Page 2: Risk avoidance and reduction
We can reduce the number of incidents that affect health, safety and the environment when we understand their cause. This is particularly true of incidents that result from human error or from a failure to take adequate precautions against risks. Creating a safer and a less environmentally harmful workplace is, therefore, a learning experience that involves:
- finding out more about the risks associated with activities
- understanding better why accidents happen or environmental incidents occur
- reducing or eliminating the factors that contribute to risk.
Sometimes, hard lessons are learned only through bitter experience. In 2001 in the USA, a young boy visited a hospital to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. Someone inadvertently brought an oxygen cylinder into the scanningroom whilst the scanner was operating. The 10-tonne scanner immediately magnetised the cylinder.
It was drawn into the machine and struck the boy on the head, killing him.
The gases industry is potentially hazardous. Its products can be toxic, oxidising, irritants, corrosive, flammable or asphyxiants. Gas production also often involves very low temperatures and very high pressures in gas cylinders. Transporting gases also has its hazards and difficulties.
The industry therefore gives a very high priority to health, safety and environmental considerations. Health and safety policies must become part of a business’s corporate strategy as well as part of its everyday operations. However, each business has limited resources to apply to health and safety policy. It must therefore use its resources very efficiently.