Without Warning | Unexpected Workplace Hazards

When it comes to workplace accidents and injuries, most workers think, “It won’t happen to me.” Yet every day, approximately 13 workers are killed on the job and many more suffer serious injuries. In 2014, 4,821 workers died from work-related injuries.

Common causes of workplace accidents include: taking shortcuts; ignoring safety procedures; lack of training; and distractions. Even after known safety issues are addressed and safety measures are put in place, unexpected accidents will still happen. So how can you possibly protect yourself and reduce your risks?

Analyzing job hazards and pre-planning can help you avoid many accidents. Take the time to think about all the work tasks and scenarios that could result in injury. Perform a Job Hazard Analysis to ensure you and your co-workers are acting in the safest manner:

  • Identify all the steps in a job task.
  • Determine the hazards that could occur at each step. Some questions to ask are:
    • What can go wrong?
    • What are the consequences of this workplace hazard?
    • How could an accident happen?
    • What are the contributing factors?
    • How likely is it that this hazard will occur?
    • Where would this hazard happen?
    • Who is at risk?
  • Find ways to eliminate or reduce each identified hazard.
  • Make changes to fix the unsafe conditions.

Proactive efforts to identify and correct known safety issues is a great first-step toward workplace safety, but it isn’t enough. You must expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything to go wrong. Take the time to consider worst-case scenarios on the job and have plans of action ready in case of an unlikely or unforeseeable accident. It’s difficult to think clearly in the midst of a workplace incident. Important decisions will likely need to be made quickly and pre-planning can help you react appropriately and minimize injuries.

For more information, see OSHA’s Job Hazard Analysis page.

Date Posted: 07-19-2016
Tags: emergency planning, job hazard, job hazard analysis, osha safety topics, osha safety training, osha workplace safety, workplace hazards,
Categories: OSHA Safety,