68 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

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1 3 68 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

2 section 3 high-risk 3 activities Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 69

3 section 3 high risk activities 3.1 working at heights Falls from heights have been identified as a major hazard on industrial and construction worksites and there have been many workers killed or seriously injured by falls in New Zealand. Someone will be at risk of a fall when: they slip or trip ladders are poor quality, badly maintained or used incorrectly openings or holes are not identified and properly covered or guarded edges of work areas are not protected they are struck by a moving or falling object scaffolding is poorly constructed they work at height without a harness and restraint they are working on top of large machinery, vehicles or plant This section covers working at levels other than the floor level of the area from which you are working. It covers the potential for falls from low levels of only a metre or less to work being carried out many metres above the ground. It also covers the risk of a fall while working in silos, tanks or excavations. the law: The myth about the 3 Metre Rule It is often mistakenly believed that steps only need to be taken to prevent a fall of 3 metres or more. This is wrong and ignores the fact that many people have been seriously injured or killed when falling less than 3 metres. Whenever work is being carried out above ground level there must be steps taken to reduce the risk of a fall. Regulation 21* reinforces the need for even greater care when workers are exposed to the dangers of falling 3 metres or more. *Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 Regulation Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

4 There is a range of hazards when dealing with work above ground level. The two main categories are: 1. Falls. 2. Falling objects. falls Trips and falls can occur in a wide range of situations. You can be seriously injured whether you trip or fall at ground level or fall from a greater height, so all types of fall hazards must be taken seriously. action points The first thing you should do is try to REMOVE the risk of fall. If (and only if) this is not practicably possible then you should take other actions that reduce the risk of fall, or prevent injury. 3 Wherever you can - REMOVE the risk of fall! If you cannot remove the hazard, here are some ways to reduce the risk of falls. Physical barriers Install edge protection such as kick boards (toe board) hand rails (1m high) mid rails. Install and secure covers over holes. Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 71

5 section 3 high risk activities action points Access equipment Access equipment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ladders, scaffolding, scissor lifts, cherry pickers and other types of elevated platforms are all different types of access equipment. People can fall from any of this equipment. Elevating work platforms Devices and equipment used for fall prevention or protection are specialised. People MUST be trained how to wear, attach and use it before they start work at height! Cherry pickers, scissor hoists and other power-operated working platforms can be used to help workers safely operate and work at height. They are specialist equipment and their design, maintenance and use are covered by the Approved Code of Practice for Power-Operated Elevating Work Platforms. It is essential that the right type of machine is used for the job and that the operator is fully trained. When using an elevating work platform: make sure that the machine has been tested and certified safe within the last six months check that all controls are clearly marked to show their function words on the signs must be in English set the machine up on level ground and make sure that outriggers (stabilisers) are correctly positioned check that the machine and the operator will be at least 4 metres away from power lines make sure the machine won t be overloaded as a guide, an average person plus light tools will weigh roughly 100kg make sure the operator in the bucket is wearing a safety harness with a lanyard attached to a certified anchor. The lanyard should be short enough to stop the person from falling or being thrown out of the bucket as a guide mm. 72 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

6 action points 3 Scaffolding Building scaffolding is a complicated job and it must be done in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice for Safe Erection and Use of Scaffolding. Any scaffolding over 5 metres must be built and maintained by a certified scaffolder or registered engineer and notified to the Department of Labour (DOL). The scaffolding: must be fitted with toe board, mid rails and hand rails must built on a firm and level foundation must be secured to a permanent structure (building) where possible must have all platforms and ladders secured can only be modified or removed by a qualified person. Ladders Ladders should only be used to access a work area and not as a work platform. To ensure a ladder is safe: check that it is in good condition, and that it is the right type of ladder for the task make sure it is on a level, non-slip surface. If you use blocks to prop up one leg, these should be a good size and secure place the ladder so that it is at a slope of around 1 metre horizontal to 4 metres vertical Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 73

7 section 3 high risk activities action points tie the ladder at the top so it can t move make sure the ladder extends above where it is rested use bracing rods on stepladders. make sure you maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Don t go beyond the second step from the top on a stepladder. 74 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

8 action points 3 Personal fall prevention Restraint devices harnesses and lines stop people from reaching the edge. these must be used only when all safer options have been excluded. they are not a cheap or easy option. Fall arrest systems A harness system will not stop people from falling but it will stop them hitting the ground if it is used properly. The person may still be injured and there are potentially deadly risks from suspension trauma if they are not rescued quickly after falling. Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 75

9 section 3 high risk activities There are some critical points to note to ensure restraint devices and fall arrest systems are safe and effective. Make sure the person setting up any fall arrest system has had specialised training. There must be an Emergency Rescue Plan detailing how the person will be recovered and how (and by whom) assistance will be given. Never work alone while using a fall arrest system! A second person must be on hand to rescue the worker quickly if they fall into the harness brain damage or death can occur in under 10 minutes. falling objects People working underneath a high work area (e.g. a platform or scaffolding) can be injured if objects are dropped or blown onto them. action points When you are working above other people: cordon off the area make sure people working in the vicinity below you are wearing a hard hat. Note that this is an added precaution and must not be the only action taken carry tools in pouches or belts rather than in bags attach lanyards to tools while using them make sure there are no gaps in the work platform, or fit mesh or netting underneath the platform keep as few tools on the work platform as possible put mesh above the toe board to stop items bouncing or blowing off the raised platform. 76 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

10 ! Employers need to: employer s responsibilities: ensure you make every effort to remove the risk of fall before considering using other fall prevention methods make sure your workers are trained in the use of working at height equipment have the correct equipment and ensure it is in date and kept in excellent condition develop procedures for workers and contractors for working at heights check that there are no local authority rules or specific site rules that cover the fall prevention methods to be used 3 Further information: more information: Guidelines for the Prevention of Falls available from AS/NZS Standards there are a number of Standards applying to ladders, scaffolding, working platforms and fall prevention equipment. These are listed in the Guidelines for the Prevention of Falls available from Refer to the Safeguard Buyers Guide for training providers Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 77

11 section 3 high risk activities the law: Legal requirements: Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 (Regulation 21) available from Approved Code of Practice for the Safe Erection and Use of Scaffolding available from Power-Operated Elevating Work Platforms (Approved Code of Practice) available from 3.2 Confined spaces It s estimated that working in a confined space is 150 times more dangerous than doing the same job outside multiple deaths in confined spaces are not uncommon! Confined spaces are areas that humans do not normally work in or occupy. They include areas where there is restricted air circulation, polluted air or limited means of escape. They also include (but are not limited to): tanks or vats tunnels or ducts silos or bins furnaces or ovens closed or unventilated rooms or spaces areas containing grains, powders or dust that could trap someone and suffocate them. ALWAYS assess and control the hazards before working in a confined space! 78 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

12 hazards 3 There is often poor air circulation - so hazardous (toxic) substances build up in the air. Often work being done outside the confined space by other people can create additional hazards for people in a confined space. Some jobs cause their own hazards which are even more dangerous in confined spaces e.g.: painting = toxic paint fumes cleaning = chemical fumes welding = oxygen depletion or explosion grinding = explosion. Special care needs to be taken if you need to do hot work or work that will produce vapours in a confined space (e.g. painting, cleaning, grinding or welding) because: there may be a low oxygen supply, making it hard to breathe it is difficult to move around in a confined space, and you can t move fast there is often only one exit point, so you can t get out in a hurry. toxic gases can be trapped in the bottom of the space or in a congested corner. You may not realise you are exposed to them until you are well into the space. By then it is too late, the gases overcome you before you can escape there may be flammable gases or vapours that ignite, causing an explosion or fire vapours will not disperse as easily as they would in an open environment. Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 79

13 section 3 high risk activities Levels for exposure It may be impossible to remove all traces of toxic or flammable vapour from a confined space. In these cases there are levels that are acceptable for safe entry and the space must be tested before work begins. Testing must be done by a person who is familiar with the acceptable levels, testing criteria and the equipment being used. Some times the local fire brigade can assist with this but there are also certified testing organisations which are likely to be in your local Yellow Pages. Testing must determine if: there is an acceptable level of oxygen through the space there is minimal toxic vapour in the space there is minimal flammable vapour in the space. It is important to realise that some gases are lighter than air while others are heavier than air. Therefore it is important that all areas of the confined space are checked. The levels can change with changes in air flow and temperature, so the space should be retested regularly if work is over an extended period. Ventilation into and out of the confined space must be maintained throughout the period of work. 80 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

14 action points Everyone involved MUST be trained to do the work and trained in working in a confined space. 3 A full risk assessment must be carried out before anything else is done. This must take account of the type of work being done, other hazards in the area, communication and emergency procedures. Make sure you know the rules for where you are working. Remember that procedures will vary among worksites. Use a work/entry permit system. These systems ensure the people in charge of the site know when and where you are entering the space. The entry permit system: identifies the hazards in the space sets out emergency response options explains acceptable entry conditions covers communication procedures specifies protective equipment required identifies additional permits required (such as hot work). Make sure that the space is well ventilated. Check that the furthest extremes are also well ventilated. Tank ventilation You can ventilate a tank by setting up ventilation fans, as shown in this diagram. Here are some key points to remember. The fans should draw their air as close to fresh air as possible. The fresh air should be drawn from as far away as possible from where the bad air will be expelled. Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 81

15 section 3 high risk activities action points The fresh air should be drawn from as far away as possible from where the bad air will be expelled. Supply air should be delivered to the furthest parts of the space. Make sure the air in the space is healthy. To do this a trained person must test the air using an atmospheric tester. Check the written results of the test before you enter the space. Always work with a companion who stays outside the space and acts as a safety watch member. The safety person must remain in constant verbal communication with the person working inside. The safety person must never enter the tank without a relief. The safety person must never attempt to rescue a person inside a tank without proper respiratory equipment and their own safety person. Assess the hazards and determine if you need breathing apparatus (rather than a respiratory mask/device). If you need breathing apparatus to do the job you MUST seek professional advice before proceeding further. 82 Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work

16 ! employer s responsibilities: Employers need to: put written procedures in place for entering confined spaces, and audit these to ensure they are being followed make sure you have an entry permit system in place and your workers and contractors are trained and aware of it and their responsibilities train your people! All people that have to work in a confined space must be trained in working in a confined space! 3 Workers need to: worker s responsibilities: STOP and CHECK if you are entering a confined space and are not absolutely sure all the safety checks have been carried out you must not enter the tank. Contact your employer or supervisor to confirm these are completed correctly. Further information: more information: AS/NZS 2865 Safe Working in a Confined Space. Safe Working in a Confined Space available from Refer to the Safeguard Buyers Guide for training providers Metal Industry Guidelines for Safe Work 83

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