The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Risk Associated with 240 Volt Hand Tools

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the past three years from April 2009 to April 2012, NOPSEMA has received 39 notifications of electric shock

Fortunately, there have been no deaths associated with these electric shock incidents, but they are, nonetheless, high-potential incidents.

We all need to ensure we take advantage of the “lessons learnt” from these incidents because more personnel are being exposed to the potential for serious injury or death due to electric shock.

According to NOPSEMA, Of the 39 notifications:

+   Nineteen involved the use of Hand Tools, Temporary Lighting, Extension Cables etc;

+   Thirteen involved fixed equipment (Lighting, Switches, General Power Outlets); and

+   Seven were related to welding activities (5 of which involved Earth Clamps condition / application).

Schedule 3 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 places duties on the operator
of a facility to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that:

A.  The facility is safe and without risk to the health of any person at or near the facility; and

B.  All work and other activities carried out on the facility are carried out in a manner that is safe and
without risk to the health of any person at or near the facility.

Good practice demands that the layers of control are being used to reduce risk to ALARP, taking account of:

+   Elimination of the hazard;

+   Substitution (for a less hazardous alternative);

+   Engineering – redesign or use isolation and LOTO;

+   Administrative controls are in place including PTW, Procedures, JSA, tool box talks and such like; and

+   PPE is being used.

To take advantage of our JSA covering the safe use of powered hand-held tools, which highlights the hierarchy of controls to be used, simply click here.

Loading Chemicals into the Wrong Tank

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A not uncommon cause of serious loss of containment incidents involving chemicals occurs when the wrong chemical is accidentally introduced into a process steam or storage vessel.

The resulting chemical reactions can cause temperature and pressure changes which burst containment, or lead to gas releases or liquid spills, fires or explosions.

Extra care is always required whenever potentially reactive chemicals are to be introduced or stored in close proximity.

+    Ensure the workforce understand any hazardous reactions which can occur if materials are accidentally mixed.

+    Check, then double check that the material is correct, and that it is delivered to the correct storage tank.

+    Make sure storage tank inlet and outlet pipe connections are clearly labeled,

+    Use a code or numbering system on connections to avoid confusion of materials with similar names.

+    If reactive chemicals are unloaded in the same area, or the pipe work is confusing, re-engineer the configuration.

+    Try to separate unloading locations.

+    Use different types of unloading connections, or use special valve locking systems.

+    Ensure that unloading is done by trained and qualified workers.

+    And lastly, ensure to manage the processes involved using appropriate step-by-step procedures.

This bulletin from the folks at the Centre for Chemical Process Safety highlights what can go wrong if good control mechanisms are not used when transferring chemicals into storage tanks.



WA Road Safety Council Failure

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WA motorists have been hit with a record 60 per cent increase in "tax" on driving in the form of additional revenue raised from speeding infringement notices.

But despite all that extra revenue, the folks over at the WA Road Safety Council have still not managed to reduce the number of fatalities on WA roads over a 15-year period (see graph).

The same number of motorists and pedestrians were killed in 2011 as were killed way back in 1996.

And what's more, WA continues to lag behind the industrialized World - mainly as a result of the failures of the WA Road Safety Council to promote safety programs beyond simple revenue raising via fines.

Drivers were fined an extra $33.7 million in 2011 after the Police handed out 5,600 more speeding tickets on average each week.

A total of 789,134 infringements were issued in 2011. 

Of that total, almost half (363,945 infringements) were issued to WA motorists who were "speeding" by just 9km/h or less, which carries a $75 fine.

So, as the figures show, the vast majority of the additional "journey tax" was paid by drivers who were driving between just 1km/h and 9km/h over the posted limit.

And while the Road Safety Council chairman D'Arcy Holman claimed that these "slow-motion" speeders caused the same carnage on WA roads as "high-level" speeders, I think we all recognize that this is simply nonsense.

Holman believes that  this "low-level speeding is one of the deadliest epidemics on our roads."   A viewpoint like that simply demonstrates what nonsense these "experts" are basing our public policy upon.

The simple fact, as the results show, is that it is an easy and convenient way for the Government to "tax" road users by fining them for driving at marginally faster than the posted limit.

Less than 10 per cent of fines (54,533 infringements) were handed out to motorists who were speeding by 20km/h or more, which is where the danger really lies.

That , and mobile phone use, texting, driving in the left hand lane, failing to indicate, failing to stop at controlled intersections, and over-taking on the inside.  But sorting out those issues is way beyond the WA Road Safety Council.

It's much easier to hide in the bushes and fine ordinary sandgropers who are just going about their business at, what is frequently, a reasonable speed.



Pedestrian Risk Management

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 16, 2012

It's kind of dumb, but more injuries in workplaces all across the Globe are caused during the simple act of walking about than through any other mechanism.

It's not work at heights, excavation work, using powered tools or even work in confined spaces; the number one biggest cause of accidental injury occurs when people are simply walking through the work site and they slip, trip or fall.

This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum (MSF) illustrates an incident in which a seaman broke his leg while simply walking along a wharfside.

It is a simple "one per-center", but always remember to use Think 6, Look 6 to manage the hazards in even the most mundane acts and behaviours.




Titanic Memorial

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 15, 2012

At 220am on 15th April 1912, the RMS Titanic foundered taking 1,517 souls - including those of 685 crew members - with her to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

On this day, we remember them.

2012 Mines Safety Roadshow

Graham Marshall - Saturday, April 14, 2012

The 2012 Western Australian Mines Safety Roadshow, presented by Resources Safety (Department of Mines and Petroleum) will this year take place in October.  

The State-wide events present an opportunity to confer with Resources Safety staff and guest presenters on issues of concern; hear about the latest news about safety performance; and, also network with other mining industry participants. 

Kicking off in Geraldton on October 5th, the Roadshow will then move on to the following locations:

+   Port Hedland - October 9th;

+   Karratha - October 10th;

+   Newman - October 11th;

+   Bunbury - October 16th;

+   Kalgoorlie - October 18th; and

+   Perth - October 24th.

Full details regarding the series of events will be circulated once finalized.

Contact Person at Resources Safety - Nic Easton  (phone: 61 8 9358 8154).

Networking WA the Resource Panel

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 13, 2012

Networking WA is running the Resource Panel luncheon at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth (Western Australia) next week.

The event is on Friday 20th April from 12-2pm and features some great speakers including:

+   Denise Goldsworthy, Managing Director Rio Tinto: Dampier Salt Limited and HIsmelt;
+   Jason Waller CSC GM Capital Planning & Programs QR Rail;

+   Jeffrey May, Partner Tax and Legal PricewaterhouseCoopers;
+   Russell Clarke, CEO and MD Grange Resources; and
+   MC Jody Elliott, MD at The Resource Channel.

To access the event booking form and for more information, simply click here.


Murrey Valley Encephalitis (MVE)

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 12, 2012

People working at WA and NT mine sites across the top-end, including FIFO workers need to protect themselves against mosquito bites following ongoing detection of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) virus and the closely related Kunjin virus.

The WA Department of Health’s surveillance program had detected activity of the rare, but potentially fatal, MVE and Kunjin viruses in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields, Midwest and central Wheatbelt regions.

While the risk of infection and serious illness is low, the illnesses can be severe and people should take sensible precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquito's across the top-end.

Symptoms of MVE include fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness.

People working in the far-North who experience those symptoms should seek medical advice quickly.

In severe cases, people may experience fits, lapse into a coma, and may be left with permanent brain damage or die.

In addition, cases of Ross River and Barmah Forest virus diseases continue to be notified in people from across much of WA.

The illnesses caused by Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are similar, with symptoms including painful joints, aching muscles, lethargy, fever, headache and skin rashes, and symptoms may last from days to months.

There are no specific cures or vaccines for any of these mosquito-borne diseases.

Therefore it is vital that people take care to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.


Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In December 2011, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) implemented the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The new Act sets out to reduce systemic risk and restore confidence in the United States financial system.

One of the rules adopted requires mining companies to include information about OHS in the annual and quarterly reports they file with the US SEC.

These periodic reports must now disclose specific OHS information that relates to compliance with the US Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (1977), which is administered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The required information to be reported to the US SEC includes:

+   Specified health and safety violations, orders and citations;

+   Related assessments and legal actions; and

+   Mining-related fatalities.

Unconventional Gas

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unconventional gas resources are those that typically have required greater than industry-standard levels of technology or investment to harvest.

The three most common types of unconventional gas resources are tight sands, coalseam methane (CSM), and shale gas.

In early times, with simpler, cheaper and more readily available sources of hydrocarbons at hand, unconventional gas was overlooked.

But with the search for newer and more secure sources of energy, particularly in the USA, which no longer wishes to be reliant on middle-eastern oil, has come increased investment in unconventional gas exploitation.

The result is that these new sources of gas are now abundant and the price of gas is at record lows as more projects come onstream

The Risk Management Toolbox has been at the forefront of safety implementation in unconventional gas development since our business began.

You could say that our business success is built on being unconventional! 

And it is this unconventional approach that our customers have come to expect.

The cornerstone customers of our business come to us because they know we consistently strived to develop unconventional methods of making HSE work.

And that is why the Risk Tool Box is at the forefront in developing safe systems of work for the unconventional gas sector.

So, if you're on the look-out for unconventional ways to get your safety program rolled-out, it might just be time for you to act in an unconventional manner. You can contact us via the "contact us" page of the website.

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