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Identifying hazards and controlling risks

Being able to identify hazards is crucial in ensuring tasks are carried out safely. Your past experience in the workplace may help you to identify some hazards, but remember to also use the skills and knowledge of those around you to help.

Identifying hazards and controlling risk must be done continuously as new work processes, tasks, equipment and workers come into the workplace. Part of this process may be to ask your employer to employ or engage a suitably qualified occupational health and safety professional to come into the workplace to provide advice on health and safety.

Some ways to identify hazards and control risks:

  1. Talk with workers (including contractors) who are or will be performing any tasks to identify all potential hazards and the best ways to eliminate or reduce risk.
  2. Make sure you are aware of any high risk activities, work with new machinery or new work processes before they happen.
  3. Understand the hazards associated with tasks you supervise and have risk controls in place before work starts. This could mean preventing work from being done while a safety issue is being resolved.
  4. Take action to resolve health and safety issues as soon as possible. This includes escalating the issue to more senior management if necessary. Once agreement is reached on how to fix a problem, implement it as soon as possible.

Tips to help you:

The most common and simple way to look for hazards is to go on regular, visual, walk-through inspections of the workplace, together with HSRs (if your workplace has them).

Have a look at our Do your own inspection page for some simple things you can do to check and improve safety at your workplace.