Your ninety-three year old grandfather has died and has left you his engineering factory in his will. He started the factory in 1953 and has not updated the machinery or any procedures. This has come at an opportune time; you have been made redundant at your place of work because of factory downsizing. The problem is that recently there was an accident in the factory and an employee lost a finger. The Health and Safety Executive have been to the factory and have put a Prohibition Notice on it. As your grandfather received an income of £150,000 per annum from the factory, you want to get it up and running again as soon as possible. The HSE has told you to develop an action plan for updating procedures and managing safety on site. This action plan has to have realistic time scales and be able to access adequate resources. i. Assess current hazards and risks which could be present and gather evidence to support the likelihood of continuance of the risks. Evidence could include: fatigue charts, working hours, temperature, lighting levels, noise, incorrect procedures, working practices, time of day, etc..
My experience of working within an engineering factory of this nature is limited however it is clearly identifiable that this particular factory requires multiple areas of modernisation and an update to procedures and general working methods with regards to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant legislation. Although my experience is limited in the respect of this factory I do hold a fairly extensive range of experience for H&S information on a more general level for a wider variety of projects and workplaces. In this respect I shall use this knowledge and experience to hopefully indentify and highlight both common and key areas for concern for which I intend to improve and ultimately rectify in order to sustain a safe working environment.
The following list will highlight these areas for which I have identified concern over current hazards and the risks they involve.
Noise is generally classified in H&S terms as “unwanted” sound. Excessive and prolonged noise levels can cause permanent hearing damage. Most engineering workshop or factories operate with high levels of noise pollution due in part to the nature of the activities within. The HSE stipulate boundary noise levels as guidance for implementing some form of risk protection. If noise levels maintain a decibel level of 85dB then the use of ear defenders is considered advisory. Should levels continuously maintain a level of 90dB or above however then ear defenders are considered to be worn as a mandatory precaution.
Manual handling is an increasingly prominent hazard. Inadequate and poor training contribute to this hazard along with a lack of general awareness. Looking deeper into this issue it is more than feasible to assume that manual handling hazards are also contributed to by a sense of pride particularly in male employees.
This continued lack of awareness and appropriate training will likely result in spinal injuries, both short and long term. In this respect it would be essential to create a culture within the factory through training and other available tools to promote appropriate lifting techniques using mechanical lifting, two-man lifts and general individual lifting techniques.
Slips, Trips & Falls
Easily preventable yet still a major cause for concern if not controlled in an appropriate manner. If the factory does not maintain a decent level of housekeeping then hazards can tend to be overlooked and ultimately lead to any severity of injury. Obstructions and generally poor layout organisation can lead to these hazards (slips, trips and falls) but can easily be controlled through simple planning and housekeeping. The use of marked walkways or encroachment lines, as demonstrated below, will clear paths for employees to navigate around the factory, without the risk of...
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