OSEA Safety Blog

Pre-Task Plans will Enhance Your Safety Programs

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Tiffany Bartz

Pre-task planning is used frequently in construction. It is important to be prepared for the myriad of hazards that construction workers may encounter throughout a project. The hazards that workers may encounter often change on a daily or even hourly basis and so it is important to always be prepared for those hazards in order to keep all workers safe.

In general, the risks that employees in the manufacturing sector are consistent and pre-task planning is often overlooked. Safety professionals often complete job hazard analysis (JHA), ergonomic, PPE and machine guarding assessments etc. in order to evaluate risks that manufacturing employees may encounter. So, what is a pre-task plan and when should it be used in manufacturing for evaluating environmental, health and safety hazards?

A good pre-task plan will include a scope of work, a list of all the steps required to perform the task(s), the area where the work is to be completed. Once the scope of work has been defined then each step of the task should be evaluated for risks and a definition of who may be exposed to those risks. Once the risks have been identified then controls should be identified and put in place. Anyone who is involved with the tasks or are exposed to the risks should be properly trained on the use of those controls. Once the task or procedure has started it should be monitored for any risks that may not have been identified.

Since manufacturing processes are often repetitive pre-task plans are generally not needed. Pre-task plans should be used when an unusual task, procedure or event is going to occur. In general, these unusual tasks or procedures are created when there is a quality issue or an issue with product or equipment. These procedures are often created quickly by management in order to resolve an issue. Since these procedures are developed quickly, safety is often overlooked, or it is thought that the risk is low. Any time an unusual task is being asked of employees a pre-task plan should be utilized in order to eliminate the hazards that the employees will be exposed to.

Having a good pre-task plan in place will eliminate the need to complete multiple assessments (JHA, PPE, ergonomic, industrial hygiene etc.) and reduce the number of risks encountered in a fast manner. It is important to educate management, supervisors, engineering and maintenance on when and how to implement a pre-task plan. A good pre-task plan will enhance your safety program, reduce risks that employees are exposed to and reduce the chance of injuries.

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