A systematic approach
A safe workplace doesn't happen by chance or guesswork. It requires a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards and risks.
This approach ensures the highest level of protection is in place for people at work. It begins with consulting staff on any potential health and safety issues and typically follows four steps:
- Finding hazards in the workplace that could hurt people
- Figuring out (assessing) how people can be hurt and the likelihood of the hazards hurting people (the level of risk)
- Fixing the problems by deciding on the most effective risk controls that are reasonably practicable under the circumstances
- Reviewing your risk controls and checking that they work
Sometimes the problems are obvious and can be easy to fix (for example, installing machine guarding or keeping the workplace tidy). In some cases, OHS laws relating to specific hazards require you to do certain things in identifying hazards and controlling risks. In other cases the solutions won't be quite as obvious.
A systematic approach is particularly helpful when there is limited knowledge about the hazards and how to control the risks in the particular circumstances.