Spotlight on Workplace Safety: Hazard recognition


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In the United States, preventable injuries cause one death and 236 injuries every two minutes, according to the National Safety Council. One main cause of workplace injuries, illnesses and incidents is the failure to identify or recognize hazards that are present, or that could have been anticipated. This week, we come to you with tools and resources to help you better recognize hazardous situations.

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Here at Notre Dame, a critical element of our health and safety program is a proactive, ongoing process to identify and assess hazards. The job hazard analysis (JHA) is a technique that helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation to reduce the hazards and risk of injury to workers. In a JHA, each step is evaluated to identify potential hazards and controls necessary to mitigate those hazards.

  • To identify and assess hazards, it is important to:
  • Collect and review information about the hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace.
  • Conduct initial and periodic workplace inspections of the workplace to identify new or recurring hazards.
  • Investigate injuries, illnesses, incidents and close calls/near misses to determine the underlying hazards, their causes, and safety and health program shortcomings.
  • Group similar incidents and identify trends in injuries, illnesses and hazards reported.
  • Consider hazards associated with emergency or non-routine situations.
  • Determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result for each hazard identified, and use this information to prioritize corrective actions.

In addition to performing a JHA, routinely checking for safety hazards in your work areas is another item to consider in helping prevent workplace injuries. However, if and when an injury, incident or near miss occurs, finding out why is an important first step. The University’s Incident Reporting Program allows us to identify areas for improvement, and our Investigation Report Process uncovers the corrective actions needed to prevent reoccurrence. It is important that all Notre Dame employees report any work-related incidents, close calls or good catches, no matter how minor, within 24 hours. 

Safety is personal: Click here to watch a workplace injury survivor’s story

What are the odds?

The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts lists lifetime odds for some select causes of death, which has some interesting facts to help assess the biggest risks we face. It is common to fear plane crashes, lightning strikes or railway accidents, but what are the odds?
Below are resources to help you and your loved ones stay safe in many situations around the clock.

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