A hazard is that which has the potential to cause harm to the safety, security or health or a person or to cause damage to the environment or loss of property. If that is so, then undoubtedly the most potentially dangerous hazard in any workplace is the human being. Whether it be due to their acts or omissions (or simple sheer stupidity), the vast majority of incidents in the workplace are caused not by machinery or hazardous chemicals or any other ‘inanimate’ hazard but by people. Any incident management study will attest to that fact. That is why the safety training of all employees is critically important.
However, it should be noted that the emphasis should be on the word ‘all’ with regard to employees requiring safety training. Of course, the safety-related training required of an overhead cabin crane operator or a commercial pilot will be significantly greater and more complex than that required of the lady in accounts or the man working in marketing. However, to assume that those working in accounts or marketing should somehow be exempt from safety training is an error. This point must be made as too often the focus with regard to safety training is on those employees who work in traditionally ‘hazardous’ locations or with hazardous machinery. OSHA itself insists that employers provide training for all employees with regard to health and safety aspects of their work.