- Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice
- Product safety advice for businesses
- Health & safety
- Chapter content
- Automotive safety
Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice
Safety is usually delivered by a combination of methods, including:. All these factors must be considered as part of the initial design through suitable risk assessment , specification and construction, and appropriate information provided in the User Instructions , including on routine maintenance and the nature and periodicity of safety checks.
Where force limitation is the safety strategy employed, details of specific force tests should be provided.
Lifetime product safety doesn't just depend on design and construction, but the way it is used and looked after, often by others not involved in original design and construction. Component parts can wear and fail, sometimes catastrophically.
Like most machinery, powered doors and gates need to be maintained to remain safe. Powered gates forming parts of workplaces or in common parts of residential complexes will be subject to health and safety law. Owners, occupiers, landlords and managing agents will have on-going responsibilities for the safety of all users and all those who may encounter the gate. Those undertaking work on powered gates are responsible for what they do, and for leaving the machinery in a safe condition, which may include switching off and isolating from power if it needs to be left in an unsafe condition.
Substantial modifications may require re-assessment, in some cases re-CE marking by the person undertaking the modifications. When it settles on skin and mixes with sweat, however, cement dust can cause dermatoses. When wet concrete is sprayed in place, it too can cause dermatoses. Noise can be significant in underground construction work. Principal sources include pneumatic drills and hammers, diesel engines and fans.
Since the underground work environment is confined, there is also considerable reverberant noise. Peak noise levels can exceed dBA, with time-weighted average noise exposure equivalent to dBA. Noise-reducing technology is available for most equipment and should be applied. Underground construction workers can also be exposed to whole-body vibration from mobile machinery and to hand-arm vibration from pneumatic drills and hammers. Harmful effects of hand-arm vibration can be aggravated by a cold and damp working environment.
Product safety advice for businesses
If soil is highly saturated with water or if construction is conducted under water, the work environment may have to be pressurized to keep water out. For underwater work, caissons are used. When workers in such a hyperbaric environment make too rapid a transition to normal air pressure, they risk decompression sickness and related disorders. Since the absorption of most toxic gases and vapours depends on their partial pressure, more may be absorbed at higher pressure.
Ten ppm of carbon monoxide CO at 2 atmospheres of pressure, for example, will have the effect of 20 ppm CO at 1 atmosphere. Chemicals are used in underground construction in a variety of ways. For example, insufficiently coherent layers of rock may be stabilized with an infusion of urea formaldehyde resin, polyurethane foam or mixtures of sodium water glass with formamide or with ethyl and butyl acetate.
Consequently, vapours of formaldehyde, ammonia, ethyl or butyl alcohol or di-isocyanates may be found in the tunnel atmosphere during application. Following application, these contaminants may escape into the tunnel from the surrounding walls, and it may therefore be difficult to fully control their concentrations, even with intensive mechanical ventilation.
Radon occurs naturally in some rock and may leak into the work environment, where it will decay into other radioactive isotopes. Some of these are alpha emitters that may be inhaled and increase the risk of lung cancer. Tunnels constructed in inhabited areas can also be contaminated with substances from surrounding pipes.
Water, heating and cooking gas, fuel oil, petrol and so on may leak into a tunnel or, if pipes carrying these substances are broken during excavation, they may escape into the work environment. The construction of vertical shafts using mining technology poses similar health problems to those of tunnelling.
In terrain where organic substances are present, products of microbiological decomposition may be expected. Maintenance work in tunnels used for traffic differs from similar work on the surface mainly in the difficulty of installing safety and control equipment, for example, ventilation for electric arc welding; this may influence the quality of safety measures. Work in tunnels in which pipelines for hot water or steam are present is associated with great heat load, demanding a special regime of work and breaks.
Oxygen deficiency may occur in tunnels either because oxygen is displaced by other gases or because it is consumed by microbes or by the oxidation of pyrites.
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Microbes may also release methane or ethane, which not only displace oxygen but, in sufficient concentration, may create the risk of explosion. Carbon dioxide commonly called blackdamp in Europe is also generated by microbial contamination.
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Blackdamp penetrates into the shaft from the surrounding terrain due to changes in the atmospheric pressure. Technical control measures may not be sufficient to lower the concentration of respirable dust to an acceptable level in some technological operations e. The efficiency of technical control measures must be checked by monitoring the concentration of airborne dust.
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In the case of fibrogenic dust, it is necessary to arrange the programme of monitoring in such a way that it allows the registration of the exposure of individual workers. Last but not least, the individual registration of exposure is necessary for evaluating the ability of individual workers to continue in their jobs. Due to the nature of underground work, protection against noise depends mostly on the personal protection of hearing. Effective protection against vibrations, on the other hand, can be achieved only by eliminating or decreasing the vibration by mechanization of risky operations.
PPE is not effective. Similarly, the risk of diseases due to physical overload of the upper extremities can be lowered only by mechanization. Exposure to chemical substances can be influenced by the selection of appropriate technology e. Organization and work regime precautions are sometimes very effective, especially in the case of the prevention of dermatoses. Work in underground spaces in which the composition of the air is not known demands strict adherence to safety rules. Entering such spaces without isolating breathing apparatuses must not be allowed. In case of accident it is necessary to act quickly.
Many lives have been lost in efforts to save the victim of an accident when the safety of the rescuer was disregarded.
Pre-placement, periodic and post-employment preventive medical examinations are a necessary part of the health and safety precautions for workers in tunnels. The frequency of periodic examinations and the type and scope of special examinations x ray, lung functions, audiometry and so on should be individually determined for each workplace and for each job according to the working conditions. Prior to groundbreaking for underground work, the site should be inspected and soil samples should be taken in order to plan the excavation.
Once work is underway, the work site should be inspected daily to prevent roof falls or cave-ins. The workplace of solitary workers should be inspected at least twice each shift. Fire suppression equipment should be strategically placed throughout the underground work site. The following chronic occupational health risks are pervasive Commission of the European Communities :.
Preventive health services for construction workers should be planned with these risks as priorities. Occupational health services for construction workers consist of three main models:. Specialized services are the most effective but also the most expensive in terms of direct costs. Experiences from Sweden indicate that the lowest injury rates on construction sites worldwide and a very low risk for occupational diseases among construction workers are associated with extensive preventive work through specialized service systems. In countries that have occupational health legislation, construction companies usually buy the needed health services from companies serving general industries.
In such cases, the training of occupational health personnel is important. Without special knowledge of the circumstances surrounding construction, medical personnel cannot provide effective preventive occupational health programmes for construction companies. Some large multinational companies have well-developed occupational safety and health programmes that are part of the culture of the enterprise.
The cost-benefit calculations have proved these activities economically profitable.
Nowadays, occupational safety programmes are included in quality management of most international companies. Because construction sites are often situated far from any established providers of health services, mobile health service units may be necessary. Practically all countries that have specialized occupational health services for construction workers use mobile units for delivering the services. Mobile health centres are contained in a specially equipped bus or trailer and are especially suitable for all types of screening procedures, such as periodic health examinations.
Mobile services should be careful to arrange in advance for collaboration with local providers of health services in order to secure follow-up evaluation and treatment for workers whose test results suggest a health problem. Standard equipment for a mobile unit includes a basic laboratory with a spirometer and an audiometer, an interview room and x-ray equipment, when needed. It is best to design module units as multipurpose spaces so they can be used for different types of projects. The Finnish experience indicates that mobile units are also suitable for epidemiological studies, which can be incorporated into occupational health programmes, if properly planned in advance.
Identification of risk at construction sites should guide medical activity, although this is secondary to prevention through proper design, engineering and work organization. Risk identification requires a multidisciplinary approach; this requires close collaboration between the occupational health personnel and the enterprise.
A systematic workplace survey of risks using standardized checklists is one option.