BOLT AND CATCH PTY LTD WORK HEALTH & SAFETY REPORT
You are a Work Health & Safety consultant who has been commissioned to prepare a report with recommendations based on the following scenario. Your report should:
• List the hazards identified
• Describe how you assessed the priority (likelihood/severity) for each hazard.
• Recommend best practice control strategies
• Describe the legal implications to the company for non-compliance.
Scenario – Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd
Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd is a large manufacturer of gate bolts and hinges for commercial and agricultural use. The company has been in business for seventy years and employs a staff of 120 people ranging from managerial, marketing and sales, engineering, trade and production personnel.
Recently the General Manager (GM) contacted you to review the company’s current hazard status since the introduction of three new metal stamping presses that were made and purchased from China.
Case Study 1: WHS Audit
- List the hazards identified
Following are the hazards identified which are being faced by the personnel of Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd:
- The organizational commitment is poor. The general manager (GM) has no enough time to take along Work Health & Safety consultant into the plant for the identification and assessment of the hazards.
- Despite of posting the signage of “Safety Equipment must be worn in this area” outside the ‘Press room’, only some of the operators are wearing either all or few of the protective clothing such as face masks, hearing protection, safety boots and gloves, whereas some employees are wearing none of the protective clothing items. This shows that employees in the press room are not supervised and inspected seriously while operating Chinese presses
- The ‘Press Room’ is very noisy, thus creating unhealthy and noisy work environment, in which the operators have to continually shout at each other to be heard above the noise emanating from all of the presses. This not only adds into noise and disturbance within the press room, and but also makes the employees (operators) extremely fatigued at the end of the day.
- New and other Chinese press machines are not shielded around the stamping (press) head. These non-protective machinery can bring harm to its operators.
- All operational buttons of the imported machines are not re-labelled in English. In this way, the operators are not fully-acquainted with whole operations and mechanism of the presses. Furthermore, only Start, Jog and Stop buttons are taped with some English translation signs next to them. Moreover, these three labeling are directly above the operator’s head, out of their line of vision, and thus create problem for them while locating these buttons.
- The premises of Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd is situated near a local hotel. During lunch time, a number of the forklift drivers visit the hotel and drive back ‘over the limit’, and thus has resulted into numerous injuries of the company employees. It is suspected that these accidents resulting from trips to the ‘local hotel’ during the lunch break might be a result of usage of alcohol and substance abuse by the forklift drivers.
- Describe how you assessed the priority (likelihood/severity) for each hazard.
In order to assess the priority i.e. likelihood and severity for each hazard, a semi-quantitative risks assessment strategy is used i.e. a Prioritization matrix. This matrix basically ranks the identified hazards in order to position the most significant to the least ones. The likelihood and severity of each hazard has been derived from the WHS audit conducted. Following tables of Probability matrix (Table 1) and Significance scale (Table 2) are used in the assessment of priorities of the hazards.
|2||Minor impact for a small number of employees|
|3||Minor impact for a large number of employees|
|4||Major impact for a small number of employees|
|5||Major impact for a large number of employees|
|1||1 in 5 year|
|2||1 in 1 year|
|3||1 in 1 month|
|4||1 per week|
|5||Almost certain (once a day at least)|
Table 1: Probability matrix (“Understanding the hazards”, n.d., pp. 43)
|4||medium||high||high||Very high||Very high|
|5||high||Very high||Very high||Very high||Very high|
Table 2: Significance scale (“Understanding the hazards”, n.d., pp. 44)
Following is the Prioritization matrix for Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd which explains the assessment of priority of each hazard identified:
|Hazard||Cause or source||Likelihood||Severity||Risk rating|
|Poor organizational commitment||Provision of less time from GM for WHS consultant||3||3||Medium|
|Not wearing protective clothing||Lack of supervision of employees and inspection of the press room||4||5||Very high|
|Unhealthy and noisy work environment – Hearing loss and stress||Noisy generated by press machines fixed within the press room||5||5||Very high|
|Harmful press machinery||Non-shielded Chinese press machines||3||4||High|
|Minimal knowledge of the buttons used for operating press machines||All buttons of press machines are not re-labelled in English||4||5||Very high|
|Inability to locate start, job and stop buttons||Labelling of 3 buttons directly above the operator head||3||4||High|
|Employees’ Accidents||Forklift drunk drivers, while visiting local hotel, drive over the limit||3||4||High|
Table 3: Prioritization matrix for Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd
- Recommend best practice control strategies.
The aforementioned assessed hazards can be best controlled by applying following strategies, fully complying with WHS verified audit criteria:
- A health and safety policy should be provided to all employees, employer and people visiting the company premises (such as WHS consultant) (“WHS auditing guidelines”, 2013).
- The organizational commitment must adhere to WHS audit criteria. The GM must take along auditors and consultants on company premises for identification and assessment of hazardous events.
- All press room employees must wear all of the protective clothing including face masks, hearing protection, safety boots and gloves.
- The management must supervise employees of the press room and hold accountable those who do not wear all of the protective clothing while operating Chinese press machines.
- The work environment of press room should be made less noisy. This can be done in multiple ways. Firstly, all press room operators should wear ear protectors, such as ear plugs or ear muffs. It will not harm their eardrums. Secondly, silencers must be attached to the press machines. This will suppress their noise and make them unreachable to the employees. Thirdly, noise-insulated air compressors can be used. In this way, noise is contained under the hood which is manufactured using a hard material with soft absorbent lining (“Noise at work”, 2014).
- Furthermore, as a recommendation for the future, the company should check such machinery before buying. It must check their noise standards, and make the purchase afterwards (“Noise at work”, 2014).
- The Chinese press machines must be shielded around the stamping (press) head. The company can ask the manufacturers of the press machines to cover and shield the presses. This will not only lessen the risk of bringing harm to the employees operating it, but will also result into higher maintenance of the machines (“Noise at work”, 2014).
- All operational buttons of the imported machines should be re-labelled in English. In this way, the operators will be fully-acquainted with whole operations and mechanism of the presses.
- Furthermore, the labelling of the Start, Jog and Stop buttons should be within the line of vision of the operators, and thus assisting them while locating these buttons.
- Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd should combat the issue of accidents resulting from trips to the ‘local hotel’ by posting a “speed limit” signage on the road outside its premises. The speed limit signage will force the forklift drivers to avoid over-speeding their vehicles. Furthermore, still if they don’t follow the sign and cause incidents to company employees, then the GM should seek traffic police assistance, who must inspect the drivers and check either they are rash drivers or drive while being drunk.
- Moreover, the management and employees must discuss work, health and safety issues and solutions daily in short meetings.
- Describe the legal implications to the company for non-compliance.
It a legal requirement that the company should adhere with WHS legislation and regulations related to work, health and safety of its employees. One cannot justify non-compliance by stating that it is not aware of its legal responsibilities and duties (“Legislative compliance”, 2014).
According to “WHS auditing guidelines” (2013), the senior management of organizations should understand that they are legally obligated to work, health and safety rules. In case they show non-compliance, severe actions should be taken. As in case of Bolt and Catch Pty Ltd, if its management shows non-compliance, then following could be legal implications to it:
- If the company management or employees breach the WHS laws and company set WHS policies, then they will be subjected to various enforced measures such as prosecution (“National occupational”, 2008).
- The severity of trial action will depend upon the evidence gathered by the WHS consultant during the investigation of the company premises and workforce.
- If the employees do not adhere to WHS laws, then the prosecution would be perceived as counter-productive (“National occupational”, 2008).
- Penalties for non-compliance will be based on the risk rating of aforementioned hazards. For example, for the hazards rated “very high”, the non-compliance by the company personnel will result into charging them with heavy fines and 1-5 years of imprisonment.
“Legislative compliance”. (2014). Workplace safety and prevention services. [Online] Available at: http://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Topics/Legislative-Compliance.aspx [Accessed 10 August 2014]
“National occupational health and safety (OHS) compliance and enforcement policy”. (2008). Working across borders. [Online] December 10. Vol. 10. Pp. 1-13. Available at: http://www.hwsa.org.au/files/documents/Compliance_and_Enforcement_policy.pdf [Accessed 10 August 2014]
“Noise at work”. (2014). International labor organization. [Online] Available at: http://actrav.itcilo.org/actrav-english/telearn/osh/noise/noiseat.htm#IV. Methods of noise control [Accessed 10 August 2014]
“Understanding the hazards and threats”. (n.d.). [Online] pp. 38-48. Available at: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/wsp170805chap5.pdf [Accessed 10 August 2014]
“WHS auditing guidelines”. (2013). University of Wollongong. [Online] January. Pp. 1-10. Available at: http://staff.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@ohs/documents/doc/uow055471.pdf [Accessed 10 August 2014]