Types of Hazards


Health and Safety are critical aspects of all workplaces. For this reason, it is common that training is contextualised to reflect the WHS situation of the place of training and assessment.

So, what is a hazard?

From the IBSA TAE10 Training Package glossary we learn that a hazard is:

“a source or situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill health.”
(Source: p.14, https://www.ibsa.org.au/sites/default/files/media/Glossary.pdf, accessed 12/1/2014)

Hazard Management

As trainers/assessors, one of our Legal and Ethical Responsibilities is a Duty of Care. This means that we are required to identify and manage any hazards that may threaten the health and safety of people associated with our training/assessment.

But, before we can manage a hazard, we have to know what types of hazards there are.

Types of Hazard

Hazards can be broadly grouped based on their nature. This is shown below:

Physical hazardsWet floors
Loose electrical cables Objects protruding in walkways or doorways
Ergonomic hazardsLifting heavy objects Stretching the body
Twisting the body
Poor desk seating
Psychological hazardsHeights
Loud sounds
Bright lights
Environmental hazardsRoom temperature
Ventilation Contaminated air
Some office plants Acids
Hazardous substancesAlkalis Solvents
Biological hazardsHepatitis B
New strain influenza
Radiation hazardsElectric welding flashes Sunburn

Some More Workplace Hazards

If we take the above table one step further, we can begin to think about some of the hazards that we might find in actual workplaces.

Workplace HazardEffect on human health
Chemical hazardsEffects on central nervous system, lungs, digestive system, circulatory system, skin, reproductive system. Short term (acute) effects such as burns, rashes, irritation, feeling unwell, coma and death.

Long term (chronic) effects such as mutagenic (affects cell structure), carcinogenic (cancer), teratogenic (reproductive effect), dermatitis of the skin, and occupational asthma and lung damage.
NoiseHigh levels of industrial noise will cause irritation in the short term, and industrial deafness in the long term.
TemperaturePersonal comfort is best between temperatures of 16°C and 30°C, better between 21°C and 26°C.

Working outside these temperature ranges: may lead to becoming chilled, even hypothermia (deep body cooling) in the colder temperatures, and may lead to dehydration, cramps, heat exhaustion, and hyperthermia (heat stroke) in the warmer temperatures.
Being struck byThis hazard could be a projectile, moving object or material. The health effect could be lacerations, bruising, breaks, eye injuries, and possibly death.
Crushed byA typical example of this hazard is tractor rollover. Death is usually the result
Entangled byBecoming entangled in machinery. Effects could be crushing, lacerations, bruising, breaks amputation and death.
High energy sourcesExplosions, high pressure gases, liquids and dusts, fires, electricity and sources such as lasers can all have serious effects on the body, even death.
VibrationVibration can affect the human body in the hand arm with `white-finger' or Raynaud's Syndrome, and the whole body with motion sickness, giddiness, damage to bones and audits, blood pressure and nervous system problems.
Slips, trips and fallsA very common workplace hazard from tripping on floors, falling off structures or down stairs, and slipping on spills.
RadiationRadiation can have serious health effects. Skin cancer, other cancers, sterility, birth deformities, blood changes, skin burns and eye damage are examples.
PhysicalExcessive effort, poor posture and repetition can all lead to muscular pain, tendon damage and deterioration to bones and related structures
PsychologicalStress, anxiety, tiredness, poor concentration, headaches, back pain and heart disease can be the health effects
Biological More common in the health, food and agricultural industries. Effects such as infectious disease, rashes and allergic response.

Managing Hazards

Common ways of managing hazards are shown below:

StepsRoles And Responsibilities
Step 1
Codes of practice, policies and procedures
- Responsibility of organisations
- Must be compliant with the various WHS Acts
- Should involve employees on a cooperative basis
Step 2
Workplace method statements
Responsibility of organisations
- Written in cooperation with employees
- Must be compliant with various WHS Acts
Step 3
Worksafe instructions
- Initiated by organisation with cooperation of employees
- Must be compliant with the various WHS Acts
- Must be followed by employees
Step 4
Wearing of protective clothing or equipment
- Provided by organisation
- Must be compliant with the various WHS Acts
- Must be worn by employees as directed by management
Step 5
Hazard and risk management
Senior management must:
- ensure that legislative requirements are complied with
- provide adequate funding for implementing safe workplace strategies
- work in cooperation with others to provide a safe workplace
- liaise with relevant personnel such as unions supervisors, WHS committees, WHS representatives
- lead by example.

Employees must:
- observe established safe work practices and procedures
- be involved in the identification of various substances or chemicals
- be proactive in WHS meetings or other communication opportunities
- report any situation that involves risk or hazard to the appropriate person.
Step 6
Incident or accident report
- Accident or incident report prepared on workplace checklist
- Management inspects accident or incident area
- Management evaluates the outcome of the investigation and makes recommendations
- The report tabulates inspection findings which include employee input and enables management to determine appropriate action.

Information in this section relates to:
Question 14 of Short Answer Questions 1

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