Hazard Management

Hazard management is an element of the Health, Safety, and Environment Management System (HSEMS), which is a framework of policy, procedure, and program-level documents in support of safe working and learning activities at the University of Alberta. 

U of A senior administrators, supervisors, staff, and students have legislated and university-mandated roles and responsibilities related to hazard management. Review the Hazard Management Assignment of Accountability and Hazard Identification, Assessment, and Control Procedure to learn more.

In Alberta, hazard management is legislated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and described within the Regulation and Code

How do I manage hazards in the workplace?

1. Identify your hazards

All workplaces have hazards, which can be classified as biological, chemical, radiation (a hazard posed by nuclear substances, X-ray devices, and lasers), physical, ergonomic, and psychological.

While biological, chemical and radiation hazards are more commonly found in research environments, a workplace like an office might have ergonomic hazards (such as improper workstation set up), physical hazards (excessive cords), or psychological hazards (workplace bullying).

2. Assess your hazards

Hazard assessments should be done before the beginning of work, when a change occurs, or when there is a significant alteration to a worksite. They should also be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that they are up to date.

A hazard assessment requires you to list your work tasks and identify associated hazards, and then assess their likelihood and severity to determine the best combination of controls.

Complete a hazard assessment using the tool that best fits your role and desired approach:

The best people to do a hazard assessment are those involved in the work. Normally it is led by a supervisor and done in consultation with workers.
3. Control and communicate

Based on your hazard assessment, determine which of the following control measures are right for each activity:

  • Elimination or substitution: remove the hazard from the activity or workplace, or replace it with less hazardous materials or equipment
  • Engineering controls: includes equipment or modifications to ventilation systems and processes intended to remove or reduce exposure to a hazard
  • Administrative controls: measures that affect how work is conducted, including scheduling, policies, best practices, training, housekeeping, and maintenance.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): equipment worn to reduce exposure to hazards (including chemicals, biological materials, noise, radiation, etc.)

Share the completed hazard assessment with your co-workers and make sure everyone understands how to implement control measures.

4. Review and revise

Review and revise your hazard assessment regularly and any time you have a new or altered process.