Every workplace has issues that can cause safety risks to the employees, equipment, and the product. Hazard can be defined as a potential for harm and encompasses “all aspects of technology or activity that produce risk” (Manuele, 2014, p. 169). Similarly, inactivity can also cause threats in the workplace environment (Manuele, 2014). This analysis aims to assess a potential hazard caused by employees’ inactivity, its associated consequences, and potential control measures.
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Initial Risk Assessment
Neglected use of personal protection equipment (PPE) is a serious hazard and can lead to numerous adverse outcomes. Several pieces of PPE must be worn in the workplace, including hard hats, ear protection, safety glasses, gloves, protective boots, and hi-vis jackets. Failure to wear one of the listed items of equipment can lead to a variety of health and safety risks. For instance, a mechanic that often forgets to wear ear protection can develop hearing problems, while those forgetting to put on hard hats and safety glasses can experience traumatic head and eye injuries. It can be argued that the probability of occurrence of the discussed problem can be assessed as frequent for a workstation where the employees are required to wear PPE daily. Due to the number of items of PPE needed and the numerous risks caused by its absence, this hazard can be estimated as critical. Overall, there are many scenarios in which ignoring PPE can lead to incidents in the workplace.
Additional Control Measures
The initial assessment shows that there is a need for additional risk reduction and control measures put in place in order to prevent injuries. In this case, the substitution of hazardous materials and equipment, warnings, administrative actions, and PPE controls should be implemented (Manuele, 2014). The replacement of unsafe materials and equipment can prevent certain dangers when workers forget to use PPE. For example, using less harmful cleaning materials can help avoid exposure to chemicals and prevent absorbing them through the skin if cleaners neglect to use protective gloves. Although this measure is ranked as the second most effective one in the hierarchy of controls in Z10, certain materials and equipment cannot be substituted (Manuele, 2014). The next step is placing warning signs and alerts to remind employees to wear PPE. The company should analyze the most recurring injuries related to the absence of PPE and place warning signs where appropriate. Thus, if most incidents occur in a specific workshop, the number of warning signs and alerts in it must be increased proportionately.
Several administrative controls should be implemented to encourage the use of PPE. All workers must undergo training in workplace safety measures and the importance of wearing protective equipment. In addition, supervision over personnel required to wear PPE should be increased. For example, they can be declined entry into the workshop without all the items of PPE identified as essential for their job. Furthermore, protective clothing and equipment should regularly be inspected and replaced if it is no longer safe. Although the controls relating to PPE are ranked the least effective in the hierarchy, in this case, it is vital that it is well maintained (Manuele, 2014). Employees may disregard PPE if it is uncomfortable and restricts their physical movement, sight, or hearing, creating additional hazards. To prevent PEE neglect, the organization needs to provide staff with comfortable, well-fitting protective clothing and equipment, which does not create additional risks. Overall, employing these control measures and regularly verifying that they are followed can lower the probability and severity of workplace incidents.
All workplace problems should be timely addressed with preventive measures utilized to reduce the health and safety risks to the personnel. Neglected use of PPE is a serious hazard, however, it can be decreased by implementing several controls, including the substitution of unsafe materials and equipment, installing warning signs, training and strict supervision, and PPE controls. The probability of dangerous situations can be reduced to occasional, with the risk to the hazard target reduced to marginal.
Manuele, F. A. (2014). Advanced safety management: Focusing on Z10 and serious injury prevention (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.