I asked Bob what information, instruction and training had he previously been given with regards to the bending machine operation. Bob explained that he had worked for Express Ltd for apron twenty years and hat his training had consisted of on-the-job training by a previous supervisor for approximately two-to-three week’s consultation of risk assessments was very sporadic. Watched the bending process take place and observed and recorded the hazards associated with the tasks including the manual handling hazards of lifting & handling re-bar products.
I recorded in my note book persons present during the bending operations to check at a later date their training records to ensure they have received adequate training. After observing the bending process looked at proportioning the associated shards in order of the highest risk first, I also took an opportunity to utilizes weighing scales present to check and determine the average weight of the heavier re-bar being handled, for use in the manual handling assessment.
When the activity had been completed Bob and went back to my office and talked through what activity had taken place to ensure I hadn’t missed any parts of the process or any significant hazards. We agreed on the priority of the hazards by evaluating high, medium and low criteria according to the severity of consequences and the likelihood of the hazard actually occurring.
This was in accordance with the risk assessment procedure in our safety management system PUPPY had recorded the concerns with regards to high risk with which the HOSE inspector had made comments to, and Bob and Richard Collier listened to my suggestions for introducing a safety limit switch and to prevent crushing and trapping of digits and an extra control switch to prevent inadvertent activation of the foot pedal thus reducing these risk to a lower acceptable level. As noted there was no significant high risk from the manual handling activities and there was also the use of mechanical means available such as overhead cranes.
After introducing further control measures to reduce the high risk to a lower risk, I was left with several lower risks that could be minimized, but not eliminated, by further control measures. In effect when the new system have been installed, the risk assessment has been completed (the new system was installed to reduce the hazard of trapping and crushing of digits) and this has been recorded. It is re-assuring from a health & Safety perspective that the additional controls measures introduced are affective in reducing the potential hazards from trapping and crushing injuries.
This high risk hazard of trapping/ crushing of digits was identified on a previous risk assessment carried out by the previous H&S manager, but unfortunately no suitable control measures Were recommended other than (keep hands clear) and this did not comply with the risk assessment process including the hierarchy of control. As a result of carrying out this reviewed risk assessment, we identified that this high risk needed to be reduced and controlled, to combat it we went through the hierarchy of control (RECIPE). Could we ELIMINATE the risk by not doing the process?
No it is the nature of the process of bending reinforcement bar the risk was inherent within the process. Could we REDUCE the risk by doing it some other way? Again not easy for the same reason above, but possible, as we looked at providing a magnetic safety limit switch that would be positioned close to the bending pin back Stop, the operator sometimes dependent upon shape code of the re-bar has to hold the re-bar whilst the re-bar goes through the bending process, if the operators hands or fingers comes into contact with the limit switch the machine would fail to safety immediately.