Hazard and risk assessment helps in the identification of health and safety hazard, which helps to engage appropriate measures that ensure high levels of health and safety in the workplace. There are several tools, processes and techniques that are available for conducting hazard and risk assessment in a workplace. In this paper, health and risk assessment is conducted for an office-based workplace using Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), workplace audit and analysis of injury and claims statistics. The workplace has 10 employees conducting a range of computer-based activities, such as website development, computer aided design, data entry, bulk printing and photocopying among other activities.
A workplace audit of the organization identifies a number of hazards including stress, electrical, fire, lone working, slips and falls, falling objects, display screen equipment, dust and extreme temperatures. Falling objects pose a high risk because heavy cartons and books are stored on high shelves can fall on workers. The risk of electrical hazards is also high because electricity is extensively used to run the office equipment and facilities, which poses a high risk of electrical shock and overload. Risk of electric shock is particularly high for the technician when performing various repairs in the workplace. Books, papers and cartons found in the workplace make the risk of fire outbreak to be high considering that there are no firefighting implements in the workplace. The source of fire may be electrical sparks due to outlet overload or from outside the workplace, such as fire from a neighboring cafe. Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) screens are used in the workplace, which minimize eye strain (Ziefle 549). The distance between the screen and the user’s eye is well maintained. Therefore, the risk of display screens is low. Stress risk is high considering that the workers stay on the screens for lengthy times in a room with limited access to natural light.
Risk of slips and falls is low because the floor is not slippery and slippery substances, such as oil and grease are not used in the workplace. Risk of extreme temperatures from the environment is medium because the office has a wooden ceiling that prevents sun’s temperature to heat the room. The office has fans for cooling, but there are no heaters for heating the office in times of cold weather. The risk of lone working is low because all workers work together in the same place- there are not small offices or chambers where people work alone.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
An analysis of the workplace using MSDS identifies two hazards in the workplace, inks and toners used for printing and photocopying. Toners pose a low risk to workers because dry toners are used in the workplace, which do not pose a significant threat to workers. However, risk assessment shows that inks pose a medium risk in the workplace because they can be inhaled by the technician when refilling printers’ cartridges. Further, they cause mild irritation when in contact with the skin, which makes then to pose a mild risk (Morley and Parker 711). However, inks only risky to the technician since he is the only person who gets in contact with them when repairing equipments or refilling printer cartridges. MSDSs for the inks are not available in the workplace and no protective mechanisms are provided to the technician making the inks a safety hazard of medium risk.
Analysis of Injury and Claims Statistics
Analysis of the organization using claims and injury statistics identifies various hazards including lighting, cold, dust and electricity (Permit Writers Workshop). Risk assessment ranks dust and cold high as claims of ill health arising from the two hazards were the most within a period of one year. These two hazards have caused numerous cases of colds and subsequent absenteeism. Lighting risk is also high as claims of eye problems arising from bright light for a period of one year were also high. Prolonged exposure to display screens also contributes to high risk of lighting, which has resulted several cases of headaches and workers using reading aids, such light sensitive spectacles while at work. Electricity poses a low risk with only a few cases of electric shock within a one year period.
The analysis of the workplace has identified various hazards in the workplace. Risk assessment has categorized the hazards as low, medium and high risk hazards. The management should use the report to enhance health and safety in the workplace by focusing on the identified risks through the engagement of appropriate measures.
Morley, Deborah & Parker, Charles S. Understanding Computers: Today and Tomorrow,
Comprehensive, 12th Edition. Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
Permit Writers Workshop, “Analysis of Accident Statistics.” Web. 06 Sep. 2012.
Ziefle, Martina. CRT Screens or TFT Displays: A Detailed Analysis of TFT Screens for Reading
Efficiency. In Smith, Michael J, Salvendy, Harris D, & Koubek, Richard J. (Eds.).
Usability Evaluation and Interface Design: Cognitive Engineering, Intelligent Agents and
Virtual Reality, Volume 1. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2001. Print.