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Ignore these top seven safety hazards in your workplace at your peril!

by , 19 April 2013
Just as news of the Boston Marathon explosion earlier this week was settling came news of a fire explosion that ripped through a fertilizer plant in Texas. This time, more than 70 people were killed and about 200 were injured. Here's how to protect your employees in a similar situation by conducing risk assessments as part of your emergency preparedness and response plan.

On Wednesday this week, an explosion destroyed about 70 homes in Texas, says Pravda.ru.
 
The cause?
 
A container of an hydrous ammonia caught fire at a factory for unknown reasons. 
 
Surprisingly, the West Fertilizer Co where the explosion took place had no blast walls in place and had filed no contingency plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a major explosion or fire at the site, says Reuters.
 
This is a crucial step in being prepared for an emergency like this.
 
Here's why you need to conduct risk assessments as part of your emergency preparedness and response plan…
 
Especially as the Occupational Health and Safety Act says you must develop and implement an emergency preparedness and response plan that includes all the possible emergencies you could experience in your working environment, says the Health and Safety Advisor.
 
And if you store explosives or flammables on your premises as the West Fertilizer company did, you'll need to plan for an emergency like gas explosions that could harm not just your employees but also the immediate surroundings.
 
The first step in drawing up your emergency preparedness and response plan is to assess areas for potential emergencies through a risk assessment.
 
Are these top seven safety hazards in your workplace? Identify them in a risk assessment today!
 
Remember that the top seven hazards which could lead to an emergency situation are:
  1. Fire from flammable goods;
  2. Explosions from gases and vapours;
  3. Floods, either natural from the weather or from burst pipes that cause damage and loss;
  4. Power outages due to electrical failures;
  5. Spillage of hazardous chemical substances;
  6. Pollution from emissions, poor waste disposal and spills;
  7. And machinery running out of control.
Once you've identified each of these risks, you'll need to explain what your workers need to do to minimise each risk, says the Health and Safety Advisor.
 
For example, if you store flammable goods on your premises as it could be as simple as making sure fire fighting equipment is in good condition, checked monthly and that the fire fighters you've appointed have undergone suitable training in fire protection, prevention and fighting.
 
That's because fire is one of the most common hazards that causes property damage, human casualties and loss in business productivity and profits, explains Miriro Matema, Managing Editor of the Health and Safety Training Manual on FSP Business
 
Make sure you've included flammable and explosive substances in your risk assessments to prevent a disaster down the line.

Get the Risk Assessment Matrix and guide with the Risk Assessment: The 100% legally compliant risk assessment toolkit to help you assess the hazards and risks in your workplace.


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