Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control

Frayed electrical cords are a safety hazard and could result in electrical shock.

You may be able to fix simple hazards yourself, as long as you do not put yourself or others at risk. For example, you can pick up things from the floor and put them away to eliminate a trip hazard.

It is Council's responsibility to fix hazards. To report a hazard please contact the Customer Service Centre on 4921 0333 (incl. after hours).

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires Council and its delegates to identify, assess and control hazards that could harm any person using a premises. 

To identify risk, Council uses a risk assessment and risk management framework as a tool to indentify and control risks associated with operating and using community and recreation facilities. To assist you in confidently identifying risks, Council will provide risk assessment training at its information sessions.

Identifying hazards

The identification of hazards is an essential component of managing risk. By knowing the appropriate steps to managing risk, you are more likely to identify and correct the most common hazards.

There are three steps used to manage health and safety at work (work being the work you undertake at a facility on Council’s behalf): Remember SAM.

  1. Spot the Hazard (Hazard Identification)
  2. Assess the Risk (Risk Assessment)
  3. Make it Safe (Risk Control)

When undertaking work at a facility you can use these three steps to help prevent accidents.

1. Spot the Hazard

Examples of workplace hazards include:

  • frayed electrical cords (could result in electrical shock)
  • boxes stacked precariously (they could fall on someone)
  • noisy machinery (could result in damage to your hearing)

Whilst working, you must remain alert to anything that may be dangerous.  If you see, hear or smell anything odd, take note.  If you think it could be a hazard, tell someone.

KEY POINT - A hazard is anything that could hurt you or someone else.

2. Assess the Risk

Whenever you spot a hazard, assess the risk by asking yourself two questions:

  • How likely is it that the hazard could harm me or someone else?
  • How badly could I or someone else be harmed?

Always tell someone (Council staff or your Volunteer Safety Officer (VSO) about hazards you cannot fix yourself, especially if the hazard could cause serious harm to anyone.

For example:

  • Ask your VSO for instructions and training before using equipment
  • Ask for help moving or lifting heavy objects
  • Tell your VSO if you think a work practice could be dangerous

If you are not sure of the safest way to do something, always ask your VSO.

KEY POINT - Assessing the risk means working out how likely it is that a hazard will harm someone, and how serious the harm could be.

3. Make the Changes

The best way to fix a hazard is to get rid of it altogether.  This is not always possible, but you should try to make hazards less dangerous by looking at the following options (in order from most effective to least effective):

Sometimes hazards - equipment, substances, or work practices can be avoided entirely (e.g. Clean high windows from the ground with an extendable pole cleaner, rather than by climbing a ladder and risking a fall).
Sometimes a less hazardous thing, substance or work practice can be utilised (e.g. Use non-toxic glue instead of toxic glue).
Separate the hazard from people, by marking the hazardous area, fitting screens, or putting up safety barriers (e.g. Welding screens can be used to isolate welding operations from other workers.  Barriers and/or boundary lines can be used to separate areas where forklifts operate near pedestrians in the workplace).
Safeguards can be added by modifying tools or equipment, or fitting guards to machinery. These must never be removed or disabled by workers using the equipment.
Instructing workers in the safest way to do something
This means developing and enforcing safe work procedures.  All workers must be given information and instruction and must follow agreed procedures to ensure their safety.
Using Personal Protective Equipment and clothing (PPE)
If risks remain after the options have been tried, it may be necessary to use equipment such as safety glasses, gloves, helmets and earmuffs.  PPE can protect you from hazards associated with jobs such as handling chemicals or working in a noisy environment. Further information is available under the Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing section.

Sometimes, it will require more than one of the risk control measures above to effectively reduce exposure to hazards.

KEY POINT - It is Council's responsibility to fix hazards. Sometimes you may be able to fix simple hazards yourself, as long as you do not put yourself or others at risk. For example, you can pick up things from the floor and put them away to eliminate a trip hazard.

Page Last Updated: 12 Feb 2015