Hazard Identification Register
Another major component of the Act is managing workplace hazards. A PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure:
thehealth and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, while they are at work in the business or undertaking thehealth and safety of workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU, while they are carrying out the work
- that the health and safety of other persons
isnot put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.
This means organisations should consider and plan for the health and safety of employees, contractors, sub-contractors, visitors, customers and people whose health and safety could be affected by the organisation’s work. Remember, a self-employed person is a PCBU and must also, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure his or her own health and safety while at work.
See also the WorkSafe Fact Sheet - A Way to Identify, Assess and Manage Work Risks - click here
PCBUs must, so far as reasonably practicable:
- provide and maintain a work environment, plant, structures and systems of work that are without risks to health and safety.
- ensure the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
- provide adequate facilities at work for the welfare of workers, including ensuring access to those facilities
- provide information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety
- monitor the health of workers and the exposures at the workplace for the purpose of determining the effectiveness of control measures.
Plant includes anything that can be moved, including: machinery, vehicles, vessels, aircraft, equipment (including personal protective equipment) appliances, containers, implements, tools and any component of one of these items. Structures include buildings, masts, towers, frameworks, pipelines, quarries, ridges and underground works
To meet health and safety duties, risks that arise from work must be effectively managed. Risks to health and safety arise from people being exposed to hazards. A hazard is anything that can cause harm. HSWA clarifies that ‘hazard’ includes behaviour that has the potential to cause death, injury or illness (whether or not that behaviour results from physical or mental fatigue, drugs, alcohol, traumatic shock or another temporary condition that affects behaviour).
Before deciding how to manage work risks PCBUs should think about risks more broadly across the work being conducted and the contributing factors.
Risks must be eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable. If a risk cannot be eliminated, it must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. PCBUs must take these steps to the extent within their ability to influence and control the matter to which the risks relate.
The processes or equipment put in place to eliminate or minimise risk are called control measures. For minimising risk, if the risk is well-known and if there are commonly accepted ways to manage it, these control measures should usually be used.
Types of Workplace Hazards
- Physical Hazards -Things that can cause physical harm, like moving machinery, falls from heights or lifting heavy objects. Some of these hazards may cause injury very slowly like equipment with poor ergonomics.
- Environmental Hazards - Things in the environment that could cause injury or ill health, like hot or cold temperatures, poor lighting, or uneven ground.
- Hazardous Substances - Things such as asbestos or chemicals that could cause health issues such as cancer, fertility problems and even death.
- Social Hazards - Such as work-related stress, overwork, long hours, inadequate breaks, or bullying.
- Biological Hazards - For example bacteria and viruses that cause ill health.
Using your Hazard Register
You can download our sample template from our website or from Worksafe NZ (http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/tools-resources/health-and-safety-templates).
Identify and Document Hazards
You firstly need to identify and document any hazards in, on and around your property. Take the register and walk around your property with fresh eyes, entering all rooms and document any hazards you find - these could include the work you do, the tools you use and the environment both inside and out.
- Floor rugs – are they stuck to the floor using floor tape or are guests able to trip over them?
- Cables – are all cables labelled and in a safe place where they will not be tripped over.
- Do your roman blinds have a child safety feature so that children cannot get tangled in the cord?
- Are your bicycles serviced frequently?
- Are your chemicals stored safely and securely with clearly written labels.
Ensure all identified hazards are eliminated, isolated or minimised
When looking at any hazards identified, Worksafe provide the following information:
- The primary duty of care requires a PCBU to ensure health and safety “so far as is reasonably practicable”. When used in this context, something is reasonably practicable if it is reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, having weighed up and considered all relevant matters, including:
- How likely are any hazards or risks to occur?
- How severe could the harm that might result from the hazard or risk be?
- What a person knows or ought to reasonably know about the risk and the ways of eliminating or minimising it (eg by removing the source of the risk or using control measures such as isolation or physical controls to minimise it).
- What measures exist to eliminate or minimise the risk (control measures)?
- How available and suitable is the control measure(s)?
Lastly weigh up the cost:
- What is the cost of eliminating or minimising the risk?
- Is the cost grossly disproportionate to the risk?
For other duties such as worker engagement and participation duties, the above definition does not apply.
Floor tiles in the bathroom – are they non slip tiles? If they are not, is it reasonably practicable to replace them? This will depend on the size of your bathroom, the chance of tiles becoming wet and slippery but it is most like probably not reasonably practicable to replace them. Is it reasonably practicable to provide a non slip floor mat? Yes. Is it reasonably practicable to leave them as is? No.
- Record your hazards in your Hazard Register and regularly review it
You should regularly review your property assessing for new hazards and review existing hazards and the controls in place to manage them.
Information sourced from Worksafe NZ