Safetip #84: Sources That Include Information on Hazards
OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs highlight hazard identification and assessment as one of the core elements of a safety and health program. To facilitate the collection of information, maintain an inventory of internal and external sources that already include information on workplace hazards. These sources can be consulted either on a periodic basis, or whenever a new process or job task is introduced.
Collect, organize and review information from these sources to determine the types of hazards that may be present, and to which workers may be potentially exposed.
Internal Sources of Information on Workplace Hazards
The following are sources of information on hazards that may already be available in your workplace and that are mentioned in OSHA’s document:
- Equipment and machinery operating manuals.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) provided by chemical manufacturers.
- Self-inspection reports and inspection reports from insurance carriers, government agencies, and consultants.
- Records of previous injuries and illnesses, such as OSHA 300 and 301 logs and reports of incident investigations.
- Workers’ compensation records and reports.
- Patterns of frequently occurring injuries and illnesses.
- Exposure monitoring results, industrial hygiene assessments, and medical records (appropriately redacted to ensure patient/worker privacy).
- Existing safety and health programs (lockout/tagout, confined spaces, process safety management, PPE, etc.).
- Input from workers, including surveys or minutes from safety and health committee meetings.
- Results of job hazard analyses or job safety analyses.
Maintain an inventory of all sources of information and be sure that they are always up-to-date.
External Sources of Information on Workplace Hazards
Information on hazards can also be available from outside sources. Here are a few mentioned in OSHA’s document:
- OSHA, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites, publications, and alerts.
- Trade associations.
- Labor unions, state and local occupational safety and health committees/coalitions (“COSH groups”), and worker advocacy groups.
- Safety and health consultants.
Ideally, you should assign one or more individuals in your organization who will monitor or consult these external sources.
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