a) Describe a range of identifiable hazards associated with deep excavations and scaffolding when working from heights. Explain who may be at risk from these potential hazards?
A hazard is an existing, new or potential situation or event that could result in injury or harm to the workforce. In an effort to minimise and make aware these hazards, they first must be identified and assessed before work can be carried out. This normally involves sum part of the workforce generally working through a potential site listing hazards and the potential of the hazard occurring, ensuring correct safety measurements are implemented and but in place to reduce the hazard occurring. Some of the hazards they may come across are listed below:
Falls from heights
Precautions must be taken where a person can fall a distance of more than 2m. If there is an increased risk of injury when falling a distance of less than 2m, eg working near a traffic route or above a dangerous surface, then suitable precautions will also be required.
There are four ways of preventing falls of people:
- edge protection, eg toe boards, guard rails;
- safety harnesses;
- maintaining a safe distance from an edge;
- Safety nets.
To prevent objects falling onto people you need a proper management system which involves, providing barriers, eg toe boards or mesh guards to prevent items from slipping or being knocked off the edge of a structure;
- Secures objects to the structure, eg lashing of scaffold boards;
- Ensures that there are no loose objects and that any tools are properly secured;
- Creates an exclusion zone, where necessary, beneath areas where work is taking place.
In addition, when people are working at heights above other work areas, it is advisable to provide safety helmets to protect the workers below against falling objects. Danger areas can be clearly marked with suitable safety signs indicating that access is restricted to essential personnel wearing hard hats while this work is in progress.
b) Review and evaluate the main principle features of a risk assessment for these situations and determine the main differences between risks and hazards
The main difference between risks and hazards are listed below:
A hazard is an object or a situation that may cause harm, a hazard exists where an object or situation has a built-in ability to cause damage or harm. Such hazards include uneven pavements, unguarded machinery, an icy road, an explosion and a sudden escape of toxic fumes.
Exposure is the extent at which the likely person is exposed to or influenced by a particular hazard. For example the presence of a potential target in the area and its distance from the hazard will determine the extent of the risk. For instance, a fire or explosion may cause damage to nearby buildings and their contents, or to vehicles and equipment, but will not harm people if there are no people present at the time.
Risk is the chance that harm will actually occur as mentioned, a hazard exists where an object, substance or situation has a built in ability to cause an damage to someone. Therefore a risk is the chance that such effects will occur, depending on the amount of damage or probability will determine whether the risk can be high or negligible.
Risks are not just around us at work they are around our every day lives, such as getting in your car to drive to the shops is a risk, as you may crash your car on the way causing serious injury or death, but the likely hood of this occurring is very small, therefore a low risk. We all carry out risk assessments constantly, in one form or another, whether consciously or subconsciously. When deciding whether to cross the road, whether to eat healthily, and how to care for the family, we make judgements about the hazards involved, and assess the risks before taking action. Just as there are risks in our every day lives, so there are risks in activities that companies carry out, and in products they make. Although you might not even think of the risks in our daily lives at work however relevant precautions must be takes in to account when you are working often in the form of risk assessments must be done by management team and relevant bodies, so relevant safety precautions can be implemented.
However for harm to occur there to be both the hazard and exposure to that hazard both simultaneously otherwise there is no risk. For example a chemical used on a live construction site can be seen as a hazard. As when the object is exposed people using it are exposed also. Consequently there is a risk that the chemical is spilled onto a human or animal. However when the chemical is stored in a safe place, it remains "hazardous", but here is no exposure and therefore no risk.