Safe Work Procedures
WHAT ARE SAFE WORK PROCEDURES?
For some industries such as welding and chemical, it may be obvious to associate risk with many, if not all of the jobs/tasks. However, not all industries have tasks that can be so obvious to assess such as loading, unloading, packing, unpacking, and handling goods may expose workers to back injuries.
Safe Work Procedures ensure that all employees are aware of the issues/ potential hazards in their workplaces and outline how to avoid injury or illness while doing these tasks.
WHAT NEEDS A WRITTEN SAFE WORK PROCEDURE?
Deciding what tasks require a written safe work procedure can sometimes be difficult, because, in some instances, it may be sufficient to address the safety issue verbally when training workers.
To help decide whether a written procedure is required, consider the following:
◉ How severe could the consequences be if there was an accident?
◉ How often is the task completed?
◉ Is the task complex?
If you answered the following, then written safe work procedures are required:
◉ It’s a hazardous task
◉ It’s a complicated task (to ensure no steps get missed)
◉ It’s a frequently performed task and is a less routine task (in case workers need a reminder).
REMEMBER: when it comes to safety, it’s always best to be over-cautious. It can possibly save a lot of pain for both the employee and the employer in the future.
WRITING THE SAFE WORK PROCEDURES
This particular example is from the South Australian Government, but all state governments have Safe Work Procedures available in very similar layouts.
All safe work procedures must include:
◉ Name of activity/job
◉ Required Personal Protective Equipment
◉ Before Operating Checklist
◉ When Operating Checklist
◉ After Using Checklist
◉ Potential Hazards
◉ Hazard Prevention List
What must be included varies widely and depends heavily on the task at hand. Some of the listed inclusions may change or be removed depending on the task.
For further information, contact your state’s Safe Work authority.