4.1. How To Identify Hazards

Describe a hazard by answering the following questions:

  • •What can go wrong?
  • What are the consequences?
  • How could the hazard arise?
  • What are other contributing factors?
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

For Example:

Wood coming from the infeed rollers jammed up as it fell onto the chipper conveyor belt. A chipperman tried to clear the jam without turning off any part of the machine or using a picaroon. His hand and arm were caught up in the teeth of the rotating rollers, and his body was pulled onto the chipper conveyor. The chipperman’s arm was twisted off at the shoulder. Another worker heard his cries and rescued him before he was pulled into the chipper.

What can go wrong?

The worker’s hand could come into contact with a rotating object that “catches” it and pulls it into the machine.

What are the consequences?

The worker could receive a severe or fatal injury.

How could it happen?

The accident could happen as a result of the worker trying to clear a snag during operations or as part of a maintenance activity while the conveyor is operating. Obviously, this hazard scenario could not occur if the conveyor is not rotating.

What are other contributing factors? 

The hazards and exposure related to this task can occur very quickly. It does not give the worker much opportunity to recover or prevent it once his hand comes into contact with the rotating rollers.

This is an important factor, because it helps determine the severity and likelihood of an accident when selecting appropriate hazard controls.

How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

This requires some judgment. If there have been “near-misses” or actual cases, then the likelihood of recurrence would be considered high. If the pulley is exposed and easily accessible, that also is a consideration.

The likelihood that the hazard will occur is high because there is no guard preventing contact, and the operation is performed while the machine is running. By following the steps in this example, you can organize your hazard analysis activities.