Do you know your risk management hotspots?
27 September 2016
Do you know your risk management hotspots?
Hotspots. Good if you're talking about nightlife or summer holidays. Bad if you're talking about workplace risks.
Do you know your risk hotspots?  Do you care?
You should. 
In 2015 two people died working on construction sites in New Zealand. These deaths were totally preventable. Not to mention the injuries that occur on building sites every week.

Risk hotspots for the building and construction sector

Knowing the potential risks means you can do something about them. These are the risk hotspots for the construction sector according to Worksafe. 
  • Exposure to noise
  • Cut by sharp object
  • Fall from height
  • Hit by falling object
  • Slips and trips
  • Muscular strain 
How does your workplace shape up? Are you in control of these risk hotspots?
If you and/or your workers are exposed to these risks then you need to manage them. Here are some tips.

Tips to reduce risks for noise exposure:

How noisy is too noisy? Here’s a simple test. If you have to raise your voice to communicate over a distance of one metre then you’re heading into the risk zone (assuming you’re not speaking to your deaf grandpa). If so, it’s best to get a noise assessment to determine where you’re at. 
To reduce noise risk:
  • Provide hearing equipment, ensure it is worn at all times, and provide employees with audiometric testing. 
  • Reduce the source of noise (e.g. enclose or isolate noisy machinery)
  • Place warning signs in areas of excessive and continual noise 

Tips to reduce risks for slips, trips, and falls:

  • Provide the highest level of falls protection (eg guard-railing, scaffolds, physical barriers or elevated work platforms) as is reasonably practicable.
  • Ensure all working areas and access ways are clean, tidy, level, and well-lit 

Tips to reduce risks for strains, cuts, and hits:

  • Arrange for bulky materials to be delivered to the final work location 
  • Provide lifting points or handles for heavy or awkward loads.
  • Order materials in smaller sizes (eg cement bags of 20kg instead of 40kg).
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing (eg hard hats, gloves that absorb impact energy, protection from sharp edges that is puncture resistant, hearing protection, respiratory protection, suitable eyewear).
  • Cover sharp edges of metal sheeting and strips.
  • Train workers, in the selection and use of hand tools and how to safely use them (eg avoid working in front of face and always work away from the body).
  • Ensure employees are not exposed to repetitive work for long periods (eg by using job rotation, work variation) or work that requires a significant amount of high force.
So watch out for your hotspots! Make sure you know what they are and that you have the systems, equipment, and mindset in place to minimise the risks. For more information see the Worksafe NZ website.
This pearl of wisdom brought to you by Ovaboard. Ovaboard temporary floor protection provides a non-slip, non-trip hazard surface (and also protects floors while you work). Learn more about us.
We do our best to provide accurate and insightful content but we’re not perfect! We don’t claim total accuracy or completeness and don’t accept any liability.