Is your workplace safe?

Posted on 23 June 2008

Source: SEAISI
Has your company experienced losses from accidents incurred at your work site? And as an employee, have you seen any of your colleagues or even yourself suffered from mishaps in the workplace? It is better to learn to prevent an accident from happening rather than trying to address the problems after it has happened. In the steel industry, there are often public concerns over health risk related to steel works. The concerns are over the toxic constituents of varying chemical composition in the mill as well as noise exposure in and around an iron and steel work. Then, there are also the accidents in the work place which may lead to fatalities.

The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore recently reported that two workers in Singapore were killed in two separate industrial accidents over two working days. In the first incident, a 52-year-old factory worker was killed when steel bars weighing about two tonnes fell on him. The deceased was involved in a lifting activity. In the second accident, there was a flash fire at a factory. A Thai worker in his early 30s was found dead near a storage tank.

A more serious incident was the collapse of a tower crane in New York City as reported in The New York Times in March 2008. As a result of this accident, several buildings were destroyed and lives were lost. In fact, cranes used under safe operating conditions provide safe and reliable service to lift or move heavy loads to great heights. However, they also have an increased potential for catastrophic accidents if safe operating practices are not followed.

Nothing is more important than the safety and health of the people who work in the industrial work place. Have you reviewed your company’s safety policy to progress towards an injury-free, illness-free and healthy workplace? Can you and your employees accept that all accidents and injuries are preventable? Do your actions demonstrate that safety and health is your number-one core value and the most important policy in your company?

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower has introduced a quick guide to risk management to all industry in the country. Six generic steps of risk management process were proposed, viz. 1) preparation, 2) hazard identification, 3) risk evaluation, 4) risk control, 5) record keeping, 6) implementation and review. Above all, communication through all the process is important.

At the same time, The International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) is currently encouraging its members to review and benchmark their companies’ health and safety policy in key risk areas. It has produced and distributed a Safety and Health Guidance Book to all its members. The goal is to make the steel industry a safe place for everybody, everywhere.

Six principles have been adopted by IISI to guide its members' approach to health and safety at work. There are :-
1.    All injuries and work-related illness can and must be prevented.

2.    Management is  responsible  and  accountable for safety and health performance.

3.    Employee engagement and training is essential.

4.    Working safely is a condition of employment.

5.    Excellence in safety and health supports excellent business results.

6.    Safety and health must be integrated in all business management processes. 

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