'Work activities should be broken down into steps and Hazards to be identified and Controls to be determined for each hazard'
We spoke to N. Venugopal, ISSoW Coordinator, Occidental Mukhaizna - Oman to understand the key challenges related to implementing safety regulations within a large organization, the pre-requisites for safety managers before they conduct a workplace safety audit and steps required to address non-compliance towards safety norms among employees in large organisations.
Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma.
What are the key challenges related to implementing safety regulations within a large organisation?
Majority of large organizations in India are very Old (say about 20 to 30 years), thus the Senior Management and staff do not accept the engineering controls that need to be in place for safe work environment. Permit to Work system is one of such engineering control. There will be lot of resistance for implementing PTW or ePTW system unless the top management takes a firm decision. Work Permit system (Paper based or Electronic Permit system) plays a key role in implementing the workplace safety.
What are the Pre-requisites for safety managers before they conduct a workplace safety audit?
Risk Assessment is a bare minimum requirement regardless of Hazards associated. Work activities should be broken down into steps and Hazards to be identified and Controls to be determined for each hazard. Rigorous risk assessment must be considered for all high risk activities (example: Confined Space Entry activities, Critical Lifting activities, Lifting activities over live process equipment, Activities on High Hazardous and Toxic chemicals and fluids, Hot Work Activities on Live Process systems and equipment, Work in close proximity to Live Electrical Conductors (Bus Bars) and Overhead Electrical Cables.
Safety Managers must have good command on Procedures, to ensure the work activities are in compliance with regards to Procedures are not. Audit observations should be cross referenced with Procedures/citations. Safety Managers must have overview of Process/Production, so that they can evaluate Hazards/controls that are associated with respected to Process and ultimately their audit observation will add mileage to the audit. Safety Managers must observe things with a questioning mind, while the audit observations should be honest, accurate and comprehensive.
How would you address non-compliance to safety norms among employees?
The non-compliance should be discussed with the employees that are involved, their supervisor and Head of the Departments to be notified without delay. If the employees continue to violating norms, NCR to be issued to the relevant discipline teams (Contractors or Department). The teams that are involved in non compliance are responsible to close-out the NCR with necessary action plan with target date. Some of the action plans are re-training (class room based) of employees.