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Identification of risk factors

​There are three types of hazards at the workplace: First, there are hazards that everyone is aware of. Secondly, there are hazards that have not been detected but that can be detected e.g. with the help of check lists. Thirdly, there are hidden risks that are difficult to directly detect. The hazard may be an abrupt situation or a long-term exposure.  

In identification of the risks, the work book "Riskien arviointi työpaikalla" is helpful.  Every seafarer assesses the hazards for health and well-being at their own work by using a specific form designed for the project. The occupational health care provider gathers the forms and makes a ship-specific conclusion.

The industrial safety organization of the shipping company and occupational health care evaluate the extensiveness of the conclusion as a team and specify the harm assessment if necessary.  After this, the team makes a risk assessment and sets required measures in order of importance. Corrective actions are taken in cooperation between all the parties.

Different types of risks

Different health hazards are caused by e.g. accident hazards, chemical and physical hazards, ergonomics flaws and mental load. The latter is closely related with working environment and mental well-being in the work community which is affected by e.g. inappropriate behaviour at work. 

It is important that all the hazards are measured systematically in the same way i.e. commensurably.  Hazard-specific checklists are helpful.   Usually they focus on the hazards that are immediately sensed and detected.

The employee is the best expert of hazards of their own work. At work, many hazards may, however, be left unidentified or they are ignored as an instinctive reaction to make the work smoother. Therefore, in the risk assessment we need industrial safety and occupational health professionals and other experts familiar with the task.

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