Layered workplace maps -- make one
Risk maps are one way to find workplace health and safety problems, prioritize them and follow a problem-solving process.
Traditional risk maps record only the hazards by category. The hazards are found by talking to workers, asking them to do the maps and by workplace inspections. Questionnaires can be used to find symptoms, which can then be tied to hazards. The hazards and/or symptoms are recorded using symbols or icons; each hazard has its colour. Size indicates how much of a problem it is and number of people exposed can be written inside the icon.
But the hazards are not hazards without people. Where are the people? Who are they? What are the "social relations" in the workplace? How does all this fit into the picture, especially if you want to try to fix problems? Can we not do social maps too?
Layered maps are one way to do this. This factsheet will provide a taste of what can be done with these kinds of maps. Make a map with four layers:
1. Pick a work area or workplace to map. Draw it quickly.
2. The artist should be someone who does not know the work area/place. They will follow the instructions from those who do know the area.
3. Using a black marker, draw the physical layout and work flow on a sheet of flip chart paper. Chose a scale that fits and lets you still mark people and hazards so they can be seen. Usually, this will include the basic layout, washrooms, water coolers, stairs, important doors and windows and other physical spaces people use. You don't need to include everything today. That's layer one in the table below.
4. For the risk/symptom layer, use the following colours and shapes (icons):
5. On the hazard layer, you can add other information. For example, if you know how many workers are exposed to a specific hazard, put the number inside the icon for that hazard. If you think the hazard is quite serious, make the icon larger than others in the same category. If it's not very serious, draw the icon smaller. If the hazard is light or noise, you can draw something to indicate that.