Three-part series on Job Hazards Ends With Workplace Injury Scenario

To complete our three-part series on conducting a job hazard analysis we walk you through an actual workplace scenario. Our workers’ compensation lawyers of Greensboro want employers to be proactive in protecting their employees, so the goal of our series is to offer useful information to guide employers on how to provide a safe work environment.
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How you can identify workplace hazards

Your goal is to ask the following questions when doing a job hazard analysis:

-What could go wrong?
-What could be the outcome?
-How could it happen?
-Are there other contributing factors?
-What is the likelihood of the hazard occurring?

Answering these questions is the key to a properly performed job hazard analysis. Consistently describing hazards in this manner will help your endeavor to eliminate the hazard and apply hazard controls. Good hazard situations describe:

-Where it is occurring (environment)?
-What or who is being exposed?
-What triggers the hazard?
-What is the outcome should it happen?
-Are there other contributing factors?

It is a rare occurrence that a hazard has a singular cause resulting in a singular effect. It is more likely that several factors add up to create the hazard.

Here is an example from the updated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Job Hazard Analysis manual regarding a hazard scenario:

In the wood shop (environment), while clearing a stuck piece of wood (trigger), an employee’s hand (exposure) comes into contact with a saw blade. The machine grabs his hand and severs several of his fingers (consequences) quickly.

Ask and answer the following question to perform the job hazard analysis:

-What could go wrong? The employee’s hand could come in contact with a saw blade that grabs it.
-What is the result? The employee could sustain a severe injury to their fingers and hand and possible loss of an extremity.
-How could it occur? An employee tries to clear a piece of wood during the saws operation. If the saw is not running the hazard doesn’t exist.
-Any other contributing factors? This is a quickly occurring hazard and is an important fact when figuring out how likely this scenario could happen.
-How likely could the hazard occur? Actual cases and “near-misses” could determine that the likelihood is high for this to happen and lead to the following questions being asked: Could adding a guard to the blade make the hazard less likely? Could a cut off switch shut the saw down when wood gets stuck prevent the hazard?

Review previous job hazard analysis.

Keeping job hazard analysis current continues to ensure the reduction of workplace accidents and injuries. The job doesn’t have to change in order to review its process because you never know if something was missed during the initial analysis.

It is crucial to review a job’s hazard analysis if there was a “near miss”, an injury or illness. You should ask yourself what caused the hazard and what steps are needed to reduce the chance of it happening again. Any changes to an analysis must be discussed with your workers to ensure compliance.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a North Carolina work accident, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free no-obligation appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More blog entries:

Scaffolds a Common Cause of Fall Accidents for North Carolina Workers Injured on the Job, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 16, 2011

Website Assists North Carolina Employers With Reporting Work Injuries to OSHA, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 12, 2011

Assault Can Lead to Serious Injury for Caregivers Attacked at North Carolina Work Facilities, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 9, 2011

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