Workplace Hazard Warning

January 23rd, 2018

Incident reporting is critical, and near-miss reporting is important, but hazard reporting is also extremely necessary for the safety of your workforce.

All hazards that are found in the workplace should be reported immediately to a supervisor, the safety department or management. This is a standard practice that should exist in any workplace and every employee should be made aware that this is the appropriate action to take should they encounter any hazard or potential hazard they discover. However, many employees may feel (justified or not) that the hazards they encounter, sometimes on a daily basis, are just how things are and reporting them is not necessary. Designing, setting up and communicating a Hazard Reporting Program is a good idea for any business to help avoid this potentially dangerous attitude. Implementing a Hazard Reporting Program will help ensure that your workplace is safer for your employees and reduce costly incidents or business interruptions.
Employees should be trained in hazard recognition and avoidance. Hazard Reporting is a critical part of this training so that employees know exactly what to do when they encounter a hazard they can’t immediately correct. Don’t get overwhelmed by the word “training” because you can design the training to be as simple as you need for your specific team. Depending on the types of hazards your employees might encounter, this training could be a mandatory all-day in-person training session for high-hazard jobs, or on-the-job training led by a competent supervisor, or even a 30-minute safety meeting. For low-hazard jobs, at least consider an annual online training or email reminder so employees understand hazard reporting is not only acceptable but also expected.
During hazard reporting training, the following points should be emphasized:
What is an unsafe condition that should be reported? This is any circumstance found in the workplace that could allow an incident to occur that might harm people, equipment or property. Give examples specific to your workplace such as rusted or broken tools, inadequate PPE provided, containers that are not labeled, insufficient stairway lighting, broken machine guards, or a leaking refrigerator in the breakroom.
What is an unsafe act that should be reported? This is any behavior that could lead to an incident that might harm people, equipment or property. Unsafe acts might not be intentional. Examples of unsafe acts might include using equipment in a careless manner or not using PPE as required.
What should be done if an unsafe condition or act is witnessed in the workplace? This depends on the hazard reporting procedure in your workplace so be specific. Let employees know exactly what steps they should take which could be filling out a form or verbally telling a supervisor.
When should a hazard be reported? Any unsafe condition or act should be reported immediately, or at the next available safe opportunity that the employee has to do so.
What should employees expect after a hazard is reported? Let employees know what the expected time frame is for corrective and preventative measures that are expected and how employees can follow-up on the corrections progress, if needed.


Posted on January 23rd, 2018