L3 – 6.4 Hazardous Situations

Hazardous Situations

To know what needs to be identified as a hazard, you need to look at factors from the past, present, and future.

  • When examining the past, you should look at:
  • What the given set of factors were in the past, and what the given outcome was.
  • If there had previously been an accident, what were the variables that lead up to it and what could have been changed?
  • What areas of the site pose the biggest risk?

When examining the present, you should look at:

  • Are there variables in the workplace now that could potentially hurt an individual?
  • Is everyone following work safe practices?
  • Has all the equipment been properly inspected and maintained?

When examining the future, you should look at:

  • Given the set of factors right now, could they develop into a hazard into the future?
  • What could happen?
  • What variables are changing into a hazard?
  • How do I protect others from future hazards?
  • Predict how the current factors can change over time.
    • Human
    • Equipment
    • Weather
    • Chemicals
    • Electronics

When responding to critical information, you need to determine how you can best respond to the different information inputs you receive.

  • How are you going to fix the different variables presented throughout the site?
  • How are you going to maintain the safe atmosphere?
  • How are you going to respond to added variables?
  • How will you react to a given hazard?

As soon as you can identify a hazard, you should attempt to fix it using actions that include:

  • Communicating the hazard to others
  • Eliminating the hazard all together
  • If you are unable to resolve; identify who can (often law enforcement) and protect personnel and property until it is resolved
  • After you complete the changes, re-evaluate them to ensure the problem is in fact eliminated and not just replaced with a new one.


I Silhouetting or Backlighting


Lighting, or lack thereof, can create hazards for a security officer. Be aware of where light is located and what others can and cannot see.

Silhouetting or backlighting occurs when someone is standing in an exposed area, such as a doorway, when moving from a well-lit area to an area with less light. Minimizing the exposure time by utilizing the door frame and moving quickly through the “funnel” of the doorway reduces the security officer’s exposure to danger.

II Type and Volume of Local Incidents

The officer should recognize the area/neighborhood/community in which they operate. Knowing the community will help you know what type of incidents occur and at what frequency. It is important to know if gang activities occur and the symbols/signs of those gangs. This can help you to avoid dangerous confrontations and to notice minor activities that might have larger criminal implications.

III Animals

Wildlife has the potential to cause significant issues for security officers, as well as those they are trying to protect. Stray dogs can become aggressive and attack. Rodents can chew through wiring and cause valuable security systems to fail. Many animals can spread disease to humans in the area. It is important that you take the time to note any animals in or around your patrol areas that might cause a problem.

Should you see something that you believe will become an issue, you should follow your company’s policies and procedures for handling the situation. This will likely involve contacting your supervisor or local animal control.