The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Most dangerous animal in Australia

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Any guesses for what is the most dangerous animal in Australia?

Which one kills the most people each year?

You might be surprised that it is not the snake, spider, shark, crocodile, or jellyfish.

All wrong?

According to the British TV show "QI", the number one killer is the horse  with about 128 deaths attributed to horses.
Cows = 20
Dogs = 12
Sharks = 11
Snakes = 8
Crocodile = 4
Spiders = 3
A cat = 1

Public Transport Does Not Give You the Flu

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Dr Alma Adler and Dr Ken Eames, experts on infectious disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have dispelled the urban myth that using public transport increases your risk of catching the flu'.

In fact, the researchers suggest that because commuters on public transport are exposed to more germs and so build up greater immunity, they are less likely to be infected.

Nearly 6,000 people were surveyed and Dr Adler and Dr Eames found that fewer people who caught public transport got ill than if they commuted by other means.

The findings contradict the commonly held belief that catching tube trains, using train carriages and buses increase the spread of common diseases.

Dr Adler said: “The findings will no doubt come as a huge surprise to the many workers who blame being under the weather on their daily commute.

But the counter-intuitive findings show clearly that regular public transport users in London are at less risk of contracting the flu that people living in other places and using other methods of transport.

In fact, if you want to avoid catching the flu, the best advice is to steer clear of your children!

The flu is spread by direct contact and so it is probably living in proximity to children who spread the flu more than using public transport.

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.

Vermin Control in Power Plants

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 12, 2013

Do you have adequate pest and rodent controls at your facility?

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday that it had found what it believed was the cause of an extended blackout that disabled vital cooling systems this week: the charred body of a rat  The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said that when its engineers looked inside a faulty switchboard, they found burn marks and the rodent's scorched body. The company said it appeared that the rat had somehow short-circuited the switchboard, possibly by gnawing on cables.  The company, known as Tepco, has blamed problems with the switchboard for the power failure that began Monday, cutting off the flow of cooling water to four pools used to store more than 8,800 nuclear fuel rods. It took Tepco almost a day to restore cooling to the first of the affected pools, with cooling of the final pool resuming early Wednesday.

Tepco said it would have taken several days for temperatures in the pools to have risen above the safe level of 65 degrees Celsius, or 149 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, the blackout served as an uncomfortable reminder to many Japanese about the continuing vulnerability of the plant, which had a triple meltdown in March 2011 after a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.   Two years later, the Fukushima plant still relies on makeshift cooling systems, some of which were built as stopgap measures in the frantic weeks and months after the accident. The spent fuel pools have been a particular source of concern because they contain far more radioactive material than the three reactor cores that melted down two years ago, forcing the evacuation of 160,000 people.

A Tepco spokesman, Masayuki Ono, said temperatures in the pools were cooling, though it would take several days for them to get back to their pre-blackout levels.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 01, 2013
Oklahoma Authorities are speculating that the death of a 65-year-old Oklahoma man was caused by spontaneous human combustion.

Smoke was seem emanating from his home, and when Firefighters arrived on the scene, they quickly realized that 65-year-old Danny Vanzandt appeared to have burst into flames in his kitchen. 

Firefighters reported no evidence of fire damage to the man’s house or furniture. 

County Sheriff Ron Lockhart, who had investigated cases of arson for two decades, was baffled by the man’s demise. 

After extensive research, Lockhart concluded that the man’s death was “an unusual and bizarre case.” 

While the victim consumed alcohol and smoked cigarettes, authorities concluded that it was impossible for the combination to prompt his death by fire. 

The spontaneous combustion of a living being remains a phenomenon for which there is no sufficient scientific explanation. 

While human combustion remains largely an area of speculation, there are frequent cases of non-living substances bursting into flames spontaneously. 

In spontaneous combustion cases, an internal reaction self-heats an item, rapidly boosting its temperature. 

Heat cannot escape quickly enough to prevent the item’s temperature from reaching an ignition point. 

Haystacks, coal, pistachio nuts, and piles of manure or compost are all capable of spontaneously combusting under the right circumstances. 

Dry grasslands can also ignite during periods of intense heat, but the causes of vegetative combustion are not yet scientifically understood. 

Roughly two hundred deaths have been attributed to spontaneous combustion since the 1700s. 

Explanations range from scientifically reasonable (unobservable natural phenomena) to unabashedly spiritual (direct divine intervention). 

In each case, a human form is completely consumed by flames while the surrounding area remains unaffected. 

No external triggers or accelerants are located on the scene, nor can authorities pinpoint a single point of origin on the body. 

Use of Copper as a Biocide on Offshore Facilities

Graham Marshall - Sunday, March 24, 2013

Operators of vessels and offshore facilities should be aware that a new legal requirement under the EU Biocidal Products Directive 98/8/EC came into force in February 2013.

The new ruling prohibits the supply and use of copper as a biocide when used in liquid-cooling and processing systems.

Copper is used as a biocide in a number of offshore systems including sea water lift, fire water systems, injection systems, ballast systems, engine cooling, and HVAC cooling.

This is not an extensive list and you should check all systems/vessels/installations that may use copper antifouling systems, or when used as a biocide in liquid-cooling and processing systems.

Security Risk Management

Graham Marshall - Friday, February 22, 2013

Businesses involved in the supply chain of hazardous chemicals which could be used by Terrorists are encouraged to consider adopting relevant security risk management controls.

Security risk management should be a normal part of good business practice in such businesses.

It should be part of your business culture and integrated into your business philosophy.

The treatment of security threats will be specific to your business and may include a combination of measures.

As a minimum, you should identify the security gaps and find out where chemicals could be lost or diverted from your business and find their way into the wrong hands.

And remember, all suspicious incidents and security breaches should be investigated and, if necessary, reported to the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00.

Examples include:

+   Attempts to purchase chemicals for no clear purpose, with cash, or with identification that appears fraudulent;

+   Doors not secured, holes in fences, signs of illegal entry;

+   Unauthorized entry into restricted areas;

+   Unexplained signs of vehicle activity in restricted or remote access points;

+   Unexplained requests for technical information about a facility;

+   Major unexplained process upsets;

+   Unexplained losses of containment of chemicals;

+   Unexplained losses of chemicals; and

+   Major cyber attack on internal process controls or inventory systems.

National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern

Graham Marshall - Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Australian state and territory governments are seeking your feedback on the draft National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern. A copy of the draft code is available here.

The consultation closes on 1 March 2013.

Many chemicals that are in use every day have been used by terrorists to make homemade explosives.

Business and Australian governments need to work together to detect and prevent the use of chemicals for terrorist purposes and ensure a safer Australia.

The Australian and state and territory governments have decided to pursue a voluntary code of practice for businesses that manage, handle or use products containing 11 chemicals that are precursors to homemade explosives.

Your feedback will shape the final version of the code and ensure that it can be easily understood and effectively used by businesses.

Once completed, you can submit your feedback to: Mark Whitechurch, Chemical Security, Attorney-General’s Department, 3-5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600, Australia.

Preventing Sharps Injuries in the Healthcare Sector

Graham Marshall - Saturday, February 16, 2013

The UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) has published a consultation document on proposed regulations to implement Council Directive 2010/32/EU on preventing sharps injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector.

The consultation document establishes the UK HSE’s proposals for new regulations that are titled "The Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations" (2013).

The new regulations are required under European Union legislation.

The new regulations will require employers in the healthcare sector to introduce arrangements for the safe use and disposal of medical sharps, to provide information and training to employees, and to record, investigate and take action following a sharps injury.

The regulations will also introduce a duty on healthcare workers to promptly report any sharps injury to their employer.

The consultation seeks views on:

1. Whether the proposed regulations enable healthcare businesses and workers to identify what they need to do?

2. The initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed changes; and

3. How the regulations should be supported by guidance and who is best placed to provide that guidance?

 A consultation questionnaire is available from Martin Dilworth at the UK Health and Safety Executive:

5S2 Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS
Tel No: 0151 951 4335      
Fax: 0151 951 4575

UK HSE Public Consuiltation on EU Chemicals Legislation

Graham Marshall - Sunday, January 27, 2013

The UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) is holding a public consultation on regulatory measures to support EU chemicals legislation and proposals on reducing seven existing sets of domestic regulations into one statutory instrument.

The UK HSE is consulting on regulatory proposals for measures supporting three directly applicable EU chemicals Regulations on:

1.  Biocidal Products (EU no. 528/2012);

2.  The Export and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (commonly known as the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation) (EU no. 649/2012); and

3.  Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures (EC no. 1272/2008).

The proposals implement a Löfstedt recommendation to consolidate biocides sector legislation, and also to meet EU requirements to establish competent authorities, designated national authorities and enforcement arrangements (as appropriate.

Overall the proposal will reduce seven existing statutory instruments into one.

The UK HSE also proposes to put in place new regulations to enable the UK HSE to charge for the work it carries out under the new Biocides Regulation.

This will, however, be covered in a separate consultation on  the proposed fee regime,  including the fee structure and fee levels.

The UK HSE also seek your views on the possibility of recovering HSE’s costs under CLP, and are further consulting on unrelated administrative amendments to other domestic chemicals regulations.

No changes are proposed to the main duties for Biocides, PIC and CLP, which are, or will be, established at EU level in directly applicable Regulations.

This consultation ends on 31 January 2013.

Responses should be sent to:

Deborah Traynor

Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS
Fax: 0151 951 3098


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