Workplace Hazard and Risk Assessment

What is a workplace hazard?
A hazard is anything in the workplace that has the potential to harm people.
Hazard types can include (but not limited to):
~ Objects, items, equipment in the workplace, such as machinery or dangerous chemicals.
~ The way work is done. Such as manual handling, excessive noise and fatigue.


Risk factors

A risk arises when it’s possible that a hazard will actually cause harm. The risk of a hazard is based on Probability & Consequences. Factors such as:
~ How often the job is done
~ The number of workers involved
~ The likelihood of injury
~ How serious any injuries that result could be

Hazards and Risk Assessments1330296351_wt09

Workplace Assessment begins with consulting staff on any potential health and safety issues they have become aware of and also a physical walk through of the workplace looking for potential hazards and typically follows four steps:

1. Finding hazards

2. Assessing the degree of severity of a possible injury and the likelihood of injury from a hazard

3. Fixing the problems by deciding on the most effective risk controls that are reasonably practicable

4. Reviewing your risk controls and checking that they work effectively

Information sources: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au, www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

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Stress and Workplace Compensation Claims

businessmen-530331__180Stress is the second most common cause of workplace compensation claims in Australia.

What is Stress?

The World Health Organisation defines stress as “the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”.

Stress can occur in a wide range of situations, but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues or little control over their work.

A recent report shows the highest rates of mental stress claims were by workers with high levels of responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of others at risk in dangerous situations; such as the workplace First Aid and Safety Officer.

Types of Mental Stress

Workers’ compensation claims in Australia are coded according to the Type of Occurrence Classification System. Mental stress includes sub-categories distinguished by the nature of the actions, exposures and events that might lead to disorders as specified. The sub categories are:

> Work pressure

Mental stress disorders arising from work responsibilities and workloads, deadlines, organisational restructure, workplace interpersonal conflicts and workplace performance or promotion issues.

> Exposure to workplace or occupational violence

Being the victim of assault by a person or persons who may or may not be work colleagues; and being a victim of or witnessing bank robberies, hold-ups and other violent events.

> Exposure to traumatic event

Disorders arising from witnessing a fatal or other incident, suicide or attempted suicide.

> Other mental stress factors

Including dietary or deficiency diseases (Bulimia, Anorexia).

> Work-related harassment &/or workplace bullying

Repetitive assault and/or threatened assault by a work colleague or colleagues; and repetitive verbal harassment, threats, and abuse from a work colleague or colleagues.

> Other harassment

Being the victim of sexual or racial harassment by a person or persons including work colleague/s.

worried-girl-413690__180What Are The Risks?

The hazards that result in mental stress claims vary with worker age. Younger workers are more likely to make claims as a result of Exposure to workplace or occupational violence, whereas Work pressure is the main cause of mental stress claims for older workers.

Work-related stress can take a serious toll on employees, affecting their:

  • mental health (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety)
  • physical health (e.g. musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease)
  • work performance (e.g. incidents and injuries), and
  • social relationships (e.g. irritability leading to social isolation, anxiety and depression )

Mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claims because of the often lengthy periods of absence from work typical of these claims.

Possible signs of stress can include:

  • migraines
  • sleep disorders
  • muscular tension
  • increased blood pressure or cholesterol
  • allergies or skin disorders
  • gastrointestinal disorders or weight problems
  • anxiety or depression
  • impatience, irritability or aggression
  • mood swings
  • memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • extensive use of sick leave

Find out how you can make your workplace safer and reduce the risk of stress

Information and Resources for workplaces:


Read the full report: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/769/The-Incidence-Accepted-WC-Claims-Mental-Stress-Australia.pdf

Additional information source: worksafe.vic.gov.au, beyond blue