Identifying hazards in the workplace involves finding things and situations that could potentially cause harm to people.
Hazards generally arise from the following aspects of work and their interaction, including:
- physical work environment
- equipment, materials and substances used
- work tasks and how they are performed
- work design and management.
Some hazards are part of the work process such as mechanical hazards, noise or toxic properties of substances.
Other hazards result from equipment or machine failures and misuse, chemical spills and structural failures.
A piece of plant, substance or a work process may have many different hazards.
Each of these hazards needs to be identified. For example a production line may have dangerous moving parts, noise, hazards associated with manual tasks and psychological hazards due to the pace of work.