The goal of the hazard identification and control program is to make the workplace and its operations as safe as possible and to keep employees from being harmed. It is an ongoing program that is actually never finished. If you are involved in developing a system to identify and control hazards:
If you are going to be effective in protecting employees from workplace hazards, obviously you must first understand just what those hazards are.
Read the material in each section to find the correct answers to each of the questions. After answering all questions, click the "Check Quiz Answers" button to see your score and a list of missed questions. To correct a question, return to the question, review the material, change your answer, and return to the last section page. Click the "Check Quiz Answers" again to recheck the results.
Do not refresh these pages or you'll have to answer all questions again.
Note: Videos and exercises in our courses are for information only and not required to view. Final exam questions will not be derived from the videos. OSHAcademy is not responsible for video content.
It's important that workers and supervisors are knowledgeable to ensure that workplace hazards are identified and eliminated as soon as possible. You've got to know what you're looking for. Examples of the various kinds of hazards include:
Some or all of these potential safety hazards may exist in a workplace and the list could be much longer. When inspecting the workplace, look for hazardous conditions and situations such as unsafe behaviors that could cause exposure. Remember, it take both a hazard and exposure to the hazard before an accident can occur.
Before we learn how to identify, analyze, and control hazards in the workplace, it's important to know how OSHA defines a hazard. In OSHA's Field Compliance Manual, a hazard is defined as:
"a workplace condition or practice to which employees are exposed, creating the potential for death or serious physical harm to employees. "
The hazard is defined in terms of the presence of hazardous conditions or practices that present a particular danger to employees. Hazards by this definition may include any of the following:
OSHA's definition also implies that root-cause safety management system conditions and practices may also come under scrutiny by OSHA. The definition applies to hazards and practices that can, "create the potential for serious physical harm to employees. Root-cause conditions and practices within the safety management system (SMS) can certainly create the potential for serious harm to employees.
To be effective, the SMS must be not only be well-designed, it must perform well. As you will see throughout our training, a truly world-class SMS is a real challenge, especially when employer leadership doesn't support it.
If you look around your workplace, you'll most likely be able to locate a few hazardous conditions or work practices without too much trouble. Did you know that at any time an OSHA inspector could announce his or her presence at your corporate front door to begin a comprehensive inspection. What would they find? What do they look for? Now, if you used the same inspection strategy as an inspector, wouldn't that be smart? Let's take a look at some information contained in OSHA's Field Compliance Manual, Chapter 3, relating to hazards and exposure.
OSHA's General Duty Clause requires that:
"Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."
This section also states:
"The employer shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act."
The following are examples of some types of hazardous exposures that employers have an obligation to prevent according to the General Duty Clause and various OSHA standards:
Occasionally, students ask what is considered a "recognized" hazard in the workplace. As described in OSHA's Field Compliance Manual, recognition of a hazard is established on the basis of industry recognition, employer recognition, or "common sense" recognition criteria.
Another important question to ask about the nature of a hazard relates to whether it was "foreseeable." The question of foreseeability should be addressed by safety managers during the root cause analysis phase of an accident investigation. A hazard for which OSHA issues a citation must be reasonably foreseeable. All the factors which could cause a hazard need not be present in the same place at the same time in order to prove foreseeability of the hazard; e.g., an explosion need not be imminent. For example:
It is necessary to establish the reasonable foreseeability of the general workplace hazard, rather than the particular hazard which led to the accident. For example:
Lets' talk about the concept of "exposure": the second variable in the accident formula. Exposure is generally defined as "the condition of being exposed," or as "a position in relation to a hazard." In this course we will consider three kinds of exposure that we'll discuss here: physical, environmental, and potential exposure:
Physical Exposure: We may think of this form of exposure as "arm's length" exposure. If any part of the body can be injured as a result of proximity to a danger zone, physical exposure exists. For instance, if an employee removes a guard and works around moving parts that could cause an injury, that employee is exposed.
Physical exposure also occurs by inhalation, ingestion, and absorption primarily through skin contact. Skin exposure may result in dermatitis or skin rash, edema or swelling, and blistering. These exposures can result from chemical splashes and spills, from directly immersing one's hands into solvents and chemicals, from contact with solvent-soaked clothing or solvent-wet objects, and from the use of improper personal protective equipment. Solvents can dissolve the body's natural protective barrier of fats and oils leaving the skin unprotected against further irritation.
Environmental Exposure: An employee may suffer from environmental exposure no matter how far away from the source of the hazard he or she might be. For instance, if an employee uses a loud saw all day, everyone working around the saw may be exposed to hazardous levels of noise and suffer from environmental exposure.
Potential Exposure: The possibility that an employee could be exposed to a hazardous condition exists when the employee can be shown to have access to the hazard. Potential employee exposure could include one or more of the following: