Health and Safety Risk Assessments, Guidelines, Inspection Methods, and Other Current Topics


Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 1:30 PM - 3:50 PM


Developing Scaffold Use Risk Assessment Model for Construction Safety

K. Czarnocki and E. Czarnocka, Lublin University of Technology, Lublin, Poland; D. Byc, St. John of Dukla Cancer Center, Lublin, Poland

Objective: Problems in occupational health and safety commonly occur in the construction industry, including falling of materials or person from height, stepping on objects and injured by hand tools. Scaffold use is an important factor in construction occupational safety. All scaffolds used in construction, renovation, repair (including painting and decorating), and demolition shall be erected, dismantled and maintained in accordance with safety procedures. For safety professionals, it is crucial to have risk assessments for scaffold use. It has been found that some professionals are prone to rely heavily on their experience and knowledge, instead of using a systematic approach for a scaffold use risk assessment. There is also a lack of ways to check the reliability of the decisions made.

Methods: A Scaffold Use Risk Assessment Model (SURAM) has been developed for assessing risk levels at various construction process stages with various work trades. The SURAM is the result of a research project conducted at 60 construction sites. The 420 observations completed included: harmful physical and chemical factors, stress level, worker habits, as well as ex-post reconstruction of construction accident scenarios. ANN modelling tool has been used for the development of the SURAM.

Results: Common types of trades, accidents, and accident causes have been explored, in addition, to suitable risk assessment methods and criteria. We have found the initial stress level is a more direct predictor for developing of the unsafe chain leading to the accident than the work load, and concentration of harmful factors at the workplace.

Conclusions: Based on a set of historical accident data, the developed SURAM seems to be beneficial for predicting high-risk construction activities and thus preventing accidents.



Facility Safety Guidelines for the Manufacture of Lithium Ion Battery Power Banks

M. Andrew and J. Dankin, Sumerra, Portland, OR

Situation/Problem: Small lithium ion battery power banks are nearly ubiquitous in the gadget central world that we currently inhabit. A single small battery poses minimal risk to the end user, but what about facilities producing high volumes of these battery packs for retailers. In our international work, we often observe inconsistent or lack of good safety practices at contract manufacturers, especially in small and medium size businesses that often escape the eye of regulators. The storage, handling, and use of large numbers of lithium ion battery cells present a real risk of fire or explosion if precautions are not taken. Based on our initial research, little industry specific guidance was available to these manufacturers.

Resolution: A literature review was conducted to identify studies or recommended best practices for the safe manufacture of these battery packs. General guidance regarding fire safety and material handling was available, however, minimal industry specific guidance could be located for manufacturers. Therefore, we set out to develop a simple to follow guideline of good practices that would address these concerns and provide a user friendly reference for manufacturers. Additionally, a site visit was conducted at a battery manufacturer to interview the management regarding their knowledge of safety practices and to identify specific hazards that may need additional guidance.

Results: An industry specific safety guideline was developed and distributed to interested stakeholders who in turn could then provide to suppliers and contract manufacturers. The guide provides basic and easy to follow best practices for manufacturing of lithium ion batteries, specifically addressing risks in receiving & storage, production & assembly, battery testing & inspection, emergency preparedness & response, and firefighting equipment & response.

Lessons learned: Industry and even product specific guidelines are useful in mitigating risk at small and medium sized businesses, especially in countries with developing economies that may have limited or rarely enforced safety regulations, or a general lack of institutional occupational safety knowledge. The mix of practical knowledge from the experience of working in factories and specific educational knowledge regarding occupational safety is key to providing an easy to understand guideline.



Health and Safety Risks Associated with Craft Brewing: Characterization of Breweries within British Columbia

P. Chua, WorkSafeBC, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Situation/Problem: Craft breweries are small, independently-owned commercial breweries that employ traditional brewing methods. To classify as a craft brewery in British Columbia (BC), annual production must be less than 160,000 hectalitres. Craft breweries within BC are growing at an exponential rate. The market share for craft beers has doubled in the past four years, from 9% of all beer sales in 2009 to more than 20% in 2014. Employers who start up craft breweries are often inexperienced and unsophisticated. These employers are typically small and often collaborate with other small employers to solve mutual issues such as health and safety.

Resolution: The purpose of this study is to: (1) characterize the extent of occupational health and safety (OHS) hazards and exposure risks within craft breweries; and (2) to probe employers within this industry on their knowledge depth of these hazards. Data was collected through publicly available and internal (government) databases. Brewery inspections, focus group discussions with industry representatives, and hygiene sampling of brewery activities were also performed.

Results: Brewery hazards are similar to those found in manufacturing operations. However, brewery hazards are primarily occupational hygiene hazards, which are less recognizable to unsophisticated employers. Industry identified hazards include: noise, boiling liquids, unprotected heated surfaces, exposure to caustic chemicals and chemical storage/containment, musculoskeletal strain, dust (explosion potential and respiratory susceptivity), confined spaces, carbon dioxide exposure and oxygen deficiency. Instantaneous carbon dioxide measurements for common brewery activities often approach the action limit. Worker exposures often exceed 25% TWA, and occasionally exceed the action limit. Areas of particular interest are cellar/tank farm(s), walk-in coolers, and barrel fermentation rooms. Post-secondary institutions with brewing programs in BC have a superficial health and safety component within the curriculum.

Lessons learned: Health and safety resources specific to the craft brewery industry are lacking. Industry-specific associations and organizations have different aims, with health and safety low in priority. Recommendations include increasing awareness of industry hazards through collaboration with stakeholders to guide development and communication of health and safety resources.



Traffic Flow Risk Assessments: A Tool for Reducing Pedestrian/Vehicle Accidents

N. Orr, Becton Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, NJ

Situation/Problem: The interactions of pedestrians and vehicles, including powered industrial trucks, within industrial plants and on the surrounding property, present serious safety risks. These hazards are exacerbated by increased crowding in manufacturing spaces and unanticipated changes to machine layouts.

Resolution: Traffic Flow Risk Assessment (TFRA) is a relatively simple tool to identify where these overlaps occur and to develop recommendations to eliminate or reduce the potential for contact and possible incidents. The TFRA approach includes separately mapping pedestrian and vehicle traffic flows at a facility and identifying key overlaps that pose a risk to workers. This is best done with a cross-functional team of workers from warehouse, supply chain, material management and operations. Once problem areas have been identified, solutions that align with the hierarchy of controls (eliminate, separate, control or minimize exposures) are developed.

Results: This presentation will review the results of several TFRAs conducted at multiple locations within a major paper company and a large medical device manufacturer. Significant reductions in the number of pedestrian/vehicle incidents occurred when this approach was implemented.

Lessons learned: Strategies for successful deployment of this tool, including lessons learned during the pilot phase, will be presented. Examples of effective engineering controls will also be shared.



An Efficient Safety Inspection Method and System for Navy Installations

P. Aysola, A. Harkins, and R. Maiello, Commander Navy in Command, Washington, DC

Situation/Problem: An efficient, web-based global Occupational Health & Safety Management System with physical location identification capability is needed to monitor workplace safety requirements and workload at all Navy bases with host-tenant relationship responsibilities. Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) is the shore integrator for the United States Navy and provides Base Operating Support (BOS) Safety and related home port services for the Fleet across an enterprise consisting of 11 Regions, 70 bases and more than 3,000 assigned tenant command activities worldwide.

Resolution: A Mono-UIC (User Activity Title) is a term developed by CNIC HQ N35 Safety to identify the exact tenant location eligible to receive CNIC Base Operating Support (BOS) Safety services. A mono-UIC is the singular unit identification code of any Navy or non-Navy tenant activity of a CNIC installation that is currently on record as leasing real property facilities or facility space(s) assigned by the host installation. The web-based Safety Data Management System creates Inspection identification (ID) for every Mono-UIC ID workplace, scheduled safety inspection, types of safety inspection categories (OSH, Explosive, Traffic Safety, RODS, Unsafe Unhealthful Conditions, Radiation, and Industrial Hygiene etc.), safety training and several other workload parameters for each installation. This unique Safety Data Management System is also used by Public Safety (e.g., Security Force, Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Services).

Results: Monthly data sets are analyzed using Excel Key Performance Indicator (KPI) pivot dash board and Visual Basic (VB) codes to: determine work load requirements; monitor safety inspection progress; and develop algorithms to optimally distribute the minimal amount of resources to ensure compliance with official, overarching guidance at varying levels of assurance.

Lessons learned: Data from Mono-UIC location based ID system is used by all Installation Safety Inspectors and Regional Program Directors (RPDs). It is populated with several safety and security related parameters and provides several opportunities for case control and cohort studies, remote auditing, monitoring of several safety related parameters. CNIC has been using Mono-UIC ID system for three years. Instant access to safety inspection schedule ID, Mono-UIC ID, date, inspection type, competed date, inspector name, non-compliance warning and several other requirement parameters has made a tremendous impact on improving CNIC N35 safety inspection efficiency.



Tick-Tock: Safety and Health Considerations Surrounding the Aging Worker

P. Rice, ClickSafety/Ahtna Netiye, Walnut Creek, CA

Situation/Problem: The aging workforce in the US and throughout the globe is one of the most significant trends employers face today and will continue to face in the decades to come. Americans are living and working longer and as a result, older employees constitute a larger segment of the workforce, especially the Baby Boomer generation who consistently state their plans to work well beyond the age of 65 (TIP: Everyday, 8,000 Baby Boomers turn 65).

Resolution: There are tremendous upsides to maintaining and hiring the older worker within your organization. There is no substitute for experience, a strong work ethic, loyalty, diversity, mentorship, lower absenteeism, team oriented and self-confidence of this demographic of worker. However, hiring and employing older workers may mean an increase in safety and industrial hygiene concerns for the safety and health professional. There are concerns of rising expenditures for various health-related benefits. Although work injury rates for older workers are lower, they are costlier to treat or compensate when they do occur. Chronic health conditions rise with age. As the workforce continues to age, employers can expect an increase in the number of workers with chronic conditions. Having an understanding of the aging process of these systems is important for the safety and industrial hygiene professional to recognize so that hazard evaluation and control strategies can be adopted. Smart strategies can be effective in mitigating incidents, reducing injury costs and promoting quality and production.

Results: This presentation will focus on the potential risks, evaluation and control techniques to promote safety and health among older workers, young workers and the entire workforce. Case studies will be presented how some progressive safety and health departments are taking the issue of older worker safety and health head on with training, medical and engineering interventions. Topics include common classifications of aging (Chronological vs. Biological vs. Functional, there are truly different shades of gray), incident statistics, body systems and the older worker challenges, discussion of how the interaction of lifestyle, work environment and genetics may impact workplace safety. Additionally, we will discuss tips and techniques for the safety professional (e.g. using BBS principals, motivation techniques, and communication programs). We will also discuss and offer up some suggestions relative to the importance of senior fitness and nutritional programs.

Lessons learned: The workforce is getting older The older worker has a tremendous upside for organizations. The older worker presents challenges to the IH professional in terms of chemical, physical, ergonomic exposure and response that can be managed to promote a safer and more healthful workforce.



Dust Explosions: The Nature of the Problem and Practical Measures for Its Control—Including the Requirements of the New NFPA 652 for “Dust Hazard Assessment”

V. Ebadat, Chilworth Technology, Inc. - a DEKRA company, Princeton, NJ

Situation/Problem: Many powders will burn slowly or with difficulty as a layer on a surface, but can explode if dispersed as a cloud. In fact, the vast majority of powders can form explosible dust clouds if the particle size is small, moisture content is low, and the dust cloud concentration (measured in g/m3) is above the Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC).

Resolution: The size of the dust particle is a property which influences the explosibility of the dust cloud. The finer the particles, the greater the surface area per unit mass and thus, the more explosible a given dust is likely to be. The ease of ignition and the severity of the resulting explosion increases with a decrease in particle size. The moisture content of a product will also affect the explosion risk.

Results: A systematic approach to identifying dust cloud explosion hazards and taking measures to ensure safety against their consequences generally involves: 1. Understanding of the explosion characteristics of the dust(s); 2. Identification of locations where combustible dust cloud atmospheres could be present; 3. Identification of potential ignition sources that could be present under normal and abnormal conditions; 4. Proper process and facility design to eliminate and/or minimize the occurrence of dust explosions; and 5. Adequate maintenance of facilities to prevent ignition sources and minimize dust release

Lessons learned: This presentation will discuss a well-tried approach to identify, assess, and eliminate/control dust explosion hazards in facilities. Attendees will be provided information to screen the materials that they handle and aid in determining the precautions that should be taken in handling, processing, and storing combustible powders. This will include sensitivity to various types of ignition hazards (such as electrical arcs and electrostatic discharges) and the severity of combustion incidents (such as explosions and flash-fires). This presentation will also include the Dust Hazard Assessment (DHA) requirements of the New National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts. Attendees can expect to leave this presentation better equipped to respond to questions concerning the equipment and environment in which combustible dusts are handled and how to meet the requirements of the new NFPA 652.​