July 31, 2019 BY Neil Brunetz
What Do You Do When You Discover a Hazard in the Workplace?
You often see PPE thrown at hazards as a solution with a hope that PPE will protect your employees. Did you know that PPE is one of the least effective controls against hazards?
The best, and when you think about it, most obvious way to control a hazard is to eliminate the hazard. If you can remove the hazard completely you are preventing potential injury from that hazard.
This can also be done by substituting dangerous processes for safer ones. Can you substitute chemicals or sharp objects for less dangerous ones?
If you can’t eliminate the hazard, can you institute workplace wide engineering controls that reduce the hazard itself or potential exposure to the hazard? Ventilation and cleaning engineering controls are good examples of successful uses of engineering controls.
If you still have hazards, can you change how employees work to minimize exposure to the hazard? Can you change the amount or time of the work to reduce exposure due to short attention spans or fatigue?
Lastly, you may still identify hazards and resort to the last, and least effective, control, PPE. PPE should not be a crutch for eliminating or reducing exposure to hazards. It should be a last resort.
Mr. Brunetz has experience working as an outside general counsel for a technology company assisting the company in negotiating and finalizing NDAs, SaaS agreements and technology development agreements as well as many other aspects of the company’s business. His legal experience also includes courtroom representation of clients in civil litigation matters, including personal injury, wrongful death, workers' compensation, construction, contract, commercial disputes, and malpractice actions.