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Showing posts with label Accident Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Accident Management. Show all posts

Accident/Incident/Near Miss Investigation

Topic : Incident Reporting 
 
 
One of the best ways to avoid further accidents is to understands how an accident occurred and how to avoid that type of accident in the future. The accident investigation is a tool. The goal is not to lay blame.


The goal in an accident investigation is to:
  • Satisfy legal/ organization requirements
  • Rethink the safety hazard.
  • Introduce ways to prevent a re-occurrence
  • Establish training needs.

An accident, a near miss and an incident should all be investigated.
  • Accident investigations are a tool for uncovering hazards that either were missed earlier or require new controls (policies, procedures or personal protective equipment).
  • Near-miss reporting and investigation identify and control safety or health hazards before they cause a more serious incident.
  • Incident investigations should focus on prevention.

ACCIDENT:- An undesired event or sequence of events causing injury, ill-health or property damage.

NEAR MISS:- Near misses describe incidents where, given a slight shift in time or distance, injury, ill-health or damage easily could have occurred, but didn’t this round.

INCIDENT :- An incident is an unplanned, undesired event that hinders completion of a task and may cause injury or other damage.

Recommendations


  • Conduct an investigation as soon as possible following the event to gather all the necessary facts, determine the true causes of the event, and develop recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
  • Get there as quickly as possible.
  • Ensure area is safe to enter.
  • Make sure injured person has first-aid or medical attention required.
  • Look for witnesses.
  • Record the scene with photos (ideally date and time printed) or sketches.
  • Safeguard any evidence.
  • Establish what happened.

Equipment that may come in handy:
  • Pens and notebook
  • Measuring tape
  • Specimen containers
  • Camera
  • Tape recorder and cassettes
  • Copies of accident report forms, checklists
  • Telephone numbers
  • Personal protective equipment.

Investigate


The investigation should answer six questions:
  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Interview


Interview all people involved. Look for all the causes. Do not fall into the trap of blaming the employee or volunteer, even if the person admits causing the event. Investigate the procedures, supervisor's directives, training, machinery, weather, you get the idea. The organization's accident, incident and near-miss reporting forms will give guidance.

Document


Properly document all accident investigations using the organization's approved investigation form. The form should make it simple to remember what questions to ask, be easy to understand and complete, and be filed and retained in chronological order.

Protect Privacy


Investigation reports are not to be released to anyone without authorization.




Injury Reporting


Topic : Incident Reporting

Injury Reporting

Why Report ALL Injuries?

The most important reason to report all injuries is to allow the company to arrange for prompt medical treatment. Proper medical care will reduce the possibility of a minor injury becoming worse.



Accidents must be investigated, and their causes found, to prevent the same injuries from happening again to someone else. You may feel that a little cut on the finger is not worth bothering someone about. But remember, an infection that results in an amputation can start from a small untreated cut.

The cable that breaks can start from just a few broken strands. There is no such thing as an unimportant injury or accident!

The immediate result of an accident may be classified as minor, serious, or major, but they are all accidents. The fact that the accident was ‘minor’ this time may have been pure luck. Next time the same type of incident occurs, the odds may be different and the result could be a major injury – even a fatality.

Why Report Near Misses?

There are also accidents occurring every day that do not cause injury. These accidents are called a “near miss” or near accident. Experience tells us that for every serious accident, there are a greater number of minor accidents and near misses. Every time that we ignore a minor accident or near miss, we are increasing the odds that a serious accident will occur. Just the act of reporting a near miss increases safety awareness for you and your coworkers.

Reporting Guidelines

All incidents and accidents to your immediate Supervisor, and Safety Department, as soon as possible. It is critical that all injuries and accidents, including near misses, be reported so that they can be investigated and the causes determined and eliminated. This will help prevent additional injuries from occurring to our most valuable resource – YOU!

What Does An Accident Cost?

Topic : Incident Reporting 

What Does An Accident Cost?

Every accident has something in common: It costs everyone involved something. There are direct and indirect costs, both to the employee who was injured and the employer who eventually will pay for the accident. The costs are more than dollars.

Accident Direct & Indirect Cost
Employee Direct Costs
  • Lost regular wages and overtime
Employee Indirect Costs
  • Mental anguish, physical pain and suffering
  • Decreased active participation with their family and friends (It's tough to be at a ball game when laying up in a hospital bed)
  • Inability to be productive on or off the job
Employer Direct Costs
  • Workers’ Compensation claim
  • Medical bills
  • Associated legal and possible increased insurance costs
  • Uninsured property damage costs
Employer Indirect Costs
  • Loss of valuable employee with a result of lost efficiency on the job
  • Managerial and clerical time expended to handle injury claims
  • Time loss wages paid with no work performed
  • Hiring and training replacement
  • Damaged or destroyed equipment, materials or tools
The indirect (or hidden) cost in an accident is between three and ten times the actual cost of the claim. But it is not the costs, direct or indirect, that totals the most. More often than not it is the loss of a valuable co-worker or member of a family that causes the most problems for our company.

Injury Incident Pyramid

Topic : Incident Reporting 

Injury Incident Pyramid

Many of us know about the Incident Pyramid already, but some of the newer employees may not.
This pyramid is nothing more than a representation of the statistics about injuries. Year after year, industry after industry, injuries statistically fall into this pyramid.

Near Misses –&  Unsafe Acts are the bottom of the pyramid. There are thousands of these. These are things such as not wearing your seat-belt on a forklift. Not putting your machine in ESP while clearing a jam, not wearing cut resistant gloves while putting on a cutting die or changing cutting blades.

Next up are Recordable Injuries. These are injuries that require more than basic first aid. The injury may require a prescription anti-biotic, physical therapy, a few sutures and things that are above and beyond first aid treatment. For all the thousands of near misses and unsafe acts, sooner or later it will result in an injury that requires this type of treatment.

Incident Pyramid

Next up are Life Changing Serious Injuries. For every 600 recordable injuries statistically, year after year, industry after industry, there will be 30 life changing injuries. That is 5%. These are injuries such as amputations, major surgeries, broken bones and the like. These types of injuries will change your life and those who depend on you.

And finally at the top there is a Fatal Injury. For every 30 life changing injuries, there will be one fatal injury.

So what does this mean? We need to work on the unsafe acts and the near misses at the base of the pyramid. If you can reduce or eliminate those, then you can stop the cascade effect that comes with injuries to begin with. To eliminate the recordable and life changing injuries you need to reduce the near misses and unsafe acts.

The only way to stop it is to eliminate the unsafe acts and near misses.

Accident/Incident Reporting

Topic : Accident Reporting 

Accident/Incident Reporting

The accident or incident information should be reported to (don’t forget the company Safety Committee) and who will fill out the Injury Report in the company format.


The following points should be covered in discussing the importance of reporting and investigating accidents, incidents or near miss accidents:

Guide for Discussion
  • Always report any accidents or near misses to Employer.
  • Any injuries needing first aid or medical attention should be reported to Employer.
  • What employees do in the case of an emergency (first aid and calling for an ambulance)?
  • Where is the nearest hospital? What is the nearest cross street? (Note: Discuss the information necessary to direct an ambulance to the worksite.)
  • Who are the first aid qualified people on the job site?
  • Anyone witnessing an accident should report what he or she saw to Employer.
  • All accidents involving medical treatment should have an investigation conducted to determine the cause.
Always report any unsafe condition or unsafe acts, no matter how minor, to your Employer. It’s far better to prevent accidents than it is to report, investigate, deal with the workers’ compensation carrier, and have the loss of a valuable employee.

Safety Seeds : Cuts And Burns


TOPICS :  CUTS AND BURNS

Cuts, Nicks, , Scratches and Burns. Minor injuries that can occur to any one of us no matter how careful we are. Minor injuries to the skin that are often ignored. But it must be remembered that skin is a vital organ; one that should not be ignored. Not only is skin the largest bodily organ, it also keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.

  • So what do you do when you get a minor injury?
  • If you are like many, you realize a doctor's visit is not necessary and try to treat the injury yourself.
  • How do you know when to seek professional treatment?
  • How do you treat injuries that do not require a doctor's visit?

Cuts: Cuts require immediate professional attention if:

  • There is severe bleeding, especially arterial wounds, which literally pump blood from the body.
  • Puncture wounds, such as those caused by a rusty nail or animal bite. These will require a tetanus booster shot.
  • Cuts more than one half inch long and one quarter inch deep, which will require stitches.

To treat any cuts, first stop the bleeding and then treat to prevent infection. Place a sterile gauze (or if you do not have any gauze, a clean cloth) over the wound and hold it until the bleeding stops. Apply pressure continuously. If the gauze or cloth soaks through, simply place another cloth over the first and resume the pressure. When the bleeding has stopped, wash the cut with soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. If the bleeding does not stop, get professional treatment. After the cut is clean, look for any foreign object(s) in the cut and remove them. If you do not, a threatening infection may set in. To aid in keeping the wound clean while it heals, you can cover it with a bandage. However, if you use a bandage, remember it will need attention too. Change it twice daily and use an antibiotic cream to prevent further infection. Keep in mind that wounds exposed to air heal faster. But it is also very important to keep a wound clean and dry to prevent infection.
Treatment for a scrape is the same, except you do not have to worry about stopping blood flow as there is very little.

Burns: Burns are classified as first, second, or third degree

A first degree burn causes redness. Blistering is caused by a second degree burn. Charred, blackened or blanched skin are signs of a third degree burn. Furthermore, burns can be caused by heat (thermal burns) or by contact with chemicals. Seek professional, medical treatment for:
  • All third degree burns.
  • Second degree burns involving more than one fifth of the body or if the burn has affected the face, hands, feet, or genitalia.
First aid treatment for a burn involves relief of pain, infection prevention and treatment or prevention of shock. If a burn begins to blister, cool it by placing your hand or foot in cold, still (not running) water. You will need to use an ice pack on any other part of the body. Gently clean the burn and cover the area with a sterile, non-stick gauze. Change the dressing twice a day. Never puncture a blister. This just opens the door for infection. Never use butter, oils, or petroleum jelly on burns.

If the burn is due to a chemical exposure, flush the burned area with running water for at least 15 minutes. While you flush, remove any contaminated clothing, especially clothing in the area of the burn. Check the first aid instructions for the chemical. These are found on the container and/or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Treat as specified. Cover the burn with a clean dressing and call a doctor.
  • If a third degree burn is involved, get professional medical treatment quickly. Call an ambulance first. While awaiting professional help, make sure any fire is out and/or remove the victim from the burn source. DO NOT REMOVE ANY CLOTHING OR APPLY ANY DRESSINGS. Treat for shock and make sure the victim is still breathing.

Use common sense in all situations. Maintain a well stocked first aid kit and be familiar with first aid procedures. Being knowledgeable and prepared may be the smartest first step of all.

Near Miss Reporting


Near Miss Reporting

DEFINITION


A “near miss” is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage - but had the potential to do so.

Sometimes called a “near hit” or “close call” – indicates a system weakness and if not corrected, could lead to significant consequences in future.

POSSIBLE REASONS FOR NOT REPORTING NEAR MISSES

  • Not knowing what is near miss & its impacts in future
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Fear of being blamed
  • Negative image of the company by clients
  • Negative image of the reporter

IMPORTANCE OF NEAR MISS REPORTING
  • It helps us to establish and continue safe practices in the workplaces
  • It enables an employer to communicate facts, causes and corrective actions to all employees regarding near misses.
  • It avoid/prevent future accidents and injuries.
  • Provides opportunity to improve health, safety and environment - HSE.
  • Reduces tolerance for risk.
  • Avoids complacency.
  • Provides a tool to identify workplace hazards
  • Allows employee involvement in safety program
  • Demonstrates management’s commitment to safety.
  • Allows identification of possible trends.



NEAR MISS MANAGEMENT STAGES

Identification

  • Sometimes issue [unsafe conditions / acts] is not obvious
  • May not be recognized as near miss
  • When in doubt, consider as near miss

Disclosure

  • Employees need to feel comfortable in reporting near misses.
  • Employees should not be afraid of disciplinary action or pressure by reporting.
  • Organization’s safety culture is such that reporting a near miss is important and necessary.

Distribution
  • Rapid distribution of near miss information is the foremost important action.
  • Quick distribution helps to ensure fast resolution, which reduces likelihood of potential accident occurring.
  • Follow-up should occur quickly.
Direct & root-cause analysis
  • Assess the direct and underlying root causes that contributed to an incident.
  • Determine corrective actions or solutions to rectify the root cause so that recurrence is less likely.
Solution identification
  • Corrective actions need to be determined for each cause.
  • Ideally corrective actions should eliminate potential for recurrence but may not always be feasible.
  • Desirable solutions reduce likelihood of recurrence or at least reduce potential impact in case of recurrence.
Dissemination
  • Corrective actions information should be sent to all employees in the organization.
  • Should include individuals implementing corrective actions at location where near miss occurred.
Resolution
  • It ensures potential accidents do not occur in future.
  • Resolutions should be promoted and tracked.
  • If employees think near misses are acted upon, a good & effective reporting culture will develop in the organization.

 


Safety Seeds : Accidents and Accident Prevention



Topics: Accidents and Accident Prevention


What is an accident?

1. Oxford Dictionary : An unforeseeable event often resulting in injury.
2. British Safety Council : A management error; the result of errors or omissions on the part of management.
3. Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) : Any deviation from the normal, the expected or the planned usually results in injury.
4. Frank Bird, American Exponent of ‘Total Loss Control’ : An unintended or unplanned happening that may or may not result in personal injury, property damage, work process stoppage or interference, or any combination of these conditions under such circumstances that personal injury might have resulted.

The pre-accident situation

In any situation prior to an accident taking place, two important factors must be considered, namely:

a) The objective danger
This is the objective danger associated with a particular machine, system of work, hazardous substance, etc. at a particular point in time.

b) The subjective perception of risk on the part of the individual
People perceive risks differently according to a number of behavioural factors, such as attitude, motivation, training, visual perception, personality, level of arousal and memory. People also make mistakes. Ergonomic design is significant in preventing human error.
The principal objectives of any accident prevention programme should be, firstly, that of reducing the objective danger present through, for instance, effective standards of machinery safety and, secondly, bringing about an increase in people’s perception of risk, through training, supervision and operation of safe systems of work.

Pre-accident strategies:

These can be classified as ‘Safe Place’ and ‘Safe Person’ strategies.

‘Safe place’ strategies

The principal objective of a ‘safe place’ strategy is that of bringing about a reduction in the objective danger to people at work. ‘Safe place’ strategies may be classified under the following headings:
  • Safe premises
  • Safe plant, equipment and machinery
  • Safe processes
  • Safe materials
  • Safe systems of work
  • Safe access to and egress from the workplace
  • Adequate supervision and control
  • Competent and trained employees.
‘Safe person’ strategies

Generally, ‘safe place’ strategies provide better protection than ‘safe person’ strategies. However, where it may not be possible to operate a “safe place” strategy, then a ‘safe person’ strategy must be used. In certain cases, a combination of ‘safe place’ and ‘safe person’ strategies may be appropriate. The main aim of a ‘safe person’ strategy is to increase people’s perception of risk. One of the principal problems of such strategies is that they depend upon the individual conforming to certain prescribed standards and practices, such as the use of certain items of personal protective equipment.
Control of the risk is, therefore, placed in the hands of the person whose appreciation of the risk may be lacking or even non-existent.

‘Safe person’ strategies
may be classified as follows:
  • Care of the vulnerable, such as pregnant employees and young persons;
  • Personal hygiene;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Safe behavior;
  • Caution in the face of danger.

Post accident (reactive) strategies

Whilst principal efforts must go into the implementation of proactive strategies, it is generally accepted that there will always be a need for reactive or ‘post-accident’ strategies, particularly as a result of failure of the various ‘safe person’ strategies. The problem with people is that they forget, they take short cuts to save time and effort, they sometimes do not pay attention
or they may consider themselves too experienced and skilled to bother about taking basic precautions.

Post-accident strategies can be classified as follows:

  • Disaster/contingency/emergency planning;
  • Feedback strategies, such as those arising from accident investigation;
  • Improvement strategies.

The cause of accidents

The actual causes of accidents are many and varied. In endeavoring to identify the causes of accidents, the following more common contributory factors to the causes of accidents should be considered:
  • The design and layout of the workplace or working area;
  • Structural features, such as floors, staircases and elevated working platforms;
  • Environmental factors, such as temperature, lighting and ventilation;
  • Operational methods;
  • Mechanical or materials failure;
  • Maintenance arrangements;
  • Machinery safety elements;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Cleaning and housekeeping arrangements;
  • The level of supervision;
  • Health and safety training provided;
  • Rules and instructions to employees and others;
  • Unsafe attitudes to work;
  • Ergonomic factors in the work;
  • Physical and mental disability or incapacity;
  • Safety monitoring systems in operation; and
  • Stress arising from work activities.

The prevention or control of risks

One of the significant outcomes of the risk assessment process is the identification and specification of preventive and protective measures.

The risk assessment process incorporates the following procedures:

Recognition/identification of hazards

Recognition of the hazards implies some form of safety monitoring, such as a safety inspection or audit, together with feedback from accident investigation in certain cases.

Assessment and evaluation of the risks

Risk assessment requires a measurement of the magnitude of the risk based on factors such as probability or likelihood of the risk arising, the severity of outcome, in terms of injury, damage or loss, the frequency of the risk arising and the number of people exposed to the risk. Following assessment, evaluation of risk must take into account the current legislation applying to that particular risk situation.

Implementation of a control strategy

Once the risk has been assessed, it must either be eliminated or controlled. Elimination or avoidance of the risk may not be possible for a variety of reasons and, inevitably, some form of control must be implemented.

Monitoring of control strategy

It is essential that any control strategy applied is subject to regular monitoring to ensure continuing effectiveness and use of the control.

Prevention and control strategies in accident prevention

Prohibition
This is the most extreme control strategy that can be applied, in particular where there is no known form of operator protection available e.g. in the case of potential exposure to carcinogenic substances, or where there is an unacceptable level of risk in certain activities.

Substitution
This implies the substitution, for instance, of a less dangerous substance for a more dangerous one, or of a less dangerous system of work for a more dangerous one.

Change of process
Design or process engineering can usually change a process to afford better operator protection.

Controlled operation
This can be achieved through isolation of a particularly hazardous operation, the use of Permit to Work systems, method statements, mechanical or remote control handling systems, machinery guarding, restriction of certain operations to highly trained operators, i.e. competent and/or authorized persons, and in the case of hazardous airborne contaminants, the use of various forms of arrestment equipment.

Limitation
The limitation of exposure of personnel to specific environmental and chemical risks, e.g. noise, gases, fumes, on a time-related basis, may be appropriate in certain cases.

Ventilation
The operation of mechanical ventilation systems e.g. receptor systems and captor systems, which remove airborne contaminants at the point of generation, or which dilute the concentration of potentially hazardous atmospheres with ample supplies of fresh air (dilution ventilation) is generally required where substances are known to be hazardous to health.

Housekeeping, personal hygiene and welfare amenity provisions
Poor levels of housekeeping are a contributory factor in many accidents. The maintenance of high standards of housekeeping is vital, particularly where flammable wastes may be produced and stored. Staff must be trained in maintaining good standards of personal hygiene, particularly where they may be handling hazardous substances. The provision of suitable and sufficient sanitary accommodation, washing and showering arrangements, facilities for clothing storage and the taking of meals must be considered.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The provision and use of various items of PPE, e.g. safety boots, eye protectors, gloves, etc. is a commonly used strategy. It has severe limitations in that an operator must wear the PPE correctly all the time that he is exposed to the risk.
However, the provision and use of any item of PPE must be viewed as the last resort, when all other strategies have failed, or an interim measure until some other form of control strategy can be applied. The limitations of PPE should be clearly established and systems for maintenance and cleaning of same established and implemented. Employers should ensure that PPE is ‘suitable’ in that it is appropriate for the risks and conditions where exposure may occur, takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the wearer, is capable of fitting the wearer correctly and, is effective in preventing or adequately controlling the risks without increasing the overall risk.

Health surveillance

Health surveillance implies monitoring the health of identified persons on a regular basis. It may include the exclusion of certain people from specific processes or practices e.g. women and young persons, medical surveillance of certain personnel, medical examinations, health checks, health supervision, biological monitoring e.g. blood tests, urine tests, and other forms of testing, such as audiometry.

Information, instruction and training

The provision of information to staff and the instruction and training of specific management, safety personnel and operators in the recognition of risk and the assessment of same is crucial to the success of any accident prevention programme. Staff must know why certain management action is taken and orders given, and must be fully aware that their cooperation is needed to make the workplace a safe and healthy one for themselves and others.

Accidents and Accident Prevention

Accidents and Accident Prevention


What is an accident?

1. Oxford Dictionary
An unforeseeable event often resulting in injury.

2. British Safety Council
A management error; the result of errors or omissions on the part of management.

3. Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
Any deviation from the normal, the expected or the planned usually results in injury.

4. Frank Bird, American Exponent of ‘Total Loss Control’
An unintended or unplanned happening that may or may not result in personal injury, property damage, work process stoppage or interference, or any combination of these conditions under such circumstances that personal injury might have resulted.

The pre-accident situation
In any situation prior to an accident taking place, two important factors must be considered, namely:

a) The objective danger
This is the objective danger associated with a particular machine, system of work, hazardous substance, etc. at a particular point in time.

b) The subjective perception of risk on the part of the individual
People perceive risks differently according to a number of behavioural factors, such as attitude, motivation, training, visual perception, personality, level of arousal and memory. People also make mistakes. Ergonomic design is significant in preventing human error.

The principal objectives of any accident prevention programme should be, firstly, that of reducing the objective danger present through, for instance, effective standards of machinery safety and, secondly, bringing about an increase in people’s perception of risk, through training, supervision and operation of safe systems of work.

Pre-accident strategies
These can be classified as ‘Safe Place’ and ‘Safe Person’ strategies.

‘Safe place’ strategies
The principal objective of a ‘safe place’ strategy is that of bringing about a reduction in the objective danger to people at work. ‘Safe place’ strategies may be classified under the following headings:
  • Safe premises
  • Safe plant, equipment and machinery
  • Safe processes
  • Safe materials
  • Safe systems of work
  • Safe access to and egress from the workplace
  • Adequate supervision and control
  • Competent and trained employees.

‘Safe person’ strategies
Generally, ‘safe place’ strategies provide better protection than ‘safe person’ strategies. However, where it may not be possible to operate a “safe place” strategy, then a ‘safe person’ strategy must be used. In certain cases, a combination of ‘safe place’ and ‘safe person’ strategies may be appropriate. The main aim of a ‘safe person’ strategy is to increase people’s perception of risk. One of the principal problems of such strategies is that they depend upon the individual conforming to certain prescribed standards and practices, such as the use of certain items of personal protective equipment.
Control of the risk is, therefore, placed in the hands of the person whose appreciation of the risk may be lacking or even non-existent.

‘Safe person’ strategies may be classified as follows:

  • Care of the vulnerable, such as pregnant employees and young persons;
  • Personal hygiene;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Safe behaviour;
  • Caution in the face of danger.

Post accident (reactive) strategies
Whilst principal efforts must go into the implementation of proactive strategies, it is generally accepted that there will always be a need for reactive or ‘post-accident’ strategies, particularly as a result of failure of the various ‘safe person’ strategies. The problem with people is that they forget, they take short cuts to save time and effort, they sometimes do not pay attention or they may consider themselves too experienced and skilled to bother about taking basic precautions.

Post-accident strategies can be classified as follows:
  • Disaster/contingency/emergency planning;
  • Feedback strategies, such as those arising from accident investigation;
  • Improvement strategies.

The cause of accidents
The actual causes of accidents are many and varied. In endeavoring to identify the causes of accidents, the following more common contributory factors to the causes of accidents should be considered:
  • The design and layout of the workplace or working area;
  • Structural features, such as floors, staircases and elevated working platforms;
  • Environmental factors, such as temperature, lighting and ventilation;
  • Operational methods;
  • Mechanical or materials failure;
  • Maintenance arrangements;
  • Machinery safety elements;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Cleaning and housekeeping arrangements;
  • The level of supervision;
  • Health and safety training provided;
  • Rules and instructions to employees and others;
  • Unsafe attitudes to work;
  • Ergonomic factors in the work;
  • Physical and mental disability or incapacity;
  • Safety monitoring systems in operation; and
  • Stress arising from work activities.
The prevention or control of risks
One of the significant outcomes of the risk assessment process is the identification and specification of preventive and protective measures.

The risk assessment process incorporates the following procedures:

Recognition/identification of hazards
Recognition of the hazards implies some form of safety monitoring, such as a safety inspection or audit, together with feedback from accident investigation in certain cases.

Assessment and evaluation of the risks
Risk assessment requires a measurement of the magnitude of the risk based on factors such as probability or likelihood of the risk arising, the severity of outcome, in terms of injury, damage or loss, the frequency of the risk arising and the number of people exposed to the risk. Following assessment, evaluation of risk must take into account the current legislation applying to that particular risk situation.

Implementation of a control strategy
Once the risk has been assessed, it must either be eliminated or controlled. Elimination or avoidance of the risk may not be possible for a variety of reasons and, inevitably, some form of control must be implemented.

Monitoring of control strategy
It is essential that any control strategy applied is subject to regular monitoring to ensure continuing effectiveness and use of the control.

Prevention and control strategies in accident prevention

Prohibition
This is the most extreme control strategy that can be applied, in particular where there is no known form of operator protection available e.g. in the case of potential exposure to carcinogenic substances, or where there is an unacceptable level of risk in certain activities.
Substitution
This implies the substitution, for instance, of a less dangerous substance for a more dangerous one, or of a less dangerous system of work for a more dangerous one.
Change of process
Design or process engineering can usually change a process to afford better operator protection.


Controlled operation
This can be achieved through isolation of a particularly hazardous operation, the use of Permit to Work systems, method statements, mechanical or remote control handling systems, machinery guarding, restriction of certain operations to highly trained operators, i.e. competent and/or authorized persons, and in the case of hazardous airborne contaminants, the use of various forms of arrestment equipment.

Limitation
The limitation of exposure of personnel to specific environmental and chemical risks, e.g. noise, gases, fumes, on a time-related basis, may be appropriate in certain cases.

Ventilation
The operation of mechanical ventilation systems e.g. receptor systems and captor systems, which remove airborne contaminants at the point of generation, or which dilute the concentration of potentially hazardous atmospheres with ample supplies of fresh air (dilution ventilation) is generally required where substances are known to be hazardous to health.

Housekeeping, personal hygiene and welfare amenity provisions
Poor levels of housekeeping are a contributory factor in many accidents. The maintenance of high standards of housekeeping is vital, particularly where flammable wastes may be produced and stored. Staff must be trained in maintaining good standards of personal hygiene, particularly where they may be handling hazardous substances. The provision of suitable and sufficient sanitary accommodation, washing and showering arrangements, facilities for clothing storage and the taking of meals must be considered.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The provision and use of various items of PPE, e.g. safety boots, eye protectors, gloves, etc. is a commonly used strategy. It has severe limitations in that an operator must wear the PPE correctly all the time that he is exposed to the risk.
However, the provision and use of any item of PPE must be viewed as the last resort, when all other strategies have failed, or an interim measure until some other form of control strategy can be applied. The limitations of PPE should be clearly established and systems for maintenance and cleaning of same established and implemented. Employers should ensure that PPE is ‘suitable’ in that it is appropriate for the risks and conditions where exposure may occur, takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the wearer, is capable of fitting the wearer correctly and, is effective in preventing or adequately controlling the risks without increasing the overall risk.

Health surveillance
Health surveillance implies monitoring the health of identified persons on a regular basis. It may include the exclusion of certain people from specific processes or practices e.g. women and young persons, medical surveillance of certain personnel, medical examinations, health checks, health supervision, biological monitoring e.g. blood tests, urine tests, and other forms of testing, such as audiometry.

Information, instruction and training
The provision of information to staff and the instruction and training of specific management, safety personnel and operators in the recognition of risk and the assessment of same is crucial to the success of any accident prevention programme. Staff must know why certain management action is taken and orders given, and must be fully aware that their cooperation is needed to make the workplace a safe and healthy one for themselves and others.

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