General principles of prevention and control

3. General principles of prevention and control
3.1. Assessment of hazards and risks and prevention
and control measures
3.1.1. Employers should make periodic assessments of the hazards and risks to
safety and health from hazardous ambient factors at each permanent or temporary
workplace and implement the control measures required to prevent those hazards and
risks, or to reduce them to the lowest reasonable and practicable level. If a new source of
hazard is introduced, the assessment should be made before workers are exposed to the
hazard. The assessment should gather information on the hazardous ambient factors
present at the workplace, the degree of exposure and risk, appropriate control measures,
health surveillance, and training and information. The assessment should be reviewed
whenever there is a reason for it (see section 3.2). Later chapters of this code give
guidance on how these principles should be applied to particular hazards.
3.1.2. The assessment should be carried out in consultation with workers and/or
their representatives by the employers or by persons acting on their behalf who are
competent and have the necessary information, instruction and training. Where the
outcome of the assessment indicates a potential injury or risk to safety and health, the
results of the assessment should be recorded and made available for inspection by the
competent authority, and to workers exposed to the hazardous ambient factors and the
workers’ representatives. The record of the assessment should be retained for a period of
time as may be specified by the competent authority.
3.1.3. The first stage of the assessment should include inspection of the
workplace in order to identify:
(a) what hazardous ambient factors are present or likely to occur, including hazardous
substances, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, hazardous optical radiation, electric
or magnetic fields, noise and vibration, and extremes of temperature and humidity,
including the work organization;
(b) what activities are likely to expose workers and others to the hazardous ambient
factors identified, including maintenance, cleaning and emergency procedures.
3.1.4. The second stage of the assessment should consist of the collection of
information about the hazardous ambient factors present or likely to occur in order to
determine the magnitude and significance for safety and health of any hazard or risk
which may occur including the relevance of work organization, and the practicability of
various methods of control. The information should include that provided by suppliers
(see paragraph 2.4.1 above) and other information in the public sphere. Determining the
magnitude of the hazard or risk should include determining the exposure of the workers
to the factors, unless other information is adequate for quantification of the risk. The
exposure levels should be compared with those exposure limits or standards prescribed
by the competent authority. Where there are no such limits or standards, other national
or internationally recognized standards should be used for comparison. In either case,

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