The overarching purpose of safety at work is to anticipate, clarify, analyze and control hazards in order to prevent and protect people from harm, damage to assets, the ecosystem and company reputation.
It is important that the term “danger” be properly explained and understood so that efforts at managing its effects and consequences will consequence in the desired success. Workplace danger management goes beyond just knowing what hazards are, it involves classification, assessment and control of hazards. The absence of clarity in danger management terminologies and methodology has often produced confusion to workers and management alike. This article proffers solution to this problem and provides the tools and techniques for conducting danger assessments.
The Meaning of danger
danger has been defined variously as follows:
“A possible source of harm to a worker”
Source: CSAZ1002, Occupational health and safety – danger identification and elimination risk assessment and control (CSA – Canadian Standard Association)
“A situation, condition or thing that may be dangerous to the safety or health of workers”
Source: Alberta Occupational Health Safety Code, Part 1 – Definitions and General Application
“The possible for harm. Hazards include all aspects of technology and activity that produce risk. Hazards include the characterization of things (equipment, dust) and the actions or inactions of people”
Source: Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry Engineering and Technology, 13th Edition. Philip E. Hogan, John F. Montgomery, James T. O’Reilly.
“A danger can be anything – whether work materials, equipment, work methods or practices – that has the possible to cause harm”.
Source: European Agency for Health and Safety at Work.
“A danger is any source of possible damage, harm or negative health effects on something or someone under certain conditions at work. Basically, a danger can cause harm or negative effects (to individuals as health effects or to organizations as character or equipment losses)”.
Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
The consistent message from these definitions is that a danger has two main characteristics:
· It can be anything such as: a situation, equipment, behavior, condition, substance, course of action, energy source, practice or material.
· It has a possible to cause harm or damage.
This knowledge not only helps in understanding what a danger is, it also helps in its control.
danger Management Program
In setting up a danger management program, a company can do it correctly by this three-step approach:
· danger Identification
· danger examination
· danger Control
Literature review shows a without of consensus and consistency in the categorization of these steps. Some describe the whole course of action as “danger assessment,” while others call it “danger and risk assessment” or “danger identification, assessment and control”. at any rate the name chosen, the output should keep the same – an inventory and description of all the hazards in the workplace, their supplies, along with their rating/ranking and recommended control measures.
danger identification is a course of action of systematically reviewing the workplace and noting what can cause harm or damage. There are a number of tools and techniques used in achieving this, some of which are:
· List of the roles and locaiongs in the company (obtained from the organization chart),
· List of the task(s) for each position/discipline (obtained from the organization chart and job/task examination report),
· danger identification (HAZID) – a structured brainstorming technique,
· Use of danger identification checklists,
· Use of WHMIS (work place hazardous material information system) classification,
· Use of TDG (transportation of dangerous goods) classification,
· HAZOP (danger operability) study,
· SAFOP (electrical safety and operability),
· Design reviews,
· PHA (course of action danger examination)
· JHA (job danger examination),
· danger Reporting (also called unsafe act/unsafe condition auditing)
· Incident reports,
· Safety meetings,
· Pre-job plans and planning exercises,
· Safe work permits,
· Inspection reports,
· Safety meeting (concerns expressed by workers)
· Equipment operation manuals,
· PHA (Preliminary danger examination),
· FMEA (failure mode and effects examination),
· What if examination.
It should be noted that the selection of the appropriate tool or technique for identifying hazards is dependent on the phase of the project or maturity of the operation, kind and character of the facility and training/experience of the persons involved in the exercise. while there are a various methods, tools and techniques for identifying hazards, it is always important that those chosen are proven as evidence that the company has been thorough in conducting this exercise.
danger examination involves a course of action of reviewing the hazards that have been identified to determine the possible and extent to which they can consequence in undesirable effects. The technique for this course of action is called: risk assessment. observe that this is also called danger assessment.
A risk is simply the chance that a danger will cause an undesirable effect and the extent of the effect. A risk assessment is the time of action of evaluating workplace hazards to determine risks to: workers’ safety and health, ecosystem and equipment damage.
There are few if any tools and techniques that are limited solely to the identification of hazards. Most of the tools and techniques include assessment in addition as identification and vice-versa.
meaningful specific risk (danger) assessment tools include:
· Risk assessment matrix (featuring probability or likelihood and severity or consequence),
· HRA (health risk assessment),
· EA (environmental assessment) and EIA (environmental impact assessment),
· SIA (social impact assessment),
· HFA (human factors examination),
· PEM (physical effects modeling),
· FLHA (field level danger assessment),
· FEA (fire and explosion examination),
· QRA (quantitative risk assessment).
Just as it is with any tool or technique, the quality of results obtained will largely be a factor of the competency of the user. consequently, it is important that where there is no in-house skill, the sets of outside trained personnel should be sought to conduct or ease the conduction of these assessments.
Once identified and analyzed, risks must be controlled to reduce the possible of the danger to cause undesirable effects. The tools for controlling hazards include:
· Use of engineering controls
· Use of administrative controls
· Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
It is the responsibility of management to ensure that appropriate risk control measures are in place, effective and meet all legal requirements and industry standards.
As stated before, training and experience will be required in all the steps involved in a danger management program. The danger assessment course of action must be proven and the information kept active throughout the life of the organization in cognizance of changes in equipment, people, work ecosystem, work methods, industry standard and legislation.