Posted on: July 27, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Transport, mobile equipment, and manual handling incidents continue to cause injuries and losses, with reportable incident rates static, and stuck at around 0.5.

‘Impact and contact’ incidents remain prevalent in all sectors. Process industries, mining, manufacturing and logistics are no exceptions.

Many recordable incidents point to a lack of training in basic, general handling and machine operating skills. Some incidents reveal complancency due to familiarity, or negligence due to rushing, or vehicle control design allowing unsafe procedure.

Incidents trends and details are discussed in confidential information forums.

Reportable incident rates, calculated by the standard formula against work hours, have remained static around 0.5 for some years. Some process engineers and SHEQ practitioners remember when the rate hovered around 2, then around 1, but the level of 0.5 is proving difficult to lower.

Some SHEQ managers believe that the next level of safety performance would be achieved only by changing corporate and industrial culture, on a collective level, towards a culture of care and brother’s keepers, while some are asking consultants and academic advisors for help in achieving the desired step change.

Despite the general loss incident rate among leading employers, including ‘blue chip’ companies, there was no guarantee that the rate would remain at 0.5. Sporadic incidents could cause multiple fatalities.

Sporadic incidents remained a feature at employers and work sites with otherwise exemplary and acceptable incident rates, and is sometimes linked to complacency and a lack of interventions.

Some mines, manufacturers, and process engineers report their incidents on a unanimous basis. Some recent incidents at various employers are reported below.

Proto members killed

Five proto team members were killed 2000m underground when investigating a fire. Investigators used forensic methods to determine the causes of the fire, to report to the investigation.

Blast near workers

In two incidents in May, a fatality resulted from a mining face blast near workers underground.

Driver run over by vehicle

A mine worker dismounted an underground vehicle, left the engine idling, omitted hand braking, omitted wheel chocking, and grabbed onto the vehicle when it started moving. The vehicle ran him over and pinned him against a face in a shallow pool of water, with centimeters of breathing space. He was rescued from under the 5 ton vehicle and treated for serious injuries.

Speeding despite recorder

An transport vehicle ran out of control during speeding, with hazardous cargo on board. Tachometer readings revealed speeding and the driver was disciplined. In related incidents, security officials were found speeding and damaging vehicles in incidents.

Loading bay rush

A warehouse worker was injured while loading additional goods onto a lift, after starting the lift. The button is at some distance from the lift to prevent injury, but the worker was found to have started the lift, then rushed back to load more goods on during operation.

Ammonia burn

An ammonia tank safety valve broke, blowing off ammonia, burning the thigh of a worker attempting to close the valve. The act was unsafe, and the worker did not apply the required personal protective equipment (PPE) required for emergency incident response.

Blade knife cut

A warehouse worker cut his arm with a blade knife when opening a box, due to the packaging slipping under the grip of his left hand.

Contract dermatitis

Ammonium nitrate emulsion contact caused contact dermatitis in a worker that habitually abandoned personal protective clothing (PPE) during detailed work, and habitually avoided regular washing between jobs. The employer responded with renewed awareness, training, auditing, barrier creams, and warnings that negligence would not be tolerated nor compensated.

GRAPH; Several industries and operators report erratic incident rates, hovering around 0.5. Transport, mobile equipment and handling remain leading causes of loss in several industries.

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