Water Online

MAR 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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Hazard Prevention And Control The prevention and control of hazards protects the worker from injury and illness and also gives employees a clear sign that the utility cares about their well-being. Elimination of hazards is the best way to avoid an organizational loss. However, that may not be possible in all situations. Therefore, hazard control is appropriate for some hazards that are still present when workers are performing their daily tasks. Although some utilities are substituting highly hazardous chemicals, such as liquid chlorine for chlorine gas, it is mostly because they are trying to avoid the risk management program regulated by the U.S. EPA and not primarily for worker safety. The hierarchy of hazard controls after elimination and substitution includes: 1. Engineering (physical barrier device, such as a machine guard) 2. Administrative (work rule, such as work rotation) 3. Personal Protective Equipment (protection worn by workers as a barrier to hazards, such as a hard hat). Tips for implementing hazard prevention and controls are as follows: • Identify what controls are available for each type of hazard • Select the proper controls by doing a detailed hazard assessment • Develop, maintain, and update a hazard control plan • Select controls that are applicable for all aspects of the organization and conditions • Implement the selected hazard controls with a priority on elimination and substitution of hazards • Follow up on all hazard controls for each task to make sure they are protective enough. Education And Training Education and training can be thought of as a tool that binds each step together to keep the efforts cohesive. Some utilities have relied on safety training from organizations or even videotapes with outdated material. The role of education and training must be a factor in developing both management and workers to create the overall safety culture. General workers should have safety awareness training with regular operations or maintenance training. However, if they work in a specialized area that exposes them to unique hazards, then training must be applicable to that hazard. Effective training can be done peer-to-peer, in formal classrooms, online, or at the worksite. Some action items suggested by OSHA are: • Provide program awareness training • Train employers, managers, supervisors on their individual safety roles • Train workers on their specific role in the safety program • Train workers on hazard identification and controls. 5 Program Evaluation And Improvement Every program in an organization must be vetted and improved in order to stay viable and productive; safety programs are no different. This effort of program evaluation must be made in a given interval and by a competent group. If there are deficiencies found in a program, then the corrections must be made in a systematic way by high-risk issues being fixed first and lower-risk areas last. Risk can be calculated as Probability x Severity = Risk. The probability of a loss event occurring can be broken down into five categories: 1. Improbable 2. Unlikely 3. Probable 4. Likely 5. Frequent. Severity speaks of the consequence of a loss event when it does occur: 1. Minor 2. Marginal 3. Serious 4. Catastrophic. If your risk assessment tells you that a task is a P4 x S3 = R12, then it should get your attention over an R3 item. Program evaluation and improvement must include the following areas: • Monitoring performance and progress • Verifying the program is implemented and is operating • Correct program shortcomings and identify opportunities to improve. 6 Communication And Coordination For Host Employers, Contractors, And Staffing Agencies The utility must take responsibility for all workers, including contract and staffing agency workers. Many utilities are not under the jurisdiction of federal OSHA or even a state OSHA, but the contract companies are under an occupational safety agency that will regulate and cite them for violations. However, local government officials have a moral obligation to make sure that workers of all types that do business with them are protected from hazards. To keep the workers safe, the utility should: • Communicate with all outside contractors the importance of worker safety • Coordinate with supervisors, owners, and workers throughout the project to make sure the worksite is safe • Hold all workers and agencies accountable for operating a safe worksite • Verify that the bids and contracts specify that safe work practices are a must for working with the municipality. A safety culture will protect the worker from injury and illness because the utility places a value on the lives of the workers. This is a deposit into the "goodwill" bank of the worker and will be rewarded with loyalty. A deep commitment to a safety culture will lead to worker retention and organizational benefits far beyond regulatory compliance. n References: 1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor (https:// www.bls.gov/ooh/production/water-and-wastewater-treatment-plant-and-system- operators.htm#tab-6) 2 BLS, North American Industry Classification System, NAICS code 221300 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_221300.htm) 3 BLS (https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/ostb4732.pdf ) 4 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (https://www.osha.gov/ shpguidelines/docs/OSHA_SHP_Recommended_Practices.pdf ) 5 OSHA (https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/education-training.html) 6 OSHA (https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/program-evaluation.html) wateronline.com n Water Innovations 31 LABOR Sheldon Primus is a certified occupational safety specialist with a masters of public administration with a concentration in environ- mental policy. He is part of the first class of six operators to receive the Professional Operator (PO) designation from the Certification Commission for Environmental Professionals (C2EP) of the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC). Additionally, he is a trainer for the Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) program of the Alliance Safety Council-Baton Rouge, LA. Sheldon is owner/CEO of Utility Compliance Inc., its subsidiary OSHA Compliance Help, and the online water/wastewater/safety training school Primus Institute. E-mail: sheldon@utilitycompliance.com or sheldon@oshacom- pliancehelp.com. About The Author

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