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PEME (People, Equipment, Materials, Environment)


A useful tool to aid hazard identification. The quality of a risk assessment will depend greatly on how well step 1 of the "five steps" has been completed. Step 1 is "identifying hazards" and the "PEME" acronym will help you to identify the vast majority of hazards associated with the task or activity under consideration. Not all will be applicable for every task but a knowledge of the key issues will prepare you for most situations. When looking at the task try to identify the hazards associated with: People People will bring a range of issues with them to a task or activity: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. their competence the training they have/have not received any physical or mental disabilities which may affect their ability to carry out the work physical issues such as height body size, physical strength, etc. phobias (heights, confined spaces, etc)

Other possible people issues you may have to consider include the number of people needed for a task (do you have enough or too many involved?), the management of the task (who does what?) and the supervision requirements (who is coordinating and monitoring the activity?) Equipment There will normally be some type of equipment used in the task/activity under consideration. Work equipment covers a wide range of items including equipment found in offices, laboratories, workshops, sports centres, catering areas, etc. You need to consider the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. is it the right equipment for the task (hazards may be introduced if the wrong type of equipment is used)? is the equipment intrinsically hazardous (hot, sharp, imbalanced, vibrating, heavy, fragile, trapping points, hazardous substances (e.g. asbestos rope on furnaces) etc.)? are there any energy issues (electricity, pressure systems, hydraulics, etc.)? does it need statutory testing or maintenance/calibration to ensure it is safe (electrical testing)? does it have to be moved? are the hazards confined to the equipment or can they affect people remote from the equipment (trailing leads, lasers, noise, etc.)? Materials This covers all the substances that are likely to be used/required for generated by the task. Ask the following questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. does the activity/task being carried out require hazardous chemicals or substances? does the task generate any dust, vapours, or mists that need to be controlled (water sprays and legionella)? does it require raw materials or large pieces of metal, wood or other materials (manual handling, moving and storage issues, etc.)? does the task generate special waste? Environment The risk assessment should consider if any of the following could create problems when carrying out the task/activity: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. means of access/egress lighting, heating and ventilation slopes, ramps and steps slippery or damaged underfoot conditions weather conditions obstructions