To Evaluate The Contribution Of Risk Assessments Engineering Essay

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This report is associated with the use of risk assessment in a work place to evaluate the effect it has on workplace injury/fatalities. A statistical data of the manufacturing industry was used to analyse the role risk assessment plays in the reduction of work place injuries.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2010 reported the rate of major injuries in the manufacturing industry dropped from 4,331 to 3,863 within the period of April 2009 to March 2010. Also, the industry accounts for about 9% of the British workforce and also, accounts for 56% of injuries as a result of moving machinery, 21% hits by moving or falling object and 19% contact with harmful substances (HSE 2010).

Risk Assessment is defined as ''a comprehensive quantitative or qualitative evaluation of the probability and degree of possible injury or damage to health from identified hazards with a view to implementing preventive measures'' (Ridley and Channing 1999)., which involves the accessing of the hazard, identification of the harm or effect such hazard can cause, the evaluation of the risk involved, recording of the evaluation data and a review to ensure such hazards do not occur. However some case studies were examined and it was discovered most organisation do have risk assessment guidelines, though injuries still occurred in their workplace because they oblige their staff to go ahead and perform their activities even when they are at risk of getting harmed.

Notwithstanding, regulations such as the Health and safety work Act(1974) was enacted and passed, urging employers to ensure the safety of their employee in the workplace. However, most employers do not abide by the regulation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary........................................................................................................i

Table of contents.............................................................................................................ii

1. Introduction.................................................................................................................1

2.0 Statistical Trend which covers five years for injuries and fatalities in the manufacturing industry...............................................................................................................................

3.0 Risk Assessment..................................................................................................................

3.10 Definition of Risk Assessment....................................................................................

3.11 Steps/Process to Risk Assessment...............................................................................

3.12. Identification of the hazard.......................................................................................

3.13. Identification of who might be harmed and how.........................................................

3.14. Evaluation of the risk involved..................................................................................

3.15. Record of findings...................................................................................................

3.16. Review...................................................................................................................

3.20 Graphical representation of the HSE framework for decisions on the tolerability of risk..

4.0. Short falls of Risk Assessment in recent activities.......................................................

Conclusion....................................................................................................................

References.....................................................................................................................

1. INTRODUCTION

The workplace has been defined by the Health Safety Executive as ''the common parts of shared buildings, private roads and paths on industrial estates and business parks, and temporary worksites''. Therefore, the workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 was made. It covered most issues which had to deal with the health, safety and welfare of the work place. The regulation ensured that employers in any organisation have to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employee; this also applies to everyone within the vicinity of the workplace (HSE, 2007).

Due to the nature and mindset of various workers in every workplace injuries do occur either knowingly or unknowingly. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported in 2009/2010, that a hundred and fifty two (152) workers were killed at work, two hundred and thirty three thousand (233 000) injuries occurred which was based on the Labour Force Survey, one hundred and twenty one thousand four hundred and thirty (121 430) other injuries were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) at a rate of 840 per 100 000 employees (HSE, 2010).

However, Ridley et al; (1999) states that the Health safety and work regulations 1992 ensures that employers in a working environment are meant to carry out risk assessment on their day to day activity to ensure their safety that of their employee and others within the work environment. Though, report has it that most injury cases were caused due to the abridgment of Health and safety work Regulations by employers. This assessment has been enforced by local authorities in various workplaces to ensure the health safety and welfare of the workers and society. The link between risk the use of risk assessments and a reduction in workplace injuries/facilities would be evaluated using the manufacturing industry as a case study in this report.

2.0 STATISTICAL TREND WHICH COVER FIVE YEARS FOR INJURIES AND FATALITIES IN THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2010 reported the rate of major injuries in the manufacturing industry have dropped from 4,331 to 3,863 within the period of April 2009 to March 2010. Also, the industry accounts for about 9% of the British workforce and also, accounts for 56% of injuries as a result of moving machinery, 21% hits by moving or falling object and 19% contact with harmful substances (HSE 2010).

Figure 2, is a graphical data which relates the work-related injuries and ill health in manufacturing industries as detailed by the Health and Safety Executive in 2010.

Figure 2: Number and rate of reported major injury to employees 2000/01 - 2009/10p. Source: (HSE 2010)

G:\injuries-2.gif

Figure 2.1: Also, is a graphical data which represents the number and rate of fatal injury to workers from 2000/01-2009/10.

Figure 2.1: Number and rate of fatal injury to workers 2000/01 - 2009/10p Source: (HSE 2010).G:\injuries-1.gif

Figure 2.2: Is a representation of the rate of non-fatal major injuries to employees in various manufacturing industries form 2005/06 to 2009/10

G:\injuries-3.gif

Figure 2.2: Rate of non-fatal major injuries to employees in Manufacturing industries, 2005/06 to 2009/10p combined*. Source: (HSE 2010)

However, from the analytical data above (Figure 1 -1.3) it can be deduced that the rate of major and fatal injuries has reduced in the manufacturing industry significantly. This reduction in injury could be as a result of forced implementation and of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974 which obliges employee to see to the health, safety and welfare of its' employers in a workplace. Also, the enforcement of the law on manufacturers who are found guilty of breaching the Act; by charging them with a fine has lead to the use of appropriate risk assessment and procedure in the industry by manufacturers to avoid being fined huge amount of money which would reduce the profit of the organisation and destroy its reputation.

3.0 RISK ASSESSMENT

In every workplace, workers carry out jobs with various specification and their employers are bound by the law under the Health and safety at work regulations 1999 to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

a. The risk to his own health and safety to which he is exposed whilst he is at work; and

b. The risk to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his understanding (UK legislation 1999). Therefore, it is compulsory to carry out a risk assessment in a workplace to determine if a job activity should be carried out or not.

3.10 DEFINITION OF RISK ASSESSMENT

Risk Assessment can be defined as ''a comprehensive quantitative or qualitative evaluation of the probability and degree of possible injury or damage to health from identified hazards with a view to implementing preventive measures'' (Ridley and Channing 1999). The identification and implementation of preventive measures can be actualised with the step or process involved in risk assessment.

3.11 STEPS/PROCESS TO RISK ASSESSMENT

Perry (2008) states the five steps to an effective risk assessment as:

a. The identification of the hazard

b. The identification of the harm the hazard has caused on workers and the environment

c. Evaluation of the risk and decide if the precaution applied are adequate, if not other precaution measures should be adopted

d. Record of the findings from the identification of the hazard to the evaluation

e. Review of the assessment.

3.12. Identification of the hazard: This involves the identification of potential or immediate hazards which could lead to major injuries and occasionally fatality. For an access to be effective the employees should be asked on how they carry out their task and whether they do abide with the safety rules. Most hazards result from equipments, work processes, environmental condition and materials in use. If not used as stated in the procedure and safety rules applied it causes hazards.

3.13. Identification of who might be harmed and how: Everybody within a workplace is considered a potential victim when it comes to risk assessment, from the employees, staff, visitors, contractors' visitors and passer bys. A decision should be made on how likely they are to incur injuries or none at all

3.14. Evaluation of the risk involved: This involves the working out of each hazard identified being able to cause harm. An appropriate measure should be used to eliminate the hazard with the highest risk or those risk which pose a serious threat to a large number of people within the work site, and the organisation of the work place with the provision of safety gears and facility to reduce the occurrence of harm.

3.15. Record of findings: Any details of a risk assessment should be recorded. Be it a near miss or not and kept for record purposes. Most safety officers tend to have a clean sheet on their risk board, to claim how effective they have been. This is a very wrong practise and not advisable.

Source: Risk Assessment. Questions and answer. Perry (2003)3.16. Review: Change is the only constant thing, and as there are improvements in technology and in humans attitude towards their task. A management review should be done to have an effective control measure on the risk involved in a working environment.

Figure 3.0: The figure below is an sample of a risk assessment sheet used by Smith and Jones Cleaners which shows the various process as indentified by Perry (2003) is used in a risk assessment.

Fig 3.0: Sample of a risk assessment sheet. Source: Health and Safety Documentation. (Simpson 2010).G:\sample risk.png

3.20 Graphical representation of the HSE framework for decisions on the tolerability of risk.

Hester and Harrison (1999) illustrated that, section a is a level which is unaccepted due to the level of risk involved; even if the task is of a beneficial interest to the organisation it would not venture into. The middle section (b) is a tolerable region, were a balance has to be struck for the socio and economic benefit of the society. Here a review of the assessment is carried out regularly to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the society is safe at all time. The bottom section (c) indicates a level of low risk and is thereby accepted, this is to done to abide by the health and safety at work regulation 1999 by employers to ensure the workplace

Figure3.1: Graphical representation of the HSE framework for decisions on the tolerability of risk. (Hester and Harrison 1999)

Section C

Section A

Section B

Unacceptable region

Tolerable only if risk reduction is impracticable or if its costs it grossly disproportionate to the improvement gained

Tolerable if cost of reduction would exceed the improvement gained

Broadly acceptable region (No need for detailed working to demonstrate ALARP)

Necessary to maintain assurance that risk remains at this level

Negligible risk

The Alarp or Tolerability region (Risk is undertaken only if a benefit is desired

Risk cannot be justified save in extraordinary circumstancesis a safe environment for is workers and other users.

3.20

Therefore, for an effective risk assessment there should be management checking and supervision on safety rules and regulations in a workplace. The various steps for an effective risk assessment as stated by Perry (2008) have great potential to reduce risk drastically if used properly. However, Montague (2004) states that most death and injuries in the United states as at 1997 were based on false assurances of safety, proving that various workplace were safe for working when they were not. This would be due to the lack of information or communication a risk assessor might have especially when dealing with historical events, surveys of community preferences and due to his own personal opinion draws his conclusion and recommendations (Montague 2004).

Notwithstanding, the evaluation of risk assessment before a job activity is carried out in a workplace; various reports have been made within the last three years of injuries and accident which are breaches on the health, and safety at work regulation. Hence, risk assessment has its shortfalls which can be attributed to either human behaviour, misinterpretation of safety rules by employees or employers not having done a risk assessment before a job activity.

4.0. SHORT FALLS OF RISK ASSESSMENTS IN RECENT ACTIVITIES

As stated earlier, risk assessment is a tool that identifies the hazard in a workplace and tries as much as possible to prevent them from occurring. However, the British Safety Council statistics on injuries, fatalities and ill-health in Great Britain 2008/2009 and fatal accident update for 2009/2010 states that the tool rate of injury in a workplace has reduced from 178 in 2008/2009 to 151 in 2009/2010; though; most fatal issues were related to the nature of the work being carried out by the victims in their workplace. Examples of most workplace injuries are listed below:

a. SCA Hygiene product were found guilty of not abiding by the Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were ordered to pay £18,514 to Mr Shaw who slipped on the 29th of July 2007 while using his body to slow down a paper reel. (HSE 2010)

b. On the 21st of August 2009 Mr Ian Sutherland right forearm was broken by a metal plate weighing more than two tonnes which drooped on his arm. This was as a result of poor risk assessment, lack of providing the appropriate training to the fork lift operator who lifted the metal plate, and use of an inappropriate equipment (HSE 2010).

c. Glossop Carton and Print Ltd were charged a fine of £50,000 with £76,150 for breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and safety at Work etc Act 1974 which lead to the death of Mr. Clive hall who was working on a machine when it was switched on.

The case study briefly states that the use of appropriate and well detailed risk assessment with well planned, control, monitoring and maintenance will reduce the rate of injury and fatality in a workplace. However, most injuries were recorded due to the negligence and breach of the health and safety Work act by employers who are bound by the law to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employee and others.

CONCLUSION

Risk assessment has been in applied in various industries to ensure the Health Safety and Welfare of its employee and others who participate in the day to day activity of the industry, including the general public. It could be described as a safety tool set up to reduce the rate of injury in a workplace. Though, for a risk assessment to be effective; there should be proper checking and supervision by the management of any industry involved.

Though, the statistics of the work-related injury and ill-health in the manufacturing industry show a significant decrease in the rate of injury. It can be argued that the data used in the statistical analysis were not accurate based on the basis of most employers who tend to have clean risk sheet even in the event of an injury denies it ever occurred. However, the tremendous reduction on rate of injury can be attributed to the effective implementation and enforcement of the Health and Safety at work regulation Act. Most recorded cases were due to the negligence of the HSE Act, lack of training on procedures which should be used in a manufacturing site/workplace and lack of supervision.

Therefore, the legal requirements for every manufacturing industry to have a risk assessment and the implication if an assessment is done, but not carried out by the appropriate procedure and safety factors put to place is able to influence workplace injuries and fatalities but has no control in the Health, Safety and Welfare practise in the manufacturing industries.

Apparently, having a risk assessment in a workplace does not reduce the workplace injury/fatality. Though, it is a guideline in the reduction; the main influencing factor in having a workplace safe from injuries is the regulations.

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