How are hazards identified?

Hazard identification

The first step in risk management is to identify workplace hazards. This means looking for those things that have the potential to cause harm. Harm can be short or long term and may adversely affect the health and safety of personnel, property, the environment, and community relationships.

Hazards can be identified through one or more of the following activities:

  • routine hazard and housekeeping inspections and audit activities
  • study of information provided by manufacturers and suppliers of equipment and substances
  • investigation of incidents and accidents
  • accessing learnings from external safety alerts, including the department’s significant incident reports and safety bulletins
  • as part of the change management process for introduction of new equipment or processes, and changes to existing equipment or processes
  • as part of the review process for existing plans and procedures.

Documentation in hazard register

Once hazards have been identified, it is important that they are documented appropriately in order to manage the controls effectively over time.

Mining operations may use registers to assist in maintaining the integrity of the risk management process. The hazard register should serve as a live reference to assist in the development of job safety analyses (JSAs) or other task-based risk assessments.

Related information

The toolbox presentations listed below include information on hazard identification.

Hazard identification - what to look for (2008) - 15537 Kb

This toolbox presentation contains information about hazard indentification for the inspectorate's perspective and a summary of common hazards.

Improving hazard awareness - lifting the game (2014) - 7168 Kb

This toolbox presentation looks at resources to raise awareness of lifting and rigging issues. This includes stored energy, gravitational potential energy and issues relating to mechanical handling.