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Health and Safety Performance of Welding and Fabrication Organisation

4596 words (18 pages) Essay in Organisations

18/05/20 Organisations Reference this

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The safety culture practised by an organisation should follow the legalities enforced by the Executives (HSE). The executives allow the organisations decide on the corporate methods and processes (Strategy, Policies and management systems) to utilize in fulfilling their duties in respect to Health and Safety.

 This report reiterates the need to effectively analyse activities to ensure risks are properly controlled if not eliminated. Emphasis is placed on the need for quarterly safety audits to be carried out on companies to ensure conformity with the legal obligations and regulations thereby creating a safe working environment.

INTRODUCTION

Organisation can be understood as ‘a club or business that has been formed for a particular purpose’ (Longman Dictionary of American English 5th Ed., Organisation entry). For many organisations, the structure utilized depends on the type of operation being carried out and the major constituents of such structure are the people termed as ‘‘employees’’.

 According to some researches, the culture of an organisation is itself and that includes the leaders as well as employees (Aydun 2018). Leaders have the responsibility of maintaining Organisations values, goals, mission and this is the bedrock that forms organisational culture (Acar 2012).

 Written or unwritten, culture which includes the safety culture formed by the leaders of an organisation can be passed down the functional structure as leaders play a huge part in the creation and communication of workplace cultures;although the culture of an organisation influences in actuality, the leadership that is possible (Schein 2010).

 Health and safety practices in companies in the UK has since come a long way from the days when legislation dictated in details, what is regarded as compliance with the law. The introduced Health and safety at work etc Act 1974 allows companies set standards for themselves ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ (HSWA 1974).

Aim: Critically analyse how the medium scale welding and fabrication organisations workplace culture impacts their health and safety performance.

Objectives to be achieved:

1. Highlight the current legal obligations of the welding and fabrication company as well as the regulations backing up activities performed by employees (internal and external alike).

2. Demonstrate the importance of risk assessment in analysing the hazards and risks affiliated with routine welding and fabrications operations and the influence of communication in promoting an ideal workplace culture.

CRITICAL DISCUSSION

1.Health and Safety in Organisations

The Responsibility of ensuring safety and health in organisations has been placed on the risk creators. The Health and Safety Executives (HSE) believe effective management has an immense impact on not just the staff and an organisations finances but also on its reputation; as such, there is pressure to perform on the organisations part. (Hughes and Ferret 2010)

The first established Health and safety at work etc Act 1974 by the legislation is the underlying basis for the current safety and health structure in the UK. It expressly delegates duties to the employers, staff etc, promoting and stimulating good safety practices (HSWA 1974). Although slight modifications were made in 2008, Regulatory systems were introduced under the 1974 Act and are applicable depending on a company’s operations.

Approved codes of practice, Regulations and Guidance have been put in place to simplify compliance with the Act. The Six (6) pack Regulations are the elemental regulations applicable to all businesses and are backed legally, I.e;

– The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (HSC13 2003).

– The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992(HSC13 2003).

– The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (HSC13 2003).

– The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (HSC13 2003).

– The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (HSC13 2003).

– The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (HSC13 2003).

There are several industries such as the oil and gas, power etc that follow regulations that also apply to other industries. Some of these regulations apply to hazard unique specific industries.

Specific to the welding and fabrication are Noise at Work Regulations 1989 which requires that the organisation acts to protect workers from hearing impairment from being subjected to daily personal noise by providing hearing protection and enforcing its use. The regulation has been replaced by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 which is firmer as it imposes action for levels of noise between 85bd and 90db(A) and peak action levels to stop exposure of workers to strong sound. The employer is charged with reducing noise levels ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ by providing hearing shields to be worn in designated areas (HSG 129). The Control of Vibration at work regulations 2005 is also important as employers have legal obligations to address and control the amount of mechanical related resonance a worker is exposed to during welding activities and arrange health surveillance. (HSE L141)

1.1 Strategy, Policy and Safety Management Systems

Every organisation, small or large scale needs to have a sort of policy in place to help managers translate their goals into a set of achievable objectives that is relevant to their activity. The Organisations culture can be promoted by having visual representations containing these strategies and objectives placed at strategic places around the office to serves as a reminder to employees about the companies’ policies. The policies, procedures and processes need to be properly documented as it describes all safety behaviour, expectations, incident reporting methods etc. This serves to demonstrate to the public, the company’s recognition and commitment in ensuring improvement to health and safety as well as motivate the staff so that it is practised within its established organisation. (Weekes 2017)

Although new employees are usually given a safety induction, the new individuals are usually influenced by the people they work with; management has to strictly enforce the safety culture they want practised. Safety management system combines all the corporate management processes as well as the elements in the workplace needing attention in such a way that everyone is provided with a safe working environment. It is regarded as the first step towards improving organisational safety performance.

 A Management system is a framework designed to manage health and safety and can be used in managing the implementation of the policy and strategy plans of the organisation. Applying a management system will give the organisation a form of assurance of compliance with its stated policy. (Weekes 2017). There are Six (6) pillars that makeup the management system;

-         Safety plan

-         Policies, procedures and processes

-         Training and induction

-         Monitoring

-         Supervision and

-         Reporting.(Weekes 2017)

However, to effectively implement a safety management system, workers must be adequately supervised by an adequately trained management representative accountable to the senior management who is given the responsibility of coordinating the implementation and maintenance of the management system using the Plan-Do- Check-Act approach. (HSG 65)

Figure 1: plan-do-check-act for health and safety (HSG 65)

1.2 Personal Involvement (Human Factor) in Safety Management

 Although the responsibility of ensuring safety and health have been accorded to the business owner, the staff as well as others in the organisation (contractors, consultants etc) are expected to play their own part by practising a safe work culture. As stated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) employees have the right to form associations as well as join existing ones that will perform collective bargaining of their rights with the company but they need to use the safety devices and equipment they are provided, report injuries and accidents (Hughes and Ferrett 2010). Attributes such as skills, personalities, habit and attitudes brought by employees to their jobs can influence the way activities are carried out within the organisation and although Skills and attitude towards work can be managed through training and experience, others cannot be modified easily as it requires the employee’s willingness to work in line with the company’s method of operation (HSG 65).

 According to the Executives (HSE), The Human factor such as the environmental, organisational and job factors as well as human and individual characteristics affect behaviour at work in a way that can influence safety and health. It views how people’s behaviour impacts health and safety performance based on these three (3) factors. (HSG 48)

Figure 2: Human Factors in industrial health and safety (HSG 48)

 The Health and safety at work etc Act spells out employee’s duties to his employer, to himself and those his act might affect. The duties of the employees include;

-         Consideration of wellbeing and welfare of himself and other persons who might be impacted by his act or negligence at work

-         To work with his employer or other persons as regards any duty or requirements imposed on them.

Employees are expected to use the safety equipment provided for them by the employers and also to communicate all mishaps and fatalities to the appropriate authorities. (HSWA 1974)

 According to a report compiled by Julie bell and Ceri Phelps of the Health & Safety Laboratory, examples of good practices expected from workers involvement in safety and health can be grouped under Policy, Organising, Planning Measurement, Audit & Review. (HSL 2001)

Figure 3: Key Elements of Health and Safety Management (HSL 2001)

Consultants and contractors hired by the organisation and others involved with a project are also to comply with the law by coordinating their work in a manner that does not affect the wellbeing of others in the project team. They have to work with the hiring company to ensure risks are controlled and should understand the underlying framework of the hiring company. (CMD 2015)

2. Risk Assessment  

Planning is essential for the proper implementing of health and safety policies. To properly control risks, all members of an organisation must work together to establish and operate an effective management system. (HSG 65)

Risk assessment entails the analysis of all possible risk associated with hazards arising from a particular task performance.

Hazards could be physical, mental, chemical or biological in nature hence, it is the responsibility of the manager to assess all possible safety and health risks workers could be exposed to. Risk may be measured by identifying the possible negative effects on health or environment and estimating their severity(in terms of the intensity, amplitude and size), the timing of those repercussions and their likelihood of occurrence. (Covello and Merkoher 2013)

There are two (2) major approaches to analysing risk:

– The Qualitative assessment technique

– The Quantitative assessment technique.

Quantitative risk assessment is usually time consuming and is preferably done after a qualitative assessment has been carried out as it requires quality data for proper analysis. It is done in industries where the possibility of an event occurring will result in multiple fatalities. Tools like fault trees are used.

There are five (5) steps to carrying out general risk assessment;

– Hazard identification

– Identify who might be affected

– Risk evaluation/analysis

– Record Significant findings (staff >20)

– Regular review/monitoring of assessment (HSG 163).

 Qualitative risk assessment is used for preliminary risk analysis to determine whether or not further investigations will be necessary. It is ideal for routine workshop activities as it provides insight into unidentified pathways associated with the risk of concern allowing safe measures to be put in place. It allows for quick exploring of protective measures that can be put in place to mitigate against risks and is effective if it is carried out by experts in the field (FAO/WHO 2009). Qualitative risk assessments involve estimating the posibility of occurrence based on known risk facts applicable to the event under consideration. It is relatively easier to carry out. Quantitative risk assessments are subjective meaning they are based or influenced by personal judgement backed by established risk data. The quantitative and qualitative risk assessments are not mutually exclusive. Upon completing an assessment, there are generally three (3) major lines of defence that could be applied;

-         First line of defence: Controlling the risk

-         Second line of defence: Maintaining control

-         Third line of defence: Dealing with breakdown of controls that were put in place (MacAuslan 1993)

2.1. Qualitative analysis of Hazards Associated with Cutting Metal Sheet Using Electric Powered Saw

 

The risk level will be obtained using the risk matrix table below;

Figure 4:Risk Matrix (Baksh 2013)

The table below identifies the hazards associated with cutting a metal sheet with an electric saw as well as the measures that can be put in place to reduce its occurrence as well as the residual risk after applying the control measures.

The people that are at risk are;

-         Technical staff under training

-         Authorized workshop personnel

-         Cleaning staff

-         Visitors such as Health and safety inspectors and client reps.

 

 

 

Identify Hazards and subsequent risk

 

Analyse/evaluate Risk

 

 

 

Control Measures

 

 

 

Residual Risk

 

Consequence

 

Likelihood

 

Risk level

ELECTRIC SHOCK

2

C

Moderate

  • Ensure proper earthing of power tools
  • Ensure saw is properly maintained, inspected and tested every 6 months in compliance with workshop safety policy

None

FIRE

2

D

Low

  • Proper maintenance of power tool
  • Provision of fire-resistant work suits

Low

SPARK

2

C

Moderate

  • Ensure saw is properly maintained, inspected and tested every 6 months in compliance with workshop safety policy

None

NOISE

4

B

Extreme

  • Ensure machine operators are provided with hearing protection for noise levels above 85db(A)

Low

SMALL PROJECTILES

3

B

High

  • Ensure workers are given safety glasses and are made to use them
  • Ensure designated work areas are cordoned off
  • Provision and use of nose masks

Low

CUTS AND BURNS

3

B

High

  • Use of protective attire such as gloves and face shields

None

UNSAFE PRACTICES

5

A

Extreme

  • Ensure that only adequately trained personnel or  experienced individuals are regarded as competent by the workshop supervisor and are allowed to work independently in the workshop.
  • Ensure that those under training are closely supervised if working in the workshop.

Low

TRIPS

1

C

Low

  • Ensure walkways are clear of all obstacles and electrical cords are firmly secured to the floor

None

VENTILATION AND

LIGHT LEVELS

1

B

Moderate

  • Ensure that natural and artificial lighting and airing is provided to appropriate standards

None

Table 1: Risk assessment of a metal sheet cutting activity

Upon completion of the risk assessment, some amount of risk remains which is known as the residual risk. Such risk could be due to known factors which can not be entirely countered with the use of control measures. For an activity involving the use of an electric powered saw, with the measures in place to mitigate all the listed risks, the only probable risk is an employee collapsing due to illness or fatigue or a slight cut due to complacency as the possibility of a fire ensuring due to a spark is almost zero. Such risk can be handled with insurance and having an emergency response unit around the workshop. The powered tool should have an emergency stop button in case of an accident.

2.2. Risk Communication

Risk communication is important as it allows others have a better understanding of the risk. On completion of a risk assessment it is mandatory for the project lead or whoever is in charge of the department to pass on the findings to those who might be impacted as well as others within the organization.The management of health and safety at work regulations 1992 requires workers to provide members of staff with “comprehensible and relevant information on the risks to their health and safety identified by the assessment” together with the control measures that have been employed to eradicate/minimise the risks severity (HSG 65). Safety reporting at all levels is important as workers need to be in the know of what goes on and whatever occurs wrongly. The information provided must be accurate, relevant and easily understandable. There are several ways by which this can be done;

-         Use of email-based communication (might not be very effective)

-         Placing notices on bulletin boards, use of posters, newsletters.

-         Presentation at team meetings, staff forums while encouraging feedback and carrying out audits.

-         One-to-one communication with those directly involved;

Training should be provided to help increase the receptiveness of the staff to messages about risks and control measures (Croner-I 2017). Safety feedback allows the right amount of control to be implemented and it is necessary because the safety values of an organisation depends on the attitude and behaviour of those in the system. (Weekes 2017)

3. Conclusion and Recommendation

The prevention of work-related injury is important to employees, the industry and the entire society (IOSH). According to Cooper M.D. (2000), the safety culture of an organisation describes shared the values which influences its members behaviour and stance on safety and health performance.

While it cannot be argued that an organisations safety culture influences its performance, universally, there is no model that would make culture easily translatable into change effects. (Nielsen K. 2015)

Organisation such as the HSE have placed themselves at the hem of things with the laws backing, intensifying efforts to promote safety culture practise making top management responsible, hence the noticeable improvement in health and safety performances.

3.1. Recommendations

 Guidance on health and safety is important to promote good organisational safety culture practise. To ensure the existing improvements do not diminish, the following could be considered;

-         Measurement/Review of health and safety performance of organisations should be encouraged by the monitoring bodies to ensure proper auditing as this is key in ensuring sustainability and compliance with regulatory instruments and guidelines.

-         Organisations should properly report cases of injury and accidents so that everyone in the industry and within the organisation is aware of the Hazards and risks linked with particular activities and proper measures would be established to prevent such in the future through risk assessment enforcement.

-         A generic checklist regularly updated to include changes should be created and used as a guide in carrying out risk assessments. This will ensure every assessment is effectively carried out with all the risks analysed and controlled even if the accessor is not very experienced.

 

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