Every year we see in news reports about workplace accidents involving injuries or even death. It’s a sad fact that in Ontario every year there are over 200 workplace related fatalities in Ontario. In 2015 the Ministry of Labour received 476 claims per day. In that same year there were 873 critical injury events reported.
Not all of these injuries are from the manufacturing or construction world, but a lot of them are. Enough to make Risk Assessments on your workplace or factory all the more important.
Get Risk Assessments For All Your Machines and Vehicles
Keeping your skilled workers healthy is good, not only for them, but also for your business operations. All machines and vehicles in your operations should have a safeguarding risk assessment. Here are few points to consider when creating your own risk assessment:
What is the machine or vehicle used for and how will it be used?
Identifying the application of the machine is a great start as you can determine what dangers and risks there are with the machine or vehicle. A drill press will have a different kind of risk to a hand fed power press. A bulldozer will have a different risk severity than a pick-up truck.
Don’t Leave Any Perspective Out
Gathering view points from the machine or vehicle manufacturer, front line workers that will be using the machine, supervisors, maintenance personnel, tradespeople, and your safety committee lessens the chance that something important will be missed.
Test Your Tools
Run the machine or operate the vehicle to observe it in operation. We all know there can be a great difference between the theory of operation and the practice of operation.
Identify and Evaluate the Risk
Understanding each step of the machine’s usage means you can clearly identify the risks the machine poses and grade the severity of risk for each step. Some steps might be low or negligible while other steps could be high or severe.
Reduce or Mitigate Hazards
What is the risk of failure at any given point in the machine’s cycle? What are any blind spots to operating the vehicle? Understanding the risks of failure at each stage of the machine's, or vehicle's, usage cycle means you can develop response strategies as well. This is the foundation of a risk reduction strategy. From here you can ascertain whether or not you can just mitigate or eliminate or a hazard altogether or whether you will require engineered controls to deal with the hazards.
As well, with this information you can choose what protective equipment will be required for machine operators and vehicle drivers.
Once the information has been collected you can then devise an appropriate training program. This program will be a living document, meaning you will likely update and review the training program as the operation or usage changes.
Documentation Documentation Documentation
Collecting all the above information on each machine or vehicle and including recommended maintenance schedules, power consumption, previous incident history, and placement factors within the factory within one master document means you have a detailed risk assessment that can be easily accessed and updated as needed.
This is Just the Start
This list is not exhaustive, nor is it only for the construction or manufacturing industries. We highly recommended that all businesses and industries review the requirements of your province’s Ministry of Labour to know what compliance is necessary for the operations of your business.
Having healthy employees not only improves your productivity it is less expensive in the long run because you don’t have fines, or worse, injured or killed employees.
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Thanks for reading.