Health and Safety is a crucial part of any business' operations. This blog runs through the control measures which can be used to approach hazards and how to reduce them within the workplace, as issued by the Health and Safety Authority.
1. Eliminate the Hazard
Allowing the hazard to be eliminated may not always be the case, due to a number of restrictions that can occur. However, depending on the hazard, this would be the first option to discuss and assess to implement, as it would remove all and any risk associated with the immediate hazard.
Eliminating the hazard would be applicable in the case of fixing or removing a machine that was faulty and poses a fire risk. If it was a fault that could be easily remedied, having engineers see to it would eliminate the threat. Or, if it was beyond repair, due to its ease of dismantling, or mobility, it can be disposed of completely.
2. Substitute the Hazard with Lesser Risk
This would not remove the hazards related to the issue completely, however by implementing an alternative, which may also have other risks associated with it, it works to at least reduce the immediate risk being faced.
This is often applied to chemical use. The chemical being used may have adverse health effects and can cause negative effects on the body, so it can be replaced with a less harmful chemical, that can still have risks associated with it, but are not as detrimental as its predecessor. A common process in the work place is to replace organic solvents with water detergent solution for example.
3. Isolate the Hazard
This works by restricting access to the hazard, reducing the direct or indirect contact individuals may have with it.
Certain equipment and machines used in business operations can produce a high volume of noise, an issue which can have a negative impact on those who interact with it as excessive exposure can cause issues with the ear drum and hearing. To isolate this hazard, this piece of equipment or machinery would be locked away under strict controls, with restricted access to it. Those who would have to have interact with it would wear protective hearing gear to isolate the hazard further.
4. Use Engineering Controls
Engineering controls are used to redesign the process regarding how this hazard is usually handled or interacted with. It is a long term solution to controlling health and safety measures by formulating it into a process.
A big health and safety breach can be the excessive presence of dust within the workplace. This can lead to severe inhalation issues in employees which can be avoided when implementing the correct method of removing it from the site. Therefore an example of using engineering controls to remove the threat of a hazard is assessing the cleaning of the site. Where sweeping dust may have been the chosen method (which can often spread it further) changing the process to use an industrial vacuum with HEPA filters would be much more effective in ridding the area of the harmful particles.
5. Use administrative controls
Administrative controls refer to the procedures which need to be put in place to ensure the safe running of business operations and is more focused on the solutions which don't interfere with the operation itself, but are used to guide companies on how to operate safely around them.
Training staff on how to operate by health and safety standards is a prime example of administrative controls. Work practices which outline how to use machinery and who is qualified to deal with specific matters are relied upon so that all team members know exactly who needs to attend to which issues if and when they occur.
6. Use Personal Protective Equipment
Protective equipment is a requirement when ensuring your staff are properly safe guarded against risks. This includes the use of gloves, glasses, earmuffs, aprons, hard hats, safety footwear and dust masks; all of which are used to reduce the risk of being exposed to any hazards. Protective equipment should not be used as the only control measure within a business, and is often used to compliment one of the more risk avoidance options.
Construction workers will be required to wear protective equipment when on site due to the amount of hazards they are exposed to. Wearing protective equipment safe guards workers against harmful particles being inhaled or entering the eyes, excessive noise, head injuries and many more.
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