Education, education, education

The phrase 'industrial environmental monitoring' conjures up two main images; one of industrial plant emissions that may affect the external environment, and one which highlights the need for internal monitoring to ensure the health and safety of employees. Mark Burrup, Draeger Ltd, examines the need for training to meet current legislation.

Risk assessment training to meet legislative targets brings both employees and employers up-to-date with important health and safety issues, and ensures those targets are met

Risk assessment training to meet legislative targets brings both employees and employers up-to-date with important health and safety issues, and ensures those targets are met

Many industrial gases are toxic, can cause oxygen deficiency or carry the risk of explosion and, as a result, can prove to be lethal. Typical applications where monitoring may be required for one or both of these risks can be found in, amongst others, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (CoSHH) Regulations and the HSE Fire in the Workplace 1997 regulations.

CoSHH clearly states that the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health must be prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled. Identification of the potential exposure requires employers to prepare a list of all chemical agents that may be present in the workplace. This should include byproducts as well as impurities and limit values. Training courses help employees to understand how the use of appropriate gas detection, respiratory protection and fire safety equipment fits into the equation and how, as a result, the legislation can be met.

Specific objectives
Outlining a practical approach to legislative requirements, the CoSHH course has a number of specific objectives, not least of which is to ensure that participants understand their basic obligations under CoSHH. Defining what is meant by a hazardous substance in the workplace and explaining the meaning of the terms toxic, harmful, corrosive, irritant and carcinogenic, the course takes delegates through the differences between Maximum Exposure Limits (MEL) and Occupational Exposure Standard (OES)

The identification and recording of hazardous substances within the workplace is demonstrated together with how to carry out a CoSHH Risk Assessment and deciding what action needs to be taken. The importance of documentation and the recognition of one's own limitations are also highlighted along with the need to know where and from whom advice should be sought.

Prompt action can stop a fire in its tracks and, in addition to explaining HSE legislation at work, the Fire Safety Training course looks at the theory of combustion and explains which initial actions should be taken in the event of a fire. What to do in the event of an alarm is also discussed together with how to request assistance, behaviour in the face of fire, fire spread, and methods of extinction, including the elements of a fire extinguisher, how and when to use a fire blanket, and the correct use of fire signs.

Correct assessment is essential and the Risk Assessment in Practice course states the requirements of Regulations 3 (MHSW Regs) with regard to risk assessment, and then goes on to define hazard and risk. How to identify hazards that could result in harm is explained and an effective procedure for carrying out risk assessment is described.

The use of breathing apparatus will be required in certain applications such as those where the atmosphere may be toxic or oxygen deficient. The Breathing Apparatus Wearer Instructor course includes instructional techniques and describes the merits of relevant equipment including pneumatic systems. Focussing on the assembly, inspection, donning and testing of breathing apparatus, the course also looks at cleaning issues as well as both individual and group instruction on the wearing of the apparatus.

The need for such training can be clearly illustrated by considering just one element of health and safety; gas detection. Different applications lend themselves to different types of monitoring equipment and, unless the legislative requirements are fully understood, industry runs the risk of choosing inappropriate equipment.


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