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How to Assess Potential Dangers in Your Place of Work


Health & SafetyHealth and safety at work is of course a major issue these days and many companies, particularly the larger ones, have a dedicated member of staff whose job it is to identify and address any potential dangers. However, we do not all have a H&S advisor on hand so it is as well to be aware of any potential problems before they lead to incidents and injuries.

Developing an eye for assessment is simply a question of forming good and new habits. We are all familiar with how our workplaces look on a day-to-day basis, but are there any changes that can be made in order to make it safer. Those who work in an office may be aware of the dangers of trailing wires, but many people do become complacent. Just because nobody has tripped over a wire so far does not mean that they will not in the future. Potential hazards like this can be easily identified as they can be quickly spotted.

Walkways are another problem for trip hazards. Has somebody left a bag, box or other item in the way? Having a workplace policy to keep walkways clear will help to prevent accidents, as well as making people more aware of the potential dangers. A slip, trip or fall can lead to an individual being off work for a long time, and in the worst case scenario, could cause an injury that may render them unable to work again.

There are many tasks around the workplace that require PPE – personal protective equipment. This could be something as simple as a pair of protective gloves when handling hot materials or a high visibility jacket when the worker needs to be seen clearly. Each task should be assessed within the workplace in order to determine if PPE is required. Items that are usually part of the range are; safety goggles, hard hats, high visibility jackets, vests or trousers, gloves or ear defenders. Those who are working in an environment where these items are needed regularly will usually find this information posted on a noticeboard or other parts of the workplace as a constant reminder.

Risk assessments are a major part of health and safety at work. These should be conducted by management to determine the level of risk connected to each task that is carried out. This is essential if the worker has to operate machinery, handle chemicals or carry anything heavy.

Manual handling should also be assessed. If a person regularly has to carry heavy loads then they should be trained how to do this properly in order to avoid injuring themselves. Manual handling causes many back injuries each year and most of these can be prevented with the knowledge of how to lift things properly. This is not the only aspect of health and safety which can be improved with training and many companies now offer courses in other aspects such as Managing Safety, Safety in the Office and the all important First Aid.


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