Introduction to Hazard Management
1. What the legislation requires
A principle of the Health and
Safety in Employment Act 1992 and Amendment Act 2002 is the requirement of
a systematic hazard management
process, to identify the potential and actual sources of harm.
When the sources of harm are recognised, controls can be put
in place to manage the risks, and prevent harm to employees. The hazard
register lists the hazards found within the University environment
and the controls. As an employee, you should know how to access
the register for your department, and how to report hazards you
Hazard Notification Form
The legislation does not tell employers or employees how to make
particular work situations safe and healthy. The legislation
requires a systematic approach, but with flexibility, to incorporate
available in the forms of codes of practice, best practice
guidelines and the like, to manage hazards effectively and appropriately
to the work environment.
The legislative term "all practical steps" requires
that what can reasonably be expected given:
- The type and severity of harm that could occur if nothing is done
- The likelihood of harm occurring
- The research and statistics about this type of harm
- The methods of control available and the effectiveness of these
- The availability of control methods
- The cost of prevention methods.
The employer has the primary responsibility to have a system
in place and manage the hazards. Employers do not have to deal
things that they couldn't possibly have known about or control.
Sections 7 - 10 of the HSE Act outline the requirements with
respect to hazard identification and management. These duties
the employers' general duties in respect of section 6.
1.1 Hazard management sequence
The HSE Act focuses on the effective management of work related
hazards, and require the following sequence to be addressed:
- IDENTIFY likely workplace hazards
- ASSESS for significant hazards
- CONTROL the hazard through the required hierarchy (sections 8 -
- MONITOR any exposure to a hazard that has been minimised (section
1.2 Significant hazards
A significant hazard is one that may cause:
- Serious harm - see definitions in this manual or schedule 1 of
the HSE Act. This includes death and many occupational
illnesses and injuries that may be sustained in a place of work; or
- Harm - the severity of which may depend on how often or how long
a person is exposed to the hazard - such as noise induced
hearing loss, or
- Harm that cannot be detected until a significant time after exposure.
This includes long-latency diseases caused by exposure
to hazardous substances - such as asbestosis, neurotoxicity, and other diseases
Where a 'significant hazard' is identified, the Act
requires an employer to:
- ELIMINATE the hazard from the workplace
- If elimination is not practicable or is incomplete, take all practicable
steps to ISOLATE the hazard (e.g. guarding)
- If it is impracticable to eliminate or isolate the hazard completely,
MINIMISE the likelihood that the hazard will
harm employee (e.g. protective clothing and equipment) and MONITOR the effectiveness
of this control (e.g. health screening)
If it is not practicable to eliminate, isolate
or minimise a significant hazard, and serious
situation is unacceptable
and the work cannot continue.
1.3 Hazard controls
Where a hazard is identified, the employer must take "all
practicable steps" to control it, so as to protect employees
and others. There are numerous sources of information available
on how to control hazards – codes of practice, industry standards,
New Zealand Standards.
1.4 Employee involvement
Employee involvement is an underlying principle of
the legislation, as employees who do the work are
usually aware of the hazards
and have ideas on suitable controls. Employees
responsibility for themselves, and to ensure that
their work does not become
hazard of any other person in the place of work.
This principle has been extended by the Amendment Act 2002
agreed employee participation system.
2. IDENTIFYING HAZARDS
2.1 What is a hazard?
A hazard is any actual or potential cause of harm. It may
occur inside or outside of a place of work. It may be:
- An activity
- An occurrence
- An arrangement
- A phenomenon
- A circumstance
- A process
- An event or
- A situation.
Hazards may be grouped by type:
- Slipping/tripping hazards
- Moving parts of machinery
- Work at height
- Ejection of material
- Pressure systems
- Repetitive work
- Biological hazards
- Manual handling
- Poor lighting
- Extreme temperatures
3. Reporting Hazards
The University H&S Systems currently have a number of methods for staff
to bring hazards to the attention of management. These include:
- Notifying the DHSO, supervisor, line manager or the health and
safety team of a hazard or concern, either verbally or by a completed hazard
- Notifying your Health and Safety Representative
- Accident and near-miss investigations.
- Employer/employee forums, departmental meetings, staff meetings.
- Notification to Unions
- Continual updates in legislative requirements.
- Completion of Property Services request forms to address specific hazards.If
you notice a hazard, please report the issue to your manager, DHSO or Health and Safety representative. The hazard will be investigated
assess the severity, and to identify suitable controls. If you have
identified a hazard, you should be involved in the solution where practicable.
4. Controlling Hazards
When a hazard is identified, it must be assessed for control through the
hierarchy of elimination, isolation or minimisation.
Elimination: This is when the hazard is removed from the workplace, such
as removing a hazardous substance that is no longer required. Even though
hazard is removed, it must be recorded in the hazard register. If you
are substituting a significant hazard with another substance or process, be
sure to complete
the hazard identification for the new process or substance. Record the
decision in the register.
Isolation: This involves isolating or separating the hazard or hazardous
work from the employees. It can be achieved by marking off hazardous
screens, guards or barriers.
Minimisation: Where elimination and isolation are impracticable, minimise
the hazards through appropriate controls, such as PPE, work organisation
etc. This means that the hazard still exists but exposure to the hazard
is controlled to manage the risk.
4.1 Information on hazard controls
Approved Codes of Practice, Guidelines and information
There is a wide range of approved codes of practice, guidelines and safety
information published by OSH. The majority of these documents can
be downloaded from the web page (http://www.osh.dol.govt.nz - publications).
New Zealand standards provide information on specific topics and in some
cases are recognised by OSH as an acceptable health and safety
as confined space entry, noise management). These sources of information
should be explored where a significant hazard exists and the highest
level of information
4.2 University controls
Where generic or common hazard exists, University
health and safety policies have been designed to provide internal guidance
on the control standards required. Check the inventory of policies to see if your hazard
If you require further information or assistance, contact the University
4.3 Hazard monitoring
Where a significant hazard is managed using minimisation,
it is a mandatory requirement to monitor the employees' exposure to the
hazard (in addition to monitoring the employees' health in relation to
the exposure). The reason for monitoring is to ensure that the control measure
Surveys that may be necessary within the University environment
- Noise levels
- Air contaminants
- Air quality
- Air Temperature
If any of these hazards are applicable to your department, contact
the Health and Safety Team to arrange the necessary monitoring.
4.4 Health Hazards
Where a minimisation approach (section 10 HSE Act) is used
to manage a significant hazard at work, employers are required
employees' health in
relation to exposure to the hazard (with the employees
informed consent). Although the employer must provide health monitoring
where required by law, the principles
of privacy, human rights and discrimination apply. In extreme
cases the OSH Departmental Medical Practitioner has the
to suspend employees from work
to protect them from further exposure to a significant
The University Occupational Health Nurse provides noise
monitoring and lung function monitoring. If the hazard
to hazards (e.g.: high noise levels, handling of laboratory
animals) then you should be having the required health
or OHN (See
staff and contacts – link).
4.5 Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be used
to minimise exposure to a hazard as a last resort, and
where other methods
are not practicable. PPE can also be used to increase
the protection in addition
other methods. It is the employers' responsibility to
provide adequate PPE. PPE needs to fit the individuals concerned
correctly and be
use at all times. Employees should know where to obtain
the equipment and how to
request replacements. See the Provision and Use of Personal
Protective Equipment policy. Examples of PPE are:
- Safety Glasses
- Hearing Protection
- Safety footwear
- Head Protection
In addition to the provision of PPE, it must be maintained in
good working order and worn. Training sessions may
be required and a
ensure that PPE is worn when required.