BASIC HEALTH AND SAFETY PRINCIPLES IN AND AROUND THE WORKPLACE

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02
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SECTION ONE: EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE DUTIES

INTRODUCTION

 

INTRODUCTION

Safety is no accident. Every worker has the right to a safe working environment. Every worker has the right to be properly trained. Every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work. It is everyone’s responsibility to assure that any work undertaken meets minimum safety requirements. There is no work that is worth risking life and limb.

Safety can be achieved through a systematic approach to evaluating risks and seeking solutions to eliminating them. This begins with all members of an organization that wish to create a safe and productive work environment.

Although it may seem that increasing safety on the job will cost more, in the long run it is financially worse if someone becomes injured or killed, especially if there are legal repercussions, which many times there are. All employers, managers, etc., are responsible for what happens to their workers.

Quite simply put, every employer has a legal responsibility to make sure all their employers, even contractors, are taken care of. This means that they need to receive on-going adequate training, all their equipment is in safe and good working condition, first aid is readily available, reasonable steps have been taken to minimize hazards, etc. Employers can't hide behind an attitude of, "I didn’t know," or, "someone else was looking after that."

This site is intended to offer information on how to improve Workplace Health and Safety (H&S). It is important to understand however, that every job is different, and modifications may be needed. It is also important to seek professional advice on the work site, e.g. an engineer, on how to make the environment safer.

 

 

1.1. HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE

Keeping safe and avoiding risks to your health at work are obviously important issues. No one wants their lives to be temporarily or permanently affected by bad working conditions.

Whether you are permanent or agency staff, a contractor, an apprentice or on work placement, you need to be aware of issues that affect your health and safety at work.

Although it is up to your employer to make sure that any potential risk to your health and safety are properly controlled, you also need to be aware of your own responsibilities.

As a worker, you have a duty to take care of your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions or inactions. An inaction is when you don't do something and this causes harm to others. Health and safety legislation, therefore, requires employers and workers to cooperate! This will mean that you can play your part in improving health and safety in the workplace.

 



Studies show time and again that workers who actively contribute to health and safety at work, are safer and healthier than those who don't. By working with your employer and your fellow workers to maintain the highest standards of health and safety, you can have a long, happy and healthy career in your chosen profession without suffering needless injuries and ill health.

The law says that your employer must tell you how to do your job safely and what is done to protect your health and safety. They must also inform you about all risks to your health and safety from current or proposed working practices and things or changes that may harm or affect your health and safety. Finally they must let you know how to get first-aid treatment and what to do in an emergency.

Your employer must also provide free training for you to do your job safely. They must provide protection for you at work when necessary, things like, clothing, shoes or boots, eye and ear protection, gloves and masks. You should also have access to health checks if there is a danger of ill health because of your work, regular health checks if you work nights and even a check before you start the job.

You should have easy access to your employer's health and safety policy statement and their up-to-date Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) certificate, which should be visible in your place of work.

You should use your common sense to stay safe at work by co-operating with others on health and safety, and not interfering with, or misusing, anything provided for your health, safety or welfare.

If you think that you are in any sort of danger in the work place you should stop working immediately and leave the area. Make sure you inform your employer about your health and safety concerns and if this doesn't seem to do any good, you can contact the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), or your local authority, without getting into trouble.

Health and safety at work isn't just avoiding the obvious risks though. Tiredness and fatigue can lead to accidents too, and because of this all workers are entitled to rest breaks and an annual period of paid leave. Legally you should be given a rest break of at least 20 minutes if you work more than six hours at a stretch. You should make sure that you take these rests, as it is also your responsibility to maintain your health at work, and doing obviously risky jobs, like driving a forklift, whilst tired can lead to accidents.

Employers should not treat disabled workers unfairly. They should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in your workplace. However, the Disability Discrimination Act does not override health and safety laws, There might be instances when, although an adjustment could be made, it would not be considered reasonable as it would endanger the health and safety of you or others.

Employers should not treat disabled workers unfairly

Please choose the correct answer 

  • They should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in your workplace

1.2. EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH AND SAFETY RESPONSIBILITIES

Employers have legal obligations to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. As an employee, you have rights, and you have responsibilities for your own well being and that of your colleagues. Find out what these responsibilities are, and how you can meet them.

1.2.1 Health and Safety duties of workers can be listed as follows:

  • The employee must take care of his or her own Health and Safety, as well as that of other persons who may be affected by his or her actions or negligence to act. This includes playing at work. Many people have been injured and even killed owing to horseplay in the workplace, and that is considered a serious contravention.
  • Where the Occupational Health and Safety Act imposes a duty or requirements on the worker to cooperate with the employer.
  • The employee must provide information to an inspector from the Department of Labour if he or she should require it.
  • Workers must carry out any lawful instruction which the employer or authorized person prescribes with regard to Health and Safety.
  • Employees must comply with the rules and procedures that the employer gives him/her.
  • They must wear the prescribed personal protective clothing or use the prescribed safety equipment where it is required (PPE).
  • Workers must report unsafe or unhealthy conditions to the employer or Health and Safety representative as soon as possible.
  • If the employee is involved in an incident that may influence his or her health or cause an injury, report that incident to the employer, and authorised person or the Health and Safety representative as soon as possible, but no later than by the end of the shift.

1.3. RIGHTS OF THE WORKER

The Occupational Health and Safety Act has extended workers’ rights to include the following:

1.3.1 The Right to Information

a) The worker must have access to:

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations
  • ​Health and Safety rules and procedures of the workplace
  • Health and safety standards which the employer must keep at the workplace.
b) The worker may request the employer to inform him or her about:
  • Health and Safety hazards in the workplace
  • The precautionary measures which must be taken
  • The procedures that must be followed if a worker is exposed to substances hazardous to health.

The worker may request that his or her private medical practitioner investigate his or her medical and exposure records.

If the worker is a Health and Safety representative, he or she may investigate and comment in writing on exposure assessments and monitoring reports.

c) The Right to Participate in Inspections
If the worker is a Health and Safety representative, he or she may accompany a Health and Safety inspector from the Department of Labour during an inspection of the workplace and answer any questions the inspector may ask.

d) The Right to Comment on Legislation and make Representations
The worker may comment or make representations on any regulation or Safety standard published under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

e) The Right not to be Victimised
An employer may not dismiss a worker from his service, reduce a worker’s salary or reduce a worker’s service conditions because:

  • The worker supplied information, which is required of him or her in terms of the Act, to someone who is charged with the administration of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • ​The worker complied with a lawful notice, (e.g. a prohibition, contravention notice, etc.)
  • The worker did something which in terms of the Health and Safety Act should have been done.
  • The worker did not do something which in terms of the Act is prohibited.
  • The worker has given evidence before the Industrial Court or a court of law on matters regarding Health and Safety.

f) The Right to Appeal

  • The worker may appeal against the decision of an inspector. Appeals must be referred in writing to the Chief Inspector, Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Labour, Private Bag X117, Pretoria, 0001.

g) Duty not to interfere with or Misuse objects

  • No-one may interfere with or misuse any object that has been provided in the interest of Health and Safety. A person may, for example, not remove a safety guard from a machine and use the machine or allow anybody else to use it without such a guard.

h) Employee’s rights expanded
Your rights as an employee to work in a safe and healthy environment are given to you by law, and generally can't be changed or removed by your employer. The most important rights are:

  • As far as possible, to have any risks to your health and safety properly controlled
  • To be provided, free of charge, with any personal protective and safety equipment
  • If you have reasonable concerns about your safety, to stop work and leave your work area, without being disciplined
  • To tell your employer about any health and safety concerns you have
  • To get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local authority if your employer won't listen to your concerns, without being disciplined
  • To have rest breaks during the working day, to have time off from work during the working week, and to have annual paid holiday

i) Your responsibilities

  • Your most important responsibilities as an employee are:
  • To take reasonable care of your own health and safety
  • If possible avoid wearing jewellery or loose clothing if operating machinery
  • If you have long hair or wear a headscarf, make sure it's tucked out of the way (it could get caught in machinery)
  • To take reasonable care not to put other people - fellow employees and members of the public - at risk by what you do or don't do in the course of your work
  • To co-operate with your employer, making sure you get proper training and you understand and follow the company's health and safety policies
  • Not to interfere with or misuse anything that's been provided for your health, safety or welfare
  • To report any injuries, strains or illnesses you suffer as a result of doing your job (your employer may need to change the way you work)
  • To tell your employer if something happens that might affect your ability to work (eg becoming pregnant or suffering an injury) - your employer has a legal responsibility for your health and safety, they may need to suspend you while they find a solution to the problem, but you will normally be paid if this happens
  • If you drive or operate machinery, to tell your employer if you take medication that makes you drowsy - they should temporarily move you to another job if they have one for you to do.

1.4. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Your employer must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to you free of charge. You must use this correctly, and follow the training and instruction you have been given.

In some jobs, failure to use PPE properly can be grounds for disciplinary action or even dismissal. However, you can refuse to wear PPE if it puts your safety at risk (eg PPE of the wrong size could put you at risk because of its poor fit). Ask your employer or the firm's safety representative for the right size (which must be provided free of charge).

If you are a Sikh who works on construction sites and wear a turban you can legally refuse to wear head protection on religious grounds. This does not apply if you work at sites other than construction sites where, for example the use of safety helments would still be required.

If you are a Sikh who does not wear a turban you must wear the appropriate head protection.

1.5. THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EMPLOYERS

1.5.1 Health and Safety in the workplace is a duty of the employer.
What must the employer do to ensure that the work environment is safe and without risk to the health of his or her workers?

The employer must provide and maintain all the equipment that is necessary to do the work, and all the systems according to which work must be done, in a condition that will not affect the Health and Safety of workers.

Before personal protective equipment may be used, the employer must first try to remove or reduce any danger to the health and safety of his workers. Only when this is not practicable, should personal protective equipment be used.

The employer must take measures to protect his or her workers’ Health and Safety against hazards that may result from the production, processing, use, handling, storage or transportation of articles or substances, in other words, anything that workers may come into contact with at work.

a) To ensure that these Health and Safety duties are complied with, the employer must:

  • Identify potential hazards and risks which may be present while work is being done, something is being produced, processed, used, stored or transported, and any equipment is being used,
  • Establish the precautionary measures that are necessary to protect his or her workers against the identified hazards and provide the means to implement these precautionary measures,
  • Provide the necessary information, instructions, training and supervision while keeping the extent of workers’ competence in mind. In other words, what they may do and may not do,
  • Not permit anyone to carry on with any task unless the necessary precautionary measures have been taken.
  • Take steps to ensure that every person under his or her control complies with the requirements of the Act.
  • Enforce the necessary control measures in the interest of Health and Safety,
  • See to it that the work being done and the equipment used, is under the general supervision of a worker who has been trained to understand the hazards associated with the work,
  • Such a worker must ensure that the precautionary measures are implemented and maintained.

b) All workers have the right to be informed
The employer must see to it that every worker is informed and clearly understands the health and safety hazards of any work being done, anything being produced, processed, used, stored, handled or transported, and any equipment or machinery being used. The employer must then provide information about precautionary measures against these hazards.

The employer must inform health and safety representatives when an inspector notifies him or her of inspections and investigations, to be conducted at the premises. The employer must also inform health and safety representatives of any application for exemption made, or of any exemption granted to him or her in terms of the Act. Exemption means being exempted from certain provisions of the Act, regulations, notices or instructions issued in terms of the Act.

The employer must, as soon as possible, inform the health and safety representatives of the occurrence of an incident in the workplace. An incident is an event that occurs at the workplace where a person is killed, injured or becomes ill. It is also the spillage of a hazardous chemical substance, for example, when a tank leaks formaldehyde (a chemical product used in industry) due to a faulty valve, or where machinery runs out of control, without killing or injuring anyone.

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General duties of manufacturers, designers, importers, sellers or suppliers regarding the use
of articles and substances at work

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Manufacturers, designers, importers, sellers and suppliers must
ensure that: their articles are safe and without risk to health and
comply with all prescribed requirements when a structure or an article is installed on any premises, it must be done in such a way that neither an unsafe situation nor a health risk is created.

c) Substances
Manufacturers, designers, importers, sellers and suppliers of any substances must ensure that:

  • Such substances are safe and without risk to health when it is used properly
  • Information is available on the –
  • Use of the substance at work
  • Health and safety risk associated with the substance
  • Conditions that is necessary to ensure that the substance will be safe and without risk to health when properly used procedures in case of an person to whom an article or substance has been sold or supplied, undertakes in writing to take specified steps to ensure that the article or substance will meet all the prescribed requirements, and will be safe and without risk to health, the duties of the importer, designer, seller, supplier or manufacturer will subsequently shift to the person who undertakes to take such steps.

WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF EMPLOYERS

Please choose the incorrect answer 

  • Identify potential hazards and risks which may be present while work is being done, something is being produced, processed, used, stored or transported, and any equipment is being used,
  • Establish the precautionary measures that are necessary to protect his or her workers against the identified hazards and provide the means to implement these precautionary measures,
  • Ensure lunch is provided for all employees
  • Provide the necessary information, instructions, training and supervision while keeping the extent of workers’ competence in mind. In other words, what they may do and may not do,

1.6. THE HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK ACT

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (1993) of South Africa, requires the employer to bring about and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, a work environment that is safe and without risk to the Health and Safety of the workers.

This means that the employer must ensure that the workplace is free of hazardous substances, such as benzene, chlorine and microorganisms, articles, equipment and processes that may cause occupational injury, damage, disease or ill health.

Where this is not possible, the employer must inform workers of the hazards and risks present in the workplace. The employer must also educate employees on how they may be prevented, and how to work safely. Protective measures for a safe workplace must also be provided.

The Occupational Health and Safety act does not expect of the employer to take sole responsibility for Health and Safety.

1.7. THE ACT AND REGULATIONS

The Act, known as the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 (Act 85 of 1993) consists of 50 sections promulgated by Parliament.

The purpose of the Act is to provide for the Health and Safety of persons at work or in connection with the use of plant and machinery. It further provides for the protection of persons other than persons at work from hazards arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work.
Various regulations, on specific topics, are incorporated into the Act from time to time by the Minister of Labour.

The Act or Regulations can be purchased from the Government Printer in Gazette form or bound form from various publishers.

Explain the creation and promulgation of legislation in terms of the legislative process?

Individual Activity
There is no incorrect answer. All answers are open ended. Please attempt 
 

Explain the contravention of legislation in terms of the legal process?

Individual Activity
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Explain the importance of complying with legislation in terms of its consequences to health and safety?

Individual Activity
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Explain the objectives of health, safety and environmental legislation in terms of workplace specific requirements?

Individual Activity
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END OF SECTION ONE

You have now complete Section 1! Please move to Section 2

 

SECTION TWO: HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE IN THE WORKPLACE

INTRODUCTION

A Health and Safety representative are full-time workers nominated or elected and designated in writing by the employer.

The employer and employees should consult and reach an agreement about who will be Health and Safety representatives. Workers who are appointed as Health and Safety representatives must at least be familiar with the circumstances and conditions at that part of the workplace for which they are designated.

Agreement must also be reached on the period of office and functions of the Health and Safety representative and must be settled amongst the employer and the workers.

a) How many Health and Safety Representatives must be appointed?
A representative must be designated for every workplace consisting of 20 or more workers. Therefore, where only 19 workers are employed, it is not necessary to designate a representative.

In the case of shops and offices, one representative must be designated for every 100 workers or part thereof. For example, one representative must be designated in the case of 21 to 100 workers. But two representatives must be designated where 101 to 200 workers are employed, etc.

In the case of other workplaces, one Health and Safety representative must be designated for every 50 workers or part thereof. For example, one representative must be designated in the case of 21 to 50 workers. But two representatives must be designated where 51 to 100 workers are employed.

Depending on circumstances, an inspector may require the designation of more representatives, even in the case where the number of workers is less than 20. For example, the layout of a plant may be of such a nature that the designation of only one representative for 50 workers is insufficient. The inspector may then require the appointment of more representatives.

However, if the employer and workers so agree, more than the prescribed number of representatives may be designated.

b) When must Health and safety representatives be appointed?
Within four months after the commencement of the employer’s business. An employer with more than 20 workers, whose business is operative for less than four months, does not have to designate representatives.

In the case where, for example, seasonal workers are employed on farms, causing the number of workers to exceed 20 for a period less than four months, the designation of representatives is also not necessary.

c) When must Health and Safety Representatives perform their activities?
All activities regarding the designation, function and training of representatives must be performed during normal working hours.

d) What may Health and Safety Representatives do?
Health and safety representatives are entitled to do the following:

  • Health and Safety inspections

Representatives may check the effectiveness of Health and Safety measures by means of Health and Safety inspections.

  • Identify potential hazards and risks

Representatives may identify potential dangers in the workplace and report them to the Health and Safety committee or the employer.

  • Investigate incidents

Health and Safety Representatives may together with the employer investigate incidents, investigate complaints from workers regarding Health and Safety matters, and report about it in writing.

  • Make representations

Representatives may make representations regarding the Safety of the workplace to the employer or the Health and Safety committee or, where the representations are unsuccessful, to an inspector.

  • Inspections

As far as inspections are concerned, representatives may inspect the workplace after notifying the employer of the inspection. The representative may also participate in discussions with inspectors at the workplace and accompany inspectors on inspections. Documents that relate to Health and Safety may also be inspected. With the consent of his/her employer, be accompanied by a technical advisor during an inspection.

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  • Attend committee meetings
Representatives may attend health and safety committee meetings.

Please choose the correct answer

  • Can you put a gate in front of the emergency exit door?

2.1. HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE

2.1.1 Effective Health and Safety Committees

a) What is the purpose of a Health and Safety committee?
Members meet in order to initiate, promote, maintain and review measures of ensuring the Health and Safety of workers.

b) When must Health and Safety committees be established?
At least one committee must be established when two or more representatives are designated.

c) How many members on a Health and Safety committee
The employer determines the number of committee members, based on the following:
If only one committee has been established for a workplace, all the representatives must be members of that committee.

If two or more committees have been established for a workplace, each representative must be a member of at least one of those committees.

Therefore, every representative must be a member of a committee. The employer may also nominate other persons to represent him or her on a committee but such nominees may not be more than the number of representatives designated on that committee.

If, however, an inspector is of the opinion that the number of committees in a workplace is inadequate, he or she may determine the establishment of additional committees.

d) How often does a Health and Safety committee meet?
They meet whenever it is necessary, but at least once every three months. The committee determines the time and place. However, if 10% or more of the workers put a request for a meeting to the inspector, the inspector may order that such a meeting be held at a time and place which he or she determines.

e) Who determines the procedure at the meeting?
The members of the committee elect the chairperson and determine his or her period of office, meeting procedures, etc.

f) May Health and Safety committees consult experts for advice?
Yes, committees may co-opt persons as advisory members for their knowledge and expertise on Health and Safety matters. However, an advisory member does not have the right to vote.



g) What do Health and Safety committees do?
The committees only deal with Health and Safety matters at the workplace or sections thereof for which such committees have been established. Generally, Health and Safety committees have the following functions:

  • Make recommendations – A committee must make recommendations to the employer about the Health and Safety of workers. Where these recommendations do not lead to solving the matter, the committee may make recommendations to an inspector.
  • Discuss incidents – A committee must discuss any incident that leads to the injury, illness, or death of any worker and may report about it in writing to the inspector.
  • Record-keeping – A committee must keep record of every recommendation to the employer and every report to an inspector.
  • Other functions – Committee members must perform any other functions required of them by regulation.

2.2. THE ROLE OF THE OHS INSPECTORS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is administered by the Chief Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety of the Department of Labour.

In order to ensure the Health and Safety of workers, provincial offices have been established in all the provinces. To this end, Occupational Health and Safety inspectors from these provincial offices carry out inspections and investigations at workplaces.


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2.2.1 Inspections
Inspections are usually planned on the basis of accident statistics, the presence of hazardous substances, such as the use of benzene in laundries, or the use of dangerous machinery in the workplace. Unplanned inspections, on the other hand, usually arise from requests or complaints by workers, employers, or members of the public. These complaints or requests are treated confidentially.

a) Powers of Inspectors
If an inspector finds dangerous or adverse conditions at the workplace, he or she may set requirements to the employer in the following ways:

b) Prohibition Notices
In the case of threatening danger, an inspector may prohibit a particular action, process, or the use of a machine or equipment, by means of a prohibition notice. No person may disregard the contents of such a notice and compliance must take place with immediate effect.

c) Contravention Notice
If a provision of a regulation is contravened, the inspector may serve a contravention notice on the workers or the employer. A contravention of the Act can result in immediate prosecution, but in the case of a contravention of a regulation, the employer may be given the opportunity to correct the contravention within a time limit specified in the notice which is usually 60 days.

d) Improvement Notice
Where the Health and Safety measures which the employer has instituted, do not satisfactorily protect the Health and Safety of the workers, the inspector may require the employer to bring about more effective measures. An improvement notice which prescribes the corrective measures is then served on the employer.

e) Other Powers
To enable the inspector to carry out his or her duties, he or she may enter any workplace or premises where machinery or hazardous substances are being used and question or serve a summons on persons to appear before him or her. The inspector may request that any documents be submitted to him or her, investigate and make copies of the documents, and demand an explanation about any entries in such documents. The inspector may also inspect any condition or article and take samples of it, and seize any article that may serve as evidence.

f) Please Note
The above mentioned powers of inspectors are not absolute. Any person, who disagrees with any decision taken by an inspector, may appeal against that decision by writing to the Chief Inspector, Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Labour, Private Bag X117, Pretoria, 0001.

1. Explain the importance of compliance with policies, procedures and codes of practice in terms of safety, health and legislative requirements.

Individual Activity
There is no incorrect answer. All answers are open ended. Please attempt 

2. Explain the implementation and maintenance of health, safety and environmental legislation in a workplace.

Individual Activity
There is no incorrect answer. All answers are open ended. Please attempt 

2.3. SAFETY RULES AND GUIDELINES

To ensure your safety, and that of your co-workers, please observe and obey the rules and guidelines appropriate to the general populace or specific jobs:
  • Observe and practice the safety procedures established for the job.
  • In case of sickness or injury, no matter how slight, report at once to your supervisor. In no case should an employee treat his or her own or someone else’s injuries or attempt to remove foreign particles from someone else’s eye.
  • In case of injury resulting in possible fracture to legs, back, or neck, or any accident resulting in an unconscious condition, or a severe head injury, the employee is not to be moved until medical attention has been given by authorized personnel.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or jewellery around machinery. It may catch on moving equipment and cause a serious injury.
  • Never distract the attention of another person, as you might cause him or her to be injured. If necessary to get the attention of another person, wait until it can be done safely.
  • Where required, you must wear protective equipment, such as goggles, safety glasses, masks, gloves, hair nets, etc. appropriate to the task.
  • Safety equipment such as restraints, pull backs, and two-hand devices are designed for your protection. Be sure such equipment is adjusted for you.
  • Pile materials, skids, bins, boxes, or other equipment so as not to block aisles, exits, firefighting equipment, electric lighting or power panel, valves, etc. Fire Doors and Aisles must be Kept Clear!
  • Keep your work area clean.
  • Use compressed air only for the job for which it is intended. Do not clean your clothes with it, and do not fool around with it.
  • Observe “No Smoking” regulations.
  • Shut down your machine before cleaning, repairing, or leaving it.
  • Tow motors and lift trucks will be operated only by authorized personnel. Walk-type lift trucks will not be ridden and no one but the operator is permitted to ride the tow motors.
  • Do not exceed a speed that is safe for existing conditions.
  • Running and horseplay are strictly forbidden.
  • Do not block access to fire extinguishers.
  • Do not tamper with electric controls or switches.
  • Do not operate machines or equipment until you have been properly instructed and authorized to do so by your supervisor.
  • Do not engage in such other practices as may be inconsistent with ordinary and reasonable common sense safety rules.
  • Report any unsafe condition or acts to your supervisor.
  • Help to prevent accidents.
  • Use designated passages when moving from one place to another; never take hazardous shortcuts (i.e., between moving equipment or across roadways).
  • Lift properly—use your leg muscles, not your back muscles. For heavier loads, ask for assistance.
  • Do not adjust, clean, or oil moving machinery.
  • Keep machine guards in their intended places.
  • Do not throw objects.
  • Clean up spilled liquid, oil, or grease immediately.
  • Wear hard-sole shoes and appropriate clothing (i.e., shorts or mini dresses are not permitted).
  • Place trash and paper in proper containers and not in cans provided for cigarette butts.

2.4. SAFETY CHECKLIST

It is every employee’s responsibility to be on the lookout for possible hazards. If you spot one of the conditions on the following list—or any other possible hazardous situation—report it to your supervisor immediately.

  • Slippery floors and walkways
  • Tripping hazards, such as hose links, piping, etc.
  • Missing (or inoperative) entrance and exit signs and lighting
  • Poorly lighted stairs
  • Loose handrails or guard rails
  • Open, loose or broken windows
  • Dangerously piled supplies or equipment
  • Unlocked doors and gates
  • Electrical equipment left operating
  • Open doors on electrical panels
  • Leaks of steam, water, oil, other liquids
  • Blocked aisles
  • Blocked fire extinguishers, hose sprinkler heads
  • Blocked fire doors
  • Evidence of any equipment running hot or overheating
  • Oily rags
  • Evidence of smoking in non-smoking areas
  • Roof leaks
  • Directional or warning signs not in place
  • Safety devices not operating properly
  • Machine, power transmission, or drive guards missing, damaged, loose, or improperly placed

2.5. SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Your supervisor will see that you receive the protective clothing and equipment required for your job. Use them as instructed and take care of them. You will be charged for loss or destruction of these articles only when it occurs through negligence.



2.5.1 Safety shoes 
The organization will designate which jobs and work areas require safety shoes. Under no circumstances will an employee be permitted to work in sandals or open-toe shoes. A reliable safety shoe vendor will visit the entity periodically. Notices will be posted prior to the visits.

2.5.2 Safety glasses 
The wearing of safety glasses by all shop employees and volunteers is mandatory. Strict adherence to this policy can significantly reduce the risk of eye injuries.

2.5.3 Seat belts 
All paid and volunteer staff must use seat belts and shoulder restraints (if available) whenever they operate a vehicle on organization business. The driver is responsible for seeing that all passengers in front and rear seats are buckled up.

2.6. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Your work location should be kept clean and orderly. Keep machines and other objects (merchandise, boxes, shopping carts, etc.) out of the center of aisles. Clean up spills, drips, and leaks immediately to avoid slips and falls. Place trash in the proper receptacles. Stock shelves carefully so merchandise will not fall over upon contact.

Identify some safety equipment

Please take each description and match it to the correct item on the image below 
  • Goggles
  • Breathing mask
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety earphones
  • Safety helmet

SUMMARY ANIMATION

 

 

END OF SECTION 2

You have now complete Section 2 ! Please move to Section 3

 

SECTION 3: INCIDENTS

INTRODUCTION

Incidents can be generally defined as being the result of unsafe workplace conditions, acts, or poor decision making by someone in the chain of events. Statistics differ, but it is generally accepted that 20% of incidents are a result of poor workplace conditions and the remaining 80% are caused by some form of human error or non-conformance.

1. Technical equipment (machinery and tools)
2. Articles, materials and substances ( heavy, sharp, toxic)
3. Working environment (lighting, noise, temperature, humidity)
4. Human decision making factors and actions (acts, omissions, carelessness, negligence, errors of judgment, poor attitude)

3.1. CAUSES OF INCIDENTS

A management system failure in one or more of these areas causes incidents.

Workplace conditions can be described as the general state of the workplace environment.

Although workplace conditions only form 20% of the contributing factors, this is the area that needs the most attention. The reasons for first addressing conditions are that risks can be predicted and controlled. It is also far more cost effective to address conditions than to continuously control acts - i.e. human behaviour.

No matter how informed and competent people are, various factors influence day-to-day behaviour. The most reliable worker will at some time perform unsafe acts, or fail to follow correct and known procedures.

You will reduce opportunities for human errors by seeing that as many risks as possible are controlled by engineering standards.

Human errors are largely unpredictable. Even with the best information, training and monitoring programmes in place, there will be a time when, for whatever reason, someone will fail to follow the correct steps and procedures.

Common factors that influence human behaviour usually result from one or more of the following deficiencies or errors:
3.1.1 Personal Factors

  • Lack of knowledge, skill, or ability
  • Physical or mental stress, imbalance or incapacity
  • Poor attitude

3.1.2 Job Factors

  • Poor purchase specifications
  • Poor design and substandard conditions
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Lack of or ineffective training
  • Lack of work standards
  • Lack of supervision and mentoring
  • Substandard practices
  • Failure to identify hazards and associated risks
  • Poor or absent administrative controls.

The ANSI Code (Z16.2-1962 R1969) classifies unsafe acts and conditions as:

3.1.3 Unsafe Conditions
1. Inadequate guards or protection
2. Defective tools, equipment, substances
3. Congestion
4. Inadequate warning systems
5. Fire and explosion hazards
6. Substandard housekeeping
7. Hazardous atmospheric conditions (gases, dusts, mists, fumes, vapours)
8. Excessive noise
9. Radiation exposure
10. Inadequate illumination or ventilation.

3.1.4 Unsafe Acts
1. Operating without authority
2. Failure to warn or secure
3. Operating at improper speed
4. Making safety devices inoperable
5. Using defective equipment
6. Failure to use personal protective equipment
7. Improper loading or placement
8. Improper lifting
9. Taking improper position
10. Servicing equipment in motion
11. Horseplay
12. Alcohol, drugs or other substance abuse.

Quick Question

  • Is operating without authority an unsafe act?

3.2. EFFECTS

Incidents affect one or more of the following - individuals, organisations, clients, the general public, the community, and the environment.

The effects may be temporary or permanent and many can be identified immediately. Health and environmental effects may only become evident after a period of time.
SHEQ programme management is a pro-active process with the focus on containing risk by controlling hazardous conditions.

Well designed and executed inspections identify issues that are related to these causes.

3.3. INCIDENT REPORTING

Workers must report health and safety incidents to their employer, a health and safety representative, or a health and safety inspector.

3.3.1 Reporting Incidents to employers
Before the end of a shift (or as soon as possible afterwards), workers must report to their employer, a health and safety representative or an inspector, incidents in which:

  • People are killed, injured, or become ill,
  • Dangerous substances are released, or
  • Machinery fails or runs out of control.

Based on Legislation in Section 14, of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

3.3.2 Site of Incidents
No one may disturb the site of an injury or death.
This does not apply to -

  • Public road traffic accidents;
  • Household incidents (unless reported to the SAPS); or
  • Aviation accidents.

Based on Legislation in Section 24, of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

3.4. BASIC GUIDE TO HEALTH AND SAFETY DUTIES OF EMPLOYERS

Employers and the self-employed must make every effort to ensure the health and safety of the workplace. Health and safety incidents must be reported to health and safety representatives and inspectors.



a) Employer’s Duties
All employers must –

  • provide and maintain a safe, healthy working environment;
  • ensure workers’ health and safety by providing

    -information,
    -instructions,
    -training, and
    -supervision;
     
  • inform health and safety representatives of -

    -incidents,
    -inspections,
    -investigations, and
    -Inquiries.

Self-employed people must ensure that they, their workers, or others are not exposed to health or safety risks.

3.4.1 Reporting Incidents

Employers must report to an inspector incidents in which -

  • people are killed, injured, or become ill,
  • dangerous substances are released, or
  • Machinery fails or runs out of control.

b) Site of Incidents
No one may disturb the site of an injury or death.

This does not apply to -

  • public road traffic accidents;
  • household incidents, unless reported to the SA Police Service; and
  • Aviation accidents.

c) Everybody Plays a Role in Health and Safety
For an employee-driven Health and Safety culture to be successful, all employees—from top management to new employees, need to be fully engaged in making and keeping the workplace safe. Everybody plays an important role:

Safety management’s role is to implement and guide the employee-driven Health and Safety culture. Safety management must also review and revise Safety programs to help drive continual program improvements.

Senior management’s role is to visibly endorse and actively support the workplace Health and Safety program. Senior management must also empower employees by being receptive to employee input on hazards and risks, corrective action, and the structure of the Health and Safety program.

Supervisors’ role is to give employees the tools, information, and training they need to work safely. Supervisors must also be proactive in protecting their workers and share accountability with their employees for safety in their departments.

Employees‘ role is to take ownership of Health and Safety by sharing responsibility for their own and co-workers’ safety. Employees must also help drive continual Safety improvement by setting personal safety goals, by targeting unsafe work practices, and by sharing their safety stories and ideas with co-workers.

Health and Safety committees‘ role is to promote safety throughout the workplace. These groups need the full support of every-one so that they can help change and improve processes, procedures, and programs.

d) How to Encourage Ownership
For an employee-driven safety culture to succeed, employees must take ownership of the Health and safety system. Here are some suggestions on how to encourage ownership:

Point out that all workplace accidents and injuries are preventable but that it is individuals who prevent them. Ultimately, each employee is responsible for his or her own safety. This is a very powerful notion, one that many employees may not have entertained. They may still have the mentality that their safety is your job.

Identify Safety leaders. Put the spotlight on people in the organization who really care about safety and have extraordinary safety records. Other workers will want to share in the limelight and follow these leaders.

Recognize safe performance. Recognition is reinforcement. Praise someone for a positive behavior, and you’ll see more of that behavior.

Encourage employees to talk to co-workers about safety, observe one another’s safety performance, and comment on safe and unsafe performance.

  • Ask for employee input about safety programs and performance and act on their suggestions.
  • Let employees or teams of employees implement solutions to safety problems.
  • Enlist experienced employees to train other employees.
  • Encourage widespread employee participation in Health and Safety committees.
  • Make hazard and incident reporting easy and blame-free.

Using policies and procedures to address Health and Safety in the workplace has its advantages, but behaviour-based Safety will prove to be a growing component in successful Health & Safety management systems in years to come.

e) Writing a health and safety policy for your business

  • Describing how you will manage health and safety in your business will let your staff and others know about your commitment to health and safety. This will be your health and safety policy. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.
  • If you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy.

The policy does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. To help you, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have created a template that you can download and complete. The template also includes a section for your risk assessment so that you can record everything in one document.

HSE also provide an example health and safety policy to give you an idea of what to include when writing your own.

  • A policy will only be effective if you and your staff follow it and review it regularly.
  • What should be in your health and safety policy?
  • Your business must have a health and safety policy, and if you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy.
  • Most businesses set out their policy in three parts:
  • The statement of general policy section sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve
  • The responsibility section allows you to state who is responsible for what
  • The arrangements section contains the detail of what you are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in your statement of general policy

3.5. IDENTIFICATION OF LIFE AND FIRE SAFETY HAZARDS

INTRODUCTION
The effectiveness of a fire prevention and emergency preparedness program is directly related to management's commitment and involvement. Management must establish policy, procedures and actively participate in fire drills, training, and inspections. Failure to do so can mean that the lives of employees, and the business itself, are at risk.

  • Management should establish an overall written program to address fire hazard and preparedness for emergencies
  • Managers, supervisors, and employees must be knowledgeable and informed of fire prevention procedures. Fire protection procedures for employees should include , Hot work permits Storage and handling of combustible materials ,Housekeeping ,Fire extinguisher, Fire hazard identification-

-All employees must understand basic emergency action plans:
-Alarms
-Emergency shutdown
-Evacuation routes
-Assembly areas

  • Emergency drills test the effectiveness of the emergency preparedness plan. Management and employees must rehearse their emergency action plans. At a minimum, an annual drill should be conducted in each department.
  • Emergency preparedness drills and inspections of facility emergency alarms, exit doors, emergency lighting, and other equipment must be conducted on a routine basis
  • Fire protection must be audited to assess their effectiveness procedures (e.g., hotwork and storage and handling of flammable materials).
  • A coordinator should be designated to assist management in assuring that all elements of the fire protection and emergency preparedness program are in place and working
  • The coordinator should have an understanding of emergency preparedness planning and all elements of the facility's fire protection plan
  • All fires must be investigated in order to identify causes and a strategy for preventing recurrence.
    Management must enforce all policies and procedures as necessary to maintain compliance.
  • Consideration must be given to all personnel that are on site.

3.6. BASIC FIRE HAZARDS

Industrial fire hazards are generally categorized into four groups: (i) Ignition Sources, (ii) Materials, (iii) Building Hazards and, most importantly, (iv) Personnel Hazards.

a) Ignition Sources:

All forms and types of energy can be considered a potential ignition source. Some frequent types of ignition sources found in industry are:

  • Open flames
  • Electrical wiring / devices
  • Smoking
  • Heat sources / Hot surfaces
  • Welding and cutting
  • Friction
  • Sparks and Arcs
  • Static sparks
  • Chemical reactions
  • Gas Compression

b) Materials:
There are few materials that will not ignite and burn. Materials in a liquid, gas, or vapor state are typically more ignitable than solid fuels. Materials are rated by their combustibility and their ability to ignite and burn. Information is readily accessible to determine a materials-combustibility rating. Some common types of combustible materials found in industry are:

  • Wood
  • Cloth
  • Plastics
  • Fuels
  • Paints
  • Solvents
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Hydraulic fluids

c) Building Hazards:
Fire can spread rapidly through a building, causing major structural failure of roofs and walls. Depending on a building's design, fires can travel horizontally and vertically. Listed below are examples of how fire can travel throughout a building:

  • Horizontal Travel
  • Doorways
  • Hallways
  • Ceiling spaces
  • Floor spaces
  • Utility openings
  • Conveyor shafts
  • Vertical Travel
  • Stairways
  • Elevator shafts
  • Material shafts
  • Utility openings
  • Conveyor shafts

The building's structural materials will determine its ability to withstand a fire. Structural framing of wood is considered to have a limited resistance to fire. Steel members are subject to significant structural decreases at low fire temperatures unless they are protected by enclosures or treated with fire-resistive chemical coatings.

d) Personnel Hazards:

The primary fire hazards to personnel are escape routes to safety. The following considerations must be examined in determining the best methods of escape:

  • Travel distance to an exit
  • Illumination of exiting paths
  • Number and arrangement of exits
  • Identification of exits
  • Exit pathways
  • Exit doors
  • Exit capacities

QUICK QUIZ

Match the correct description to the correct term 

  • IGNITION SOURCE
    SMOKING
  • MATERIALS
    PLASTICS
  • BUILDING HAZARDS
    DOORWAYS
  • PERSONAL HAZARDS
    EXIT PATHWAYS

3.7. FIRE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLANNING FOR HAZARD MANAGEMENT

Critical to employee safety is fire emergency preparation planning. The effectiveness of response during emergencies depends on the amount of planning, training, and drilling previously performed.

Identifying key elements of a fire emergency preparation plan starts with the development of a written plan. The emergency preparedness plan should address all potential emergencies that can be anticipated in the workplace (e.g., floods, earthquakes, and windstorms) and recovery plans. This guide is limited to fire emergency preparedness planning.

The written emergency preparedness plan should be provided to all departments and be accessible to all employees. Department managers and supervisors should be familiar with all elements in the written plan and have conducted training/drilling to assure that their department employees clearly understand their roles in fire emergencies.

3.8. GENERAL GUIDE

Emergency actions should include a written plan listing, in detail, the procedures to be taken in the event of a fire. (Please see example in this section below.)

3.8.1 Emergency Plan

The facility information describes key elements of the facility that is useful for new employees and response agencies, such as local fire departments.

  1. Employees must know how to report an emergency. This may include the activation of pull alarms or notifying the facility security center. Consideration must be given to methods of notifying local agencies such as the fire department.
  2. Alarms and signals to alert employees must be identified; this may include audio alarms, highly visible lights, and/or a public address system. Management and employees must know what actions to take when an emergency alarm is activated.
  3. All emergency phone numbers should be identified, listed in the emergency preparedness plan, and posted. Emergency phone numbers should include any facility numbers, local agencies, and any emergency-facility personnel. Consideration should also be given to recovery of operations.
  4. All responsibilities should be clearly defined for management and employees. Management must determine its strategy for responding to fire emergencies.
  5. A chain of command should be established to minimize any confusion. Personnel must be identified to coordinate the emergency-response actions.
  6. Detection and alarm systems should be identified and described. Testing and preventative maintenance procedures should be included.
  7. Diagrams should be developed for critical information. Evacuation routes, exit doors, fire extinguishers, and other critical elements should be visually displayed for all employees. If the fire sprinkler system or standpipe system is used, all critical controls/valves should be clearly identified.
  8. Assembly areas should be established for all employees. Accounting for employees can be performed at assembly areas. All assembly areas should be established at safe distances from fire hazards and clear of emergency vehicle traffic and activities.
  9. Search and rescue procedures must be established. Only trained and authorized personnel should attempt search and rescue.
  10. Procedures for shutting down equipment during emergencies should be established. Equipment operators must know the proper actions to take during an emergency.
  11. Recovery strategy should include plans to restore the operations.
  12. This should include a list of contractors who can provide equipment and services for operations. Additional consideration should be given to temporary contractors who can provide manufacturing services
  13. Employees must know the emergency routes in their work areas and be familiar with the plant layout. All employees must receive a guided tour of evacuation routes and emergency exits during orientation.
  14. Operators must know their specific procedures when an emergency arises. Safe shutdown procedures for equipment should be established to prevent equipment damage and additional hazards. Evacuating employees to a safe location is a top priority.
  15. The alarm system to notify employees of emergencies and evacuations must be clearly recognizable during emergency conditions. Horns, sirens, public announcement system and other alarm devices must alert employees of an emergency.
  16. All alarm systems and fire protection systems must be maintained and tested on a regular basis. It is recommended that alarms be tested weekly.
  17. The emergency preparedness plan should be a working document used for training and practice. The plan must be updated to reflect any changes in the workplace
  18. Emergency routes and exit doors should be clearly posted on a wall diagram to show employees the primary and secondary emergency routes for evacuating the building. The diagram should show the employee's current position and emergency routes. Each department should display this diagram in a highly visible area.
  19. Emergency evacuation drills must be conducted to ensure employees are knowledgeable and trained on emergency plans.

3.8.2 Reference Options
Every facility should have an established set of procedures to handle fires and related emergencies. Copies of the plan should be distributed to emergency services such as fire departments.

Each facility manager must decide on the extent of employee involvement in response to an emergency, such as a fire, and decide whether or not the facility should have a fire brigade. There are five basic options.

a) The one selected will depend on the;

  • size of the facility,
  • type of hazardous operations on the premises,
  • number of employees available for a fire brigade organization, and
  • type/ extent of fire protection equipment available

b) Options:

Option 1: Full evacuation of the facility: No employees are permitted to fight a fire -- they are to immediately evacuate upon notification by an alarm or other device. This option provides the most employee protection; however, if a local fire department is not within proximity, major property damage may result.

Options 2 through 4 deal with incipient fires. (An incipient fire is one that is in the initial stage and can be controlled or extinguished with portable fire extinguishers.)

Option 2: All employees must be trained to utilize fire extinguishers for incipient fires: Initial training should be conducted when the employee is hired and refresher training provided annually. This alternative provides the opportunity to prevent a small incipient fire from becoming a larger one. Employees must clearly understand their limits when this option is selected. There is risk associated with an employee attempting to extinguish a fire that has passed the point of being an incipient one. Employees may sustain injuries if they are not properly trained.

Option 3: Designated employees to fight an incipient fire in their general areas: With this option, the level of training is virtually the same as Option 2; however, only designated employees are trained and expected to fight an incipient fire. Additionally, the method of training must be hands-on.

If none of these options are practical, the facility may choose to organize a fire brigade. If so, management must then decide between these two options:

Option 4 - Organized fire brigade to fight incipient stage fires only: If this is the choice, the following are required: (i) specific procedures, training, and leadership structure; and (ii) all necessary protective clothing and firefighting equipment. Training and education in special hazards must be provided, along with training in standard operating procedures and use of equipment. A higher, specialized level of training should be provided for the brigade leaders and instructors. This option poses a risk of injury to fire brigade members.

Option 5: Organized fire brigade to fight both incipient stage and interior structural fires: If it is decided that the fire brigade should fight both incipient stage AND interior structural fires, the facility must satisfy all the items required in Option 4. In addition, brigade members must pass a physical examination, attend educational sessions at least quarterly -- with hands-on training at least annually -- and have protective clothing and breathing apparatus provided. This selection, the equivalent of a professional fire department, poses the highest risk of injury for brigade members. As such, only properly-trained brigades should assume this role.

If your facility elects to form a fire brigade, members should be organized and trained to make the best use of the fire protection equipment available and to operate it effectively during an emergency.

The fire brigade should help evacuate all personnel not involved in handling the emergency and be able to assist the fire department to control the emergency.

The following factors may influence your decisions regarding the size, complexity, and organization of a fire brigade:

(i) Property size, (ii) Property accessibility; (iii) Building size; (iv) Building construction; (v) Building contents; (vi) Fire protection equipment on hand; (vii) Fire hazards; (viii) Personnel safety; and (ix) Proximity, quality, and responsiveness of local fire authorities.

3.8.3 Training

The purpose of training is to establish and verify the organization's ability to prevent fires and to effectively respond to fire emergencies. Training considerations should include the following:

  1. Actions to take in the event of a fire: When to evacuate, when to attempt to extinguish a fire, whom to notify, what equipment to shut down.
  2. Portable fire extinguishers: The correct extinguisher and its proper operation on a particular type of fire (e.g., metals, electrical, chemical, wood, or paper). The training should be "hands-on" to give employees experience in extinguishment techniques.
  3. Familiarity with plant: A tour of the entire facility, with emphasis on the location of exits, fire extinguishers, hazardous operations, and restricted areas.
  4. Care and maintenance of equipment or machinery they will be operating: To reduce fire loss potential by helping to keep equipment from malfunctioning or breaking down.
  5. Alarms: The meaning of various alarms and the actions to take when they are sounded.
  6. Hot-Work Permits: How to protect against fire hazards caused from welding/cutting/brazing and other hot work.
  7. Flammable Liquids: How to safely handle, use, and store flammable liquids. 
  8. In addition, certain functions, such as the following, will require specific training for the employees involved:
  9. Fire Brigade: If the facility has a fire brigade, members should be required to complete a specified training program as a condition of membership.
  10. Specialized Equipment: Some processes or machinery operations present fire loss exposures by their very nature; e.g., chemical handling or mixing. Employees involved must be thoroughly trained in the fire exposures and control measures to be followed.
  11. Job Change: Training employees when they change jobs is important as new jobs present new exposures.
  12. Traffic Control: During a fire or other emergency, persons with essential duties must be able to move to locations where they are needed. In addition, it is usually necessary to evacuate occupants quickly.

Learner Tip

 

 

3.8.4 Drills

Planning for fire emergencies requires drilling. The prevention of personal injury and loss of life are the prime objectives of emergency planning.

Fire drills must be conducted to test the organization's abilities and readiness to handle a fire emergency. One of the most important elements in fire protection -- EVACUATION of employees -- can be tested.

Planned and unannounced drills should be conducted, each one serving its own purpose. Planned drills focus attention on inspections and training while unannounced ones truly test your organization's response.

Planning for fire emergencies requires drilling. (The prevention of personal injury and loss of life are the prime objectives of the emergency planning.)

Carefully plan and periodically carry out fire drills. Train employees to evacuate the building immediately at the proper alarm/signal.

All employees should recognize the evacuation signal and know the exit route they are to follow. Upon hearing the signal, they should shut off equipment and report to a pre-determined assembly point. This point generally will be located outside of the building. Primary and alternate routes should be established and all employees should be trained to use either route.

When employees are assembled, the line manager of each area should account for all personnel under his/her supervision. If any employees are missing, immediately report their names to the plant Safety Coordinator so that search and rescue efforts can be initiated. Only trained search and rescue personnel with adequate protective equipment should be permitted to re-enter an evacuated area.

After each drill, a meeting of the responsible managers should be held to evaluate its success and to discuss any problems that may have occurred.

3.9. FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS GUIDE

3.9.1 Step 1. Identifying Fire Hazards

For a fire to start, three things are needed: a source of ignition, fuel, oxygen.

If any one of these is missing, a fire cannot start.

Taking measures to avoid the three coming together will therefore reduce the chances of a fire occurring.

The remainder of this step will advise on how to identify potential ignition sources, the materials that might fuel a fire and the oxygen supplies which will help it burn.

a) Identify Sources of Ignition

You can identify the potential ignition sources in your premises by looking for possible sources of heat which could get hot enough to ignite material found in your premises. These sources could include:

  • smokers' material, e.g. cigarettes, matches and lighters;
  • naked flames, e.g. gas or liquid-fuelled open-flame equipment;
  • sparks from burning products, e.g. bonfires in yards;
  • vehicle exhausts;
  • electrical, gas or oil-fired heaters (fixed or portable), room heaters;
  • hot processes/hot work, e.g. welding by contractors or shrink wrapping;
  • cooking equipment, hot ducting, flues and filters;
  • extract fans for dust and fume removal systems, e.g. by build-up of debris;
  • failure of temperature control thermostats on hot work/cooking processes;
  • heat sources, such as gas, electric, microwaves, radio frequency, thermal fluids;
  • steam pipes;
  • frictional generated heat from mechanical equipment;
  • static charge from mechanical equipment, e.g. conveyor belts; 
  • poor electrical installations, e.g. overloads, heating from bunched cables, damaged cable;
  • faulty or misused electrical equipment, e.g. refrigeration defrost systems, fork lift truck charging units;
  • Light fittings and lighting equipment, e.g. halogen lamps or display lighting or overhead lights too close to stored products;
  • hot surfaces and obstruction of equipment ventilation;
  • spontaneous ignition and self-heating, e.g. oil soaked rags, paint scrapings, crumb and batter residue;
  • and arson.

Indications of 'near-misses', such as scorch marks on furniture or fittings, discoloured or charred electrical plugs and sockets, cigarette burns, etc., can help you identify hazards which you may not otherwise notice

b) Identify Sources of Fuel
Anything that burns is fuel for a fire. You need to look for the things that will burn reasonably easily and are in enough quantity to provide fuel for a fire or cause it to spread to another fuel source. Some of the most common 'fuels' found in factories and warehouses are:

  • flammable liquid-based products, such as paints, varnishes, thinners and adhesives;
  • flammable liquids and solvents, such as petrol, white spirit, methylated spirit, cooking oils and disposable cigarette lighters;
  • flammable chemicals, such as certain cleaning products, photocopier chemicals and dry cleaning products that use hydrocarbon solvents;
  • flammable gases such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), flammable refrigerants and flammable gas propelled aerosols;
  • stored goods and high piled or racked storage;
  • foodstuffs containing sugar and oils, such as sugar-coated cereal and butter;
  • plastics and rubber, such as video tapes, polyurethane foam-filled furniture and polystyrene-based display materials;
  • paper products, such as stationery, advertising material and decorations;
  • packaging materials;
  • plastic and timber storage aids both in use and idle,such as pallets, octobins, and palletainers;
  • combustible insulation, such as panels constructed with combustible cores;
  • textiles and soft furnishings, such as hanging curtains and clothing displays; and
  • waste products, particularly finely divided items such as shredded paper and wood shavings, off-cuts, dust and litter/rubbish.

You should also consider the materials used to line walls and ceilings, e.g. polystyrene or carpet tiles, the fixtures and fittings, and how they might contribute to the spread of fire.

c) Identify Sources of Oxygen
The main source of oxygen for a fire is in the air around us. In an enclosed building this is provided by the ventilation system in use. This generally falls into one of two categories: natural airflow through doors, windows and other openings; or mechanical air conditioning systems and air handling systems. In many buildings there will be a combination of systems, which will be capable of introducing/extracting air to and from the building.

Additional sources of oxygen can sometimes be found in materials used or stored at premises such as:

  • Some chemicals (oxidising materials), which can provide a fire with additional oxygen and so help it burn. These chemicals should be identified on their container (and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health data sheet) by the manufacturer or supplier who can advise as to their safe use and storage;
  • oxygen supplies from cylinder storage and piped systems, e.g. oxygen used in welding processes; and
  • Pyrotechnics (fireworks), which contain oxidising materials and need to be treated with great care.

Are you in a position to identify all potential ignition sources?

  • Yes
  • No

What are potential fuel sources?

  • Smokers material e.g. cigarettes, matches and lighters
  • Naked flames e.g gas or liquid-filled open flame equipment
  • Sparks from burning products
  • Vehicle exhausts
  • Steam pipes
  • Hot water
Please select one or more

What are potential sources of oxygen?

  • Oxygen supplies from cylinder storage and piped systems e.g oxygen used in welding processes
  • Pyrotechnics (fireworks), which contain oxidising material and need to be treated with great care
  • Clothes that have been worn in high oxygen environment
Please select one or more...

Have you made a note of your findings?

  • Yes
  • No

Which people are at risk?

  • Employees who work alone
  • People with language difficulties
  • Other people in the immediate vicinity of the premises
  • Unaccompanied children and young persons
  • People who are watching but not assisting
Please select one or more...

Have you recorded the significant findings of your risk assessment?

  • Yes
  • No

Have you recorded what you have done to remove or reduce the risk?

  • Yes
  • No

Are your records available for inspection by the enforcing authority?

  • Yes
  • No

3.10. EMERGENCY PLANS

You need to have an emergency plan for dealing with any fire situation.

The purpose of an emergency plan is to ensure that the people in your premises know what to do if there is a fire and that the premises can be safely evacuated.

If you or your organisation employ five or more people or your premises are licensed or an alterations notice requiring it is in force, then details of your emergency plan must be recorded. Even if it is not required, it is good practice to keep a record.

Your emergency plan should be based on the outcome of your fire risk assessment and be available for your employees, their representatives (where appointed) and the enforcing authority.

In small offices and shops the emergency plan may be no more than a fire action notice.

In multi-occupied, larger and more complex offices and shops, the emergency plan will need to be more detailed and compiled only after consultation with other occupiers and other responsible people, e.g. owners, who have control over the building. In most cases this means that a single emergency plan covering the whole building will be necessary. It will help if you can agree on one person to co-ordinate this task.

a) Inform, Instruct, Co-operate and Co-ordinate

You must give clear and relevant information and appropriate instructions to your staff and the employers of other people working in your premises, such as contractors, about how to prevent fires and what they should do if there is a fire.

Any other relevant persons should be given information about the fire safety arrangements as soon as possible. If you intend to employ a child, you must inform the parents of the significant risks you have identified and the precautions you have taken. You must also co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible people who use any part of the premises. It is unlikely that your emergency plan will work without this.

b) Information and Instruction

All staff should be given information and instruction as soon as possible after they are appointed and regularly after that. Make sure you include staff who work outside normal working hours, such as contract cleaners or maintenance staff.

The information and instructions you give must be in a form that can be used and understood. They should take account of those with disabilities such as hearing or sight impairment, those with learning difficulties and those who do not use English as their first language.

The information and instruction you give should be based on your emergency plan and must include:
  • the significant findings from your fire risk assessment;
  • the measures that you have put in place to reduce the risk;
  • what staff should do if there is a fire;
  • the identity of people you have nominated with responsibilities for fire safety; and
  • any special arrangements for serious and imminent danger to persons from fire.

In small premises, where no significant risks have been identified and there are limited numbers of staff, information and instruction may simply involve an explanation of the fire procedures and how they are to be applied. This should include showing staff the fire-protection arrangements, including the designated escape routes, the location and operation of the fire-warning system and any other fire-safety equipment provided, such as fire extinguishers. Fire action notices can complement this information and, where used, should be posted in prominent locations.

In larger premises, particularly those in multi-occupied buildings, you should ensure that written instructions are given to people who have been nominated to carry out a designated safety task, such as calling the fire and rescue service or checking that exit doors are available for use at the start of each working day.

c) Co-operation and Co-ordination

In premises that are not multi-occupied you are likely to be solely responsible. However, in buildings owned by someone else, or where there is more than one occupier, and others are responsible for different parts of the building, it is important that you liaise with them and inform them of any significant risks that you have identified. By liaising you can co-ordinate your resources to ensure that your actions and working practices do not place others at risk if there is a fire, and a co-ordinated emergency plan operates effectively.

Mentored Discussion:

 

 

Where two or more responsible persons share premises in which an explosive atmosphere may occur, the responsible person with overall responsibility for the premises must co-ordinate any measures necessary to protect everyone from any risk that may arise. Employees also have a responsibility to co-operate with their employer so far as it is necessary to help the employer comply with any legal duty.

In regard to the above, consider the following Checklist as a manager.

  1. Have you told your staff about the emergency plan?
  2. Have you informed guests and visitors about what to do in an emergency?
  3. Have you identified people you have nominated to do a particular task?
  4. Have you given staff information about any dangerous substances?
  5. Do you have arrangements for informing temporary or agency staff?
  6. Do you have arrangements for informing other employers whose staff are guest workers in your premises, such as maintenance contractors and cleaners?
  7. Have you co-ordinated your fire safety arrangements with other responsible people in the building?
  8. Have you recorded details of any information or instructions you have given and the details of any arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination with others?

REFRESHER VIDEO

 

 

3.11. FIRE SAFETY TRAINING

You must provide adequate fire safety training for your staff. The type of training should be based on the particular features of your premises and should:

  • take account of the findings of the fire risk assessment;
  • explain your emergency procedures;
  • take account of the work activity and explain the duties and responsibilities of staff;
  • take place during normal working hours and be repeated periodically where appropriate;
  • be easily understandable by your staff and other people who may be present; and
  • be tested by fire drills.

In small premises this may be no more than showing new staff the fire exits and giving basic training on what to do if there is a fire. In larger premises, such as a supermarket with a high staff turnover and many shift patterns, the organization of fire safety training will need to be planned.

a) Your staff training should include the following:

  • what to do on discovering a fire;
  • how to raise the alarm and what happens then;
  • what to do upon hearing the fire alarm;
  • the procedures for alerting members of the public and visitors including, where appropriate, directing them to exits;
  • the arrangements for calling the fire and rescue service;
  • the evacuation procedures for everyone in your office or shop to reach an assembly point at a place of total safety;
  • the location and, when appropriate, the use of firefighting equipment;
  • the location of escape routes, especially those not in regular use;
  • how to open all emergency exit doors;
  • the importance of keeping fire doors closed to prevent the spread of fire, heat and smoke;
  • where appropriate, how to stop machines and processes and isolate power supplies in the event of a fire;
  • the reason for not using lifts (except those specifically installed or nominated, following a suitable fire risk assessment, for the evacuation of people with a disability);
  • the safe use of and risks from storing or working with highly flammable and explosive substances; and
  • the importance of general fire safety, which includes good housekeeping.

All the staff identified in your emergency plan that have a supervisory role if there is a fire (e.g. heads of department, fire marshals or wardens and, in larger offices and shops, fire parties or teams), should be given details of your fire risk assessment and receives additional training.

3.11.1 Step 5. Keep Assessment under Review

You should constantly monitor what you are doing to implement the fire risk assessment to assess how effectively the risk is being controlled.

If you have any reason to suspect that your fire risk assessment is no longer valid or there has been a significant change in your premises that has affected your fire precautions, you will need to review your assessment and if necessary revise it.

a) Reasons for review could include:

  • changes to work processes or the way that you organise them, including the introduction of new equipment;
  • alterations to the building, including the internal layout;
  • substantial changes to furniture and fixings;
  • the introduction, change of use or increase in the storage of hazardous substances;
  • the failure of fire precautions, e.g. fire-detection systems and alarm systems, life safety sprinklers or ventilation systems;
  • significant changes to displays or quantities of stock;
  • a significant increase in the number of people present; and
  • the presence of people with some form of disability.

You should consider the potential risk of any significant change before it is introduced. It is usually more effective to minimise a risk by, for example, ensuring adequate, appropriate storage space for an item before introducing it to your premises.

Do not amend your assessment for every trivial change, but if a change introduces new hazards you should consider them and, if significant, do whatever you need to do to keep the risks under control. In any case you should keep your assessment under review to make sure that the precautions are still working effectively. You may want to re-examine the fire prevention and protection measures at the same time as your health and safety assessment.

If a fire or 'near miss' occurs, this could indicate that your existing assessment may be inadequate and you should carry out a re-assessment. It is good practice to identify the cause of any incident and then review and, if necessary, revise your fire risk assessment in the light of this.

3.11.2 Alterations Notices

If you have been served with an 'alterations notice' check it to see whether you need to notify the enforcing authority about any changes you propose to make as a result of your review. If these changes include building work, you should also consult a building control body.

 

Do you have an emergency plan and, where necessary, have you recorded the details?

  • Yes
  • No

Does your plan take account of other emergency plans applicable in the building?

  • Yes
  • No

Is the plan readily available for staff to read?

  • Yes
  • No

Is the emergency plan available to the enforcing authority?

  • Yes
  • No

3.12. FIRE SAFETY AWARENESS ACTIONS

3.12.1 Remove or Reduce Fire Hazards
Having identified the fire hazards in Step 1, you now need to remove those hazards if reasonably practicable to do so. If you cannot remove the hazards, you need to take reasonable steps to reduce them if you can. This is an essential part of fire risk assessment and as a priority this must take place before any other actions.



Ensure that any actions you take to remove or reduce fire hazards or risk are not substituted by other hazards or risks. For example, if you replace a flammable substance with a toxic or corrosive one, you must consider whether this might cause harm to people in other ways.

3.13. REMOVE OR REDUCE SOURCES OF IGNITION

There are various ways that you can reduce the risk caused by potential sources of ignition, for example:
  • Wherever possible replace a potential source by a safer alternative.
  • Operate a safe smoking policy in designated smoking areas and prohibit smoking elsewhere.
  • Replace naked flame and radiant heaters with fixed convector heaters or a central heating system. Restrict the movement of and guard portable heating appliances.
  • Separate ignition hazards and combustibles, e.g. ensure sufficient clear space between lights and combustibles, build fire-resistant enclosures for hot processes, and incinerate rubbish off site.
  • Inspect and monitor ignition hazards so that preventative corrective actions can be undertaken, e.g. sample temperature on ducts and in oil baths, inspect for hot spots in electrical systems and mechanical systems.
  • Ensure electrical, mechanical and gas equipment is installed, used, maintained and protected in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Strictly control hot processes/hot work by operating permit to work schemes.
  • Check all areas where hot work (e.g. welding) has been carried out to ensure that no ignition has taken place and no smouldering or hot materials remain that may cause a fire.
  • Ensure that no one carrying out work on gas fittings which involves exposing pipes that contain or have contained flammable gas uses any source of ignition such as blow-lamps or hot-air guns.
  • Ensure that no one uses any source of ignition while searching for an escape of gas.
  • Take precautions to avoid arson.

3.13.1 Remove or reduce sources of fuel
There are various ways that you can reduce the risks caused by materials and substances which burn, for example:

  • Reduce stocks of flammable materials, liquids and gases in open areas to a minimum. Keep remaining stock in dedicated storerooms or storage areas, preferably outside, where only the appropriate staff are allowed to go, and keep the minimum required for the operation of the business.
  • Do not keep flammable solids, liquids and gases together.
  • Keep areas containing flammable gases ventilated, e.g. fork lift truck charging units.
  • Ensure flammable materials, liquids and gases, are kept to a minimum, and are stored properly with adequate separation distances between them.
  • Ensure adequate aisle is maintained separation between stacks of stored goods.
  • Separate fuel into fire-resistant enclosures, e.g. store raw materials and finished goods separately.
  • Use non-combustible building materials for building modifications.
  • Remove, or treat large areas of highly combustible wall and ceiling linings, e.g. polystyrene or carpet tiles, to reduce the rate of flame spread across the surface.
  • Develop a formal system for the control of combustible waste by ensuring that waste materials and rubbish are not allowed to build up and are carefully stored until properly disposed of, particularly at the end of the day.
  • Take action to avoid any parts of the premises, and in particular storage areas, being vulnerable to arson or vandalism.
  • Check all areas where hot work (e.g. welding) has been carried out to ensure that no ignition has taken place and no smouldering or hot materials remain that may cause a fire later.

The fuel hazard can also be reduced by the installation of automatic sprinkler systems or other suppression/extinguishing systems, the provision of such systems may have been a requirement of a local act or engineered solution and must be maintained.

3.13.2 Remove or Reduce Sources of Oxygen

You can reduce the potential source of oxygen supplied to a fire by:

  • closing all doors, windows and other openings not required for ventilation, particularly out of working hours;
  • shutting down ventilation systems which are not essential to the function of the premises;
  • not storing oxidising materials near or within any heat source or flammable materials; and
  • controlling the use and storage of oxygen cylinders, ensuring that they are not leaking, are not used to 'sweeten' the atmosphere, and that where they are located is adequately ventilated.

3.13.3 Remove or Reduce the Risks to People
Having evaluated and addressed the risk of fire occurring and the risk to people (preventative measures) it is unlikely that you will be able to conclude that no risk remains of a fire starting and presenting a risk to people in your premises.

You now need to reduce any remaining fire risk to people to as low as reasonably practicable, by ensuring that adequate fire precautions are in place to warn people in the event of a fire and allow them to safely escape.

The rest of this step describes the fire protection measures you may wish to adopt to reduce the remaining fire risk to people

The level of fire protection you need to provide will depend on the level of risk that remains in the premises after you have removed or reduced the hazards and risks.

3.13.4 Flexibility of Fire Protection Measures

Flexibility will be required when applying this guidance; the level of fire protection should be proportional to the risk posed to the safety of the people in the premises. Therefore, the objective should be to reduce the remaining risk to a level as low as reasonably practicable. The higher the risk of fire and risk to life, the higher the standards of fire protection will need to be.

Your premises may not exactly fit the solutions suggested in this guide and they may need to be applied in a flexible manner without compromising the safety of the occupants. For example, if the 'travel distance' is in excess of the norm for the level of risk you have determined, it may be necessary to do any one or a combination of the following to compensate:

  • Provide earlier warning of fire using automatic fire detection.
  • Revise the layout to reduce travel distances.
  • Reduce the fire risk by removing or reducing combustible materials and/or ignition sources.
  • Control the number of people in the premises.
  • Limit the area to trained staff only (no public).
  • Increase staff training and awareness.

3.14. PUBLIC FIRE-DETECTION AND WARNING SYSTEMS

In some simple, open-plan, single-story buildings and warehouses, a fire may be obvious to everyone as soon as it starts. In these cases, where the number and position of exits and the travel distance to them is adequate, a simple shout of 'fire' or a simple manually operated device, such as a gong, whistle or air horn that can be heard by everybody when operated from any single point within the building, may be all that is needed. When a simple shout or manually operated device is not adequate, it is likely that an electrical fire warning system will be required.


In more complex premises, particularly those with more than one floor, where an alarm given from any single point is unlikely to be heard throughout the building, an electrical system incorporating sounders and manually operated call points (break glass boxes) is likely to be required. This type of system is likely to be acceptable where all parts of the building are occupied at the same time and it is unlikely that a fire could start without somebody noticing it quickly. However, where there are unoccupied areas, or common corridors and circulation spaces in multi-occupied premises, in which a fire could develop to the extent that escape routes could be affected before the fire is discovered, automatic fire detection may be necessary.

The use of these systems may also be risk dependent, so a small factory or warehouse which handles, manufactures, stores or uses low flash point or highly flammable hazardous substances might also need an automatic fire detection system.

You may need to consider special arrangements for times when people are working alone, are disabled, or when your normal occupancy patterns are different, e.g. when maintenance staff or other contractors are working at the weekend.

In large or complex premises, particularly those accommodating large numbers of people, it is likely that a more sophisticated form of warning and evacuation, possibly phased, should be provided.
False alarms from electrical fire warning systems are a major problem (e.g. malicious activation of manual call points) and result in many unwanted calls to the fire and rescue service every year. To help reduce the number of false alarms, the design and location of activation devices should be reviewed against the way the premises are currently used.

What is the importance of any existing means of fire?

  • Proper maintenance
  • Remove Combustibles
  • Control fires that do occur
  • Detect fuel leaks
  • Leave it and attend to it at a later stage
Please choose one or more...

Can the means of warning be clearly heard and understood by everyone throughout the whole building when initiated from a single point?

  • Yes
  • No

Are there provisions for people or locations where the alarm cannot be heard?

  • Yes
  • No

If the fire-detection and warning system is electrically powered, does it have a back-up supply?

  • Yes
  • No

3.15. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

3.15.1 Dress to Protect
Many workplace injuries and illnesses could be prevented by the proper use of personal protective equipment. Safety in the workplace is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency provides rules for specific accessories and requires a walk-through assessment and survey of the workplace to determine what hazards exist and what PPE is needed. Once appropriate PPE is chosen, employees must be thoroughly trained in its proper use to have it be effective. OSHA and manufacturers are willing to help with selection and proper use of PPE. Many PPE manufacturers can provide workplace training.

3.15.2 The requirement for PPE
Hazards exist in every workplace in many different forms: sharp edges, falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals, noise and myriad other potentially dangerous situations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury.

Controlling a hazard at its source is the best way to protect employees. Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions, OSHA recommends the use of engineering or work practice controls to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent possible. For example, building a barrier between the hazard and the employees is an engineering control; changing the way in which employees perform their work is a work-practice control. When engineering, work practice and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide enough protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment or PPE to their employees and ensure its use. PPE is worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Examples of PPE are gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs) hard hats, respirators and full body suits.

a) Employers and employees need to:

  • Understand the types of PPE.
  • Know the basics of conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace.
  • Select appropriate PPE for a variety of circumstances.
  • Understand what kind of training is needed in the proper use and care of PPE.

b) In general, employers are responsible for:

  • Performing a hazard assessment of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards.
  • Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees.
  • Training employees in the use and care of the PPE.
  • Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE.
  • Periodically reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program.

c) In general, employees should:

  • Properly wear PPE,
  • Attend training sessions on PPE,
  • Care for, clean and maintain PPE, and
  • Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE. Specific requirements for PPE are presented in many different OSHA standards, Some standards require that employers provide PPE at no cost to the employee while others simply state that the employer must provide PPE.

3.15.3 The Hazard Assessment

A first critical step in developing a comprehensive safety and health program is to identify physical and health hazards in the workplace. This process is known as a hazard assessment. Potential hazards may be physical or health-related and a comprehensive hazard assessment should identify hazards in both categories. Examples of physical hazards include moving objects, fluctuating temperatures, high intensity lighting, rolling or pinching objects, electrical connections and sharp edges. Examples of health hazards include overexposure to harmful dusts, chemicals or radiation.

The hazard assessment should begin with a walk-through survey of the facility to develop a list of potential hazards in the following basic categories:

  • Impact,
  • Penetration,
  • Compression (roll-over),
  • Chemical,
  • Heat/cold,
  • Harmful dust,
  • Light (optical) radiation, and
  • Biologic.

During the walk-through survey, note the basic layout of the facility and review any history of occupational illnesses or injuries, and look for:

  • Sources of electricity.
  • Sources of motion, such as machines or processes where movement may exist that could result in an impact between personnel and equipment.
  • Sources of high temperatures that could result in burns, eye injuries or fire.
  • Types of chemicals used in the workplace.
  • Sources of harmful dusts.
  • Sources of light radiation, such as welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, heat treating, high intensity lights, etc.
  • The potential for falling or dropping objects.
  • Sharp objects that could poke, cut, stab or puncture.
  • Biologic hazards such as blood or other potentially infected material.

When the walk-through is complete, the employer should organize and analyze the data to help determine the proper types of PPE required at the worksite. The employer should become aware of the different types of PPE available and the levels of protection offered. The OSHA consulting program or manufacturers can help with this process. Select PPE that will provide a level of protection greater than the minimum required to protect employees from hazards, but not so that it creates hazards from overprotection.

The employer should periodically reassess the workplace for any changes in conditions, equipment or operating procedures that could affect occupational hazards. This periodic reassessment should also include a review of injury and illness records to spot any trends or areas of concern and taking appropriate corrective action. The suitability of existing PPE, along with an evaluation of its condition and age, should be included in the reassessment. Documentation of the hazard assessment is required through a written certification that includes the following information:

  • Identification of the workplace evaluated;
  • Name of the person conducting the assessment;
  • Date of the assessment; and
  • Identification of the document certifying completion of the hazard assessment.

3.15.1 Limitations of PPE

Decisions about PPE use must consider its limitations.

​- Safety Hazards 

  • Restricted movement due to weight
  • Restricted vision due to visual field limitations
  • Difficulty communicating due to face protection 

-Physiological/Psychological stressors 

  • Psychological stress resulting from confining nature of full suits
  • Heat stress and risk of dehydration
  • The highest levels of PPE generally cannot be worn continuously for more than 30 minutes 
  • Management Requirements 

-Need for a management program or training that ensures effective use of PPE 

  • Facial hair interferes with proper fit of masks
  • Improper use, penetration/tears are potentially hazardous 

3.15.5 Selecting PPE

All personal protective equipment should be of safe design and construction, and be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. Employers should consider the fit and comfort of PPE when selecting items for their employees. PPE that is the proper size for each employee, fits well and is comfortable to wear will encourage employee use of PPE. Different types of PPE should be compatible when worn together. Ill-fitting PPE or that which is uncomfortable and not worn will do little to protect the health and safety of public entity employees.

OSHA requires that many categories of PPE meet or be equivalent to standards developed by the South African Bureau of Standards. PPE must meet the standard in effect at the time of its manufacture, or provide protection equivalent to PPE manufactured to the Standard criteria. Employers must make certain that any new PPE procured meets the cited standard. OSHA requires PPE to meet the following standards:

  • Eye and Face Protection
  • Head Protection
  • Foot Protection

Employers should inform employees who provide their own PPE of the employer’s selection decisions and ensure that any employee-owned PPE used in the workplace conforms to the employer’s criteria, based on the hazard assessment, OSHA requirements and standards. There is no standard for gloves but OSHA recommends that selection be based upon the tasks to be performed and the performance and construction characteristics of the glove material. For protection against chemicals, glove selection must be based on the chemicals encountered, the chemical resistance and the physical properties of the glove material.

3.15.5 Training employees in the proper use of PPE
OSHA requires employers to train each employee who must use PPE. Employees must be trained to know at least the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE
  • What the PPE won’t do.
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE.

Employers should make sure that before an employee is allowed to perform work requiring the use of personal protective equipment, she or he demonstrates an understanding of the PPE training, and the ability to properly wear and use the specific item(s). If an employer believes that a previously trained employee is not demonstrating the proper understanding and skill level in the use of PPE, that employee should receive retraining. Other situations that require additional or retraining of employees include the following circumstances: changes in the workplace or in the type of required PPE that make prior training obsolete.

The employer must document the training of each employee required to wear or use PPE by preparing a certification containing the name of each employee trained, the date of training and a clear identification of the subject of the certification.

3.15.6 Body Protection 

Employees who face possible bodily injury of any kind that cannot be eliminated through engineering, work practice or administrative controls, must wear appropriate body protection while performing their jobs. In addition to cuts and radiation, the following are examples of workplace hazards that could cause bodily injury:

  • Temperature extremes;
  • Hot splashes from molten metals and other hot liquids;
  • Potential impacts from tools, machinery and materials; and
  • Hazardous chemicals.

There are many varieties of protective clothing available for specific hazards. Employers are required to ensure that their employees wear personal protective equipment only for the parts of the body exposed to possible injury. Examples of body protection include laboratory coats, coveralls, vests, jackets, aprons, surgical gowns and full body suits.

If a hazard assessment indicates a need for full body protection against toxic substances or harmful physical agents, the clothing should be carefully inspected before each use, it must fit each worker properly and it must function appropriately and for the purpose for which it is intended. Protective clothing comes in a variety of materials each effective against particular hazards:

  • paper-like fibber
  • treated wool and cotton
  • duck
  • leather
  • Rubber, rubberized fabrics, neoprene and plastics.

3.15.7 Recommendations 

Analyze the particular hazards for each job and identify which PPE will most effectively protect the health and safety of the workers assigned to that job.

As all other PPE, protective clothing should fit the wearer in order to offer full protection.

Employees should be trained to properly wear protective clothing for the duration of the time they will be exposed to the hazards.

Give supervisors the authority to remove an employee from the job if he or she isn’t complying with proper procedures, and should be able to send the employee for remedial training if the PPE is not being worn properly.

3.15.8 Checklist

PPE Self-Inspection

 

Are employers assessing the workplace to determine if hazards that require the use of personal protective equipment (for example, head, eye, face, hand, or foot protection) are present or are likely to be present?

 

If hazards or the likelihood of hazards are found, are employers selecting and having affected employees use properly fitted personal protective equipment suitable for protection from these hazards?

 

Has the employee been trained on PPE procedures: what PPE is necessary for a job task, when they need it, and how to properly adjust it?

 

Are protective goggles or face shields provided and worn where there is any danger of flying particles or corrosive materials?

 

Are approved safety glasses required to be worn at all times in areas where there is a risk of eye injuries such as punctures, abrasions, contusions or burns?

 

Are employees who need corrective lenses (glasses or contacts) in working environments having harmful exposures, required to wear only approved safety glasses, protective goggles, or use other medically approved precautionary procedures?

 

Are protective gloves, aprons, shields, or other means provided and required where employees could be cut or where there is reasonably anticipated exposure to corrosive liquids, chemicals, blood, or other potentially infectious materials?

 

Are hard hats provided and worn where danger of falling objects exists?

 

Are  hard  hats  inspected  periodically  for  damage  to  the  shell  and  suspension system?

 

 

 

Is appropriate foot protection required where there is the risk of foot injuries from hot, corrosive, or poisonous substances, falling objects, crushing or penetrating actions?

 

Are approved respirators provided for regular or emergency use where needed?

 

Is all protective equipment maintained in a sanitary condition and ready for use?

 

Do you have eye wash facilities and a quick drench shower within the work area where employees are exposed to injurious corrosive materials? Where special equipment is needed for electrical workers, is it available?

 

Where food or beverages are consumed on the premises, are they consumed in areas where there is no exposure to toxic material, blood, or other potentially infectious materials?

 

Is protection against the effects of occupational noise exposure provided when sound levels exceed those of the OSHA noise standard?

 

Are adequate work procedures, protective clothing and equipment provided and used when cleaning up spilled toxic or otherwise hazardous materials or liquids?

 

Are there appropriate procedures in place for disposing of or decontaminating personal protective equipment contaminated with, or reasonably anticipated to be contaminated with, blood or other potentially infectious materials?

 

OSHA Self-Inspection Checklist

END OF SECTION 3

You have now complete Section 3! Please move to Section 4

 

SECTION 4: HOUSEKEEPING

4.1. HOUSEKEEPING AND INSPECTIONS

Generic guide

  1. Recognition and prompt correction of housekeeping hazards is imperative to fire safety efforts. This section is provided for the identification of hazards.
  2. An area or site-specific checklist targeting known or anticipated housekeeping items and fire hazards should be developed for each department.
  3. Housekeeping inspections should be documented and corrective action taken on all discrepancies noted.
  4. To minimize fire hazards, trash removal must be done regularly and in accordance with the rate of generation. Dedicated and appropriate containers for trash removal must be provided and in place.
  5. Unnecessary combustible materials must be identified and removed from the workplace to reduce the potential for fire.
  6. Spills and loose materials (for example, parts, waste items, etc.) must be promptly removed from all floor areas.
  7. Avoid leaning materials and poor stacking practices.
  8. Empty pallets can pose several hazards. In addition to being combustible, pallets which are improperly stored on their edge or side may fall or tip over and strike personnel or equipment. Pallets must be stored in stacks six feet high or less in a dedicated location. Pallets should not be left blocking aisle ways, egress points, emergency equipment, etc. Damaged pallets should be removed from use promptly and properly discarded.

Designated areas should be established for smoking. These areas must be located away from flammable and/or combustible materials.

Below shows a checklist that can be used to identify common internal deficiencies
Assigned Area:______________________________
Assigned Supervisor:_________________________
Inspection Date:_____________________________

 

 

 

 

X

 

Item

Comments / Deficiencies

 

 

Are all Worksites clean and orderly?

 

 

 

Are all exits kept free of obstructions?

 

 

 

Are all exits marked with an exit sign and illuminated by a reliable light source?

 

 

 

Are   aisle   ways   kept   clear   to   allow unhindered passage?

 

 

 

Are combustible scrap, debris, and waste materials (for example, oily rags) stored in covered metal receptacles and removed from the worksite promptly?

 

 

 

Are all flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use (for example, parts, cleaning tanks, pans)?

 

 

 

Are all extinguishers free from obstructions or blockage?

 

 

 

Are "No Smoking" rules followed in areas involving storage and use of flammable materials?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are all spilled materials or liquids cleaned up immediately?

 

 

 

Are all work areas adequately illuminated?

 

 

 

Are emergency telephone numbers posted where they can be readily found in case of emergency?

 

 

4.2. INSPECTION REFERENCE

Periodic fire inspections should be established for each operation and/or department. Some buildings, operations, and processes require daily inspections while others can be inspected weekly, monthly, or at other intervals.

All inspections should be documented using some type of inspection checklist. It is important to correct deficiencies by following up immediately with corrective action. Inspection reports should be maintained for record keeping purposes.

Department managers and supervisors have the responsibility for assuring that their work area is maintained according to the plant fire safety rules and practices. An inspection may include some of the items found below.

4.3. BUILDINGS

a) Fire Doors:

Are all the fire doors in good condition? If there are defects, (for example, torn or bent metal or warped, broken or rotten wooden core), then a door is not in good condition. Any such door should be replaced or repaired.

Obstructions: Is there anything to hinder the door from completely closing? Storage, piping, wiring, and a variety of other conditions can often obstruct the movement of a fire door. If a fire door cannot be completely closed, it cannot effectively retard the spread of fire. Move each door through its full travel to ensure that it closes freely. Binders should hold a fully-closed door tightly to the wall.



Automatic Devices: All automatic closing devices should be in proper operating condition. Fusible links should be unpainted and in the path of potential heat from both sides. Weights, chains, ropes, and sheaves should be free to operate.

Check electrically- or pneumatically-actuated devices to ensure proper operation during emergencies.

b) Heating Systems:
All heater areas must be clean. There should be no storage or trash accumulation in boiler, furnace, or heating-system rooms.

All heating equipment, including vent pipes and chimneys, should be in good operating condition. Furnace and boiler controls, limit switches, fuel piping, and wiring should be properly maintained and serviced. Vents and smoke pipes should be tight and clear of combustible materials, except where protected by insulating devices.

4.4. EVACUATION/LIFE SAFETY

General guide
  1. Exit paths must be clearly identifiable and clearly marked with visible signs if the path is not immediately apparent. Floor markings and arrows are often used to direct people to the emergency exit doors.
  2. Exit paths must be clear and consideration must be given to adequate path width for occupancy. Exit paths should not be routed through boiler rooms and other high hazard areas.
  3. Exit paths and exit doors must be distinguishable during emergency conditions. Exit doors must be marked and illuminated to provide a visible sign during emergencies. Exit paths must be illuminated to assist people in traveling to the emergency exit doors. All illumination must be reliable during an emergency.
  4. Doors and paths that can be mistaken for exits must be appropriately marked to prevent employees from entering during an emergency. Such doors and paths should be clearly posted to prevent entry.
  5. All exit doors must be free to open. Exit doors must be side-hinged and swing in the direction of the exit path to allow for quick exiting.
  6. Revolving, sliding, and overhead doors are prohibited from serving as emergency exit doors. Such doors will not allow adequate and safe discharge from a building.
  7. Exit doors must open and swing in the direction of exit travel and employees must be able to open the door without any special knowledge or hardware such as keys.
  8. Exit doors leading to streets or other areas where vehicles are present must be posted to alert employees of hazard. If possible, barriers or guards should be placed on the exit discharge to protect the employee from vehicles. Guardrails are often used to direct the employees out of danger.
  9. All exit paths and doors must be kept clear at all times. Daily and weekly inspections should be conducted to ensure the area is free of obstructions on the exit paths, exit door, and discharge area.
  10. As a minimum requirement, two exits must be provided for each floor, and the recommended distance to the exit should be no more than 200 feet in an unsprinkled industrial general building. The number and distance to an emergency exit will vary by the type of hazards in the plant.
  11. Construction and repair of a building often creates hazards that interfere with emergency evacuation of a building. Special consideration must be given to all construction and repair to ensure that two remote exits for emergencies are available for employees.
  12. All stairways should be kept free of obstructions. Local fire codes mandate the fire resistance rating of stairwell doors and stairwells.
  13. The exit discharge and path must be kept clear of obstructions.
  14. Emergency lights must be available to illuminate emergency exit paths. All emergency lighting must be maintained and tested frequently.
  15. All employees must know how to safely evacuate from their work areas during emergencies. Employees must be aware of alarm signals, primary/secondary exit routes, and assembly areas.

4.4.1 Reference 

The OHS act 1993 Considers the following general provisions when planning for a building evacuation:​

  • Do not design exits and other safeguards to depend solely on any single safeguard. Provide additional safeguards in case of human or mechanical failure.
  • Exit doors must withstand fire and smoke during the length of time for which they are designed to be in use. Enclose or protect vertical exits and other vertical openings to afford reasonable safety to occupants while they use the exits.
  • Provide alternate exits and pathways in case one exit is blocked by fire. Also, provide exits that the disabled can use.
  • Provide alarm systems to alert occupants of fire or another emergency.
  • Provide exits and paths of travel with adequate lighting to reach the exits.
  • Mark exits with a readily-visible sign. Mark access to exits with readily-visible signs whenever the exit or way to reach it is not readily visible.
  • To protect exiting personnel, safeguard equipment and areas of any unusual hazard that might spread fire or smoke.
  • Practice an orderly exit-drill procedure.
  • Select an interior finish and contents that prevent a fire from spreading fast and trapping occupants.
  • Maintain adequate aisles in exit pathways.
  • Provide adequate space outside the building's exit.
  • Install exit doors at minimum widths according to local code.

All exits must discharge to a clear and unobstructed path of travel on a public way. Where there is evidence of parked vehicles or other obstructions, signs or barriers should be erected to discourage the practice. Barriers should not obstruct the flow of persons exiting from the building.

Exits must be clearly illuminated, identified, and accessible. You should establish the habit of opening every exit door to be sure it is unlocked, works freely, latches properly, is labelled when required, swings in the direction of egress travel when required, and that self-closing or automatic-closing devices and mechanisms function properly.

Where pilferage might be a problem, means other than locking are available to prevent unauthorized use of exits. Special locking devices do not prevent the door from opening; they merely delay opening and sound an alarm. Special locking arrangements should not be used in high hazard areas.

Where exit stairs are required to be enclosed, the enclosure and its protected openings must be of the proper fire-resistance ratings. Handrails must be secure and stair treads and landings should be slip-resistant. Stairways cannot be used for storage or any other purpose and must be illuminated.

Every worker must have access to two or more remotely-located exits. The path of travel must be clear, illuminated, unobstructed, and as direct as possible without exceeding maximum travel distances. Where the exit and path of travel are not clearly visible, signs must be provided to indicate the direction. A short common path of travel to two otherwise remote exits is permitted, except from an area of high hazard. Exit way access must not pass through areas of high hazard. When evacuation must be delayed because of the need to safely shut down an operation, or for any other reason, special provisions to protect the workers might be required.

Emergency lighting should be required in all facilities except those occupied only during daylight hours in which skylights or windows are arranged to provide, during those hours, the required level of illumination for all portions of the means of egress. You should check the type of lighting used and review records of servicing and testing. If battery packs are used for an emergency power supply, there should be an indicator light to show full-charge condition and a test button to check its operability.

4.4.2 Electrical Equipment

a) Wiring:
All wiring should be in good condition, properly supported, and adequately protected from physical damage. Be sure that extension and appliance cords are the correct size and not frayed or worn.

All wires must be properly attached to fixtures, plugs, circuit breakers and other equipment. Make-shift wiring must not be allowed.

b) Box Covers:
All junction, switch, outlet, and pannel board boxes should have properly secured covers.

c) Circuits:
Each circuit must have a fuse or breaker of no-greater-rated capacity than the circuit conductor.

d) Motors:
To help prevent overheating, all motors must be free from accumulations of dust, oil, fibers, etc.
Note any condition that might require repair, whether or not it has been specifically covered by the preceding items.

QUIZ

  • Exit paths must be clearly identifiable and clearly marked with visible signs if the path is not immediately apparent. Floor markings and arrows are often used to direct people to the emergency exit doors.
  • Exit paths must be clear and consideration must be given to adequate path width for occupancy. Exit paths should not be routed through boiler rooms and other high hazard areas
  • You can place a table in front of the emergency door to change the light bulb
  • All exit doors must be free to open. Exit doors must be side-hinged and swing in the direction of the exit path to allow for quick exiting.

4.5. FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

4.5.1 Safety Cans:
Safety cans should be used for storing and dispensing flammable liquids. All should be sound, without dents and cracks. Spring-loaded caps or covers should fit tightly with strong springs. Flame arrestors (strainers) should be in place and free of breaks or cracks.

a) Storage:
Storage rooms and areas surrounding storage cabinets must be clean and contain no storage other than flammable liquids. Proper grounding and bounding must be used for flammable dispensing rooms.

b) Spraying and Dipping Areas:
There should be no accumulations of paint residue or other trash. The entire area must be kept free of all combustible materials. Filters and drip trays should be regularly cleaned or replaced.

c) Quantities at Work Site:
Not more than one day's supply of flammable liquids should be allowed outside a flammable liquid storage room or cabinet.

4.5.2 Housekeeping

a) Trash Removal:
Waste and trash should be removed on a scheduled basis, eliminating the possibility of excess trash being present in the building at any one time.

b) Stock:
All stock should be stored on or in storage racks. Stock should be at least four (4) inches off the floor (to minimize potential water damage) and clear of any heating, electrical, and fire protection equipment.
Adequate aisle space should be maintained to provide plant and fire department personnel with easy access to all parts of the building. There should be ample floor drains, free of obstructions, to carry water away from stock and equipment.

c) Welding & Cutting
An in-house hot-work permit system should be used where welding or cutting is to be performed.
All gas cylinders should be chained to a cart or wall. Spare cylinders should not be present. Electrical arc equipment should be safely arranged and well maintained. Spare oxygen and fuel gas cylinders should be stored in separate areas. (Flashback arrestors must be placed on all oxygen and fuel gas connections.)

4.5.3 Smoking Controls
If smoking is prohibited, are "No Smoking" signs readily visible throughout the facilities? Indicate whether or not areas are designated where smoking is allowed. If smoking is permitted, ample ash trays should be provided in the area(s).

Note whether or not there is any evidence of smoking in areas where it is not permitted.

4.5.4 Incinerators
Incinerators, including stacks and foundations, must be properly maintained. It is important that the spark arrester screen at the top of the stack stops burning embers from escaping into the air. Excess ashes should be removed regularly from the ash or fire box. Charging door tracks, sheaves, and cables must be free to operate, with properly-sized weights. The trash receiving room and all its protective devices must also be properly maintained.

4.5.5 Alarm Systems
The alarm system should be visually inspected. Testing should be the responsibility of thoroughly trained employees or an outside alarm service company. However, you should review these test records as part of your inspection.

Inspect alarm devices for proper location, mechanical or electrical damage, painted or covered surfaces, loading, or damage due to a corrosive atmosphere. Wiring should be in good condition and solidly fastened.

Control panels should be in a safe location and readily accessible. The "power on" light should be lit, and all trouble lights and signals should be off. Service and test records should be in the panel enclosure. When emergency power is required, batteries should be fully charged. Equipment should be free from dirt or grit that can find its way into delicate parts and contacts.

Manual alarm stations should also be inspected for signs of any problems. Wiring should be secure and in good condition and there should be no tape, wire, string, or other encumbrance to the effective use of the system. The stations should be located along natural egress paths, near exits.

Check alarm bells or gongs to see if they have been tampered with, painted, or damaged. Check records to determine that required servicing and testing has been done. Review records of all supervisory signal systems and alarm signal systems. Detection systems for actuating special extinguishing systems usually are serviced per a contract with an outside service company.

Do you understand the legislation that governs health and safety?

  • Yes
  • No

Is there a policy in place as pertains to health and safety?

  • Yes
  • No

Is the policy effective?

  • Yes
  • No

Are there people who have been placed in charge of health and safety?

  • Yes
  • No

Are employees aware of the health and safety requirements?

  • Yes
  • No

Are employees actively involved in matters concerning health and safety?

  • Yes
  • No

What health and safety risks does your organization face?

Are communication channels within the organization clear?

  • Yes
  • No

SUMMARY OF SECTION

 

 

END OF SECTION 4

You have now complete Section 5! Please move to Section 5

 

SECTION 5: EMERGENCY PLANNING

5.1. WHY HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN?

A definite plan to deal with major emergencies is an important element of OH&S programs.

Besides the major benefit of providing guidance during an emergency, developing the plan has other advantages. You may discover unrecognized hazardous conditions that would aggravate an emergency situation and you can work to eliminate them. The planning process may bring to light deficiencies, such as the lack of resources (equipment, trained personnel, supplies), or items that can be rectified before an emergency occurs. In addition an emergency plan promotes safety awareness and shows the organization's commitment to the safety of workers.


The lack of an emergency plan could lead to severe losses such as multiple casualties and possible financial collapse of the organization.

An attitude of "it can't happen here" may be present. People may not be willing to take the time and effort to examine the problem. However, emergency planning is an important part of company operation.

Since emergencies will occur, prelanning is necessary to prevent possible disaster. An urgent need for rapid decisions, shortage of time, and lack of resources and trained personnel can lead to chaos during an emergency. Time and circumstances in an emergency mean that normal channels of authority and communication cannot be relied upon to function routinely. The stress of the situation can lead to poor judgement resulting in severe losses.

a) What is the overall objective of the plan?

An emergency plan specifies procedures for handling sudden unexpected situations. The objective is to reduce the possible consequences of the emergency by:

  • preventing fatalities and injuries;
  • reducing damage to buildings, stock, and equipment; and
  • accelerating the resumption of normal operations.

You should also consider potential impact to the environment, and to the community in your emergency plan.

Development of the plan begins with a vulnerability assessment. This results of the study will show:

  • how likely a situation is to occur
  • what means are available to stop or prevent the situation and
  • what is necessary for a given situation.

From this analysis, appropriate emergency procedures can be established.

At the planning stage, it is important that several groups be asked to participate. Among these groups, the joint occupational health and safety committee can provide valuable input and a means of wider worker involvement. Appropriate municipal officials should also be consulted since control may be exercised by the local government in major emergencies and additional resources may be available. Communication, training and periodic drills will ensure adequate performance if the plan must be carried out.

b) What is a vulnerability assessment?

Although emergencies by definition are sudden events, their occurrence can be predicted with some degree of certainty. The first step is to find which hazards pose a threat to any specific enterprise.

When a list of hazards is made, records of past incidents and occupational experience are not the only sources of valuable information. Since major emergencies are rare events, knowledge of both technological (chemical or physical) and natural hazards can be broadened by consulting with fire departments, insurance companies, engineering consultants, and government departments.

c) What are technological and natural hazards?
Areas where flammables, explosives, or chemicals are used or stored should be considered as the most likely place for a technological hazard emergency to occur. Examples of these hazards are:

  • explosion
  • building collapse
  • major structural failure
  • spills of flammable liquids
  • accidental release of toxic substances
  • deliberate release of hazardous biological agents, or toxic chemicals
  • other terrorist activities
  • exposure to ionizing radiation
  • loss of electrical power
  • loss of water supply
  • loss of communications
  • environment agencies

The risk from natural hazards is not the same across Canada but the list would include:

  • floods,
  • earthquakes,
  • tornados,
  • other severe wind storms,
  • snow or ice storms,
  • severe extremes in temperature (cold or hot), and
  • pandemic diseases like influenza.

The possibility of one event triggering others must be considered. An explosion may start a fire and cause structural failure while an earthquake might initiate all the events noted in the list of chemical and physical hazards.

d) What is the series of events or decisions that should be considered?

Having identified the hazards, the possible major impacts of each should be itemized, such as:

  • sequential events (for example, fire after explosion)
  • evacuation
  • casualties
  • damage to plant infrastructure
  • loss of vital records/documents
  • damage to equipment
  • disruption of work

e) Based on these events, the required actions are determined. For example:

  • declare emergency
  • sound the alert
  • evacuate danger zone
  • close main shutoffs
  • call for external aid
  • initiate rescue operations
  • attend to casualties
  • fight fire

f) The final consideration is a list and the location of resources needed:

  • medical supplies
  • auxiliary communication equipment
  • power generators
  • respirators
  • chemical and radiation detection equipment
  • mobile equipment
  • emergency protective clothing
  • firefighting equipment
  • ambulance
  • rescue equipment
  • trained personnel

g) What are elements of the emergency plan?
The emergency plan includes:

  • all possible emergencies, consequences, required actions, written procedures, and the resources available
  • detailed lists of personnel including their home telephone numbers, their duties and responsibilities
  • floor plans, and
  • Large scale maps showing evacuation routes and service conduits (such as gas and water lines).

Since a sizable document will likely result, the plan should provide staff members with written instructions about their particular emergency duties.

The following are examples of the parts of an emergency plan. These elements may not cover every situation in every workplace but serve they are provided as a general guideline when writing a workplace specific plan:

Objective
The objective is a brief summary of the purpose of the plan; that is, to reduce human injury and damage to property in an emergency. It also specifies those staff members who may put the plan into action. The objective identifies clearly who these staff members are since the normal chain of command cannot always be available on short notice. At least one of them must be on the site at all times when the premises are occupied. The extent of authority of these personnel must be clearly indicated.

Organization
One individual should be appointed and trained to act as Emergency Co-ordinator as well as a "back-up" co-ordinator. However, personnel on the site during an emergency are key in ensuring that prompt and efficient action is taken to minimize loss. In some cases it may be possible to recall off-duty employees to help but the critical initial decisions usually must be made immediately.

Specific duties, responsibilities, authority, and resources must be clearly defined. Among the responsibilities that must be assigned are:

  • reporting the emergency
  • activating the emergency plan
  • assuming overall command
  • establishing communication
  • alerting staff
  • ordering evacuation
  • alerting external agencies
  • confirming evacuation complete
  • alerting outside population of possible risk
  • requesting external aid
  • coordinating activities of various groups
  • advising relatives of casualties
  • providing medical aid
  • ensuring emergency shut offs are closed
  • sounding the all-clear
  • advising media

This list of responsibilities should be completed using the previously developed summary of countermeasures for each emergency situation. In organizations operating on reduced staff during some shifts, some personnel must assume extra responsibilities during emergencies. Sufficient alternates for each responsible position must be named to ensure that someone with authority is available onsite at all times.

External organizations that may be available to assist (with varying response times) include:

  • fire departments
  • mobile rescue squads
  • ambulance services
  • police departments
  • telephone company
  • hospitals
  • utility companies
  • industrial neighbours
  • government agencies

These organizations should be contacted in the planning stages to discuss each of their roles during an emergency. Mutual aid with other industrial facilities in the area should be explored.

Pre-planned coordination is necessary to avoid conflicting responsibilities. For example, the police, fire department, ambulance service, rescue squad, company fire brigade, and the first aid team may be on the scene simultaneously. A pre-determined chain of command in such a situation is required to avoid organizational difficulties. Under certain circumstances, an outside agency may assume command.

Possible problems in communication have been mentioned in several contexts. Efforts should be made to seek alternate means of communication during an emergency, especially between key personnel such as overall commander, on-scene commander, engineering, fire brigade, medical, rescue, and outside agencies. Depending on the size of the organization and physical layout of the premises, it may be advisable to plan for an emergency control centre with alternate communication facilities. All personnel with alerting or reporting responsibilities must be provided with a current list of telephone numbers and addresses of those people they may have to contact.

5.2. PROCEDURES

Many factors determine what procedures are needed in an emergency, such as
 
  • the degree of emergency,
  • the size of organization,
  • the capabilities of the organization in an emergency situation,
  • the immediacy of outside aid,
  • the physical layout of the premises, and
  • the number of structures determine procedures that are needed.

Common elements to be considered in all emergencies include pre-emergency preparation and provisions for alerting and evacuating staff, handling casualties, and for containing of the emergency.

Natural hazards, such as floods or severe storms, often provide prior warning. The plan should take advantage of such warnings with, for example, instructions on sand bagging, removal of equipment to needed locations, providing alternate sources of power, light or water, extra equipment, and relocation of personnel with special skills. Phased states of alert allow such measures to be initiated in an orderly manner.



The evacuation order is of greatest importance in alerting staff. To avoid confusion, only one type of signal should be used for the evacuation order. Commonly used for this purpose are sirens, fire bells, whistles, flashing lights, paging system announcements, or word-of-mouth in noisy environments. The all-clear signal is less important since time is not such an urgent concern.

The following are "musts":

  • Identify evacuation routes, alternate means of escape, make these known to all staff; keep the routes unobstructed.
  • Specify safe locations for staff to gather for head counts to ensure that everyone has left the danger zone. Assign individuals to assist handicapped employees in emergencies.
  • Carry out treatment of the injured and search for the missing simultaneously with efforts to contain the emergency.
  • Provide alternate sources of medical aid when normal facilities may be in the danger zone.
  • Containing the extent of the property loss should begin only when the safety of all staff and neighbours at risk has been clearly established.

FILL IN THE BLANKS

Please fill in the missing and choose the most appropriate answer from the dropdown

The evacuation order is of greatest importance in staff. To avoid confusion, only one type of signal should be used for the evacuation order. Commonly used for this purpose are sirens, fire bells, whistles, flashing lights, paging system announcements, or word-of-mouth in noisy environments. The is less important since is not such an urgent concern.

5.3. TESTING AND REVISION

Completing a comprehensive plan for handling emergencies is a major step toward preventing disasters. However, it is difficult to predict all of the problems that may happen unless the plan is tested. Exercises and drills may be conducted to practice all or critical portions (such as evacuation) of the plan. A thorough and immediate review after each exercise, drill, or after an actual emergency will point out areas that require improvement. Knowledge of individual responsibilities can be evaluated through paper tests or interviews.

The plan should be revised when shortcomings have become known, and should be reviewed at least annually. Changes in plant infrastructure, processes, materials used, and key personnel are occasions for updating the plan.


It should be stressed that provision must be made for the training of both individuals and teams, if they are expected to perform adequately in an emergency. An annual full-scale exercise will help in maintaining a high level of proficiency.

REFRESHER VIDEO

 

 

5.4. EMERGENCY EVACTUATION

Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or approaching weather system. In situations involving hazardous materials or possible contamination, evacuees may be decontaminated prior to being transported out of the contaminated area.



5.4.1. Reasons for evacuation
Evacuations may be carried out before, during or after natural disasters such as:
 

  • eruptions of volcanoes
  • cyclones
  • floods
  • earthquakes or tsunamis.
Other reasons include:
 
  • military attacks
  • industrial accidents
  • chemical spill
  • nuclear accident
  • traffic accidents, including train or aviation accidents,
  • fire
  • bombings
  • terrorist attacks
  • military battles
  • structural failure
  • viral outbreak

5.5. PLANNING

Emergency evacuation plans are developed to ensure the safest and most efficient evacuation time of all expected residents of a structure, city, or region. A benchmark "evacuation time" for different hazards and conditions is established. These benchmarks can be established through using best practices, regulations, or using simulations, such as modeling the flow of people in a building, to determine the benchmark. Proper planning will use multiple exits, contra-flow lanes, and special technologies to ensure full, fast and complete evacuation. Consideration for personal situations which may affect an individual's ability to evacuate. These may include alarm signals that use both aural and visual alerts. Regulations such as building codes can be used to reduce the possibility of panic by allowing individuals to process the need to self-evacuate without causing alarm. Proper planning will implement an all-hazards approach so that plans can be reused for multiple hazards that could exist.

5.6. EVACUATION SEQUENCE

The sequence of an evacuation can be divided into the following phases:
  1. detection
  2. decision
  3. alarm
  4. reaction
  5. movement to an area of refuge or an assembly station
  6. transportation

The time for the first four phases is usually called pre-movement time.

The particular phases are different for different objects, e.g., for ships a distinction between assembly and embarkation (to boats or rafts) is made. These are separate from each other. The decision whether to enter the boats or rafts is thus usually made after assembly is completed.

Arrange the sequence of an evacuation in the correct order

  • Detection
  • Decision
  • Alarm
  • Reaction
  • Movement to an area of refuge or an assembly station
  • Transportation

5.7. SMALL SCALE EVACUATIONS

An exit sign mandatory for buildings in the South Africa, showing the way to the nearest exit, with two emergency lights for electrical failure,



The strategy of individuals in evacuating buildings was investigated by John Abrahams in 1994. The independent variables were the complexity of the building and the movement ability of the individuals. With increasing complexity and decreasing motion ability, the strategy changes from "fast egress", through "slow egress" and "move to safe place inside building" (such as a staircase), to "stay in place and wait for help". The last strategy that is the notion of using a designated Safe Haven on the floor. This is a section of the building that is reinforced to protect against specific hazards, such as fire, smoke or structural collapse. Some hazards may have Safe Havens on each floor, while a hazard such as a tornado, may have a single Safe Haven or safe room. Typically persons with limited mobility are requested to report to a Safe Haven for rescue by first responders. In most buildings, the Safe Haven will be in the stairwell.

The most common equipment in buildings to facilitate emergency evacuations are fire alarms, exit signs, and emergency lights. Some structures need special emergency exit or fire escapes to ensure the availability of alternative escape paths. Commercial passenger vehicles such as buses, boats, and aircraft also often have evacuation lighting and signage, and in some cases windows or extra doors that function as emergency exits. Commercial emergency aircraft evacuation is also facilitated by evacuation slides and pre-flight safety briefings. Military aircraft are often equipped with ejection seats or parachutes. Water vessels and commercial aircraft that fly over water are often equipped with personal flotation devices and possibly life rafts.

5.8. CONCLUSION

Self-Reflection 
We have concluded this module on public safety awareness and its would be important to identify ways of how to assist a target audience to identify life and fire safety hazards in their own context, consider options and take actions to minimise loss of life, Present life and fire safety information to the public, to identify life and fire safety hazards in their own context


5.8. CONCLUSION
Unsafe conditions threatens the lives and property of everyone in a workplace. Therefore, everyone can (and should) play a role in prevention of unsafe working conditions. The head of a household who decides to buy (or not to buy) a smoke detector; the child who has learned (or has not learned) what steps to take if his or her clothing catches fire; or the restaurant patron who makes a point of checking exits (or not checking) in a crowded establishment before enjoying a meal are undertaking (or not undertaking) fire prevention activities. Communication and awareness programmes can go a long way in supporting all such efforts.

 

Self-Assessment
You have come to the end of this module – please take the time to review what you have learnt to date, and conduct a self-assessment against the learning outcomes of this module by following the instructions below:  You may download the checklist from the course menu page and tick it for further use. 

END OF COURSE

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