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.
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.
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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