Five Step of Health and Safety

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Step 1: Identify the hazards:
First you need to work out how people could be harmed. When you work in a place every day it is easy to overlook some hazards, so here are some tips to help you identify the ones that matter: * Walk around your workplace and look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. * Ask your employees or their representatives what they think. They may have noticed things that are not immediately obvious to you. * Visit the HSE website. HSE publishes practical guidance on where hazards occur and how to control them. There is much information[2] on the hazards that might affect your business. * If you are a member of a trade association, contact them. Many produce very helpful guidance. * Check manufacturers’ instructions or data sheets for chemicals and equipment as they can be very helpful in spelling out the hazards and putting them in their true perspective. * Have a look back at your accident and ill-health records – these often help to identify the less obvious hazards. * Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (eg high levels of noise or exposure to harmful substances) as well as safety hazards.

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how:
For each hazard you need to be clear about who might be harmed; it will help you identify the best way of managing the risk. That doesn’t mean listing everyone by name, but rather identifying groups of people (eg ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’). Remember:

* some workers have particular requirements, eg new and young workers [1], migrant workers [2], new or expectant mothers[3] and people with disabilities[4] may be at particular risk. Extra thought will be needed for some hazards; * cleaners, visitors, contractors, maintenance workers etc, who may not be in the workplace all the time; * members of the public, if they could be hurt by your activities; * if you share your workplace, you will need to think about how your work...
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