missed.

2 Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Having spotted the hazards, you then have to decide what to do about them. The law requires you to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. You can work this out for yourself, but the easiest way is to compare what you are doing with good practice.

So first, look at what you’re already doing, think about what controls you have in place and how the work is organised. Then compare this with the good practice and see if there’s more you should be doing to bring yourself up to standard. In asking yourself this, consider:

  • Can I get rid of the hazard altogether?
  • If not, how can I control the risks so that harm is unlikely?

When controlling risks, apply the principles below, if possible in the following order:

  • try a less risky option (eg switch to using a less hazardous chemical);
  • prevent access to the hazard (eg by guarding);
  • organise work to reduce exposure to the hazard (eg put barriers between pedestrians and traffic);
  • issue personal protective equipment (eg clothing, footwear, goggles etc); and
  • provide welfare facilities (eg first aid and washing facilities for removal of contamination).

Improving health and safety need not cost a lot. For instance, placing a mirror on a dangerous blind corner to help prevent vehicle accidents is a low-cost precaution considering the risks. Failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if an accident does happen.

Involve staff, so that you can be sure that what you propose to do will work in practice and won’t introduce any new hazards.

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1 Record your findings and implement them

Putting the results of your risk assessment into practice will make a difference when looking after people and your business.

Writing down the results of your risk assessment, and sharing them with your staff, encourages you to do this. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, though it is useful so that you can review it at a later date if, for example, something changes.

When writing down your results, keep it simple, for example ‘Tripping over rubbish: bins provided, staff instructed, weekly housekeeping checks’, or ‘Fume from welding: local exhaust ventilation used and regularly checked’.