A significant part of the risk control professional’s job involves assisting organizations to identify and correct substandard conditions before some form of a loss (i.e., personnel, equipment, facility, public, currency, legal, etc.) occurs The key to successfully identifying substandard conditions lies in a person possessing a wide range of knowledge in the areas of safety and health regulations, physics, chemistry, human anatomy, biology, as well as materials and processes.  It also helps to have experience at studying the causes of industrial accidents so as to understand what it takes to prevent the occurrence of loss.  

Below you will find photos of moderate to high risks that may be identified during the physical inspection of a facility.  Look at each photo to determine the specific hazards that are present, and then click on the link below the photo to learn about the substandard conditions as well as possible means to correct the situation.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

This particular workstation design poses an employee, productivity and financial risk because of how the employee must look up at the monitor as well as operate the mouse and keyboard with raised arms.  

Corrective measures for this situate would include:

1) Reducing the monitor height so that the top of the viewing screen is level with employee’s eyes

2) Lowering the keyboard and mouse to be situated slightly above the employee’s lap.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Unguarded power transmission equipment like this can pose serious employee, legal and financial risks to an organization. There is little doubt that investing some time and materials into a protective guard which will completely cover the belt and pulleys will pay the company significant returns in the future.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Road paving workers such as the ones above are being exposed to airborne polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which have potential for causing lung and skin cancer. If the OSHA exposure limits for this class of chemicals are exceeded, the company should either provide a sealed cab on the pavement roller else equip the employee with approved respiratory as well as protective clothing to minimize contact with the generated vapors or smoke.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Allowing the thick floor mat to keep the fire door propped open can predictably place an organization at risk from a personnel, legal, public and financial risk in the event of fire. Situations like this should be easy to spot and immediately correct if employees are made aware of the risk that such situations present and are given the authority to immediately correct the problem.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

The above practice of storing combustible materials (i.e., the wood pallets) in close proximity to the natural gas manifold system can place a company at significant facility, public, legal and financial risk. Because of the potential for someone to set fire to the wood and thus compromise the gas system, these pallets should be immediately removed and the entire area around this gas handling system should be kept clear of combustible materials.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Employees are sometimes placed in situations where they must position their elbows at or above shoulder height. The above practice places the company at significant personnel, legal and financial risk, and therefore the corresponding job should be redesigned so as to prevent the employee from needing to reach over the ledge in order to perform the paper loading activity.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

The above employees may be provided with the appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE), but the failure to keep the employees’ face-shields completely down is placing the company at significant personnel, public, legal and financial risk. Steps should be taken to continuously enforce proper PPE use and thus promote a more total asset protection approach.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

The failure for the two lower employees to be effectively tied off as well as the upper individual’s neglect to be wearing any kind of fall protection gear is placing the organization at risk from a personnel, legal, public and financial standpoint.

Activities like this should be pre-planned to ensure that:

1) Appropriate fall protection equipment is made available
2) Employees are required to wear provided equipment
3) Tie-off places are located within the expected work area
4) Employees are required to be tied off 100% of the time


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Lifting and/or towing cables like the one presented in this photo can present a substantial personnel, product, equipment as well as financial risk when frayed wires are exposed and a chain-style style hook is connected to the cable.  

In this situation, the frayed ends should be wrapped and the hook should be replaced with one that is specially designed for cable use


Reveal the Risk and Solution

Locating vertical rods along roadways to assist with snowplowing activities is a common practice, but this potential impalement situation can place an organization at significant risk from a personnel, public, legal as well as financial standpoint. In order to minimize this risk, the top of this rod should either be curved downward or else some type of a cap should be securely placed on the top of the rod.


Reveal the Risk and Solution

The practice of piling tires outside promotes the development of biological hazards; namely microbes (like Legionella) as well as disease-carrying mosquitoes. A company that allows such a biological breeding ground to exist is placing itself at significant legal, public and financial risk if DNA testing connects the biological agents with a local outbreak of a given disease. Thus, the practice of either properly storing or even disposing of these tires would likely be less costly than the occurrence of a localized disease outbreak.