Hazard Identification

Hazard button in vehicle Feb 9 16Hazard identification involves looking for things, conditions and practices in your employees’ driving environments that have potential to cause or contribute to a crash, and identifying the people who may be exposed to those hazards.

Hints for Identifying Hazards

If you are not familiar with all the hazards your drivers face, try the following.

  1. Speak with the drivers. What practices, locations or situations do they consider “dangerous”?
  2. Go for a ride-along. Experience the conditions and circumstances your drivers encounter.
  3. Check vehicle inspection reports. What mechanical issues do you see or hear about?
  4. Review near-miss reports and incident investigations. What caused or contributed to those events?
  5. Check a vehicle owner’s manual. Review the operating instructions and watch for “Caution” labels and “Hazard” symbols.
  6. Think about non-routine and high-risk driving circumstances. What dangers are there?
  7. Talk with other employers. What are their biggest road safety challenges?
  8. Who could be harmed? Usually, we think about injuries to the driver. Who else could be harmed – their passenger(s), other motorists, pedestrians or cyclists?
Effective hazard identification is a team effort. Involve your employees – supervisors, managers and especially the employees that drive for work. They know the hazards they face, and which ones are of greatest concern. They also have good ideas on how to manage the risks.

Use a Systematic Approach

Driving is complex. Drivers operate vehicles in a wide range of circumstances and conditions. Environments change, so do the drivers, vehicles and hazards. Use a step-by-step approach to identify and keep track of hazards.

One effective way to identify and organize hazards is in terms of the driver, the vehicle and the journey.

The Road Hazard Inventory

Your organization might already have an effective method to identify and classify workplace hazards. If you do, apply it to road safety. If not, have a look at the Road Hazard Inventory. This worksheet lists many of the road safety hazards and categorizes them by driver, vehicle and journey.

To build your own Road Hazard Inventory, select the hazards that apply to your workplaces and drivers. Modify descriptions so they accurately reflect hazards in the driving environments your employees encounter. Add hazards or factors that aren’t there. Rather than removing or deleting hazards that don’t apply, simply strike through them. Even though that hazard is not currently present in your workplace, it might be the next time you review your hazard inventory. So, it’s there and ready for consideration.

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