Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Process safety is the focus of WorkSafeBC’s new initiative to prevent low-frequency, high-consequence events like catastrophic fires, explosions and chemical releases.
The initiative, launched early this year, focuses on sectors that include chemical manufacturing and processing, oil and gas and wood products manufacturing, according to a WorkSafeBC statement released on October 25, 2018. By identifying hazards and implementing critical controls to mitigate harm, process safety seeks to prevent the release of hazardous substances that could lead to catastrophic consequences.
The multi-disciplinary WorkSafeBC team comprises prevention officers and managers, engineers, risk analysts and human factors specialists. The team inspected at least 50 employers across the province of the first year of the initiative.
“We are looking at the types of hazards and the risks they pose that are specific to each employer, and how they are managing and controlling those risks,” says Gordon Harkness, manager of risk-analysis unit. “We want employers to manage the risks that are created through their process.”
In addition to process-safety inspections, to information sessions for employers were held this year in Prince George and Richmond. A third session was scheduled to take place in November in Richmond. “We see process safety as the next logical step in the journey that we’ve been working on with health and safety in the province,” says Budd Phillips, manager of prevention field services.
I see this to be an issue where process, or the control thereof, is of paramount importance. The world sees process control since the early 70s and 80s manufacturing controls and it looks like the government of BC through the WorkSafeBC units are taking control of that part of the employer’s process and responsibility as well.
Every aspect of the business must have written work procedures and controls in place after a hazard analysis is been completed. The recognition of hazards is always the first step, the assessment of the hazard recognition must be completed next so that proper hazard controls can be implemented. The “Hierarchy of Hazard Controls” looks like this:
- Engineering Controls,
- Administrative Controls, and
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The top of the list is the safest and most preferable BUT is not always achievable. A good employer will control the hazard long before the need of PPE.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
– Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.