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Hazardous Materials Management, Essay Example

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Essay

Introduction

Risk assessment is a component of risk management.  Risk management is the identification, measurement and economic control of risk that threaten assets or earnings of an organization or home.  In order to decide the most appropriate way to control risks, it is necessary to undertake risk assessments to identify the hazard, evaluate the risk and implement measures to eliminate or control the risk (Glenn, D.D. 2011).  To evaluate the risk, it is necessary to establish the severity or consequence of the hazard, the likelihood of it occurring and the frequency (or probability) of exposure.  The basic formula is: Risk Evaluation (or Measurement) = Frequency (or Probability) x Severity.  People are exposed to hazardous materials at work and at home on a daily basis and these agents  cause a high proportion of injuries, illness and economic loss, especially when combined with other factors such as confined spaces.  Not every risk can be foreseen but experience has provided plenty of opportunities to be forewarned of the effects of certain hazardous actions and behaviours.  The following three risk assessments are examples. (York Municipal Authority, 2012)

Risk assessment #1

Job Title:

Cleaning the bathroom

Job Location:

Home

Analyst:

John Doe

Date:

November 7th, 2012

Task #:

1

Task Description:

Using bleach and other chemicals to clean the toilet etc.

Hazard Type:

Incorrect use of hazardous materials; confined space

Hazard Description:

Using bleach or cleaning products containing bleach, in combination with other cleaning materials containing different chemicals, can cause a chemical reaction leading to noxious gases.  The gases will be inhaled by the person in the bathroom and the gases might also cross the mucous membrane of the eye and cause temporary or permanent blindness. The person will be deprived of oxygen and unable to exit the bathroom before being overcome.

Consequence:

Medium / High – illness or permanent injury

Hazard Controls:

Risk elimination: use of non-chemical cleaning materials;

Training/Information: draw attention to users to warning labels on cleaning substances stating not to combine materials, use in ventilated room/space;

Personal protective equipment:  users should wear gloves, masks and goggles.

Rationale or Comment:

Anyone attempting to rescue the person would have difficulty entering the confined space if the door was obstructed and, if they were able to enter the room, might also be exposed to and affected by the gases.

Risk assessment #2

Job Title:

Gas storage

Job Location:

Shop / Garage

Analyst:

John Doe

Date:

November 9th, 2012

Task #:

2

Task Description:

Storage of gasoline in a metal container in a shop/vehicle repair facility

Hazard Type:

Incorrect storage or hazardous material; lack of monitoring

Hazard Description:

Storage of a flammable material (gasoline) in metal container in an environment where welding and other hot operations take place.  Lack of monitoring of the metal container has failed to show to the workers in the shop that the container has corroded and is leaking gas in liquid and gaseous form into the atmosphere and across the floor.  High risk of exposure to fumes, and potential explosion caused by sparks from hot work.

Consequence:

High – serious injury or death + severe property/economic damage

Hazard Controls:

Enclosure/segmentation: store gasoline away from hot work and in plastic or other non-corrosive container;

Reduce exposure: ensure adequate ventilation;

Monitoring: workers to check all containers periodically for leaks etc. and immediately clean up any spills;

Training/information: ensure training of existing and new workers, especially if young or inexperienced.

Rationale or Comment:

Owners of many older vehicle shops are likely to be less aware of hazards and safety management systems.

Risk assessment #3

Job Title:

Paint stripping

Job Location:

Home

Analyst:

John Doe

Date:

November 11th, 2012

Task #:

3

Task Description:

Use of paint stripper to remove old paint from wood mouldings.

Hazard Type:

Exposure to hazardous materials

Hazard Description:

Removal of old paint containing lead using ‘hot’ paint stripper causing exposure to lead fumes.

Consequence:

Medium/High – risk of severe injury or illness

Hazard Controls:

Elimination:  hire professional decorator to carry out the work, or remove hazard by replacing old painted wood with new moulding;

Reduce exposure:  provide high velocity extraction / ventilation;

Personal protective equipment:  use high quality masks, goggles and gloves during paint removal, clean up and disposal.

Rationale or Comment:

Modern paint manufacture no longer uses lead as a component of the product.

 Conclusion

The risk of injury or worse is present in all aspects of our lives and the importance of identifying hazards, levels of exposures and consequences of exposure cannot be understated.  However, human behaviour and attitudes to risk are major factors in how much importance people place on assessing risks, as demonstrated by the continuing high levels of illness or injury in certain sectors such as the construction industry.

References

Glenn, D. D. (2011, March). Job Safety Analysis – Its Role Today. Professional Safety, pp. 48-57. Retrieved from http://www.asse.org/education/seminarfest13/docs/PSJ%20Articles/Sem%2027/Job%20safety%20analysis_Glenn_0311Z.pdf

York Municipal Authority. (2012, 11 17). What is Household Hazardous Waste? Retrieved from York Region: http://www.york.ca/services/garbage+and+recycling/household+hazardous+waste.htm

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