Importance of Training to survive emergency situations

Although the number of incidents occurring on construction sites where workers are injured or killed is declining according to work authority statistics, it is still important to ensure safety is a priority so that these good safety records are maintained. Sadly many people tend to become complacent with safety the more familiar they are with it, this is when accidents happen because people let down their guards.

The first thing employers should ensure is that all workers, whether contract workers, temporary, experienced or apprentice workers, are properly trained to handle the many hazards presented by construction work. According to Australian legislation this involves completing the white card course (visit our homepage for more on the online course).

Often on a construction site workers are injured or cause injury to others because they are taken by surprise. If workers are adequately trained on safety and remain alert at all times, the risk of incidents is lowered.  Unfortunately accidents do still happen and workers need to be able to respond appropriately in an emergency situation. Workers must be prepared to handle these situations to avoid injuries and possible fatalities.

Panic is the enemy when it comes to accidents on a construction site however there is little we can do to stop human nature, other than ensure that workers are prepared and in order to that they need to be trained. When an accident or some other emergency occurs workers don’t have much time to make decisions – that is why they need to be trained so that they are aware of what to do should something go wrong.

When events such as fires, explosions, structural collapses and falls etc. take place, fast action is needed to prevent further injury and assist workers that may be already injured. Workers need to be trained on the appropriate response because time to assess the situation is limited and workers need to instinctively know what to do.

Workers need to stay calm, raise the alarm and get help by alerting supervisors, first aid officers or health and safety reps as to the situation.

Employers need to remember that they have a responsibility to implement emergency response plans, keeping in mind all stages of the construction project. It is also important to consider the availability of emergency services. Every scenario should be taken into consideration and a strategy should be developed to control whatever the emergency situation may be. Some of the possible situations that need to considered are vehicle and machinery rollovers, excavation collapses, cranes making contact with over-head power lines etc, the list is very long.

Employers must however remember that having the best safety plan in place is not good enough to overcome incidents, workers need to be made aware of these plans through adequate training. Emergency procedures should be regularly reviewed and assessed to determine whether they remain sufficient or whether they should altered depending on the stage of construction and the processes taking place.

 

Danger of Working Alone on Site

The risk of injury for people working in solitary may be increased because of the difficulty contacting emergency services and following other emergency procedures when they are required to do so.

Emergency situations often arise because of the sudden onset of a medical condition, accidental work-related injury, disease or exposure to the elements. The incidents caused can be very serious and even fatal for workers who are separated from others or working alone. These workers are on their own, therefore they cannot be heard or seen when an emergency arises.

A safe system of work needs to be developed for people who work alone. Employers have a duty to conduct a risk assessment and have a means of communication available for emergency situations.

Employers need to firstly identify hazards that may affect the person working alone and assess the risks of injury from the hazard by considering the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the worst case scenario if it does occur.

Implementing control measures to minimise the risks would be the next step and these control measures need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

The person who will be working alone must be trained and instructed on working alone and the procedures to follow as these will differ from ordinary workers who work in a group.

By abiding by the rules of the site and safe work best practice workers that work in Solitary environments can do so confidently without the fear of associated with working alone.

 

 

White Card Update : Caution When Working Alone

A tip truck driver died after being crushed between the cabin of his truck and a tree whilst preparing for the day’s operations.  He was working alone at the time in an isolated area. This is just one of the incidents involving workers who were injured whilst working alone, highlighting the dangers that solitary work poses. These dangers need to be identified and workers need to remember certain work health and safety procedures in order to avoid being injured or killed in an incident.

The risk of injury for people working in solitary may be increased because of difficulty contacting emergency services and following other emergency procedures when they are required to do so.

Emergency situations may arise because of the sudden onset of a medical condition, accidental work-related injury or disease or exposure to the elements. The harm caused can be very serious and may result in a fatality for workers who are separated or working alone. These workers are on their own, therefore they cannot be heard or seen when an emergency arises.

Picture: presecurity.com.au

A safe system of work needs to be developed for people who work alone. Employers have a duty to conduct a risk assessment and have a means of communication available for emergency situations.

Employers need to firstly identify hazards that may affect the person working alone and assess the risks of injury from the hazard by considering the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the worst case scenario if it does occur.

Implementing control measures to minimise the risks would be the next step and these control measures need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

The person who will be working alone must be trained and instructed on working alone and the procedures to follow as these will differ from ordinary workers who work in a group.

Workers who work alone have a responsibility to comply with workplace health and safety regulations.

Workers should report hazards and any incidents that may have occurred to their employer. Employers can then develop systems to reduce this hazard.

Even self-employed people have to take care of their own safety when they work alone.

Employers must ensure that in the event of an emergency a means of communication is available.

The person working alone must be trained to carry out work activities safely without supervision, manage events that occur when working alone and follow procedures to obtain emergency assistance if required. If working in a remote location without the proper infrastructure and support the person working alone must be able to do so safely.

Picture: bpgroup.com.au

Factors that need to be considered when compiling the safety procedures are the amount of time spent working alone, communication, location and nature of the work.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment, information, instruction and training, supervision, personal protective equipment and safe plant and machinery for employees working alone. Employers need to also determine if it is really necessary for the worker to work alone. Some activities may be too dangerous to carry out alone or without assistance or supervision.

The information, training and instruction provided by the employer must specifically address working alone and procedures the worker should follow in an emergency.  Employers should also educate the worker on procedures and use of emergency communication devices.

Procedures need to be put in place in the event of fires, need for first aid or exposure to hazardous material for the worker and be specific to the workers unique situation.

Because of the nature of the work, direct supervision would not be possible but a form of indirect supervision should be employed.

Employers should be satisfied that workers have the necessary skills and capability to work independently before allowing them to do so. Young, new or apprentice workers are particularly vulnerable on site, so employers should be careful to avoid making them work alone.

Workers have a legal obligation to comply with safety instructions as directed by their employers.

Personal security systems should also feature in work-sites where people work alone. These wireless, portable devices carry a signal from the workers transmitter to a transcribe at the companies receiver at a central location. Some advanced devices have non-motion sensor that will alert the head office if there is no movement for an amount of time, indicating a possible emergency.

Workers need to remain especially alert and vigilant when working alone as the dangers are just as real, and they don’t have the same support and assistance as other workers.

Posted by Steven Asnicar.