• SkillCat Team

Risk Assessment

Updated: Jul 9


Safety Basics: Chapter 1


In this module, we will talk about potential safety hazards in the workplace. We will also look at steps to follow when working at job sites and what to do if there is a hazard. Skip to quiz!


Risk Identification

A safety hazard is any possible source of harm that can affect us at the workplace. Unsafe working conditions can cause injury, illness, or death.


We need to know about the different safety hazards that we might be exposed to at work. This will help us be more aware of our environment, not to get hurt in the workplace.


There are three types of safety hazards that we should be cautious of:

  • Chemical,

  • Electrical, and

  • Fire hazards

A chemical hazard is exposure to substances such as fumes, liquids, or dust that can be harmful. An example of exposure to toxic fumes is when we are brazing or welding. The problem with breathing in toxic fumes is that they can cause lung irritation.


Electrical hazards come from incorrect handling of electrical tools or machinery. For example, we have to be careful when fixing fans. If the power supply of the fan motor is switched on when we are fixing a fan, we are likely to experience an electric shock.


Electrical equipment can also cause fires to start in the workplace. For example, if electrical equipment overheats, then a fire could start. Fires pose a significant risk to our safety because they can cause burn injuries or death.


Safety Hazards in the Environment

We need to pause and scan our work area for potential safety hazards before doing anything. This allows us to make a note of any unsafe conditions or acts. Doing this can reduce 80% of injuries in the workplace!


The four potential safety hazards that we should look out for in our environment are:

  • Biological,

  • Physical,

  • Work handling, and

  • Psychosocial hazards


Biological hazards come from interacting with other people who may carry viruses or bacteria.

An example of a biological hazard is interacting with a coworker who has coronavirus. Sewage, dust, and mold can also cause biological hazards.


We can experience physical hazards from activities or substances in the work environment. For example, excessive noise while drilling is a physical hazard. The loud noise can lead to hearing loss.


The way we handle our tools can also be hazardous. For example, we can get hurt if we incorrectly handle heavy machines or lift heavy materials. This can be dangerous because we can get hurt if we drop heavy tooling on ourselves.


Aside from physical threats in the workplace, there are also threats to our mental health and wellbeing. Psychosocial hazards come from sexual harassment, stress, and workplace violence. These activities can cause mistrust and fear at a worksite.


Fix Safety Hazards


Identifying safety hazards at the workplace is one crucial skill. Another is to be able to make a plan to fix the safety hazards. We need to know how to fix safety hazards to prevent injuries to ourselves and our coworkers.


The plan to fix safety hazards consists of the following:

  • Elimination,

  • Engineering the Controls,

  • Administrative Controls, and

  • Personal Protective Equipment


In the elimination method, we get rid of any hazardous materials. We can do this by substituting harmful chemicals with less hazardous chemicals when possible. For example, Freon refrigerants are replaced with less harmful refrigerants, such as R-134a.


When we engineer the controls, we design or modify equipment to reduce the risk of injury. For example, we can use technology to transport materials. This prevents hazards caused by lifting heavy materials that could injure us.


Using administrative controls means we follow the safety procedures correctly. Administrative controls come from standards and operating procedures. We should be trained and educated on how to perform work safely to not risk injury to ourselves.


Standards and operating procedures in a workplace include wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes protective equipment such as safety shoes, gloves, and goggles. These are important because they reduce exposure to hazards such as dust and metal sparks.



Plan to Fix Hazards

Now that we have seen what a safety plan should include, we will look at how to fix these hazards. Coworkers should share their ideas with everyone in their organization to ensure no one is harmed in the workplace.


Everyone on the team gets a chance to speak about their goals for the company’s safety plan. This makes it more likely that everyone will follow the plan once we set clear goals.


After everyone has agreed on the safety plan, the last step is to conduct mock drills and training sessions. The mock drills help to review what to do in case there is an emergency. For example, fire drills are done to know what to do in the event of a real fire.


A safety hazard is a potentially unsafe working condition that can cause us injury, illness, or death. We need to be able to identify safety hazards to avoid them and fix the hazard.


Every person at a job site should work together to write a safety plan. By creating a plan to fix safety hazards, everyone is more likely to be safe in the workplace and not get hurt.



Question #1: The three types of safety hazards that we should be cautious of are chemical, electrical and fire hazards.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: True

True! Workers should be cautious of chemical, electrical and fire hazards at work.


Question #2: Which of the following statements is correct about the types of safety hazards?

  1. Chemical hazards can cause electric shocks

  2. Electrical hazards come from exposure to toxic fumes

  3. Fires can be caused by electrical equipment overheating

  4. Chemical hazards come from incorrect handling of electrical tools

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Answer: Fires can be caused by electrical equipment overheating.

If electrical equipment overheats, it can cause a fire to start. Fires pose a significant risk to our safety.


Question #3: Which potential safety hazard is correctly paired with an example that is possible in the workplace?

  1. Biological - exposure to radiation

  2. Physical - interacting with people who carry viruses or bacteria

  3. Biological - interacting with people who carry viruses or bacteria

  4. Biological - exposure to loud noises

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Answer: Biological - interacting with people who carry viruses or bacteria

Biological hazards can come from interacting with other people who carry viruses or bacteria,

An example is when we are in contact with coworkers who could spread the coronavirus.


Question #4: Sexual harassment at work affecting our mental health is an example of a

  1. biological hazard

  2. physical hazard

  3. work handling hazard

  4. psychosocial hazard

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Answer: psychosocial hazard

Psychosocial hazards can affect our mental health and wellbeing. Examples of psychosocial hazards at the workplace are sexual harassment, stress and workplace violence.


Question #5: Substituting dangerous chemicals with less hazardous ones is an example of fixing safety hazards by engineering controls.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: False

Substituting dangerous chemicals with less hazardous ones is an example of fixing safety hazards by elimination. We are eliminating the source of hazardous exposure.


Question #6: PPE equipment include

  1. braces, goggles, shoes

  2. shoes, goggles, gloves

  3. gloves, goggles, beanie

  4. shoes, goggles, necklaces

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Answer: shoes, goggles, gloves

PPE equipment includes shoes, goggles, and gloves.


Question #7: Why is it important to complete mock drills after setting up the safety plan?

  1. Mock drills help to review what to do in the event of an emergency.

  2. Mock drills help make sure that the boss is safe at all times.

  3. Mock drills help to review things that we should not be doing in the event of an emergency.

  4. Mock drills give us a break from doing our job.

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Answer: Mock drills help to review what to do in the event of an emergency.

Mock drills are important to do after setting up a safety plan because they help review what steps to take in an emergency.

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