четверг, 9 апреля 2015 г.

Австралия (охрана труда). Судебный прецедент с ситуацией, в которой компания избежала ответственности за ошибку в разработке "a safe work procedure" потому, что имело должную "back-up safety system", благодаря которой работники не получили ожоги от возникшей вблизи них мощной струи пламени

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Case Study: How to ensure your work 

procedures are safe

Thursday, 9th April, 2015, by Alanna Furlan
In today's Health & Safety Bulletin:
  • What is a safe work procedure?
  • Case Study: How to ensure your work procedures are safe
Dear Reader,
Do you have safe systems in place for all high-risk work undertaken in your business?
What if one of those systems fails due to human error?
In today’s Health & Safety Bulletin, Michael Selinger discusses a recent case that proves the advantage of having a back-up safety system in place. This meant that, in this case, the company was able to avoid prosecution for failing to implement its primary safe work procedure.
What is a safe work procedure?
A safe work procedure, also known as a safe operating procedure or a safe work method, is a document that sets out the work to be performed and any relevant risk controls, codes or legislation.
It provides step-by-step instructions on how to safely perform a task or activity in the workplace and clearly outlines how to control risks arising from the work.
You should ensure you have a safe work procedure in place for any high-risk work that is performed in your business, and also ensure you have back-up safety systems in place in case the safe work procedure fails.
See you next week,

Alanna Furlan
Health & Safety Bulletin
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Any process that may pose a safety risk in your workplace
must have a safe operating procedure.
Case Study: How to ensure your work procedures are safe
By Michael Selinger
Editor-in-Chief, Health & Safety Handbook
In a recent decision by the NSW District Court, a prosecution by WorkCover was dismissed on the basis that the workers in question were not exposed to a risk of injury. This was despite the fact that a worker released an arc of high-pressure steam in the vicinity of himself and two other workers when he cut into a live steam line with an angle grinder.
The case
In WorkCover v Orica Pty Ltd (2015), Orica engaged Downer Australia Ltd to repair a faulty valve on its steam lines. A welder/pipe fitter employed by Downer Australia cut into a live steam line with an angle grinder, releasing steam under pressure of 1380 kilopascals in the vicinity of himself and two other workers. No one was injured.
Following an investigation, Orica was charged with exposing the welder/pipe fitter and his colleagues to the risk of being burnt by the uncontrolled release of high-pressure steam.
The Court found that Orica failed to properly implement its primary safe work procedure, which was to isolate the relevant steam line from the mains steam pressure before work was performed.
Orica’s shutdown coordinator was a highly experienced and well-trained employee who had previously performed thousands of successful shutdowns. However, the procedure was not done because the shutdown coordinator failed to accurately identify the circuits by which steam entered the particular steam line.
Nevertheless, the Court did not find Orica liable for this failure because it found that the company had an adequate back-up safety system in place to deal with the potential that the steam line was not isolated.  
Orica’s back-up safety system
The steps of Orica’s back-up safety system included:
  1. Preparing a job safety analysis for the particular task, which identified the residual risk that the isolation control may not be effective.
  2. Workers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
  3. Performing a ‘nick’ test, in which a small nick was made into the pipe away from the body to permit the harmless escape of any hazardous material.
  4. Completing and discussing a work permit which recorded the potential for the release of steam and fluid under pressure.
The third step was an important precaution, in which the welder/pipe fitter was required to treat all lines as live. This was done in order to guard against the possibility of human error, which actually occurred in this case. The fourth step ensured that this procedure was performed.
In relation to the incident, the welder/pipe fitter gave evidence that he deliberately positioned his body away from the nick when cutting into the pipe, so that when hazardous substances were emitted from the pipe he was "out of the line of fire". This meant that neither he nor his colleagues were directly exposed to the risk of being burnt.
The verdict
The Court found that the work practices and controls instituted by Orica were adequate to ensure that the release of the high-pressure steam did not expose the workers to the risk of being burnt. On that basis, the Court dismissed the charge against the defendant.
The lesson
This case highlights the importance of applying the hierarchy of control to risk management, particularly where there is a foreseeable risk of human error. Importantly, the case demonstrates that a business is required to put in place a number of controls where there is a risk of serious injury in order to reduce the chance of an injury as much as possible.
It also provides reassurance that if you put reasonable steps in place to manage those risks, which results in no direct harm or likelihood of harm occurring, you will not be liable for a penalty under health and safety legislation.
Warm regards,
Michael Selinger signature
Michael Selinger 
Health & Safety Handbook

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