Hazard Analysis: Reducing Risk of Harm for Trick or Treaters

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This year, we thought we’d celebrate Halloween by performing a basic job hazard analysis for Trick or Treaters to help minimize harm and maximize fun this holiday season.

Hazard analyses are incredibly useful because they identify potential hazards and harms before they occur, by thoughtfully focusing on each step of a particular task (OSHA 3071).

As always, the first part of performing a job hazard analysis is to write out all the steps that must be taken to perform a job. Below, we have listed the basic steps of going Trick-or-Treating:


  1. Put on your costume.
  2. Get a sturdy, empty bag that can be filled with candy.
  3. Plan a route to walk for trick or treating.
  4. Leave your house and follow the planned route, planning to only go to houses with their porch lights on.
  5. Approach a house with the porch lights on, walk up the drive, and ring the doorbell.
  6. When the door opens, exclaim, “Trick or treat!”
  7. Hold open your bag to be filled with a piece of candy by the homeowner.
  8. Say, “Thank you!”
  9. Leave the house and walk back towards the street.
  10. Proceed to the next house.
  11. Follow steps 5-10 until you have filled your bag with candy.
  12. Walk home.
  13. Eat your candy!

Next, when performing a job hazard analysis, you should create and fill out a hazard analysis form (ours were modeled on OSHA forms from the OSHA Publication 3071), which will allow you to consider step by step what any potential hazards are that you may face while Trick or Treating.

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Next, putting the steps and the hazard analysis form data into TaskArchitect will organize the analysis and allow you to create properties for each of the properties found on the hazard analysis form. 

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In addition to following OSHA standards for what to include on a hazard analysis form, we included a consequence rating and likelihood rating, which we multipled to create an overall risk factor. This overall risk factor will help you prioritize and understand the potential hazards that will face Trick or Treaters. 

This holiday season, we recommend that Trick or Treaters inspect their candy carefully, as tampered candy carries the greatest hazard risk factor for Trick or Treaters. The next greatest risk factor comes from the issue of decreased visibility of the Trick or Treater in certain costumes. We then found that the trip hazards for walking down uneven paving or poorly lit areas were the next highest risk factor, primarily because of the high likelihood rating. Finally, the trip hazards from poorly hemmed costumes are important to consider - though they don't carry the critical risk that tampered candy or decreased visibility carry. 

Following these recommendations will help ensure that you have a fun and safe Halloween!