Recognizing Unsafe Conditions

There are many things that we do each day before work beings, we receive our job task, gather tools and equipment and move to our work area. But another important thing each of us should do is to look at all the hazards in our work environment before beginning our task. You should continue to evaluate the job throughout the day for hazards that may have changed or occurred during the course of the day. Hazard should be corrected or eliminated before proceeding with the task at hand. If you cannot correct the hazard yourself, contact your foreman. 

A hazard is defined as a chance, a chance of being injured or harmed or a possible source of danger. Jobsites are filled with many different hazards whether it be the task you are performing, task others are performing around you, equipment, chemicals, heat sources, or weather conditions. Hazards should be recognized and eliminated through engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protective equipment. 

Causes of Unsafe Conditions or Actions:

  • Poor housekeeping
  • Horseplay
  • Confused material storage
  • Careless handling of materials
  • Improper or defective tools
  • Lack of machine guarding; failure to install warning systems
  • Lack of or failure to wear proper personal protection equipment
  • Weather
  • Worker not dressing for the job to be done
  • Failure to follow instructions

Steps to take once an unsafe condition is found:

  • If possible, correct the condition yourself immediately
  • Report any major unsafe condition or action to your foreman
  • Follow-up—report the condition again if it is not corrected

Discussion Questions:

What is the difference between an unsafe act and an unsafe condition?
Are there any unsafe conditions current at our jobsite?

Remember: There are three steps to follow in recognizing unsafe conditions.

  1. Look for trouble (the unsafe condition)
  2. Report it
  3. Act to prevent it from happening again!