The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Health at Work Summit

Graham Marshall - Saturday, May 11, 2013

A recent survey shows that the UK was among the 10 worst performing countries for employee well being.

And UK work places are reportedly not doing enough to support employee health. 

But the evidence shows that healthy workers are more productive and that even a small investment into the health of your employees can pay big dividends.

On those themes, the 8th Annual Health @ Work Summit is to be held this year on Thursday 20th June 2013 at the CTT Venue in Canary Wharf in London.

Billed as the conference event to help you understand how to deliver a healthier workforce to improve your bottom line.

Confirmed speakers include:

Harrods – Priscilla Corrigan, Occupational Health Manager;

PwC – Sally Evans, Diversity & Inclusion and Employee Well being;

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service – Alison Sydenham, HR Policy Officer;

Tesco – Susan Carty, Head of Health and Wellbeing;

British Airway – Mark Popplestone, Consultant Occupational Physician;

BT Technology, Service & Operations – Steve Exall, HR Employee Relations Manager;

EON – Louise Boston, Occupational Health Manager; and

GlaxoSmithKline – Robert Manson, Director, Occupational Health.

For conference bookings, telephone 020 7231 5100.


UK Safety and Health Expo 2013

Graham Marshall - Friday, May 10, 2013
Safety and Health Expo 2013 is taking place next week on 14 - 16 May 2013 at the NEC in Birmingham.

It runs alongside the Facilities Show, FIREX International, and IFSEC.

A highlight will be hearing the views of Judith Hackett, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive.

Safety Alert on Fireplace Surrounds

Graham Marshall - Thursday, May 09, 2013
The UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) is alerting home owners, owner builders, and building contractors about dangerous incidents in which heavy stone components forming part of a modern fireplace surround have fallen causing damage and injury. 

In two recent and separate incidents, two young children have been killed when a modern fireplace has collapsed onto them.

In both cases, the fireplace had been installed in the family home for a matter of months before the fatal accidents. 

And HSE is aware of several other fatalities to children from similar incidents over several years. 

In all cases, these incidents have happened because the fireplaces were not securely, mechanically fixed in place. 

As a result of these incidents, the Stone Federation of Great Britain has revised its guidance on safe installation of fire place surrounds.

Modular stone fireplace surrounds commonly consist of two, vertical legs (jambs) on top of which is the horizontal lintel (frieze or headstone).

Above the lintel is usually a mantel shelf.

The mantel shelf may also have a significant overhang projecting forward of the lintel. 

The individual stone components can exceed 50 kilograms in weight. 

The stone components are set in place with either mortar or another bonding material acting as bedding between the stone components. 

Mechanical fixings (e.g. steel brackets, dowels and screws etc) are also used to hold the stone components in position and to secure them to the wall. 

If the individual components are not designed to incorporate or include adequate fixings or if they are not installed correctly (i.e. mechanically secured together and secured to the surrounding wall it), is possible for the mantel shelf to detach and to topple over. 

The toppling of an inadequately installed mantel shelf can be triggered by passive weight such as heavy items stored on the mantel or by a person pulling down or hanging from the projecting edge of the mantel.

The heavy weights of the toppling components place persons, especially children at risk of severe or even fatal injuries.

Designers of modular stone fireplace surrounds should ensure that their design incorporates mechanical fixings that are suitable for a range of locations and able to be installed onto a variety of floor and wall types. 

Manufactures and suppliers should ensure that adequate information is provided to installers to safely assemble and install the fireplace surround including:

+  Which wall/floor types the fire surround is suitable for and those on which it should not be mounted;

+  The assembly procedure including the sequence;

+  The recommended bonding products and the extent of their application (e.g. area and joint thickness) to bed the individual stone components together;

+  The recommended method of using the bonding product given the type of stone involved;

+  How the fireplace surround should be secured to different forms of wall construction and finish;

+  The number and type of mechanical fittings to be used, where they are positioned, and how they are to be fixed to both the stone components and to the wall to hold and secure the stones in position;

+  The curing time before the fireplace can be used; and

+  Any additional information for the home-owner (e.g. load rating for the mantel).

Installers should ensure that they follow the manufacturer's and supplier's guidelines.

Dropped Object from Derrick

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Another excellent safety alert coming from Woodside which again highlights how a lack of a proper Procedure being followed enables a drilling incident to occur.

At the Risk Tool Box, we can't stress enough the critical importance of drilling and completions Procedures that define the safe way to perform higher-risk drilling tasks.

And secondly, once any drilling Procedure is developed for a specific activity; for there to be a suitable Audit Checklist to be used by the Supervisor, Management, or HSE Advisor to ensure that the Procedure and defined way of working are being implemented by the drill rig crew; and to coach and mentor where this is not the case.

Under no circumstances should "we've always done it this way" be taken as a sign of drilling expertise or an acceptable practice - often they aren't!

And finally, I find it odd that although Woodside (correctly) identify that "no procedure" was a critical factor leading to this incident, they did not identify the need to review or enhance the Procedure as a "Key learning".

Corrosion Under Insulation

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, May 07, 2013
If moisture is able to enter the space between insulation materials and carbon-steel piping, it is likely to eventually lead to corrosion under the insulation.

The protective coating systems on the piping are likely to break-down over time in such circumstances; and can lead eventually to a loss of containment incident.

The problem of corrosion under insulation is enhanced when moisture ingress and temperature range form ideal conditions for corrosion to occur.

Corrosion under insulation is often very difficult to identify.

It is critical that systems that may be exposed to corrosian under insulation have a sufficeint maintenance strategy involving inspection and ongoing monitoring.

Effective inspection and monitoring for corrosion under insulation may require the periodic removal of all insulating materials.

And remember, corrosion damage may occur in areas on the pipeline system that are quie remote from the point of moisture ingress.

So a check of the full system may be necessary.

Danger of Driving in Outback

Graham Marshall - Monday, May 06, 2013

The ever-present danger of driving in the "outback" of Australia is again re-iterated by this safety alert from Santos and APPEA.

The alert shows how a two-vehicle accident occurred when a closely-following vehicle collided with the another vehicle which had struck a kangaroo on the road.

The resulting accident caused both vehicles to roll-over.  Thankfully, the injuries to those concerned were not too severe.

Personnel Resources for Safety

Graham Marshall - Sunday, May 05, 2013
Errors made by people have long been identified as a significant triggering factor leading to incidents. 

Many authors claim that human error is responsible for anywhere between 50-80 per cent of accidents.

But by laying the blame for incidents on individual people, organisations often miss-assess or even ignore the systemic conditions in their work systems that contribute to incidents. 

At the Risk Tool Box, we recognize that so called "human error" is often an outcome of systemic problems rather than the root cause of many incidents. 

One important area of organisational planning which significantly influences people's reliability, relates to system-wide personnel resourcing practices.

Ensuring that effective personnel resourcing systems are in place can contribute to the reduction of EHS risk to a level that is ALARP.

In ensuring that appropriate personnel resourcing processes are in place, EHS professionals should check and verify the following matters:

  An understanding of the impact of time pressure and fatigue on human reliability should be applied to resourcing activities.

   Emergency response positions should be well resourced at all times.

  Maintenance activities should be designed and scheduled to reduce the likelihood of error, particularly in relation to interruptions and time pressure.

  Maintenance activities should be subject to independent checks to mitigate any errors that may have occurred prior to task closeout.

  Supervisors should develop a working knowledge of human error and performance shaping factors, and should apply that knowledge in their daily activities.

  Organisational systems and structures should be in place to support supervisors in managing relevant performance shaping factors.

  Supervisors should not be overburdened with administrative tasks; rather their priority should be to spend sufficient time coaching their employees.

Emergency Response Preparation

Graham Marshall - Saturday, May 04, 2013
Any organization's emergency response capability is highly dependent on the availability of personnel who are competent to perform key roles. 

In the event of an emergency, it is critical that each person in a workplace understands what to do. 

And all positions identified as necessary during any emergency should be present at the workplace at all times. 

The requirement for emergency personnel resourcing should be identified; with control measures implemented to ensure that required emergency roles can always be fulfilled.

Emergency response role requirements should be built into planning and resourcing processes. 

Systems should be capable of identifying gaps in emergency capability within forward plans, including the identification of competency expiry dates where relevant. 

Strategies should be developed for unplanned situations where gaps in emergency capability occur, for example, where a person with a designated emergency role is off work due to illness.

The following strategies may assist in maintaining appropriate personnel resources for emergency response:

   Incorporate emergency capability requirements into planning processes. 

   Ensure that systems flag gaps in emergency capability rather than relying on individuals to ‘eyeball’ lists or spread sheets.

   Ensure a level of redundancy for all emergency roles. That is, more than one person per swing should be competent to perform each function.

   To avoid confusion in the event of an emergency, allocate each role to a specific individual. 

   Emergency role allocations should be clearly displayed at each work location.

   Conduct regular drills and exercises followed by debriefing to identify gaps in the system, with corresponding improvement actions developed where necessary.

   Develop clear protocols in the event that an emergency role becomes unexpectedly vacant and cannot be filled by current personnel.

Importance of Travel Insurance

Graham Marshall - Friday, May 03, 2013

While we were on holiday in Bali this past week, the importance of having good-quality travel insurance was brought home!

We were eating Canapes and drinking evening cocktails when one of our family party was inadvertently stung by a bee on the tongue.

It appears that the bee had fallen, unnoticed, into a Mohijto!  Ouch.

Anyway, a quick call out of a local Doctor and the need for a strong steroid injection and some anti-histamine drugs soon had everything under control.

But this wasn't cheap!  So the holiday insurance was well worth while.

And it just goes to show, that although we can all be good at hazard spotting, risk is never, ever, zero; so mitigation and recovery controls (such as insurance) are always appropriate.


CCPS Beacon May 2013

Graham Marshall - Thursday, May 02, 2013

This month's Centre for Chemical Process Safety Beacon, shown below, highlights the issues fro pressure relief valce bonnets - and whether to plug or not to plug.


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