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Basics of a Risk Assessment

Occupational Safety Measures

Measure comes from "measure"

And rightly so! As soon as a risk has been identified that is no longer acceptable, i.e. outside the "green zone", measures must be taken to reduce the risk.

However, measures cannot be taken arbitrarily. They must be well-considered, practicable and, above all, viable. A measure that cannot be implemented because, for example, it is not accepted by employees is ineffective. A measure that would go beyond the company's budget cannot be the goal. When it comes to defining measures, you need to take a measure.

The hierarchy of measures

As soon as a risk has been identified that is no longer acceptable, i.e. outside the "green zone", measures must be taken to reduce the risk.

This follows a so-called hierarchy of measures, which is divided into 5 levels in modern occupational health and safety:

Stage 1: Elimination of the source of danger

Here the source of danger is to be eliminated completely. This is usually done by replacing the source with a less dangerous one.

Can a hazardous chemical be replaced by another non-hazardous one?

Stage 2: Elimination of hazards through technical measures

Can a source of danger be limited, e.g. by shielding? A fume hood with extraction would be an example in the laboratory.

Stage 3: Organisational measures (local and temporal separation from the source of danger)

This concerns you personally. If you are exposed to a noise source for only a short time and not permanently, the risk is reduced.

Stage 4: Personal protective equipment (PPE)

If contact with the source cannot be avoided by any of the above steps, you must wear protective clothing as a measure to separate you or your body from the source of danger. Safety glasses, respiratory protection or hearing protection are typical examples.

Stage 5: Behavioural measures

This includes, for example, instructions and operating instructions. You must know which substances you handle and which hazards they pose. You will be instructed in how to protect yourself.

The effectiveness of the measures decreases steadily from level 1 to level 5. It should always be checked whether a more effective measure is possible. So it always starts with 1! Only if this is not possible, one goes over to the next stage.

When weighing up the measures, you as a human being are always in the foreground. It must be weighed whether and how a measure can be realized. Economic aspects also play a role. In addition, the purchase of a new machine or the modification of a workflow must not lead to new, previously unknown or even greater risks!

All further steps:
They include the implementation of the measures and their control. Do the measures work at all or do they have to be reworked somewhere? You are a key figure here, because you work daily at your previously assessed workplace.