Safety & Information: Occupational Safety & Health: Hazards & emergencies
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Identifying hazards

Summary
A workshop is a hazardous environment. The objective of this procedure is to show you how to follow workplace procedures for hazard identification and avoidance.

Part 1. Preparation and safety

Objective

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

Points to note

Danger

Danger: This indicates an immediately hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury. "Danger" is usually indicated by white text with a red background.
 

Warning

Warning: This indicates a potentially hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury. The sign is usually in black text with an orange background.
 

Caution

Caution: This indicates a potentially hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, may result in minor or moderate injury. It may also be used to alert against unsafe practices. This is usually in black text with a yellow background.

Wear safety goggles/glasses sign


Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Workshop layout
    Familiarize yourself with your workshop. There are special work areas that are defined by painted lines. These show the hazardous zone around certain machines and areas.
    If you are not working specifically on the machines, you should stay outside the marked area.
  2. Observe warning signs
    Study the various warning signs around your workshop. Understand the meaning of the Signal Word, the colors, the text and the symbols or pictures on each sign.
    Ask your supervisor if you do not fully understand any part of the sign.
  3. Identify exits
    Find out where every door, window and gate is, and whether they are usually open or locked.
    Plan your escape route, should you need to exit in a hurry.
  4. Check air quality
    Check for air quality. There should be good ventilation and very little chemical fumes or smell. Locate the extractor fans or ventilation outlets and make sure they aren’t obstructed in any way.
    Locate and observe the use of the exhaust extraction hose, pump and outlet that’s used on the vehicle’s exhaust pipes.
  5. Identify fire fighting equipment
    Check the location and types of fire extinguishers in your workshop.
    Be sure you know when to use each type, and how.
  6. Identify flammable hazards
    Find out where flammable materials are kept, and make sure they’re stored properly.
  7. Identify hazards – Compressed air
    Check the hoses and fittings on the air compressor for any damage or excessive wear.
    You have to be particularly careful when troubleshooting air guns. Never pull the trigger while inspecting it—severe eye damage can result.
  8. Identify hazards – Corrosives
    Find out which liquids will burn or corrode parts, metals or skin.
    Identify caustic chemicals and acids associated with activities in your workshop.
  9. Personal protection
    Be aware that YOU could be a hazard in the workshop, if you don’t wear mandatory protective gear when working on hazardous machines.
  10. Equipment hazards
    Ask your supervisor for information on any special hazards in your particular workshop, and any special avoidance procedures, which may apply to you and your working environment.