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Are you putting your employees' health and safety at risk by exposing them to radiation in the workplace?

by , 17 May 2013
The employees of a scrap metal company in Boksburg were evacuated after radioactive material was found in one of its workshops yesterday. Luckily, they were all evacuated safely and have returned to work this morning. Here's why being aware of radiation in your workplace is so important and how to minimise the risk with a Preliminary Hazard Analysis as part of your overall risk assessments.


Radioactive material was found in a bin containing metal at Sarie Scrap Metals yesterday morning, says EyeWitnessNews.
 
As a result, employees were quickly evacuated and the National Nuclear Regulator have since conducted a thorough sweep of the building for other hazards and removed the bin.
 
Luckily, the site's radiation level readings have been declared 'safe' and employees at the scrap metal company have resumed work.
Due to the fast evacuation, a potential health and safety disaster was avoided.
 
Here's why you need to be aware of the radiation your company produces
 
This is critical because while the human body can sense physical hazards like heat and noise and take action to prevent injury, the body can't sense radiation. 
 
This makes radiation dangerous as it can be disregarded and this, in turn, could lead to severe injuries and disease that affects the skin, eyes or even blood, says The Health and Safety Advisor.
 
That's why it's so important to conduct a Preliminary Hazard Analysis or PHA.
 
Not conducting a regular Preliminary Hazard Analysis? You should…
 
This is performed to document an initial risk assessment to evaluate hazards like radiation sources, explains occupational health and safety expert Wilna Louw in the Health and Safety Advisor.
 
Remember that radiation doesn't just affect your employees, it also has an effect on the environment thanks to ionising and non-ionising radiation, adds FSPBusiness.
 
By conducting a preliminary hazard analysis as part of a risk assessment, you'll be more likely to evacuate your employees speedily in case of an emergency, says the Health and Safety Bulletin, as happened at Sarie Scrap Metals.
 
Added to this, conducting a risk assessment will also put you in the all-clear with your Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) obligations, as you'll be aware of any sources of radiation that're present or that can be produced in the workplace and take the necessary precautionary measures.
 
So if you're not already doing so, make sure you start performing Preliminary Hazard Analyses anytime you implement a new process where there's a risk of potential sources of radiation in your workplace.

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