Published on January 20, 2008
Conducting a Hazard Assessment: Conducting a Hazard Assessment by Virginia Tech Environmental, Health and Safety Services Overview: Overview What is a hazard assessment? When is one required? How do I conduct one? Definition: Definition A hazard assessment is an evaluation of a work place, or work situation, as to the potential for hazards that an employee may encounter while performing the job. Requirements: Requirements Employers are required (by OSHA) to certify in writing that they have assessed the work place to determine if hazards that require personal protective equipment (PPE) are present or likely. Requirements: Requirements Employers are also required to: Select and provide properly fitted protection from injury or impairment, and Train employees in work area hazards and the proper use of PPE. PPE Coordinator: PPE Coordinator At VT, each department is required to appoint a coordinator to accomplish the task of performing a hazard assessment and overseeing that personal protective equipment is appropriate for the hazard and is being used accordingly. PPE Coordinator Responsibilities: PPE Coordinator Responsibilities Perform the hazard assessment(s). Select appropriate PPE. Inform, fit, and train employees on PPE. Provide EHSS with required documentation. Reassess the when new hazards are introduced. Retrain employee if PPE is misused. Employee Responsibilities: Employee Responsibilities Attend required PPE training sessions. Wear PPE as required. Clean, maintain, and properly care for PPE. Inform PPE Coordinator if repair or replacement of equipment is needed. Where do you begin?: Where do you begin? It is difficult to begin assessing every location, job title, or job task. The most logical place to begin is to review your accident and illness reports. Is there a work area that seems to have more accidents and injuries than others? Is there a type of injury that seems to occur more frequently than others? Where do you begin?: Where do you begin? If injury and illness reports do not point you towards a place to begin, consider beginning with: Close calls or near misses New tasks or positions Tasks that have changed Non-routine jobs Routine jobs Work Area Assessment: Work Area Assessment After you have chosen a place to start, perform a walk-through of the work area, looking for hazards as indicated in this training. Tip: Involve employees in this process to gain valuable input! Identify the Hazards: Identify the Hazards As you walk through the area and discuss work tasks with employees, look for the following hazards. If you are unsure whether something should be included in your hazard assessment, contact EHSS for assistance or try using the reference material suggested on some of the slides. Falling Objects: Falling Objects Are there objects which may fall from above onto employees? Employees working overhead? Tools or materials handled above your head? Harmful Dusts/Mists/Fumes: Harmful Dusts/Mists/Fumes Are employees exposed to chemicals or harmful dusts/mists/fumes? Examples: Any chemical which poses a health hazard Asbestos Welding fumes Solder fumes Silica Reference: Obtain a Material Safety Data Sheet on the product in question from the supplier and review the information provided for health hazards and suggested controls. Energy Sources: Energy Sources Are there energy sources which could be harmful if accidental release or startup occurs? Electrical Pneumatic Hydraulic Thermal Mechanical Gravity Sharp Objects: Sharp Objects Are there sharp objects which could cut or pierce the body? Glass Knife blades Sheet metal Nail guns Needles Splinters (wood) Burrs (metal) Temperature Extremes: Temperature Extremes Are there hot or cold surfaces which could burn or freeze employees? Welded parts Cryogenic materials Autoclaves Ovens/stoves Molten metals Light Radiation: Light Radiation Is there light radiation which could be harmful to the skin or eyes? Welding and cutting Lasers Flying Debris: Flying Debris Will employee be operating, or be exposed to, tools/equipment which may generate flying debris? Hammering Sawing Chipping Grinding Drilling Buffing Excessive Noise: Excessive Noise Will employee be operating, or be exposed to, tools/equipment which may generate excessive noise? Jack-hammering Woodworking machinery Metalworking machinery Operating heavy equipment Workplace Layout: Workplace Layout Does the layout of the workplace create a potential hazard? Fall hazards exceeding 4 feet. Low clearances Confined spaces Fire/Explosion Hazards: Fire/Explosion Hazards Is there the potential for a fire or explosion? Step 2: Step 2 Once the hazard has been identified, you must implement an effective control to eliminate the hazard, reduce the hazard to an acceptable manner, or protect the employee. Step 3 : Step 3 Evaluate the level of risk for each hazard to help determine what type of control should be implemented to reduce exposure. Step 4: Step 4 Select an appropriate solution to each hazard. Always consider eliminating the hazard (if possible) first. If elimination is not possible, consider reducing the hazard to an acceptable level. If an acceptable level cannot be reached, select and provide appropriate personal protective equipment for the employee. Engineering Controls: Engineering Controls Engineering controls eliminate exposure to the hazard. They are: relatively permanent, can be costly, and can be time-consuming. Engineering controls are things that you do to fix the hazard. Isolation : Isolation Isolate the employee from the hazard. Control rooms Machine guarding Protective barriers and shields Guardrails Clearance distances Design: Design Is there new (or existing) technology on the market for the product which, by it’s design, protects the person using it? Process Change : Process Change Can a non-hazardous process be substituted for a hazardous process? Spray Painting Dipping or Brushing Work Area Layout: Work Area Layout Can a hazardous work area layout be improved? Hot Work Chemical Storage Electrical Pipe Storage Stacked Boxes Tool Room Main Work Area Work Area Layout: Work Area Layout Chemical storage area was moved away from hot work and electrical hazards. Hot Work Chemical Storage Electrical Pipe Storage Stacked Boxes Tool Room Main Work Area Substitution : Substitution Can a non-hazardous product be substituted for a hazardous product? Pesticides Solder Cleaning agents Solvents Ventilation: Ventilation Will ventilation improve the air quality to an acceptable (i.e. safe) level? Administrative Controls: Administrative Controls Administrative controls reduce employee exposure to a hazard. They do not eliminate the hazard, but they provide an acceptable way to work around the hazard. Reduction: Reduction Can you reduce the frequency of performing the hazardous task? Rotation: Rotation Can employees be rotated to reduce exposure time? Training : Training Can employees be trained to recognize hazards and employ safe work practices? Protect the Employee: Protect the Employee If the hazard cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level, the employee must be protected from exposure. This protection requires that the employee wear and/or use appropriate personal protective equipment. Protect the Employee: Protect the Employee Hard hats Eye protection Face protection Respiratory protection Hearing protection Body wear Sleeves Gloves Protective footwear Summary: Summary Identify hazards in the workplace that could result in injury or illness. Evaluate the level of risk to help determine what controls to implement. Select an appropriate solution to control the hazard and/or protect the employee. Information: Information For more information regarding hazards in the workplace, contact EHSS at 231-2341, or visit our website at www.ehss.vt.edu.