Health, Safety and Risk Assessment in Engineering

15Health, Safety, and Risk Assessment in Engineering

Health, Safety, and Risk Assessment in Engineering

(Student Name)

(Lecturer)

Health, Safety, and Risk Assessment in Engineering

Industrial Work Areas Where Current Regulations Apply

Health and Safety regulations are quite extensive and play significant in reducing the amount of risks to the employees. In the UK context, the basis of health and safety regulations is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The Act plays a critical role as it sets out the general principles applied in institutions
to safeguard compliance with health and safety regulations; however, the Act is supplemented by different regulations applicable to all industrial sectors or specific industries, premises, and specific health and safety issues. The regulations create the rights and obligations on the employers and employees and ensure protection beyond the employer’s workers to those within the workplace environments. The Act is very clear that every institution five or more workers needs to write a health and safety policy which all the employees have to be aware (Health and Safety Executive, 2016). The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, (Management Regulations), needs the employers to undertake risk assessments of their operations but leave considerable freedom that allows various risk control methods. However, some of the risks experienced are great which calls for other regulations to ensure specified actions in protecting health and safety. Some of the regulations are applicable to all the employers including Manual Handling Regulations and Display Screen Equipment Regulations.

Health and safety issues involving welding activities are regulated within the Hot Works regulating Acts. As an example within the workplace area, the companies often use various special equipment and machinery in undertaking different tasks. Therefore, there is need to apply The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 (as cited in Ludhra, 2012, 132). PUWER ensures that organizations provide suitable equipment for various activities involved within the practice, adequate information and instruction, proper maintenance of the equipment to ensure they are in proper conditions, and adequate training for the operators. Moreover, the regulation requires appropriate safeguarding of the equipment to prevent the risk associated with mechanical and specific hazards and provision of equipment with appropriate and effective controls. Other laws related to PUWER are the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Act at Work 1992 that require proper assessment of PPEs before using to ensure they fit the purpose, maintained, and properly stored. The Workplace Health, Safety, and Welfare Regulations of 1992 cover the safety of the workers and people around the project site (Haztek, 2016). Welding often involves many risks especially those associated with welding fumes, which require appropriate health and safety regulations. The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 requires that all the machinery supplied be safety when supplied and comes with Declaration of Conformity and instructions for the users in English and CE marked.

Reporting is also critical in every organization. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 requires the employers and other people controlling the workplaces to report and keep the records associated with work-related accidents causing deaths, serious injuries, diagnosed industrial diseases cases, and incidents with capacity to cause harm (HSE, 2016, 42). RIDDOR clearly spells out the requirements of reporting various incidences and the workers being unable to undertake the work for more than 7 days.

The Roles of the HSE Inspectorate

The Health and Safety Act 1974 requires the employers to ensure that their employees undertake their responsibilities under healthy and safety conditions. The body that enforces the health and safety practices at work is the Health and Safety Executives (HSE), which is an operational arm of the Health and Safety Commission. The HSE gives several powers to its inspectors to undertake as part of their responsibilities including entering various workplaces, undertaking inspection and investigation, taking the samples, measurements, and photographs, seizing, destroying, and rendering harmless dangerous items, and acquisition of statement. Furthermore, the Inspectors have the powers of improving and prohibiting notices and to some extent might bring prosecutions against the employers contravening the various relevant statutory provisions (Blunt & Balchin, 2002, 119). The inspectors are specialists within the field as they operate throughout the UK. Within the inspections, HSE Inspectors have the powers of assessing relevant documents to ascertain the level of compliance, interview the workers, conduct observation of the site conditions, practices, and standards. The investigations undertaken relate to activities carried out in response to the incidents to gather and establish the facts, prevention of recurrences, taking appropriate actions such as ensuring formal enforcement. The enforcement decisions made might include serving the notices, withdrawal of organizational approvals, prosecution, and provision of information or advice (Wyoming & Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Commission, 2004, 101). The health and safety inspectors’ aim is to ensure protection workers and making sure there are adequate measures in place to control the risk properly and ensure compliance with all laws relating to health and safety.

Although the health and safety inspectors work for HSE, the local authorities and large institutions also employ them and work for the general team or specialized within a particular area. The work activities undertaken by the inspectors depend on the geographical location and specialism. Through visiting the different welding sites and premises, the inspectors inspect the processes and procedures used to ensure proper health and safety practices; investigation of the accidents and complaints and determine if the employers have in any way breached the health and safety laws. The inspectors carries out the examination of the machinery used in welding, the working conditions and structures, take measurements of the noises, vibrations, heat, and taking the photographs where appropriate. Moreover, the inspectors ensures the provision of appropriate PPEs; investigation of precautions taken in preventing various risks; investigation for the procedures for working within the hazardous environments or with potentially harmful materials; ensuring that organizations keep with up to date regulations and health and safety standards (Haztek, 2016). The inspectors also stay informed with developments within the welding institutions, ensuring provision of specialist advice and information regarding health and safety to the organization and advice on the required changes, reporting the results from the inspection. The inspectors negotiate with the management and try to eliminate the possible conflict between the safety considerations and various activities; they determine the actions necessary after gathering and presenting appropriate evidence; development of health and safety working programs and methods (Gale & Passey, 2012, 152). More importantly, the inspectors assist in the development of methods of predicting possible hazards drawn from experience and other appropriate information, preparation of presentation of court cases, and ensure adequate provision of training and teaching programs to support the employers and employees.

Implementation of a Schedule for Setting-Up of a Safety Audit System

An audit involves a review confirming that the organization follows the regulations, rules, and process properly. With reference to health and safety, the audit focuses on every aspect of health and safety and the aim of the review is to determine compliance with health and safety regulations through effective implementation. The initial step involves reviewing organizational current health and safety systems to assist in identifying the systems in place, potential improvements, and creation of implementation plan and schedule. PPE, emergency equipment, health and safety awareness, trainings, and guidelines are important in improving safety (Blunt & Balchin, 2002, 123). To identify the health and safety system in place, there is need to assess and implement the Safety Management System Audit (SMSA) that is a safety inspection designed to assist the inspectors with evaluation of quality management system design and performance. However, it is critical to revise SMSA annually to determine the areas that require changes. The health and safety legislations need the employers to take care of the welfare, health, and safety of their workers. To display the active management of health and safety within the work environment, each employers needs to ensure there is suitable and sufficient risk assessment method associated with their operations and workplace from which they operate. Risk assessment involves a careful examination of the available activities within the business that could cause harm to the employees and ensure adequate precautions are in place to prevent such harm (Blunt & Balchin, 2002, 221). Risk assessment involves a series of steps: identification of the hazards, identification of associated risks, evaluation of the risks, elimination of the risks through introduction of control measures, and monitoring the control measures.

Upon starting the audit the audit process, there need to break down into small units the workplace activities to enable identification of potential hazards. For suitability and sufficiency of the risk assessment, there need to consider all occasional and seasonal activities, proper check on the hazards, identification of those affected, precautions in place, and appropriate control methods need consideration. An effective action plan for Manual Handling needs to consider various documents. Firstly, the Manual Handling Information Checklist (MHIC) of recording significant feature associated with welding activities as it relates to different capacities of the every worker (Wyoming & Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Commission, 2004, 116). The MHIC requires consideration of the shape, size, equipment weight, frequency, need for reduction in movements, adaptation of the processes to reduce the risk, and suitability and maintenance of the floor. Secondly, the audit requires Manual Handling Risk Assessment that records critical risks and measures of control. Thirdly, there is need for training records to establish the level of understanding of the health and safety regulations; there is need to involve all the workers while developing such procedures. Implementation, monitoring, and reviewing the operations is as well critical to ensure the achievement of the desired results.

Occupational Exposure Standards to Welding Fumes

The health and safety laws are quite extensive, the Health and Safety Act 1974 forms the basis of UK health and safety regulations. The approved Codes of Practice (ACOPS) are published on timely basis and contain the guidance of ensuring good practice and explanations of the law. The regulations guiding health and safety are supplemented sometimes with the Codes of Practice that are approved by the Health and Safety Commission to ensure maximum protection of the workers from the fumes generated during welding activities. The Approved Codes of Practice give practical guidance on compliance issues. An employer could seek advice from the HSE inspectorate on the manner of complying with the legislations in the form of guidance notes with an aim of interpreting the laws and assisting the employees in understanding the legal requirements, assist in compliance with the law, and offering technical advice.

During welding activities and other associated hot cutting processes, there is often generation of a mixture of airborne gases and fine particles, which could cause detrimental health issues upon inhalation. Therefore, there is need for measures that ensure maximum protection of the employees from such fumes. The commonly generated gases and cutting fumes available in welding environments include nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, shielding gases, and ozone. Usually, the visible part of the fume cloud produced during welding include the metal particles, metal oxide, and fluxes if use. However, the level of risks associated with the fumes depends on their toxicity, concentration, and duration of exposure. For the arc welding activities, the visible fumes majorly originate from the filter wire when exposed to the electric arc. Furthermore, it is critical to include the amount of hazardous substances within the filter wire within the product information printed on the original packaging. Most of the metals used in the filter wires are very harmful and have Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL).

Occupation Exposure Limits (OELs) refers to the maximum permissible concentration of the hazardous materials that most health adults could repeatedly expose themselves to without suffering the adverse effects. The limits assume that the exposure is to a healthy adult; however, the risks might be higher if the exposure is on either unhealthy adult or those with pre-existing health complications or allergies. The OELs are usually assigned three distinct values: One value is usually based on the normal working conditions of 8 hours in a day, over an average lifetime of exposure. If an employee works for than 8 hours, then the value has to be adjusted.

The second value provides a 15-minute limit, which is a short exposure. According to the value, an employee can only be exposed for 15 minutes within a maximum of 4 time in every shift, and at least a difference of an hour between the exposures. In such cases, the 8-hour OEL cannot be exceeded. The third value is the ceiling limit, which the employees must never exceed. If there is an availability of more than contaminant within the fume, as experienced in most welding situations, the effects of exposure are usually similar. Moreover, such cases of exposure require calculation of exposure limit for the mixture, which is often lower than set limits for exposure to individual contaminants.

Legislation impacts on the senior management team

The main objective of most business organizations is to acquire competitive advantage in amid of high competition within the market. Besides, with the current competition levels, most employers are concerned much with the income associated with the services that they offer but not the health and safety of the employees. Contrary to such concepts, the state government is concerned with the health, safety, and welfare of the employees through setting various occupations standards guiding the workplace activities. Engineering firms have to comply with the established standards and regulations to ensure effective organizational processes (Haztek, 2016). Employees are the greatest organizational assets that require effective and efficient management to ensure they are healthy and fit at all times to execute their responsibilities as required. However, these legislations have impacts on management.

Health and safety regulations require business entities to assess the risk to the employees, customers, and other people likely to be affected by organizational activities, proper arrangement for effective planning, organization, control, monitoring, and reviewing of the preventive and protection measures, and written health and safety policy if the company employs five of more people. These activities require employees with adequate skills: educational and experiences. Having employed and educated employees might be costly to the organization as it influences organizational structure. Failure to comply with the requirements, there could be serious consequences for both the organization and individuals including sanctions, fines, disqualification, and imprisonment.

Health and safety regulations do not essentially change the general responsibilities of the management team within the workplace. However, the management teams have critical roles as mentors, leaders, and communication channels for the workers within the workplace. Under the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) regulations continues to be the document that leads, guides, and supports the workers with an aim of understanding and adhering to various health and safety policies and procedures. In addition, the management teams have the responsibilities of supporting and assisting the other duty holders in meeting their WHS legislative obligations (Gale & Passey, 2012, 162). More importantly, the management act as the critical link between the WHS practitioners and workers. Therefore, as required by the legislations, the management team would have to ensure consultation and involvement of the employees in any health and safety issues that might affect them. The employees should as well be offered the opportunities of raising issues and providing ideas and feedback to the management team through organizational WHS practitioners and senior institutional leaders (Health and Safety Executive, 2016). The actions and inactions undertaken by the management are visible to the employees that they lead.

All the employees need to have accountability at one level or another. Moreover, the management team should be accountable while involving and assisting the employees in changing the management processes, ensuring proper integration of health and safety regulations into team planning and prevention of downgrading owing to competing priorities, inadequate resources, and budgetary constraints. The management must as well ensure promotion and encouragement of open discussions on health and safety issues at all organizational levels of the institution to ensure the achievement of the outcomes through open communication, negotiation, consultation, and agreement (Gale & Passey, 2012, 188). More importantly, there is need for establishment and promotion of fair and equitable issue resolution processes.

Risk Assessment and a Risk Rating For the Welding Activity

For safety reasons, the designated areas need to be free of any combustible material. Therefore, the standing permit shall not be in effect in areas with gaseous fuels and hazardous fumes. If welding were to take place in locations not designated for such reason, then the supervisor from the Facilities Operations would have been present before the activity commences. When necessary, it is crucial to consult an Environmental Health and Safety practitioner for proper inspection of the area. However, the welder might require a separately confined space entry permit for such extra activities. Risks assessment aims to identify potential hazards, processes, and situations that could cause harm, especially to the human capital. Moreover, the process involves identification, associated with the hazards, evaluation, and division of appropriate methods of eliminating the identified hazards. Risk assessment is critical component of occupational safety and health management pan as it assists in creating awareness and prevention of injuries and illness.

Risk Frequency and Rating Matrix

1.Insignificant – dealt with through in-house first aid

2. Minor- medical assistance required

3-Moderate – significant non permanent injury

4 – Major – Extensive permanent injury

5-Catastrophic – death, permanent, disabling injuries

Almost certain in all circumstances

Extreme (E)

Likely to occur frequently

Moderate (M)

Possible and likely to occur at some time

Moderate

Unlikely to occur but could happen

Moderate

May occur but only in rare and exceptional situations

Moderate

Risk assessment matrix

Identified hazards and subsequent risks (Hazards/issues/risks)

Risk analysis and evaluation

Consequence

Likelihood

Risk Level

Machining operations and powered machinery crushing

  • Frictions, abrasions, impact, puncture wounds, stabbing, shearing, ejection, and entanglement

Maintenance of the powered machinery

  • Entanglement, drawing in, and crushing

  • Electric shocks

Handheld and portable power tools

  • Abrasion and cuts

  • Burns, sparks, fires

  • Small projectiles, dust, and materials

Hand and foot operated machinery

  • Shearing, cutting, and crushing

Hot works and processes

  • Electric shock

  • Compressed gas

  • Burns, fires, UV radiation, fumes

Electricity in the workplace

  • Burns, electric shocks, and fires

Hazardous materials and substances

  • Dusts, fumes, vapours, inhalation of aerosols

  • Contact with skin and eyes

Human factors

  • Unsafe persons and unsafe practices

Frequency and severity of an identified hazard

Severity refers to the assessment of seriousness of the effect associated with identified potential failures of the systems and activities to the end users. However, severity is only applicable to the effects. Therefore, if the welding workers are affected by the severity of the effects, then the objective would not be achieved considering the number of workers who would be suffering from respiratory illnesses.

Description

Injury/loss of lives

Inhaling the welding fumes within considerable duration of time; damage or involvement in fire due to violent explosion of the oxygen cylinders

Non-compliance with EHS&R

Enrichment of the air with pollutants from the welding activities due to leaks making the fire burn fast and more violently

Inadequate provision of the employees and welders with PPEs such as ear plugs that protect them from high noise levels produced during various welding activities higher than 85 dB

Poor operations of the machinery and powered machinery crushing

Implementation of the guards that are either permanent fixtures or guards fitted within the required machinery; continuous adjustment of the guards used by the welders in preventing the injuries such as the moving parts, rotating cutting tools, coolants, and abrasive tools

Electric shocks

Functional machinery and plug in electricity system during maintenance or in idle state and ensuring qualified and competent people perform various tasks associated with electricity, and safety testing with live equipment

Abrasion and cuts

Ensuring all the welders have access to and provided with PPEs including the coveralls in preventing them from abrasions and cuts associated with abrasive wheels and sharp edges; implementation of guards on permanent fixtures or on the required machinery

Burns and sparks

Proper maintenance of all portable electrical equipment and power tools, undertaking inspection, and testing after every 6 months to ensure compliance with Engineering Workshop Safety Policy; provision of PPE for all the workers

Creates nuisance but no performance loss due to dust materials

Provision of welders with PPEs to prevent contact with hazardous dusts; provision and utilization of safety glasses to all workers; development of a designated area cordoned off for angle grinding work

Apparent failure and minor process detect

Clearing of the walkways of all the obstacles and electrical cords are firmly secured on the floor to prevent associated accidents

Failure does not affect the processing

Contact with the fumes due to lack of PPEs

Generic Hazard Pro-Forma

Generic Risk Assessment

Activity / Event:

Date Assessed:

Location

Assessor’s Name:

Assessment Ref. No.:

Assessor’s Signature:

High Risk (Rate >7) – Unacceptable risk, take immediate action

Moderate Risk (Rate 4 – 6) — May or may not be an acceptable risk. Introduce & make all efforts to control/reduce risk

Low Risk (Rate 1- 3) – Risk may be acceptable, but consider possible low or no-cost improvements.

(the potential for harm)

activity / event
arising from

Can the hazard be avoided? A/N

(Identify who may be harmed, how they may be harmed and how likely

Risk level without controls

Existing controls

(preventive and protective measures provided)

Risk level with existing controls

Risk level acceptable Y/N

Additional control measures required to reduce risk to acceptable level

Residual Risk Level

Initials of Line Manager responsible for monitoring (G & Q) and implementing (M)

Likelihood (1– 4)

Severity (1 – 4)

Risk Level (1 – 16)

Likelihood (1– 4)

Severity (1 – 4)

Risk Level (1 – 16)

Likelihood (1– 4)

Severity (1 – 4)

Risk Level (1 – 16)

Inhalation of various chemicals and fumes such as aerosols, vapours, and dusts

Welders without PPEs appropriate for preventing the contact and inhalation; members of the public within the project environment

Utilizing hazardous materials in compliance with the MSDS; utilization of appropriate coolants; and extraction of fumes from the source

Accessibility to PPEs for all the workers; carrying out specific assessment for some metals like nickel and steel

Implementation of recommendations in 2 months

Ejection and injection from the compressed air

The welders undertaking the welding activities without appropriate PPEs

Provision and utilization of safety glasses in protecting the eye from dusts while cleaning

Ensuring that all welders wear appropriate PPEs majorly the protective clothing such as coveralls in protecting their skins from the injecting fluids that; adequate training of the technicians on methods of handling compressed gasses

Making adjustment on the control measures within 1 month

Fallings, Slipping, and Tripping

The welders and supervisors without appropriate PPEs

Carrying out housekeeping of frequent basis with an aim of preventing the walkways from obstruction; properly dealing with the leaks and spills

All the floors are made of non-slippery materials; separating the storage areas with workplace; delineation of the walkways, workspaces, and storage areas through floor marking

Implementing the recommended actions within 2 months

Unsafe practices and persons leading to injuries

The welders performing their welding activities due to poor practices

Allowing only the trained personnel within the working environment; proper supervision of the employees

Provision of appropriate PPEs and ensuring the employees know how to use them; training the workers frequently on the OHS requirements within the workplace to ensure compliance with the regulations; locking the workshop sites when not operational to prevent unauthorized access

Appropriate measures in place to ensure compliance with the required practices

Signed Assessor

Signed Assessor

Signed Assessor

Signed Assessor

Signed Assessor

Analysis of A Recording System That Tracks and Highlights Potential Hazards

Comcare approach is one of the methods that are important in tracking and highlighting the potential hazards. Additionally, camcare is a safety management (SMS) that ensures prevention of the major accidents taking place within the working environments. Camcare approach recognizes a wide variety of SMS, which are effective in controlling various risks; as a result, most regulations do not specify the exact type of SMS that need to be used within the major hazard facilities. However, through utilization of the proven SMS models, the approach simplifies the exercise that sets up the SMS (Australian Government – Comcare, 2015). It is critical to note that an employer is often free in choosing the different core elements; nonetheless, it is encouraged to utilize any alternative configuration of the SMS within the MHF. There are five core components benchmarking the SMS as recommended Camcare approach: safety policy, planning, implementation, measurement and evaluation, and management review.

Safety Policy

The safety policy of any organization describes its intentions, broad performance targets, and commitment to preventing various forms of accidents within the facility that could negative impacts on the employees. The developed policies often establish the framework for various organizational elements contributing to a high-quality safety within the facility. However, the policy needs to include a reference to the goals of the employers with regard to the continuous enhancement in minimizing the risk of the major accident that affect the local community and the surrounding environments.

Planning

The organizational planning needs to outline the various strategies for managing the risks within the work place and those associate with hazards identified within the facility including the impacts on the workplace environments and local communities. Moreover, the plan needs proper documentation and needs to include the risk management strategies, timetables, and objectives for reaching the specified goals that would ensure reduced accidents among the employees.

Implementation

Any systematic process within the safety management system needs to ensure minimization of the risks contributing to the potential for main accidents within the workplace. However, the implementation needs to address various areas including thorough identification and assessment of the risk, comprehensive and documentation that is easy to understand. The documents need to outline the operating procedures, process safety information, and safe work practices. Moreover, the implementation processes should entail a systematic approach used in managing various contractors, an equipment integrity mechanisms, procurement program, and management change procedures. Others areas of concern are effective selection, training, induction, and education of the employees that involves facility specific competency standards for the workers, plans and procedures of managing on-site and offsite emergency plans (Australian Government – Comcare, 2015). Moreover, the implementation needs to focus on security and access control mechanisms, incident management systems, and comprehensive and integrated management element in supporting and improving all the SMS aspects including auditing.

Measurement and Evaluation

By measuring and evaluating the performance of the SMS, elements is critical in maintaining a healthy SMS. However, much emphasis is required on the measurement and evaluation of the controls measures in place to manage the risks and associated performances.

Management Review

Health and safety principles necessitate employers to ensure that there are systems in place within the organization to ensure that it meets its needs while taking control of the workers’ welfare, safety, and health. Such practices offer successful management system if organizations review health and safety policies on frequent basis. The areas noted as deficient; much actions is required and the employers need to ensure proper documentation of all the recommendations and corrective actions. There is need for employers to undertake self-audit for “reality check” exercises that assist the employers in identifying the possible gaps within the SMS. It is critical to avoid assumptions regarding the adequacy of the existing SMS. A properly self-conducted audit often contributes in making objective oriented decisions regarding the quality of an SMS.

References

Australian Government — Comcare. (2015, November 26). Middle Manager — Legislative obligations. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from https://www.comcare.gov.au/promoting/roles_and_responsibilities/middle_managers/Legislative_obligations

Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. .Health and safety in welding and allied processesBlunt, J., & Balchin, N. C. (2002).

. Fire Protection Association. Protection Association Hot Work Permit SchemeGale, M., & Passey, H. (2012).

Retrieved from http://www.haztek.com.au/welding-fume-monitoring/Welding Fume Monitoring and Assessment: Queensland :: Haztek Pty Ltd – Occupational Hygiene, Health and Safety.Haztek. (2016).

Retrieved from http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/noise-vibration.htmHSE — Welding: Hearing loss and vibration white finger.Health and Safety Executive. (2016).

HSE. (2016). Major Incident Roles and Responsibilities. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/ogprocedures/majorincident/roleshsehsc.htm

Taylor and Francis Publishers. .Common Sense Guide To Health And Safety In Construction, S. (2012). Ludhra

Cheyenne: Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Commission..Occupational Health and Safety Act and rules of practice and procedureWyoming, & Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Commission. (2004).