The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Dropped Elevator Guard

Graham Marshall - Saturday, June 30, 2012

APPEA has released a safety flash about a dropped elevator guard on a rig working in Australia.

Although the 2.5kg elevator ram guard fell to the rig floor from a height of only half a meter, prior to the incident the equipment had been routinely operating at a height of up to 20m above the floor.

To review the alert, simply click here.



Would you walk into a pool of gasolene?

Graham Marshall - Friday, June 29, 2012

How would you react if you observed a large pool of petrol escaping from a Petrol Tanker Truck?

The footage below shows an example of several people putting themselves in harms way by walking into a pool of gasolene pouring from a tanker.  A cyclist even rides through the middle of the spill.

The video was used by the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) in a recent successful prosecution of a fuel terminal operator.

The footage shows - in stark form - how people can react when called upon to manage a known serious hazard event.  In this case - amazingly badly!

To view the footage, simple click here.  You'll be amazed!

Testing Portable Electrical Appliances

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 28, 2012

Misleading advertising from dishonest companies offering electrical appliance testing are costing UK businesses an estimated thirty million GB pounds each year.

And the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) is keen to point out that it’s a myth that every portable electrical appliance in the workplace needs to be tested once a year.

The law in the UK merely requires an employer to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger.

The law does not state that each electrical item has to be tested or how often testing needs to be carried out.

New information from the UK HSE says that in low-risk environments, such as offices, shops and hotels, most defects can be found by the employer simply by checking the appliances for obvious signs of damage.

In response to the problem of rogue testing, the UK HSE Chairwomen - Judith Hackitt - has released new and revised guidance on portable appliance testing.

The recommendations are one of the results from the government-backed report on health and safety by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt (Reclaiming Health and Safety for All) to further clarify the requirement for portable appliance testing in order to stop over-compliance.

The revised HSE guidance can be found here.


Cal OSHA investigates Oil Tank Fatality

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The dangers associated with performing hot work on oil storage tanks have been re-highlighted by a fatal accident in California.

Cal OSHA is investigating the explosion which occurred when two workers were decommissioning a crude oil tank.

The explosion killed one man, critically injured another and leaves questions unanswered about what safety procedures the men used as they worked on the tank.

The men were using a cutting torch on top of the tank when vapors inside ignited, blowing the 16,800-gallon container some 30 feet in the air and a distance of 79 feet.

The Kern County Fire fire department reported that Cesar Martinez, 24, was blown 40 feet into the air and more than 900 feet distant.

The other worker, identified by their employer Sky-Brand Services as 33-year-old Eric Robles, was also injured.

Both workers believed the tank was empty.

Cal-OSHA investigators determined the two men were assigned to demolish the tank and that Martinez was removing pipe that was to be recycled as scrap metal.

Agency spokesman Peter Melton said “he was using a cutting torch on an enclosed pipe, and apparently gas might have escaped and it ignited". It was unclear who owned the tank and when it was decommissioned, he added.

Sky-Brand partner Dale Hill said Martinez and Robles were removing steel pipeline from the exterior of the tank.

He said the company has done similar work on numerous oil tanks and hasn’t had problems.

“We do everything we can to make sure every precaution is being taken,” Hill said.

In the oil industry, however, the common practice is to keep all flames at least 50 feet away from an oil tank, unless it has been thoroughly cleaned and purged, vented, tested for residual gas and isolated from other "live" processes.

“Fire and gas, they don’t make a good combination,” he said.

Sky-Brand specializes in site cleanup and demolition work, removing scrap metal and selling it, Hill said.

Cal-OSHA’s Melton said the agency’s investigation could take up to six months, during which time it hopes to find out exactly what the two men were doing, what safety precautions were taken, what regulations apply to demolishing such equipment and whether the right tools were being used.

Risk Tool Box hits 1,000 visits per day

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Last week saw the blog finally record 1,000 visits in a single day.  That is a major milestone for us so thank you to everyone who paid a visit to our website.


Oz Forex

Graham Marshall - Monday, June 25, 2012

Whenever I get good service from a supplier, I like to recommend the organization involved.

The Risk Tool Box has just taken advantage of the great exchange rate of the Aussie dollar against the GB Pound to help us with establishing our "brand" in the UK OHS marketplace.

In transferring the cash from Australia to the UK, we used the service provided by Oz Forex. 

They offered a great service, great exchange rate and we had no problems whatsoever.  I'd recommend them to anyone wanting to transfer cash from Australia to the UK.


Dangers of Reactive Chemicals

Graham Marshall - Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dangerous chemical reactions can occur when incompatible hazardous substances are inadvertently mixed together during any decanting operation.

This safety alert highlights how two workers were overcome by toxic vapours which were released when they accidently mixed two incompatible chemicals during a decanting process.  The two chemicals reacted violently and released a cloud of toxic vapour which caused the workers to experience breathing difficulties and nausea.

At the Risk Tool Box, we recommend that the following controls be established wherever chemical decanting is a required process within a facility:

+   Develop a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) for any decanting operations;

+   Update JSAs for decanting operations to include a step to confirm positive identification of chemicals;

+   Review of facility hazardous substance  storage area's to ensure appropriate chemical segregation;

+   Train operators on hazards of reactive chemistry;

+   Where applicable, ensure that the facility HaziD  includes scenario's addressing toxic vapour release;

+   Ensure the facility Emergency Response Plan covers toxic vapour  release situations; and

+   Provide appropriate PPE for handling chemicals and responding to emergency chemical release.

Gastech Conference and Exhibition

Graham Marshall - Saturday, June 23, 2012

The 26th annual Gastech Conference and Exhibition for 2012 will take place in London on 8th to 11th October 2012.

The event takes place at the Excel London and is hosted by BG Group.

According to the conference orgaizers, Gastech 2012 in London will bring together thousands of commercial and technical industry professionals for unrivalled networking, new business opportunities, the exchange of ideas and to showcase the latest innovations, technologies and developments across the gas value chain.

There is a bit of something for everyone with conference themes including:

• Health, Safety & Environment;

• Unconventional Gas;

• Gas Processing;

• Floating LNG;
• Cryogenics;
• Offshore & Subsea Technology;
• Carbon Capture & Storage;
• Power Generation;

• Gas-To-Liquids;

• Pipelines & Transmission; and

• UK Innovation.

For further information on Gastech 2012, contact Paul Sinclair - Sales Director at dmg events (T: +44 (0) 203 615 2853).


Exploration and commercialization of shale gas in Australia

Graham Marshall - Friday, June 22, 2012

A new program addressing the strategic exploration, development and commercialization of shale gas in Australia will take place between 30th - 31st July 2012.
The program is taking place at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, Australia

The Exploration & Commercialization of Shale Gas In Australia program is designed to explore critical issues and challenges within the shale gas industry.

The program will also provide an expert overview of key business drivers, technical processes, geology, commercialization, infrastructure and investment suitability as well as risks involved in shale gas production.

Conference organizers suggest that the benefits of attending this program include:
• Find out the key challenges posed by existing infrastructures and gain insight into proposals for the advanced development of gas distribution systems;

• Learn how leading technology can accelerate local and regional Shale Gas exploration and development;

• Discover effective solutions to commercial and technical issues in reducing exploration and production costs of shale gas;

• Identify, manage and mitigate key risks within the volatile business world of gas; and

• Gain insights on future trends and innovations of Shale Gas on national and international level.
Enrolments for this program are now open and you can contact Theresa Leigh (Program Director) at Clariden Global by telephone: +61 3 9909 7310

Nitrogen Hazard

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 21, 2012

Although Nitrogen is inert and non-toxic, and actually makes-up 78 per cent of the air we breathe, it can become a hazard - with the potential to cause harm - whenever it becomes concentrated in the atmosphere and replaces the oxygen which we need to sustain life.

Out in the open air at sea-level, oxygen makes-up 20.9 per cent of the air we breathe. 

Legislation in the USA and elsewhere establishes a legal lower threshold limit for oxygen in workplaces of 19.5 per cent by volume. 

If the oxygen level falls much below 19.5 per cent, all sorts of health problems may rapidly develop.

One way in which oxygen can drop to levels which are immediately dangerous to life and health is where Nitrogen is used within a facility.  For example, Nitrogen is frequently used to purge pipes and tanks of potentially flammable atmospheres prior to hot work.

These enclosed environments can then be dangerous if appropriate safe-guards are not in place.

A useful process safety beacon on the hazards of Nitrogen can be found by clicking here.

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