Hazard Prevention and Control in the Work Environment
In most companies, an effective management is in place that establishes a protocol to actively control hazards through timely identification and by adopting useful correction methods. The best part is that on recognizing hazards and potential hazards properly, the correct hazard prevention, decontamination and control programs can be designed. One such way is to implement a hierarchy of controls for a systematic determination of the most effective and practicable methods for reducing the risks coupled with a hazard. Here is a list of such hierarchy of controls that can be applied for a high degree of risk reduction. Hierarchy of Controls: 1) Eradication of hazard related materials that include decontamination processes. 2) Replacement of less hazardous materials or processes. Changing the operations or equipment in place that are accountable for a disaster. 3) Engineering proper control strategies. 4) Proper communication through words of warning. 5) Administrative controls through training, job planning, rotation and forecasting. 6) Making changes to working procedures for the implementation of work area protection methodologies like barricades and other similar measures. 7) Keeping personal protective equipment ready for on time usage. Engineering controls have a very significant role to play as far as the reduction or elimination of exposure to risk factors are concerned. The underlying principle is that engineering controls put into practice single time changes that basically protect all employees. These include physical changes to workstations, introduction of handy equipment and installing them at the right places, changes in the production facility and many other relevant aspects of the work environment. So these engineering controls are permanent controls and the opportunity for their implementation exists primarily in the design stage. Such a modified design enables requisite change making possible during an on-going job or process stage. Besides engineering controls, administrative controls also have an important role to play for preventing and controlling hazards in a work place. The procedures involved in it notably limit daily contact to hazardous substances by controlling or manipulating the work schedule. Sometimes the manner in which work is performed is also modified or effective outcomes. The opportunities through which these controls are exercised are by introducing rest pauses, job rotations, more number of employees so that there are sufficient number of standby or relief personnel, proper supervision and restricted duty jobs. Work practice controls basically involve procedures that enable the safe and proper working so that specific tasks are assigned to certain workplace employees or personnel. These are highly focused work practices that include ergonomic programs for a proper work technique, employee training, habitual monitoring, feedback collection, maintenance, adjustments, modifications and finally enforcement. Besides, personal protective equipment and decontamination equipment also needs to be chosen with ergonomic points in mind. So one can say that there are four basic methods to prevent, reduce or eliminate exposure to risks or hazards in a workplace. These are engineering controls that include work station changes, administrative controls like work pattern changes, work practice controls like new training methodologies and finally protective equipment usage at a personal level by the employees. By following these four methodologies properly, hazards can be effectively prevented in a workplace and if the need arises, they can be controlled in cases of outbreaks as well. "DOT HAZMAT General Awareness" focuses on employees who handle hazardous materials. The products review a number of topics aimed at making these employees more aware of situations in which they may encounter hazardous chemicals, the nature of the hazards and the issue of taking appropriate security measures when dealing with hazardous materials that the DOT has added to the regulation. Topics covered in these products include:
- The regulation itself.
- Hazardous materials, definitions and classes.
- Hazard communication.
- Hazard "indicators", such as labels, shipping papers and placards.
- Where hazardous materials may be encountered.
- Packaging and storage.
- Transport (trucks, ships, rail, etc.).
- Security risks and terrorism.
- and more.