Part Two of Blog Series Focuses on Job Hazard Analysis for Employers

In part two in our series of three reviewing the job hazard analysis process we look at how an employer starts a hazards review at the workplace.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers of Hickory applaud employers that put the health and safety of their employees first. But we represent many clients whose employers cut corners and put them at risk of suffering a workplace accident.
How does an employer begin a job hazard analysis?

Get your workers involved in the hazard analysis process. After all, they are the ones performing the job everyday. They are the ones with a unique understanding of the job and the hazards that come with it. Also, including workers in the process will help limit oversights, guarantees a quality analysis, and makes them feel like they contributed to the workplace safety and health program.

Analyze your workplace accident and illness history. Have there been any “near misses”? Have any accidents or occupational illnesses required treatment? Have there been any reoccurring mechanical repairs or replacements? Any of these are clues that the current hazard controls (if any) might not be acceptable and require revisions.

Perform a preliminary job review by discussing with your workers the hazards they know currently exist. Get their input on how to eliminate or control those hazards. It goes without saying that immediate action should be taken if any hazards create risks of imminent danger to a worker’s life or health.

Easily correctable problems should be dealt with as soon as possible giving you more time to evaluate complex jobs. Waiting too long to finish your job hazard analysis may express a lack of commitment to safety and health on your part to your workers. Hazards that have been verified to present unacceptable dangers need to be corrected by the use of hazard controls.

There are three types of hazard controls: engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment. An example of an engineering control could include redirecting exhaust ventilation or enclosing noisy equipment. Administrative examples would include written operating protocols, a buddy system or exposure time limits. Using personal protective equipment (respirators, safety glasses, hardhats, hearing protection and protective clothing) is needed when engineering controls are not feasible or are in development.

Your analysis should start with a list of hazardous jobs that present unsuitable risks. Start with jobs that if an accident happened would result in the most severe outcome.

Break down every job into steps or tasks. The best way to do this is to observe a worker performing the job and list each task or step. It might be a good idea to tell your worker what you are doing. Emphasize you are watching the job they are doing not how they are performing. It might be necessary to video the job being done.

It is important to not go into too much detail or be too general in your step/task descriptions. Consulting with the worker should enable you to get enough information. Once you have documented each step, review each one and determine uncontrolled hazards and identify solutions.

If you or a loved one has been in a Carolina work accident or needs assistance with a workers’ compensation or disability claim, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More blog entries:

Failure to Train Employees can Lead to a High Risk of Injury in North Carolina Work Accidents North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 1, 2011

Whistleblowers Protected When Reporting Hazards at North Carolina Job Sites North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 22, 2011

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