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A hazard can be a thing or a situation. Anything (e.g. condition, situation, practice, behaviour)
that has the potential to cause harm, including injury, disease, death, environmental, property and
equipment damage.

Hazard Identification

This is the process of examining each work area and work task for the purpose of identifying all
the hazards which are inherent in the job.


The likelihood, or possibility, that harms (injury, illness, death, damage etc) may occur from
exposure to a hazard.

Risk Assessment

It is defined as the process of assessing the risks associated with each of the hazards identified so
the nature of the risk can be understood. This includes the nature of the harm that may result
from the hazard, the severity of that harm and the likelihood of this occurring.

Risk Control

Taking actions to eliminate health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable. Where
risks cannot be eliminated, then implementation of control measures is required, to minimize
risks so far as is reasonably practicable. A hierarchy of controls has been developed and is
described below to assist in selection of the most appropriate risk control measures.

Monitoring and Review

This involves ongoing monitoring of the hazards identified, risks assessed and risk control
processes and reviewing them to make sure they are working effectively.

Common types of hazards

Chemical hazards

Chemicals can affect the skin by contact or the body either through the digestive system or
through the lungs if air is contaminated with chemicals, vapour, mist or dust. There can be an
acute (immediate) effect, or a chronic (medium to long-term) effect from the accumulation of
chemicals or substances in or on the body.
Noise hazards

Excessive noise can disrupt concentration, interfere with communication, and result in loss of
hearing. High impact noises are particularly damaging. Noise can also mask out signals,
affecting communication or danger warnings.

Radiation hazards

Equipment such as radioactive gauging devices or the radioactive trace element used in
analytical chemistry produce Ionising radiation. Non-ionising radiation covers infrared radiation
(heat-producing processes), lasers, ultraviolet radiation (welding, sunlight), and microwaves
(high-frequency welders, freeze drying).

Electrical hazards

These include the risk of injury from all forms of electrical energy.

Lighting hazards

Inadequate lighting levels are a potential safety hazard. A common problem area is the reaction
time needed for the eyes to adjust from a brightly lit to a darker environment such as a forklift
driver coming indoors from bright sunlight. Temporary lighting is often inadequate.

Vibration hazards

This includes whole-body vibration for example, truck drivers, people standing on vibrating
platforms, and operators of mobile equipment and also more localised vibration effects from
such equipment as hand tools, chainsaws, and pneumatic hammers.

Temperature hazards

Extremes of cold or heat can cause problems such as tiredness, vulnerability to infections or
reduced capacity to work.

Biological hazards

These include insects, bacteria, fungi, plants, worms, animals and viruses. For example, poultry
workers exposed to bird feathers and droppings to which they are allergic can contract a medical
condition. Brucellosis is a well known problem in New Zealand associated with people handling
meat and meat products infected with brucella. Hepatitis and the AIDS virus are other biological
Ergonomic hazards

Ergonomics (the fit between people and their work) covers risk of injury from manual handling
procedures, incorrectly designed desks or workstations, audio and visual alarms, and colour
coding control mechanisms.

Physical hazards

These include a wide range of injury risks as diverse as being caught in or by machinery,
buried in trenches or hurt by collapsing machinery. This category also includes the hazards from
working in confined spaces, being hit by flying objects, caught in explosions, falling from
heights and tripping on obstacles.

Other hazards

Include stress, fatigue, the effects of shift work, and even assaults from other people.

Five steps in Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA)

Step 1: Identify Hazards

In consultation with workers identify all potentially hazardous things or situations that may cause
harm. In general, hazards are likely to be found in the following;

- Physical work environment,

- Equipment, materials or substances used,

- Work tasks and how they are performed,

- Work design and management

In order to identify hazards the following are recommended:

(i) Past incidents/accidents are examined to see what happened and whether the incident/accident
could occur again.

(ii) Employees be consulted to find out what they consider are safety issues, i.e. ask workers
about hazards near misses they have encountered as part of their work. Sometimes a survey or
questionnaire can assist workers to provide information about workplace hazards.

(iii) Work areas or work sites be inspected or examined to find out what is happening now.
Identified hazards should be documented to allow further action.

(iv) Information about equipment (e.g. plant, operating instructions) and Material Safety Data
Sheets be reviewed to determine relevant safety precautions.
(v) Some creative thinking about what could go wrong takes place, i.e. what hazardous event
could take place here?

Step 2: Assess Risks

Risk assessment involves considering the possible results of someone being exposed to a hazard
and the likelihood of this occurring. A risk assessment assists in determining:

- How severe a risk is

- Whether existing control measures are effective

- What action should be taken to control a risk

- How urgently action needs to be taken.

A risk assessment should include:

(i) Identify factors that may be contributing to the risk,

(ii) Review health and safety information that is reasonably available from an authoritative
source and is relevant to the particular hazard,

(iii) Evaluation of how severe the harm could be. This includes looking at the types of
injuries/illnesses/harm/damage that can result from the hazard, the number of people exposed,
possible chain effects from exposure to this hazard.

(iv) Evaluation of how a hazard may cause harm. This includes examining how work is
completed, whether existing control measures are in place and whether they control the harm,
looking at infrequent/abnormal situations as well as standard operating situations. A chain of
events related to a risk may need to be considered.

(v) Determining the likelihood of harm occurring. The level of risk will increase as the likelihood
of harm and its severity increases. The likelihood of harm occurring may be affected by how
often the task is completed, in what conditions, how many people are exposed to the hazard and
for what duration.

(vi) Identify the actions necessary to eliminate or control the risk; and

(vii) Identify records that it is necessary to keep to ensure that the risks are eliminated or
Risk matrix

Consequences Rating Description

Single or Multiple loss of

life from injury or

occupational disease,
immediately or delayed
Catastrophic Loss of whole production
for greater than 3


Reportable injury
occupational disease

Damage to works or
Marginal plants causing delays of

up to 1 day

Minor injury no lost time

or person involved

returns to work during the

shift after treatment

Damage to works or
plants does not cause

significant delays

Step 3: Implement risk controls

Having identified the hazards in your workplace, assessed their risks and reviewed the existing
controls, all hazards must be managed before people are hurt, become ill or there is damage to
plant, property or the environment.

The management of risks in the workplace requires eliminating risks so far as reasonably
practicable in the first instance. Where elimination is not possible, then risks should be
minimized, so far as reasonably practicable.

All hazards that have been assessed should be dealt with in order of priority. The most effective
control option/s should be selected to eliminate or minimize risks. The Hierarchy of Controls
(see diagram below) ranks control options from highest level of protection and reliability to
lowest. This should be used to determine the most effective controls.

Risk control

Personal Protective Equipment

Step 4: Record your findings

The significant findings of the assessment should be recorded and kept. There should be a record
of all hazards, the risks that they present and what precautions are in place to protect people from
harm. This written record is an important reference for future use, not only as the basis for
reviewing risks, but also as information for enforcement officers; or even as evidence in any
court proceedings arising from an accident involving the risk. The record must cover all
significant risks and state the current position

Step 5: Monitor and Review

Hazard identification, risk assessment and control is an on-going process. Therefore, regularly
review the effectiveness of your hazard assessment and control measures. Make sure that you
undertake a hazard and risk assessment when there is a change to the workplace including when
work systems, tools, machinery or equipment change. Provide additional supervision when new
employees with reduced skill levels or knowledge are introduced to the workplace. The
effectiveness of control measures can be checked through regular reviews as well as consultation
with workers.

Maintaining records of the risk management process assists when undertaking subsequent
reviews or risk assessments as it demonstrates decision making processes and informs how
controls were intended to be implemented.

Hierarchy of Controls

Level 1

Eliminate the Hazard

The most effective control measures eliminate the hazard and associated risks. This can be
achieved through removing the hazard or selecting alternate products or equipment to eliminate
the risk. If a hazard cannot be eliminated then risks can be minimized by lower control measures

Level 2

These are used to minimize the risks and involve on or a combination of the following;
(i) Substitute the hazard: substitute a substance, method or material to reduce the risk or the
(ii) Isolate the hazard: separate the hazard from the workplace or people, For example; a.
Chemical store room, or a laboratory kept locked except to an authorised person.
b. Lock out procedures on faulty equipment.
c. Appropriate guarding for machinery.
Level 3
Use engineering controls: modify existing machinery or plant or purchase different machinery
or plant to provide a physical solution. For example; a. Trolleys, hoists or cranes.
b. Guard rails.

Level 4
These are control options which should be considered last as they do not control the source of the
hazard but rely on human behaviour or supervision and are therefore less effective. They include;
(iv)Administrative Procedures:
Develop work methods or procedures to reduce the conditions of risk, for example:
a. Written Safe Operating Procedures
b. Job rotation to restrict hours worked on difficult jobs.
c. Staff trained in the correct operating procedures.

Level 5
Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and training in its use: offer the lowest level of
protection and should only be used as a last resort to deal with the hazard, where the hazard
cannot be removed or reduced by any other means, for example:
a. Handling of chemicals gloves, safety glasses, aprons.
b. Protecting eyes from flying particles.
c. Protecting feet safety boots.


The ALARP principle

No industrial activity is entirely free from risk and so many companies and regulators around the
world require that safety risks are reduced to levels that are As Low As Reasonably Practicable,

The ALARP region lies between unacceptably high and negligible risk levels. Even if a level
of risk for a baseline case has been judged to be in this ALARP region it is still necessary to
consider introducing further risk reduction measures to drive the remaining, or residual, risk
downwards. The ALARP level is reached when the time, trouble and cost of further reduction
measures become unreasonably disproportionate to the additional risk reduction obtained.

ALARP for life

Risk can be reduced by avoidance, adopting an alternative approach, or increasing the number
and effectiveness of controls. At the concept stage of a new project there is the greatest
opportunity to achieve the lowest residual risk by considering alternative options, e.g. for an
offshore oilfield development, options may range from fixed legged platforms to floating
production vessels to subsea facilities.
Once the concept is selected and the early design progresses, the attention shifts to considering
alternative layout and system options to optimize inherent safety. In the detailed design phase,
the focus moves on to examining alternative options for improving safety systems.

During operations, the attention is on collecting feedback, improving procedures and managing
change to maintain the residual risk at an ALARP level. However, with advances in technology,
what is ALARP today may not be ALARP tomorrow, so periodic reviews will be necessary.


Codes and Standards
Good practice and Engineering judgment
Risk assessment and cost benefit analysis
Peer review and Benchmarking


The key to a convincing ALARP assessment lies in the documented consideration of

improvement options, both implemented and discounted, at a level of resolution appropriate to
the project phase. ALARP decision making amounts to taking a balanced view and reaching a
defensible consensus.


What is ALARA?

ALARA is an acronym for As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This is a radiation safety

principle for minimizing radiation doses and releases of radioactive materials by employing all
reasonable methods. ALARA is not only a sound safety principle, but is a regulatory requirement
for all radiation safety programs.

Basis for ALARA

Current radiation safety philosophy is based on the conservative assumption that radiation dose
and its biological effects on living tissues are modeled by a relationship known as the Linear
Hypothesis. The assertion is that every radiation dose of any magnitude can produce some level
of detrimental effects which may be manifested as an increased risk of genetic mutations and
cancer. Thus, the radiation safety program attempts to lower doses received by radiation workers
by utilizing practical, cost effective measures.

ALARA Implementation

An effective ALARA program is only possible when a commitment to safety is made by all
those involved. This includes the Radiation Safety Division staff, the Radiation Safety
Committee, research faculty and all radiation workers

The Radiation Safety Division and ALARA

The RSO provides guidance for the ALARA program as the manager and technical supervisor of
the Radiation Safety Division. In turn, the RSD staff are responsible for contributing to the
success of the ALARA program in the following ways:

1) Providing technical support and guidance to the PIs and their staff for implementation of the
ALARA concept.

2) Performing routine lab inspections to identify possible ALARA issues.

3) Monitoring g of worker radiation doses with the assignment of dosimetry and use of bioassays
as deemed appropriate.

4) Reviewing occupational doses and respond to situations in which the investigation levels are

5) Providing training and consultation to workers to ensure doses are maintained ALARA
Mitigation of External Radiation Exposures

The three (3) major principles to assist with maintaining doses ALARA are:

1) TIME minimizing the time of exposure directly reduces radiation dose.

2) DISTANCE doubling the distance between your body and the radiation source will divide
the radiation exposure by a factor of 4.

3) SHIELDING - using absorber materials such as Plexiglas for beta particles and lead for X-
rays and gamma rays is an effective way to reduce radiation exposures.

Mitigation of Internal Radiation Exposures

The following practices are effective for reducing potential internal exposures:

1) Good hygiene techniques that prohibit the consumption of food and drink in the lab and the
control of personal gestures that involve hand-to mouth contacts.

2) Frequent swipe surveys and lab area monitoring of work areas, refrigerators, hoods, sinks,
phones and computer keyboards, etc.

3) Control contamination with absorbent paper and spill trays, properly labeled waste containers,
equipment, etc. and prompt decontamination of any detected contamination.

4) Use proper protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves, safety glasses, lab coats,
etc. to reduce the possibility of ingestion or absorption of radioactive materials.