Hazard Identification and Control


Management needs to identify and eliminate workplace hazards. This includes knowing how to do a safety and health analysis, what to do after completion of the analysis, and how to implement and communicate safety information.

Raising the Standard Consulting Inc. has years of experience in a variety of industries and business cultures. Below is an example of our methodology for a very simple organization with very limited resources.

The purpose of the Hazard Analysis is to ensure all employees are protected against Safety and Health hazards, and work in a healthy and safe environment. Results can include:

  • Increased knowledge of the dangers inherent in the tasks of employees
  • Enhanced safety awareness and improved safety dialogue and communication amongst employees
  • Improved focus for workplace safety inspections
  • Improved risk management leading to increased accident prevention
  • Compliance with OSHA


Recognizing and assessing hazards is the first step to controlling or eliminating risk. Methods of doing this include observation and reporting, inspection, task analysis, and trend identification.

Factors that contribute to making a job hazardous are identified as (also known as PEMEP):

  • People (training)
  • Equipment
  • Materials
  • Environment
  • Process (the way the work is done)

The degree of hazard or risk can be estimated using knowledge of the potential for a major injury (severity) and knowledge of probability of occurrence (For example: an inexperienced worker or a new job).

How to do a Hazard Assessment

  1. Select a job or occupation or common hazard. Ideally, you should start with an item that has been identified as a safety and health problem
  2. Break down the tasks of this job into steps. Describe and list each step in sequence of how they occur in a typical day
  3. Identify the hazards associated with each task/factor combination. Systematically go through every risk factor for every task, and consider what specific hazards might be involved. Make a list of both safety and health hazards.

Hazard Types:

  • Chemical: compressed gases, flammables
  • Physical: noise, weather, heat, cold
  • Biological: exposure to blood, diseases, insect bites, plants
  • Ergonomic: computer work stations incorrectly adjusted, repetitive motions
  • Safety: housekeeping, inadequate machine guarding, material handling and energy

Hazard Sources:

  • People: actions, behaviours
  • Equipment: tools, production equipment
  • Material: raw materials, chemicals
  • Environment: noise, air quality
  • Processes: combination of the above

4. Assess the hazard. Evaluate the degree of risk that is the extent to which the hazard is likely to cause loss of life, permanent disability or serious injury as well as the probability of occurrence. When considering health hazards, you can consider the number of persons exposed and the duration of exposure. Where there is exposure to hazardous chemical, biological or physical agents, you may need to include workplace and personal exposure monitoring to ensure that exposures do not exceed regulated or recommended limits.

Rate the risk of the hazard as if the controls were not in place.

The following classification system could be used to assess the level of risk for all hazards:

Class A (major) = high risk, danger of death or permanent disability
Class B (moderate) = medium risk, non-life threatening injury or illness
Class C (minor) = low risk, slight injury or illness

All Class A risks /hazards have safe operating procedures and training is completed for workers exposed to these hazards.

The hierarchy in which controls should be considered are:

•  Elimination (stop what's creating the hazard)
•  Substitution (replace with something less likely to harm/damage)
•  Isolation (separate what can be harmed/damaged from the hazard)
•  Engineering (change the way of doing what is creating the hazard)
•  Administrative (reduce exposure to the hazard)

5. Identify controls. Identify procedures or modifications needed to eliminate or control the hazards further if required. This may require changes to people factors, equipment, materials, procedures, tools, systems or processes.

6. Validate the analysis. Implement the additional required controls, if any, and then validate the analysis by observing the task in operation. Make sure that new hazards have not been introduced. Get feedback from the employees performing the job or a representative to see how the hazard controls work.

Below is an example of how to fill in the worksheet.  

WORKSHEET A: Hazard Analysis

Job title /occupation/common hazards in a work environment: Order Picker

Analyzed by: John Idnc Date: xx/xx/xxxx
Reviewed by: 2 Order Pickers Date: xx/xx/xxxx
Approved by: Joe Safety, President Date: xx/xx/xxxx





1. Fold cardboard into box.


C (Low)

Cut resistant gloves

2. Place box on table.

Heavy lifting


Use mechanical lifting devices or ask for assistance

3. Take 4 books from shelf.


B (Medium)

Use an appropriate step stool for the height.

4. Place books in box.

No hazard identified



5. Taping boxes shut.

Repetitive wrist action

C (Low)

Job rotation
Take breaks, do different task(s)

6. Place box on automated conveyor


A (High)

Guard placed on automated conveyor or change rollers to belt format

Some controls can include:

  • Preventative maintenance
  • Existing Procedures or policies – e.g. universal precautions, safe lifting protocol
  • Training
  • Personal Protective equipment - gloves
  • Job rotation
  • Engineering
  • Pre-shift inspection

Inform and instruct workers performing the activities that include the major (A category) hazard.

A hazard analysis should involve the workers who perform the job as well as their supervisors.

Safety and health specialists may also participate. People familiar with the job should be asked about events that may affect normal operations. Equipment breakdowns, shift changes, or other intermittent events may lead to a sequence of steps different from the one being analyzed. By including their feedback, you are demonstrating that the workers have a say in their job and more likely to get buy-in to the safe work procedures that are implemented.

Explain the purpose of the hazard analysis to ensure full co-operation and participation of the employee. Assure the employee that the purpose is to make the job safer and not an evaluation of their work performance.

Observe jobs during normal working hours and situations. For example, if the job is normally done on the night shift, perform the analysis at night.

The following steps are required to conduct a Hazard Assessment, leading ultimately to the determination of level of risk for all hazards:

Identify Hazards

Identify activities/processes that have potential for injury/illness and identify specific hazards that exist in these processes/activities. All areas and facets of the workplace are required to be reviewed for the identification of hazards.

Resources that could be used in conducting a hazard assessment:

  • Legislation
  • Existing practices and procedures
  • Industry best practices
  • Normal and abnormal operations
  • Previous accident reports
  • Physical inspection of the workplace
  • Brainstorming (“ask what if…”)
  • Employee knowledge (unsafe conditions, known hazards)