A MTA Light Vehicle Technician apprentice, Ben, recently identified a leaking airline hose before using a rattle gun in the MTA’s workshop. Serious injuries can occur from damages to compressed air equipment such as this and he promptly disconnected the airline from the mains, installed an “Out of Service” tag on the airline and reported the hazard immediately to the WHS&RTW Coordinator.
What is Hazard Identification?
Hazard identification is part of the process used to evaluate if any particular situation, item, thing, etc. may have the potential to cause harm. The term often used to describe the full process is risk assessment: Identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm (hazard identification).
It is the legal duty under the WHS Act for an employer to maintain a safe working environment. A risk management system in your workplace can help you achieve this. Risk management involves conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, and implementing, monitoring and reviewing control measures to reduce risks to the health and safety of workers, contractors and visitors.
Risk management involves conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, and implementing, monitoring and reviewing control measures to reduce risks to the health and safety of workers, contractors and visitors.
Risk assessments help to determine which hazards require the most urgent attention, i.e. by introducing control measures to eliminate or reduce any risk arising from those hazards. Risk assessments are not rigid processes and may be undertaken in different ways. For example, a risk assessment may:
- be carried out by an individual or a group;
- be conducted over a number of days;
- consider whole tasks or the individual steps involved in a task; or
- address whole systems in the workplace, e.g. the ventilation system.
RISK ASSESSMENT RATINGS MATRIX
The risk assessment ratings matrix can help you to establish a risk rating for each of the hazards you have identified in your workplace.
Risk = Likelihood (frequency) × Consequence (seriousness)
The advice is not to get too hung-up about these issues. Remember that the reason for calculating risk assessments is simply to prioritise. We believe one can almost do that intuitively once the hazards have been identified. Please note that the published codes of practice available for industry via the SafeWork Australia website provide a great source of risk controls that can be adapted.
- Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals;
- Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals;
- How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace;
- How to Safely Remove Asbestos;
- Confined Spaces; and
- Hazardous Manual Tasks.
For further assistance on conducting risk assessments or increasing staff awareness on the importance of hazard reporting, please contact the MTA’s WR team by clicking here.