This little article written for all people that are going to start their career in industry, where they will be related to occupational safety and health management. At list in the western world, everyone, who starts his or her way in industry are under impression that nothing is more important than life and health safety, following word flow will change their mind towards more realistic imagination of the subject.
First of all – what is safety in industrial format?
In Oil & Gas, Construction, Marine, Logistics & Transportation and many other aspects of industry Safety is security from risks, hazards and their consequences. It does not mean that it could not be used as term to describe the status of person being safe from other factors, such as psychological or mental trauma potentials or any of the straight physical influences (for example – as result of human relations), but mainly it means safe from effect of the factors appropriate to industrial activities.
Safety is not security
One simple reason is that safety does not always keep you away from hazard, most of the time opposite – you are exposed to the hazard, but guarded from such by the additional safety devices. Elimination is at the top levels of hierarchy of the hazard controls but not always possible, as well as substitution, which is another measure used to keep you safe. Mechanical aids helps to get you in distance from the exposure, but keep the door open to the number of other hazards – environmental, mechanical, human factor associated or behavioral. So there is no isolation from hazard, it is being guarded from the straight effect of such.
Safety is your, [emphasizing] and only your responsibility
It is such a great thing that we are all looking one after another and taking care of our work fellows on site keeping an eye on the newbies and less experienced guys, but… Remember, first of your “safety” responsibilities is for yourself, only then for your work fellows and only then for other people that could get affected by the activities you are carrying out. You have to remember that people around you will take care of their own life and health in first place, so why to put irredundant streamers ahead. However, there is a fine line that separates responsibility of controlling the hazards towards keep people’s path safe from duty to watch for the ones that could get in the harm’s way in result of the process that’s supposed to be under your control. So, the message is – safety is your responsibility, and not just your safety.
Safety is subject to number of standard systems
Have you heard about Risk Assessment, Permit-To-Work, Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health, Advanced Safety Audit, Control Of Work, Behavior Based Safety Management, Risk Communication, Hazardous Operations, Hazard Identification and more, and more, and more?.?. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of systems involving risk control and all of them have one goal – reduction of the operational, processual, environmental, reputational, physical potential and existing risks.
Process of controlling risk and elimination of (or protection from) health or life threatening hazard
The process is always drives the same principle, to describe which we need to use word composition of “Hierarchy of Controls”. I will not be describing it here but I will show the principle of keeping it As Low As Reasonably Practical – ALARP. Controlling risk is not only an opportunity issue, I mean – to whatever it cost – it has own limitations in terms of price, reasonability and practical or physical implementation. Somewhere the cost of elimination of work or at list elimination of performance by your personnel might be acceptable and keeping people away from such task will not affect your budget dramatically, so no one will accuse you in spending too much money… however. That happens occasionally. Somewhere else, you forced to substitute one work with another that involves less risk, which still requires control. In different case, you could keep people safer using mechanical aids, but again, that would involve another number of hazards, such as personnel competency and skills, guards, access / egress control and such, and such… Summing up, there is always the question of “efficiency”, as it would be described by company management, and I would use the word of profitableness, of the controls taken towards reducing risk to the lowest possible point. Event industry giants are using this “efficiency” doctrine and life and health are being saved far not in a cost of anything. Nothing personal…
Resuming my little article about safety at work I would like to emphasize that main thing to keep in mind is – nobody will do more for your safety at work than yourself, no one will pay bigger price for your safety than yourself, nothing will work better than you to keep your life and health safe, …and safer.