Contractors: Conducting Your Risk Assessment

        Compactors: The Value of Conducting a Risk Assessment


Because compactors are used in a wide variety of ways, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for risk mitigation. Therefore, you should conduct a risk assessment for the specific compactor hazards your business experiences. Start your risk assessment by addressing the following three elements:

1) Compactor location: Compactors are often positioned in remote areas, far away from frequent, direct supervision. Placing compactors in isolated locations can discourage operators from following proper safety precautions and prolong the time it takes to respond to an emergency. Without constant supervision in a central location, workers may be tempted to ignore certain rules or skip important steps that ensure their safety.

2) Compactor use: Businesses use compactors differently depending on the types of materials they need compacted and how they are compacted. One business may only need compactors to crush cardboard; another may need them to bale hazardous materials such as steel shavings or aluminium sheets. Determine all of the ways your business uses compactors, and then assess each one according to its level of risk. Do not forget to also assess other activities that take place at the compactor, such as bin servicing and interactions with the public.

3) Compactor systems of work: Many businesses have their own ways of managing compactor use. Monitor and assess your systems of work to determine whether they are effective. Are employees following your systems of work? Do your systems adequately control the risk? Are measures effectively prohibiting unauthorized access? Your risk assessment should review the systems of work designed to protect compactor-operating employees. If you find the systems of work are ineffective, devise strategies to bolster them.

Your risk assessment should address the preceding three issues and anything else that could potentially harm you, your employees or members of the public. Tour your workplace, talk to your employees and scrutinize your systems of work—figure out the most dangerous aspects of compactor use at your business and how you can eliminate or reduce them. Remember to periodically undertake risk assessments throughout the year to ensure your measures for controlling risks are still effective.

Compactors compress waste and recyclable materials to save space and make business operations more efficient. As a business owner or manager, you need to identify and mitigate the risks that compactor operators face in order to safeguard your employees from everyday compactor hazards.