What are safe work procedures?
In some industries, such as welding and chemical, it may be obvious to associate risk with many, if not all, jobs/tasks. However, not all industries have tasks that are obvious to evaluate, such as loading, unloading, packing, unpacking, and handling goods, which can lead to back injuries for workers.
Safe work procedures ensure that all employees are aware of workplace issues/potential hazards and outline how to avoid injury or illness while performing these tasks.
What requires written safe work procedures?
In some cases, it may be sufficient to address safety issues verbally when training workers, so it can be difficult to determine which tasks require written safe work procedures.
To determine if a written procedure is required, consider the following:
- What are the possible serious consequences in the event of an accident?
- How often will tasks be completed?
- Is your task complex?
Written safe work procedures are required when answering:
- it’s dangerous work
- It’s a complicated task (to avoid any mistakes in the steps)
- This is a frequently performed task and a non-routine task (if the employee needs a reminder).
Remember: When it comes to safety, it’s always best to be cautious. In the future, it has the potential to greatly reduce pain for both employees and employers.
Creation of safe work procedures
This particular example is from the South Australian government, but all state governments have safe working procedures available with very similar layouts.
All safe work procedures should include:
- Name of activity/work
- Required personal protective equipment
- Pre-driving checklist
- Operation checklist
- Post-use checklist
- potential danger
- Hazard prevention list
What must be included varies greatly and depends greatly on the task at hand. Some of the inclusions listed may be changed or removed depending on the task.
For more information, contact your state’s Safe Work Authority.
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