Page 1: Introduction
Living is a risky business. Taking risks begins in childhood, and continues throughout our lives and into old age, when many accidents are associated with confusion and forgetfulness. Sometimes we are aware of the risks we take; other times we are not.
The likelihood of personal harm, even disaster, in our lives is often influenced by:
- where we live
- our lifestyle and the company we keep
- our own attitude to risk
- the attitude to risk taken by others eg our employer, our favourite café, our local train operator, our local hospital
- our hobbies, interests and pursuits
- our job and the duties associated with it.
Life’s risks are shared out unequally: we are not all equally exposed to risks associated with polluted air, damp housing, excessive noise, busy roads, rotating machinery, angry bulls, large crowds, severe floods, or engine failure in light aircraft.
This case study concentrates on risks in the workplace and examines how a famous company has set out to minimise them in the case of its own potentially hazardous industry.
The BOC Group
Founded over a hundred years ago, The BOC Group now employs over 40,000 people in some fifty countries around the world. Its major business is the supply of industrial gases to industries as diverse as semiconductor manufacturers, food processors and petrochemical producers. It is the world’s second largest industrial gas supplier and one of Britain’s truly world class companies.