Will your holidays be safe and healthy?
Sheila Pantry, OBE
Spring has arrived in Europe and for many people this means more opportunities for sports and leisure activities, whilst for others it may be the time for the real 'spring clean' and getting out the equipment to start lots of do-it-yourself (DIY) jobs, gardening and other pursuits.
Do you want to be another statistics?
The holiday time brings more and more accident cases to doctors and hospital casualty stations. Why? Because people forget the lessons learned at work where risk assessment is or should be constantly applied. So before you start all the jobs on your long list of things-to-do, check out ladders, electrical equipment, the garden tools, the protective equipment, and honestly answer if the equipment you are about to use would pass OK test.
Likewise think about the sports and leisure activities. The same risk assessment applies - for example is the boat functioning 100%? Is the safety gear in good order? Is the caravan road worthy? Can the car stand a long journey loaded up with the holiday equipment? Is the gas equipment working correctly? Is the swimming pool you are about to use, clean and healthy? You SHOULD make up a list of equipment to be checked and get it sorted before anyone is injured or worst fatally injured.
Steps to Risk Assessment
Being able to make a judgement about the hazards in your daily life is useful, and the following advice may help when assessing even your sports, leisure and DIY activities.
STEP 1 - Look for the hazards
If you are doing the assessment yourself, walk around and look afresh at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Ignore the trivial and concentrate only on significant hazards which could result in serious harm or affect several people. Ask your family and friends what they think. They may have noticed things which are not immediately obvious.
STEP 2 - Decide who might be harmed, and how
Think about people who may not be aware of activities and assess if there is a chance they could be hurt by being in or near your activities, e.g. sports and leisure activities do injure people!
STEP 3 - Evaluate the risks arising from the hazards and decide whether
existing precautions are adequate or more should be done
Even after all precautions have been taken, usually some risk remains. What you have to decide for each significant hazard is whether this remaining risk is high, medium or low. First, ask yourself whether you have done all the things you would have done for example in the workplace.
But don't stop there. Your real aim is to make all risks small by adding to your precautions if necessary. If you find that something needs to be done, ask yourself:
- Can you get rid of the hazard altogether?
- If not, how can you control the risks so that harm is unlikely?
STEP 4 - Again as in a workplace situation - are you sure that:
- a proper check was made
- who might be affected
- that you dealt with all the obvious significant hazards, taking into account the number of people who could be involved
- the precautions are reasonable, and the remaining risk is low
Assessments need to be suitable and sufficient. The real points are:
- Are the precautions reasonable, and
- Is there something to show that a proper check was made?
STEP 5 - Review risk assessment from time to time and revise it if necessary
Sooner or later you will use new equipment, substances and ways of doing things which could lead to new problems or hazards.
REMEMBER RISK ASSESSMENT APPLIES TO ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES........ WORK, LEISURE, DIY, HOLIDAYS, DRIVING, SCHOOL, HOME...... HAVE A LOVELY, SAFE AND HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON!
This month's Focus article is about the European Environment Agency and it gives an insight to how it operates.
OSHWORLD's regular pages are constantly updated, with new events in the Diary of Events which lists training courses, symposiums and conferences in many places in the world on a wide range of subjects. Remember that even if you cannot attend these many events, speakers and organisers are often willing to share their knowledge. Look at the details - where possible, I add in the web sites of these events so you can request further information. And do let me know if you are organising any occupational safety, health, and environment events so that I can add them to the Diary.
Globally there are continually new titles, news items, new products so remember to look at the News and also use OSHWORLD as your portal to many hundreds of validated and authoritative web sites which you can find in the Country and Subject links we offer. Many web sites now contain vast amounts of information on specific topics, and it is not always apparent that some "nuggets of gold" are available. OSHWORLD goes "data mining" looking for such topics and you will see many entries in the subject links which will take you to these topics. All links are constantly checked to ensure that no "orphan" links exist. And you work smarter not harder if you bookmark OSHWORLD.... we do the checking for you!
Most information services have a reference shelf where you can quickly check the reference sources - so OSHWORLD brings you a collection of Reference sources.
Remember to look at the Products and Services on this web site and see what is new and updated, such as OSH-ROM, one of the world's oldest OSH CD-ROM which has thousands of records to good practices, guidance, advice and legislation from many countries. Already many organisations around the world are finding this source of information of immense value. Even if you cannot afford the price of all these publications and space to put them in at least you have a constant reminder of what is new. OSH-ROM is easy to use in your daily work, either via CD-ROM on your personal computer or on your organisation's network or via the Internet.
Click onto the various Bookshops to order any new document as they are being published.
Please send any suggestions or comments about OSHWORLD - your portal to validated and authoritative information.
Remind everyone to make 2002 a zero accident and incident-free year in your workplace.