Heads-up! Why You Need to Pay Attention to Hazard Recognition

June 26, 2023 | What's Hot | 5 min read

In the fourth and final week of Skillsoft’s National Safety Month series, we address the importance of hazard awareness training. How are you helping your employees become more aware of hazards associated with their work environment and the tasks they perform?

Warning! Achtung! Attención! As many parents can attest, teaching a child to be aware of potential danger is an ongoing responsibility that plays on repeat, just like a broken record. But if we’re lucky, the reminders become muscle memory in adulthood. In order to reduce the risk of harm or physical danger, people should be aware of their surroundings – particularly in the workplace.

Workplace hazards are universal. Culprits might include everything from slippery floors to faulty machinery to exposed wires. Not to mention, environmental threats, like leaks or spills of toxic substances.

In fact, according to OSHA, “one of the ‘root causes’ of workplace injuries, illnesses, and incidents is the failure to identify or recognize hazards that are present, or that could have been anticipated.”

When it comes to workplace training, it is imperative that hazard recognition education goes beyond a warning sign or subtle reminder. Hazard recognition training—specifically that offered by Skillsoft—allows for scheduled check-ins and dedicated programming for your organization. Let’s look at the details.

Why Does Hazard Recognition Training Matter?

Hazard awareness and recognition training matters because learning to stay alert and aware can lower risks and help keep people safe at work. Not to mention, it can save an organization both money and their reputation. According to OSHA, safety training can save at least $4 to $6 for every $1 invested.

Let’s break that down. How, exactly, does safety training save your organization money?

  1. Less Accidents
    Educating employees about potential hazards helps them actively prevent accidents before they occur. With hazard recognition training, employees can become familiar with identifying risks, taking appropriate action, and reporting hazards to management.

  2. Improved Safety Culture
    Foster a culture of safety within your organization. When employees are educated and encouraged to identify and report hazards, it creates an environment where safety becomes a shared responsibility.

  3. Regulation Compliance
    In many industries, hazard recognition training is a legal requirement. By providing training, employers can ensure their people are compliant with occupational health and safety regulations. Failure to meet these requirements can result in legal consequences, fines, and damage to an organization's reputation.

  4. Reduced Costs
    Workplace accidents can have significant financial implications, including medical expenses, legal fees, compensation claims, and increased insurance premiums. By reducing the risk of accidents through training, associated costs can also be lowered.

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Four Effective Steps to Approach Hazard Recognition Training

Ready to begin a training program within your organization? Here are four steps to start with.

Before designing a training program, conduct a thorough analysis of the workplace to identify potential hazards. Involve your employees to review the history of incidents and accidents and discuss hazards they know are present based on their current work tasks and surroundings.

Then, use a Hazard Assessment Form, like the one OSHA suggests below, for potential workplace hazards based on employee roles:

Example: Job Hazard Analysis Form

Job location: Metal shop

Analyst: Jack Jones

Task description: Worker reaches into a metal box to the right of the machine, grasps a 15-pound casting and carries it to the grinding wheel. Worker grinds 20 to 30 castings per hour.

Hazard description: Picking up a casting, the employee could drop it onto his foot. The casting’s weight and height could seriously injure the worker’s foot or toes

Hazard controls:

  1. Remove castings from the box and place them on a table next to the grinder.
  2. Wear steel-toe shoes with arch protection.
  3. Change protective gloves that allow a better grip.
  4. Use a device to pick up castings.

Tour the workplace and assess other potential risks, filling out the form above accordingly. This assessment provides a foundation for targeted and relevant training.

Any training program should effectively communicate the importance of hazard recognition, and the specific hazards relevant to task and the workplace. Brainstorm with employees on ways to eliminate or control hazards. As OSHA suggests, “If any hazards exist that pose an immediate danger to an employee’s life or health, take immediate action to protect the worker.”

Clear instructions, examples, and visuals can enhance understanding and retention of the material. OSHA even suggests photographing or videotaping workers performing a job as visual records or handy references for safe protocols.

Design a classroom course or take advantage of the Job Hazard Analysis course from Skillsoft. Skillsoft also offers micro-learning courses including Hazard Communication Impact: Health Hazards and Safety Principles Impact: Accident Factors. Skillsoft courses are designed to meet the knowledge requirements of the regulations and include interactive components like matching a control method to a specific hazard and case studies, all delivered on our learning experience platform, Percipio. Learners can practice with customized life-like scenarios and simulations that make training engaging and memorable.

Hazard recognition training shouldn’t be a one-time event. Regular refresher training using micro-learning ensures that employees are ready to identify new hazards, changes in procedures, and emerging risks.

Take a look at a sample list of Skillsoft’s hazard compliance training content options:

Global Safety Short: Chemical Safety Principles
Global Safety Short: Electrical Safety Principles
Global Safety Short: Fire Safety Principles
Hazard Communication Impact: Health Hazards
Hazard Communication Impact: Physical Hazards
Hazard Communication Impact: Reducing and Eliminating Contact with Chemicals
Hazard Communication Impact: Routes of Chemical Entry
Hazard Communication Impact: Safety Data Sheets
Hazard Communication Impact: Warning Labels
Safety Principles Impact: Accident Factors
Safety Principles Impact: Accident Investigation
Safety Principles Impact: Near Misses
Safety Principles Impact: Reporting an Accident
Safety Principles Impact: Safe Work Habits and Behaviors
Safety Principles Impact: Safety Awareness
Safety Principles Impact: Stop Work Authority
Retail Short: Workplace Hazards
Retail Short: Completing Work Tasks Safely

Ready to bring hazard awareness training to your organization? Work with Skillsoft to design a program that updates as regulations change, combines engaging content with an easy-to-use platform, and helps keep employees safe and compliant.