Control Measures for Confined Space Safe Work Procedure

In previous articles on the SafeWorkPro Blog, we’ve looked at the risks and hazards of working in confined spaces. But what good is a risk if there no control measures?

Below is an extensive list taken the codes of practiceby Safe Work Australia, that outline the various control measures available to construction workers and PCBU’s involved in high risk construction workBefore conducting work in a confined space, it is strongly recommended that all duty holders consult this list, and more importantly, the relevant codes of practice.  The control measures outlined by Safe Work Australia include:

Entry permit: A PCBU must not allow or direct a worker to enter a confined space to carry out work unless the person has issued a confined space entry permit for the work. A space entry permit must be completed (in writing) by a competent person and specify:

  • specify the confined space to which the permit relates record the names of persons permitted to enter the confined space and the period of time that the work will be carried out
  • set out risk control measures based on the risk assessment, and contain space for an acknowledgement that work in the confined space has been completed and all persons have left the space.

 

Isolation: All potentially hazardous services should be isolated prior to any person entering the confined space. These services may include piping, vents, drains, conveyors, service pipes, machinery, plant, electrical equipment or fire protection equipment.

  • Physically tag, lock, close or blank hazardous service
  • Removal of valve, spool piece or expansion joint in piping that leads to confined space
  • Remove energy source to any agitator, fans or other moving parts in a confined space (if energy source cannot be removed consider choking, wedging, chaining or removing any moving parts)
  • Reduce any device with stored energy including hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, thermal or other types of energy, to a condition of zero energy

 

Atmosphere conditionsa safe atmosphere has a safe oxygen level, is free of airborne contaminants o has concentrations below their allowable exposure standard, has concentrations of flammable gas or vapour below 5% of its LEL. Control methods include:

  • Purging: use an inert gas, such as nitrogen, to clear flammable gases or vapours out of the confined space. Following purging, the space should be ventilated with sufficiently fresh air and any removed contaminants should be expelled to a location that presents no further risk. Before conducting work in the confined space, atmospheric testing should be carried out
  • Ventilation: may be necessary to establish and maintain a safe atmosphere and temperature for as long as work is conducted in the confined space
  • Natural ventilation: only if the confined space has sufficient openings and the source of fresh is not contaminated by any exhaust or other pollutants
  • Mechanical ventilation: use local exhaust ventilation (LEV) for localised contaminant generation (eg extraction of welding fumes). LEV should be monitored during operation and have controls clearly identified, tagged and protected
  • Dilution ventilation: air must be introduced in way that ensures effective circulation through the confined space with openings, contamination level and area layout put into consideration

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)if it is not reasonably practicable to ensure a safe oxygen level, remove the confined space of contaminants or when there is an unknown concentration of a hazardous substance is present, then respiratory protective equipment must be worn.

  • AS/NZS 1715: Selection, use and maintenance of RPE

 

Safety monitoring: a standby person must be assigned to the vicinity before a worker enters a confined space to continuously monitor the wellbeing of those inside the space.

  • The standby person should be aware and understand the risks inside the confined space and be able to recognise signs and symptoms of distress that workers in confined space may experience (reg 69)
  • The standby person should remain outside the confined space and do not other work that impedes their monitoring duties
  • A required rescue and safety equipment should be available to standby person
  • The standby person should have the authority to order an evacuation and never enter the space to attempt a rescue
The SafeWorkPro Blog has more information on confined spaces including how to manage the related hazards and how to define what constitutes a defined space.

What is Job Safety Analysis?

Did you know that panthers and leopards are the same animal? No jokes. Only their fur coats are different, everything else is the same. Believe it or not, job safety analysis forms are similar (minus the claws, teeth, agility and general awesomeness).

Otherwise known as a risk assessment or a job task analysis, job safety analyses (JSA for short) aim to identify hazards and implement measures that will control or at least minimise the risk involved in construction work. Job safety analysis forms come in a variety of types but all share the common traits. The below job safety analysis template comes from the Victorian WorkCover Authority and gives you an idea of correct layout.

As you can see from the above job safety analysis worksheet, there are four parts to a good JSA template.

1: Classify the tasks: along with everyone involved in the high risk construction work, write down each of the steps that make up the job.

2: Hazard and risk identification: besides each step, write down what injuries or health threats are involved.

3: Document the control measures: next to each hazard assessment, specify what control measures will be used to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury or ill health.

4: Distribute responsibility: outline who is responsible for the implementation of each control measure.

One more point that you’ll need to remember. If an incident does occur in the workplace that results in injury or ill health, your job safety analysis could very well be used in court proceedings. This means every duty holder must sign off and review the job safety analysis worksheet should safety conditions change.

So it’s all pretty similar stuff. Panther or leopard? Risk assessment or job safety analysis? Same things, different names.

Construction Safety Software: a saviour in disguise?

The internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business. Files can be instantly transferred across the world, entire encyclopaedias of information are just a click away and social media gives your target market a voice. We live in a brave new world that is both deeply interconnected and highly competitive but there is one area where recent leaps in technology are yet to touch.

Risk assessments are as much a part of high risk construction work as hard hats and steel cap boots. But whereas other industries have embraced the advantages offered by technology, safe operating procedures in Australia are still stuck in the past. Doing a risk assessment online seems like something that would have become industry standard by now, but in reality the paper-based method, although out dated and inefficient, is still the main method of handling risk and compliance in Australia. This is a problem because as OHS legislation Australia tightens and regulations intensify, the risk management process becomes far more time consuming and more costly. This is bad news for your competitiveness.

Construction risk assessment software is the solution but what it is and how it should be used properly, remains unresolved.

Until now.

Current examples of construction safety software merely provide you with a digital copy of safe work method statements and other risk assessment forms. This doesn’t do much in terms of streamlining the risk assessment process and reducing these costly drawbacks. The paperwork, even in a digital form, still needs to be completed, copied, printed, signed and stored for future compliance requests. The Risk assessment software SafeWorkPro has developed puts this entire process into one easy to use tool available on any smart phone or tablet device.

Check out how SafeWorkPro can take your construction business into the future.

The Perfect Mix: Risk Assessment Documents and Push Notifications

On a safe work site, the core ingredient will always be good communication between workers and employers. However, while almost one third of construction workers agree that conditions in their workplace stopped them from working safely, the figure reported by their employers was much lower. This gap in communication can be pinned down on two major issues; not being able to be in 101 places at once, and an inefficiency in the traditional system of paper risk assessments. In response, SafeWorkPro is bringing you much needed change for high risk construction work. We want to communicate with you how our way to resolve these issues with our epic new push notification feature!

1: Not being able to be in 101 places at once

Particularly on huge sites with numerous trades, monitoring risk assessments for any high risk assessment risk ratings can seem like a job of epic proportions. While you are likely already managing this task as fast as humanly possible, there is only so much you are physically capable of completing and you cannot be in 100 places at once. Technology is therefore the most practical solution to your efficiency problem, and no we don’t mean cloning yourself.

SafeWorkPro is bringing a much more reasonable and cost-effective answer in the form of push notifications for our mobile applications! This feature brings a whole new level of simplicity for you to the risk assessment process. Push notifications immediately display on all admin devices with the name and place of a worker who has submitted a risk asessment containing a risk rating above 15. Not only is this saving you the time and effort of individually scanning all safety documents for the warning signs of danger, but it is also improving your emergency response rates. The immediacy of the notification allows you to prioritise your duties, and attend to potential work safety emergencies as they appear.

2: Traditional methods being inefficient

Our key to solving your second dilemma lies in our computerisation of your safety documents. A major perk of this is the softwares ability to scan your workers documents for things such as a high risk assessment rating over 15. Seeing this figure would be enough to trigger your safety alarm bells, but spotting it amongst a stack of paperwork over a mile high poses a greater challenge. Allow our technology to sift through the paperwork for you!

So instead of feeling overwhelmed by safety procedures and paperwork, try turning to SafeWorkPro to improve communication of safety issues on your worksite.

What is Meant by Risk Assessment Software?

Keeping up with technological advancements in the field of hazard and risk management is tiresome and at times just too much of a hassle. But turning a blind eye to developments in the risk analysis process will come at cost to business productivity and even worker safety.

Risk assessment software is one such development and it comes in many forms with some being more useful than others.

This is all good and well but what is meant by risk assessment software? Or in other words, what is risk assessment software?

Otherwise known as construction safety software or safety compliance software, this digital tool is an alternative to the traditional, paper-based risk management process. Compliance with OHS laws and regulations is a requirement that no construction business can afford to neglect but it doesn’t need to come at the cost of productivity. This is the purpose of risk assessment software – to streamline the risk management process and reduce just how much time is spent on software-based risk assessments.

The Benefits of Software

Software like SafeWorkPro automates the risk management process through an intuitive digital form. This form organises risk assessments into a step-by-step process that can be completed within two minutes. Quicker than the paper-based method, this approach also saves previous risk assessments for future audits and allows managers to monitor their workforce’s safe operating procedures.

Successful risk assessment software basically digitalises the involved paperwork in a way that anyone, regardless of technological know-how, can use easily. Now there’s obviously a lot more too risk assessment software than that but hopefully this article gives you a basic understanding of what the technology actually is. If you would like to learn more about the benefits the SafeWorkPro software can offer your business, read our case study – the savings will surprise you.

Free Risk Assessment Software: what’s the catch?

In the risk management process, you get what you pay for and although the idea of free risk assessment software seems attractive, you should consider a few factors before signing up. Quality risk assessment software should make the risk management process easier, not add another bureaucratic layer. Luckily for you, we know just the type.

Completing a construction risk assessment form to the standards of Safe Work Australia can be achieved quickly through automated risk assessment tools like SafeWorkPro. Risk identification, safe work method statements and risk assessment matrices are all streamlined into one simple tool available on any smart phone or tablet device. As the dangers of high risk construction work change so too do risk assessments in the workplace. But whereas generic risk assessment forms fail to adapt to these changes, risk assessment software was designed specifically to do just that. This in turn will mean less time is spent searching for the proper paperwork and more time spent getting the job done.

At SafeWorkPro we’ve consulted directly with contractors and calculated just how much time risk assessment software can save you. To back up our claim, we’re offering a trial risk assessment software free download period. You can try our construction safety software without any commitment, and experience first hand just how beneficial it is for your workflow. SafeWorkPro’s construction safety software is an investment that will save you time in the risk assessment process and improve safety standards.

How Can a Quality Assessment Review Maintain Safety?

In successful hazard and risk management it is important to keep on top of changes to OHS laws and regulations as well as how strongly your own risk assessment policy is performing. Although there is not much the ordinary business owner can do about government OHS legislation Australia, there is a great deal that can be done to improve risk assessment procedures.

Conducting a regular and in depth risk assessment review can improve safety and eliminate unproductive work practices. It is also a way to answer some of those basic risk assessment questions.

Under requirements outlined in the Work Health and Safety Regulations, a person conducting a business or an undertaking (PCBU) must review risk control measures and revise where necessary. Such a review must take place when:

  • a health and safety representative requests a quality assessment review
  • a new risk or a different hazard is identified
  • upcoming workplace changes are likely to present new risks and hazards that current safety measures may not control
  • a safety measure fails to effectively control a risk

To identify these potential issues, a consultation process that involves workers, OHS representatives and managers should consider:

  • if the control measures are effective both on paper and in practice
  • whether the controls measures have inadvertently produced any new risks
  • if all hazards were identified
  • whether new work practices, equipment or materials/substances produced any new or different risks
  • how useful and successful risk assessment training has been for workers
  • how directly involved workers are in risk identification
  • what effect changes to OHS legislation or laws could have current safe operating procedures
  • if the rate and extent of workplace health and safety incidents is decreasing

Any risk assessment review that takes place should be prioritised based on the seriousness and immediacy of the risk. If a hazard is more serious than the control measures used to reduce its associated risk should be review more often. Don’t wait until something goes wrong; begin a review today!

Risk assessments: How to keep work safety switched on in an offline environment

Out of sight, out of mind

The days of carting around stacks of paperwork at high risk construction work are far behind us. The SafeWorkPro application allows you greater movement by storing all your risk assessment documentation locally. This means that as you move around you will always have access to all your files. Keeping up to date with any newly created documents is also just as simple. When you open your dashboard, an icon on the top right of your screen lets you know if there’s any files waiting for you to sync.
When you regain access to a better internet service, tapping this button will sync the waiting files locally to your device. Even while online, all this hard work is occurring in the background of your device, so you don’t have to worry about constantly checking for updates. This ensures the user optimal flexibility with synchronization and updates, only allowing large downloads to occur when you permit it.

Freedom to Move

Many occupations require work to be undergone in remote regions, often out of reach of internet connectivity. At SafeWorkPro we understand these areas are the ones that require the most meticulous safety procedures, risk assessment document and emergency planning. Therefore we have ensured our applications functionality still runs smoothly when you get that annoying no signal sign on your mobile device. You can still take photos, create documents and assess risk no matter where your work day takes you.

So if you never want to lose access to safety again, sign-up to a trial of SafeWorkPro.

Why Buy Risk Assessments?

If you’re running a construction business or managing a worksite then you know the risk assessment process inside and out. You’ll know how to implement a safe work method statement (SWMS), rate a risk assessment matrix and complete a job safety analysis – all just part of remaining compliant with health and safety rules. All this paperwork seems like a hassle (and it is) so why don’t businesses involved in high risk construction work just buy risk assessments?

There’s two answers to this question. Firstly, businesses don’t just get up and buy risk assessments because free risk assessment software alternatives already exist. Otherwise called job safety analysis software, construction safety software or health and safety management software, these digital alternatives to paperwork are known to cut costs and improve productivity. So if you’re a manager or business owner, you’d know it makes more long-term business sense to invest in risk assessment software rather than buy the paperwork (esp SWMS).

The second reason why smart businesses don’t just buy risk assessments is because risk assessments in the workplace have a nasty habit of becoming obsolete as new hazards emerge. To remain compliant with OHS laws, risk assessments must be reviewed and updated as soon as working conditions change and more risks become apparent. So there’s little point buying an expensive SWMS document only to see it become obsolete once a worker finds some rusty nails sticking out of a floorboard.

With the option of risk assessment software free download available, the key lesson here is not to buy risk assessments. With so many alternatives out there and with the limitations of paper-based risk assessments holding back your ability to improve productivity, spending your hard earned cash on a pile of paper work is a waste of resources. You can learn more about these alternative including SafeWorkPro’s risk assessment software here.

Guidelines For Risk Assessment Software

Safety compliance software, health and safety software or risk assessment software? What’s the difference? Well these are but just a few names for what is essentially the same thing: software that makes the risk assessment process both more efficient and more compliant with OHS laws.

But not every aspect of risk assessment software development is up to the risk assessment standards enshrined in OHS legislation Australia. Therefore choosing the most appropriate software is a decision that will have long-term effects on your construction business. Making the right decision is vital so here are a few guidelines for risk assessment software that can help you make an informed choice.

Compliance is key

OHS laws and regulations are strictly enforced across all Australian jurisdictions so the software you choose must conform to the relevant standards. Remaining compliant with regulatory obligations means that your business will not only avoid costly penalties, but also that your workforce will maintain a healthy safety culture

For more information on the codes of practices outlined by Safe work Australia, click here.

Software must benefit your business practices

Risk management in software engineering is a complex process and because of this, some platforms are not flexible enough to apply for a multitude of different business types. The health and safety management software you choose should not only fit into your established business practices, but it should also improve them. Safe operating procedures do not need to come at the cost of productivity or efficiency.

What works on paper may not work in practice

You can have the most advanced risk assessment software available but if it is too complicated to be used efficiency than it may end up costing your business more than it saves. Usability is everything and ensuring that you have risk management software that is both comprehensive and easy to use will translate those predicted benefits into tangible results.

These are but simple guidelines to help you make the best choice for your specific circumstance. Nonetheless it is vital that any choice made in regard to risk assessment software is backed by facts, data and reliable business information. For more information on the software offered by SafeWorkPro, head to our Blog.