How Risk Assessments Control Risks At The Workplace

Controlling workplace risks is a huge part of keeping your workers safe and healthy. To achieve this type of control, you need to step back and take note of anything that might cause harm to your employees or on-site guests. From there, reasonable steps must be taken to prevent or minimize that harm.

This process is known as a risk assessment. It’s a pivotal step in establishing sensible measures to better control workplace risks. Even if you feel you’re already proactive when it comes to protecting your employees, a risk assessment can give you some much needed peace of mind that nothing is being overlooked.

Risk assessments allow you an opportunity to really think about anything that could happen to harm, injure, or jeopardize the lives of your employees. This gives you a chance to concentrate on real risks – the things that are most likely or could cause the most harm.

Some risks may require more specific control measures. A risk assessment helps you identify where more detailed control measures need to be implemented. These control measures can actually be an extension of your overall risk assessment.

There are five key steps to a successful risk assessment.

#1 – Identify Workplace or Jobsite Hazards

A successful risk assessment comes down to accurately identifying any potential workplace or jobsite hazards.

Walking around the site to note any potential dangers is a good starting point. Watch your employees in action. Observe how they’re using certain machines and tools or handling certain substances. Look for things that could potentially injure them or harm their health.

Now, anyone that has worked at one place long enough knows how easy it is to look past certain things in the monotony of your day-to-day. So, it’s important to do other things beyond a physical walk through.

Such things may include checking a manufacturer’s instructions or equipment manuals, reviewing previously documented accidents or workplace illness records, assessing non-routine operations like maintenance, cleaning, or production cycle changes, or looking more closely at potential long-term health hazards like exposure to harmful substances or high levels of noise.

While not all may be relevant to your business, certain hazards have a widely assumed risk of harm – whether it’s working with chemicals, working at heights, working around asbestos, or the use of high-risk machinery. By all means, take a close look at these.

#2 – Identify Who Might Be Harmed

Think of who could be the most harmed by these identified hazards. Whether it’s employees, contractors, their subcontractors, or visitors. Talk to your employees. Ask them what they think the hazards every day are. They may even have some good ideas when it comes to controlling risks.

You should be clear on who is the most at risk for every hazard identified. This is key to controlling that risk. Break them down into groups rather than individual names.

You also need to keep in mind that none of your employees are alike. New or younger employees are more susceptible to accidents or incidents. You could also have employees who don’t speak English, are pregnant, or have disabilities. People on-site who just aren’t there all the time like contractors, clients, customers, or other on-site guests. Be sure EVERYONE is factored in and don’t hesitate to ask workers if anyone or anything may be missing.

#3 – Evaluate Workplace/Jobsite Risks

Once you’ve identified the hazards and who is at harm, it’s time to determine the level of risk and put an action plan into place to deal with it. Risks are a part of everyday life and are unfortunately unavoidable. They cannot altogether be eliminated. Your only hope is to responsibly manage them in a way that minimizes their occurrence and impact.

Some hazards you might be able to completely eliminate. If you can’t, you need to at least establish how to control them. Are there less risky options available? Is there protective equipment available? Can access or exposure to the hazard be reduced?

Sometimes the most low-cost precautions can do the trick. The placement of a mirror at a blind corner wouldn’t cost you very much. Remember, nine times out of ten, an accident will cost you more than taking some simple precautions to prevent it.

Include your workers in this evaluation. A culture of safety can only be achieved if every employee understands their individual role in achieving it.

#4 Document Everything

Significant findings need to be documents. The identified hazards, how many are in harm’s way, how many have been harmed, and the steps taken to control the risks. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Make note of the main points and what you concluded.

Risk assessments must show that a proper check was made, you’ve addressed any obvious hazards, you’ve taken reasonable precautions to minimize the risks tied to these hazards, and you’ve involved your employees in the process.

#5 – Regularly Review Your Risk Assessment

From new equipment to new employees to new substances or procedures, no workplace ever stays the same and new risks and hazards will emerge. Risk assessments should be kept up-to-date to note any significant changes, improvements that still need to be made, and review all accidents and near misses to note patterns.


If you’re in the New England area, MAC Safety Consultants – located in Cambridge, MA – will perform a comprehensive risk assessment for you. We’ve performed many risk assessments in Boston and its metropolitan area within a variety of sectors/industries. You can learn more about our MA risk assessments at or call us today at 617-997-8399.

Your Simple Five-Step DOT Compliance Training Checklist


Contrary to popular belief, Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance isn’t something only trucking companies have to be concerned with. DOT compliance should be a focal point of any business that carries out business tasks on our roadways – whether it’s transporting goods, materials, or passengers.

DOT rules and regulations specifically apply to any vehicle (and its driver) used in interstate commerce with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 lbs. or more. This is how much the manufacturer thinks the vehicle can safely carry, which includes the actual weight of the vehicle itself.

While people may envision big rigs when they think of DOT regulations, a ¾ to one ton pickup truck can have a GVWR in the 8,000 to 10,000 lb. range. Adding any cargo or a trailer to that can easily put you over the 10,001 GVWR requirement for DOT compliance.

When MAC Safety meets with a new company to embark on DOT compliance training, helping them develop their very own DOT compliance checklist is an important first step to ensuring they remain in the DOT’s good graces.

Since DOT regulations themselves can be full of complicated and boring legal jargon, we’ve come up with five easy-to-understand items that are absolute musts on any DOT compliance checklist.

Up-To-Date Driver Qualification File

You must stay on top of all records required for your drivers. These employee documents should be kept in one personnel file. Specific records and documentation demonstrating the employee is qualified, safe, and healthy enough to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) should be in this file.

Such documents should include the employee’s initial application, annual Motor Vehicle reports (MVRs), a list of any moving violations, medical certifications (DOT medical evaluation is required once every 24 months at minimum), and their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), proper endorsements, and road test certifications. No driver should be operating a vehicle on the road without these things.

Electronic Driver Logs

In December of 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. These devices are integrally synchronized with a truck’s engine and will electronically track a driver’s hours of service. Data is usually passed to dispatchers or safety and fleet managers in real-time. Everything from driving reports to behaviors (speeding, hard braking, idling), to routes can be monitored.

Accident/Incident Reports

Anything that happens on the road needs to be documented as soon as they happen. Reportable DOT accidents include anything where there’s significant bodily injury (for instance, if someone is taken by ambulance), a fatality, or at least one vehicle is towed from the accident scene.

The date, time, and location of the accident/incident, names of involved parties, number of injuries or fatalities, any hazardous material leakage, and copies of all accident reports should be kept of file for at least 3-5 years.

Even minor accidents/incidents where there’s no liability claim filed against the company or driver should be documented somewhere – just to be on the safe side.

Drug Screening Records

DOT regulations require companies to drug screen all drivers prior to employment and then re-test at least half of them randomly every year. Drivers should be notified they’re about to be tested and then tested immediately afterward.

Any driver that fails a drug test must be pulled off the road right away. This is important since the DOT commonly fines any company that drags their feet to produce paperwork for a driver that has failed a test and needs to complete a substance abuse program.

Document Comprehensive Annual Reviews

DOT regulations require that a company’s safety manager meet with each driver annually for an annual review. This typically involves a quick overview of the driver’s MVR and then both parties signing the document. If the driver’s MVR is clean, this meeting could be as short as one or two minutes; however, we recommend that this time be used to really talk to and connect with your drivers. This is a good way to retain drivers since it helps define your expectations of them and understand their expectations of you and your company.

Interested in DOT Safety Training in Pittsburgh?

MAC Safety provides DOT safety training in and around Pittsburgh, PA. DOT compliance should not be tackled alone. Let our DOT compliance consultants steer you to the right path. Call us today at 724-513-4491.

How Can a Boston Safety Consultant Help You Through an OSHA Inspection?

How Can a Boston Safety Consultant Help You Through an OSHA Inspection?

You’ve just received a notification that your Boston area business is scheduled for a routine OSHA inspection. You’re reasonably certain that your work place is safe—probably. A nagging concern grows in the pit of your stomach. How detailed is the inspection? Are there new regulations that you haven’t heard about yet? How many strikes do you get before they close your doors? Can your business survive expensive citations?

Relax. The safety experts at Mac Safety New England can help you through every step of the inspection process.

Create a Written Safety Plan

If you have been “winging it” in regards to safety procedures, now is the time to make everything official before OSHA gets involved. Our safety consultant comes to your Boston area job site, inspects your premises, observes your routines, meets with your staff and then expertly creates a written safety program tailored to the unique needs of your industry and location. Your safety consultant even works with you to educate your staff on the new policies. A written safety plan is the first line of defense against OSHA citations.

OSHA Required Training

Are all of your employees up-to-date on all of the training that OSHA requires? Do you know which specific courses are required for your industry? Let your Mac Safety consultant worry about that. Our years of experience means that we know what needs to be taught, how to teach it and how to complete any paperwork that needs to accompany the training. We ensure that your entire staff is trained and certified before OSHA shows up at your door.

Mock OSHA Inspections

Have our consultants perform a mock OSHA inspection to see how well your business fares before you face the risk of penalties. We perform our inspections based on the most current OSHA regulations and analyze every detail that the real inspection team would cover. After our inspection, we go over the results with you and help you to correct any problems so that you can breathe easy when the big day comes.

There is nothing worse than being underprepared for your next OSHA inspection. Stay a step ahead by contacting MAC Safety for your Boston, Massachusetts business.

When to Hire DOT Compliance Consultants in Pittsburgh, PA

When to Hire DOT Compliance Consultants in Pittsburgh, PA

If you own a driver-based business in Pittsburgh, PA, you understand how important and complex Department of Transportation regulations can be. When it comes to compliance, the stakes are high—failed audits can result in fines, insurance increase, and even total shut down.

Keeping up to date with the ever-changing federal and state regulations can be mind-boggling, so how do you ensure that your business stays within the boundaries of DOT regulations? The professional consultants at MAC Safety have a strong background in the transportation industry as well as law enforcement to help you stay compliant through any stage of your business.

So, when should your business hire DOT compliance consultants?

1. You are Starting a New Carrier Business

MAC Safety can help your new business wade through the DOT regulation paperwork as well as educate you and your staff on DOT Compliance. They can help to create company policies and procedures as well as train your staff to maintain the correct records and files. By educating your company from the ground up, everyone starts off on the right foot and understands what needs to be done from the very beginning.

2. Your Company is Facing a DOT Audit

It can be a little scary when the DOT informs you that your company is up for review. Luckily MAC Safety knows exactly what this audit entails and how to prepare you for it. Their professionals will conduct a mock review under the same guidelines used by the FMCSA to identify your problem areas, and then they will work with you to correct the issues and avoid repeating these errors in the future.

Going into your audit with this preparation and knowledge can make the process much less intimidating and save you big bucks in penalties.

3. Your Previous DOT Audit Didn’t Go Well

If your DOT Review scores were lower than you like, a compliance consultant can review your audit, identify your problem areas, and help you to repair the damage. Past mistakes don’t need to stay with you forever, and the professional consultants at MAC Safety know how to get you back on track to full DOT Compliance.

Whether you’re dreading an upcoming audit, or you want to feel more prepared for what the future holds, contact MAC Safety today at 724-847- 3331.

How Can OSHA Consulting Help Your Boston Business?

How Can OSHA Consulting Help Your Boston Business?

The Occupational Safety and Health Association was developed to create universal guidelines and regulations regarding work place safety. Following these guidelines results in fewer work place accidents—which means fewer workers compensation expenses, higher productivity and happier employees.

Hiring an OSHA consulting service here in Boston can help ensure that your work place is operating within OSHA’s requirements. This can save you a lot of headache and hassle in the long run, especially if you’re subject to fines.

Safety Program Development and Training

Whether you are starting a brand new business or wanting to improve your existing safety plan, a certified OSHA consultant can help you develop a safety program from the ground up. They will educate your supervisors on the most current OSHA safety and reporting requirements, assist you in creating a custom work safety program based specifically on your industry, as well as train your team to observe important safety practices.

Mock OSHA Inspections for Boston Businesses

An OSHA inspection is somewhat like a pop quiz—ready or not, they’re here to inspect. Failing the inspection can be harmful to your business, and it pays to be prepared. If you are unsure if your company is up-to- date on all the newest regulations and you live in fear of an OSHA inspection, there is a solution to prevent the worst-case scenario. Put your mind at ease by hiring a professional OSHA consultant to come to your work place and conduct a mock inspection—they will observe your records and safety practices, and score you according to the same guidelines OSHA inspectors follow.

If your score falls short of perfection, they can even help you identify your problem areas and get you back on track before the real inspectors show up at your door.

Specialized Safety Training

The greater risk your industry poses to employees, the more stringent guidelines OSHA lays forth to keep everyone as safe as possible. Keep your company on top of their game and trained in the most up-to-date safety regulations in your specialized field. Whether you work on the railways, in a hospital or building a high rise, OSHA consulting can keep you safe and safety compliant.

How to Find a Consultant

Contact MAC Safety Consultants Inc. of New England, located just 20 minutes outside of Boston, for the best in OSHA consulting services. They will keep your company safe, efficient, and profitable for years to come.