Health and Safety in Construction

Health and Safety in Construction

Title: Health Safety Construction – This report is as an advisory document to surveyors. It provides a critical appraisal of legal, economical and ethical issues relating to health and safety, considering the role of organisations and individual employees in complying with current legislation, and specifying limitations imposed on the conduct of the property professional.


Health and safety is an area of concern which every surveyor and property professional must address. The costs of failing to do so may be felt by the professional in question, or may be borne by the property organisation or their clients. Understanding of health and safety issues necessitates knowledge related to three specific areas of concern – strict parameters regarding legislation, and economic concerns, and the more general but nonetheless important area of ethical conduct. Legal concerns comprise statutory regulations regarding site visitation, health and safety inspection, on site conduct, and provision of safe and reliable equipment. Economic issues are related to the necessity of budgeting for health and safety training, insurance against injury, and loss of revenue resulting from legal action in cases of health and safety breaches. Ethics relates to the individual nature and integrity of property professionals, and the establishment of specific codes of conduct within organisations.

Legal Constraints

When visiting premises or sites it is compulsory for a property professional to possess appropriate legal certification. To this end, certification via a valid CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card is mandatory to gain access to all major UK construction sites (CITB, 2016). The purpose of schemes such as the CSCS is to ensure all construction professionals are competent and have the necessary training and qualifications for the work they will undertake (CITB, 2016). In addition, guidance issued by the Royal Institute of Chartered surveyors (RICS) states that, prior to any visit to a site or premises, a property professional should conduct a pre-assessment process to determine hazards that may be encountered on the visit (RICS,2011). To this end, it is important for the employer to have clearly understood procedures in place, and to provide suitable training and information for the employee (RICS,2011) This guidance should facilitate the organisation’s compliance with statutory regulations such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH). Under COSHH legislation an employer must to decide how to prevent harm to health, for instance by appropriate risk assessment.

Consideration must be given to the risk associated in regards to work-related health and safety of an employee in the working environment. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) “employers must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees” (HSE, 2016). Section 2 of the act specifies general responsibilities owed by an organization to its employees. For example, for the purposes of site visits, the employer is obligated to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and the employer must ensure the PPE meets the minimum required standards and is fit for purpose. This stipulation is further supported by Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. In terms of this legislation, employers are also obliged to provide and maintain a safe working equipment (Rics, 2011). Compliance necessitates regular inspections to certify the fitness for purpose of PPE and all other on-site equipment. Failure to meet this requirement will result in a breach of section 2 of the HSWA, and may result in prosecution, as seen the case of HSE v Zurich Management Services Limited (Zurich) and Railcare Limited (Railcare).

health and safety in construction
health and safety in construction

Another key responsibility for employers is the provision of employee health and safety training. This should be facilitated by regular attendance on training courses covering current health and safety regulations. The employer must also provide employees with all relevant information regarding the company’s specific health and safety policies and procedures. It is important to note that the employer is not solely responsible for the health and safety of the organization. HSWA section 7 describes a statutory duty for the employee “to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts of work” (, 2016). Therefore, employees must follow procedures, training and policies given by their employers. If an employee is unclear on any policies, or feels they are not adequately trained to complete a task, they are obligated to communicate this to the employer. Breach of HSAW section 7, often results in litigation relating to professional negligence, as seen in the case of HSE v Barry.

Surveys and Reports

Lone working is common in the property industry. There is no legislation against this practice; however, in the absence of appropriate risk assessments provisions and procedures, lone working may be hazardous. For this reason, under the Management of HSAW Regulations 1999, assessment of risk pertaining to lone working must be conducted every day prior to work commencement. This is further enforced by the HSE regulations stipulating the responsibility of employers to ensure the safety of their works (HSE,2013); prior assessment should be supported by clearly established procedures for communicating with the lone worker, and scrupulous maintenance of records by employer and employee alike. If it is deemed overtly hazardous, lone working should not be considered, or an extensive rescue and recovery plan should be implemented to reduce risks.

Hazardous surveys must be conducted in accordance with current regulations. Rulings and standards to this effect may be obtained directly from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This means that professionals are bound by strict methodologies when conducting surveys and writing reports.

Contract Administration

When acting as Contract Administrator (CA) the property professional is obligated under the Constructions Design Management Regulations to manage health and safety risks throughout the construction process (HSE, 2015). The CA should prepare a written construction phase plan detailing the main dangers inherent in any given project, and suggesting appropriate control measures. For example, working at height necessitates a plan for the installation of gable ends, toe boards and guardrails. In general, the acting CA should have the relevant training, knowledge and experience necessary to carry out his duties safely. Again, this is supported by HSE regulations specifying the employer’s responsibility to ensure all employees are suitably trained to conduct specific tasks to which they are assigned.

Economic limitations

Legally all organisations must meet certain criteria in order to comply with current health and safety legislation. Under the Employers’ Liability (compulsory insurance) Act 1969 employees based in Great Britain are required to obtain Employers’ Liability insurance (HSE, 2012). The cost of the insurance premium is solely dependent on the nature of the business and risks associated. The nature of activities in construction-related professions means that higher insurance premiums are to be expected. Failure to meet this requirement may result in fines of up to £2500 (HSE,2012). Additionally, the HSAW act 1974 requires employers to finance the provision of information and training to ensure the health and safety at work of their employees. For instance, it is mandatory for a construction-related company to provide for employee attendance at courses covering the incidence of work with hazardous material. Further expenditure will be incurred in the provision of equipment necessary to complete work safely, such as PPE. However, the cost of meeting statutory requirements may be subsidised, on the basis that it facilitates improved standards of health and safety. According to HSE documentation, in the year 2014, 3% of workers in the construction industry sustained a work related injury (HSE,2015). This amounted to 65,000 separate incidents, resulting in 1.7 million working days lost. Increasing health and safety standards will help to minimise the potential for work related injuries, consequently, decreasing the chances of loss in working days and resultant economic burden to employers.

Breach of HSAW regulations may pose significant economic threat to an organisation, as it often results in a monetary sanction. The HSE can bring prosecutions before the magistrates’ court in which penalties of up to £20,000 per breach may be imposed (RICS, 2011). Furthermore, under HSAW (offences) Act 2008 imprisonment is also a possibility for almost any offence (RICS, 2011). In more extreme cases, persons may be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The prosecution process whether it be for minor or substantial breaches, is bound to have a negative impact on the reputation of the organisation, resulting in a loss of clients and eventual a loss of earnings.


There are grey areas which are not governed by legislation in this case the moral integrity of an organisation or professional is relied upon. Regardless of the type of task being carried building surveyors should recognise that they have a responsibility to the public and should at all times act in a manner which affirms this (2008,).

Conclusion and Recommendations

Interpreting legislation can be problematic; ambiguous terminology such as ‘reasonable and practicable’ is often cited to summarise the necessary level of compliance to legislation. Documents such as the Surveying Safely RICS guidance note 1st edition (Gn 74/2011) provide advice on how a property professional may meet current legislation. While these guidance notes are not enforced by law, in circumstances in which allegations of legislative breaches are made against a surveyor, a court or tribunal is likely to take account of the substance of RICS guidance. By conforming to such guidance notes, a surveyor should have at least partial defence against allegations of professional negligence. Hiring a health and safety office may also be advisable to ensure that an organisation is practising in such a way as to comply with current legislation. In relation to economic issues, good practice may minimise the incidence of expenses incurred in consequence of breaches of legislation. While ethical conduct is significantly related to personal and professional integrity, appropriate ethical conduct may be further encouraged by the establishment of codes of conduct within individual organisations. Such measures allow for in-house disciplinary proceedings, and bring the added advantage of improving the public image of the organisation in question.


CITB (2016) CSCS FAQs (Frequently asked questions)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2011) Surveying safely 1st edition, guidance note. Coventry: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. 1-13

Health and Safety Executive (2013) Working alone Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working. London: Health and Safety Executive 1-5

Health and Safety Executive (2012) Health and safety training A brief guide. London: Health and Safety Executive 1-6

Health and Safety Executive (2016) Principal contractors: roles and responsibilities.

Health and Safety Executive (2012) Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 A brief guide for employers. London: Health and Safety Executive 1-6

Health and Safety Executive (2016) Construction industry

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Health and Safety

Health and Safety

A work environment that has a poor health management system has a tendency to encounter consequences for the individual, association and the group on the loose. In a health care system, impacts of ailment and harm have been secured and they extend from little problems to big outcomes. The impacts incorporate suffering; sickness, harm, pain and demise; mental damage; money related issues; low spirit; lessened productivity; poor profit; group expenses; and poor corporate image. Most associations are confronted with the test of guaranteeing that their representatives lead a strong and anxiety free way of life. Specialists ought not get sick or harmed, and on the off chance that it happens, associations ought to put set up procurement that aid them to come back to wellness.

Survey of policies and strategies

For the health and security enactment to be powerful, there must be successful routes through which the strategies, frameworks, techniques are actualized. First and foremost, the approaches should by ready to follow the structures and courses of action of the social insurance organization. Agreeability can be attained through an arrangement of the accompanying steps:

Care planning

There are a few means through which an association can execute its safety approaches. Care planning guarantees that there is a successful procedure put set up to actualize the security arrangements. An association can meet this necessity through augmenting the well being of workers, helping by improving security, and actualizing the standards of great practice and security.


Effective correspondence of health and safety in the work environment is generally confronted with a wide mixture of problems and difficulties. In any case, there are different components that ought to be considered to guarantee that the whole process is successful. These prerequisites incorporate risk profit investigation, individual hazard and danger to different people, ramifications of asset utilization, and diverse needs of stakeholders, either outer or internal.

Own practice

When it comes to conveying and executing health and security methods, systems have a tendency to fluctuate starting with one association then onto the next. Own practice and methodology can be arranged into individual needs, obligations, changes in practice, professionalism and relations in the middle of workers and the customers or patients. There are different approaches, techniques and frameworks that can be used to guarantee that the association comprehends and imparts health and security in the working environment. These frameworks can be ordered in four different gatherings.

Health and Safety Act 1974

The Health and Safety Act 1974 (additionally alluded to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the essential bit of enactment covering word related health and safety in Great Britain. It is an Act to make further procurement for securing the health, security and welfare of people at work, for ensuring others against dangers to health or wellbeing regarding the activities of people at work, for controlling the keeping and utilize and keeping the unlawful obtaining, ownership and utilization of risky substances, and for controlling certain emanations into the environment; to make further procurement concerning the business medicinal warning administration; to revise the law identifying with building regulations, and the Building (Scotland) Act 1959; and for joined purposes.

Execution of health and safety legislation


All ideas of health, danger and security ought to be unmistakably enunciated. The dangers can be classified into the accompanying gatherings: zero risks, least risk, property dangers, individual dangers; mischance anticipation, danger restriction, emergency treatment; security versus health, insurance from loss; and practices, substances and equipment premises.

Legislative prerequisites

The association recognizes the laws passed concerning health and security and methods for actualizing them. There are Health and Safety at Work Acts and also codes of practice and related regulations. Others incorporate Food Acts and those particular to health and social care, for example, Mental Health Acts.


Great communication skills are key for you as a director to pass on data, to give training and feedback, to increase understanding, to rectify mistakes or perilous conduct, and to organize with different divisions, ventures and gatherings. Communication can be written, verbal, visual, or through non-verbal communication, by exhibiting, or essentially by showing others how it’s done. Perceive diverse learning styles and pick your specialized tool in like manner (Duggan, 1998).

Used for strategies, guidelines, SOPs etc. Simple to convey and this can be posted with reader, but needs writing proficiency and is hard to keep up and overhaul.

Verbal: Used for one-on-one, group gatherings, telephone and so forth. This style is common, simple to do, and gives an individual touch. This methodology can prompt perplexity and inconsistencies.

Visual: This style generally uses pictures/design/features in training. This style requires significant investment to plan.

Demonstration: This style ranges for certain learning. This style can overcome challenges, yet is lengthy, obliges a skilled mentor, and can be troublesome in loud situations. Perceive that everybody learns in an unexpected way. In this manner, powerful correspondence frequently obliges a combination of distinctive styles. At last, you should dependably check laborers’ acceptable comprehension of the thought or idea you were attempting to convey.

Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals Regulations) 1996

The Regulations spread different method for conveying health and safety data. These incorporate the utilization of illuminated signs, hand and acoustic signs, e.g. fire alerts, talked correspondence and the stamping of channel work containing unsafe substances. These are notwithstanding conventional signboards, for example, denial and cautioning signs (Reason, 2001). Fire security signs, i.e. signs for flame passageways and fire-fighting equipment are additionally secured. They oblige employers to give particular security signs at whatever point there is a hazard that has not been dodged or controlled by different means, e.g. designing controls and safe frameworks of work. Where a security sign would not assist to decrease that hazard, or where the danger is not critical, there is no compelling reason to give a sign. The regulations, where important, oblige the utilization of street movement signs inside working environments to manage street activity furthermore oblige businesses to keep up the health signs which are given by them, clarify new signs to their workers and let them know what they have to do when they see a security sign. The Regulations apply to all spots and exercises where individuals are utilized, however prohibit signs and names utilized within association with the supply of substances, items and gear or the vehicle of perilous merchandise.


A responsibility or commitment to attractively perform or complete an assignment (allocated by somebody, or made by one guarantee or circumstances) that one must satisfy, and which has an ensuing failure for risk.


As an employer, it is your obligation to keep up a protected and healthy work environment. A security and health administration framework, or health system, can help you center your deliberations at enhancing your work environment.


Don’t imagine it any other way, overseeing corporate risk is a key issue for all executives and senior administrators to address. There is much to say in regards to this subject and the accompanying is simply a synopsis of a percentage of the fundamental focuses included.

It may well be worth recalling that the compelling administration of health and dangers increases the value of the business by expanding the prosperity and benefit of representatives consequently serving to avoid ailment and harm. This perpetually has long haul and positive impact on turnover and benefit. What’s more specialist contribution in wellbeing & security underpins a positive wellbeing and health society (Sackett, 1979).

Directors Responsibilities

The rule sets out four center obligations regarding executives in their health and security administration part: strategy and arranging; convey; screen; and surveys. This can also be followed in the case study. Under each of these headings, the rule sets out a discourse of every obligation; an arrangement of inquiries to be utilized by chiefs as an apparatus to figure out if the association’s practices are proper; and a rundown of chief activities. The activities for chiefs are isolated into two classifications – benchmark activities and prescribed practice. The rule additionally sets out obligations of directors. The following is a review of the general obligations regarding directors as set out in the rule.

Health and Safety Management
Health and Safety Management

Approach and planning

  • To focus the board’s sanction and structure for heading health and security.
  • To focus abnormal state health and security procedure and arrangement, including giving an announcement of vision, convictions and strategy showing the board’s dedication to, and convictions about the administration of health and well being.
  • To consider administration responsible for executing procedure.
  • To point out focuses on that will empower them to track the association’s execution in executing board procedure and arrangement.
  • To deal with the health and security execution of the CEO, including determining desires and giving criticism.


  • To set out a reasonable desire for the association to have a fit-for-reason health and security administration framework.

To practice due persistence to guarantee that the framework is fit-for-reason for existing, being adequately actualized, consistently evaluated and constantly made strides. To be sufficiently educated about the nonexclusive prerequisites for a present day, ‘best practice’ health and security administration framework and about their association and its risks to know whether its framework is fit-for-reason, and being viably actualized. To guarantee sufficient assets are accessible for the improvement, usage and support of the framework (Lewis, 1997).


  • To screen the health and security execution of the association.
  • To layout clear desires on what ought to be accounted to leave and in what timelines.
  • To audit reports to figure out if intercession is obliged to accomplish, or support hierarchical enhancements.
  • To make them acquainted with procedures, for example, review, hazard appraisal, occurrence examination, sufficient to empower them to legitimately assess the data before them.
  • To look for autonomous master exhortation when needed to increase the obliged level of confirmation.


To guarantee the board leads an occasional (e.g. yearly) formal audit of health and security to focus the viability of the framework and whether any progressions are needed. To guarantee the board considers whether an outside survey is needed for a free presumption.

Role of Health and Safety Commission and HSE

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are the two agencies responsible for health and safety in Great Britain. The merger is a sensible proposal however the move could prompt a tremendous loss of accomplished HSE staff that are unwilling to migrate. The first authoritative system administering work environment health and security is proportionate however bosses can be over-careful in their elucidation of its procurements, expanding the agreeability trouble on themselves. Over-fanatical wellbeing and security “specialists” help this issue and the report requires an arrangement of accreditation of advisors and guides.

Different conclusions and suggestions include

HSE plans to meet a 60:40 proportion of proactive and sensitive work, yet organizations are just prone to have a HSE investigation recently once like clockwork and mischance examinations are, no doubt scaled back. Current levels of fines for health and security offenses are excessively low and don’t give a sufficient hindrance to guarantee obligation holders conform to their commitments. There is increment in the quantity of fatalities in the development business, the seaward oil industry’s disappointment to reach its significant danger sub targets, and wellbeing and dangers to vagrant specialists are key territories of sympathy toward HSE. HSE is attempting to adapt to its word related health transmit. It confesses to basing its word related health plan on a fragmented information source and is neglecting to reach its word related sick health targets. HSE needs to focus on its center transmit and measures to broaden its obligations into different zones puts an intemperate strain on its assets and dangers occupying its centering.

All associations utilizing five or more individuals must have a composed Health and Safety Policy explanation (Sackett, 1979). The approach ought to cover all parts of the association and be significant to all workers. A Health and Safety Policy shows how genuinely an association takes its wellbeing and security obligations. A decent strategy will demonstrate how the association ensures the individuals who could be influenced by its exercises. The arrangement ought to be of a suitable length and significance to the exercises and size of the association. Legitimate obligations and commitments around Health and Safety Policies

Act 1974 The Act says that you must set up your announcement and bring it to the consideration of all workers. The approach ought to be checked on and modified as regularly as essential. Legitimately, the approach just obliges you to address the wellbeing and security matters identifying with workers, however in numerous associations, it is a decent thought to have an arrangement that considers the security of other people who may be influenced by your exercises, i.e. volunteers, builders and the overall population. With or without a composed approach, all superintendents have an obligation of forethought to secure their representatives and others from mischief emerging from work exercises.

Medical Service

Environmental Health is the estimation, assessment and control of components inside our surroundings that have an impact on the health and prosperity of people in general. Word related Health is that part of Environmental Health, which frets about the association between the working environment and the soundness of the specialist. The Common Law’s commitment of Duty of Care is pertinent to everybody to guarantee that the conclusion of one’s activities or communications does not influence others adversely. Individuals have the right to expect and guarantee that there is a satisfactory level of control over those natural elements that influence their state of well being. Parts of a group ought to have the right to drink safe water, to inhale safe air, to consume safe nourishment, to live in sheltered asylum, to have a safe work environment in which to win a wage, and a safe group in which to live. Statutory Authorities have a legitimate and tying obligation to control those components representing an unsuitable danger to the group.

Hospitals are vast, authoritatively intricate, framework driven foundations utilizing expansive quantities of specialists from diverse expert streams. They are likewise conceivably unsafe working environments and open their laborers to an extensive variety of physical, synthetic, organic, ergonomically and mental perils (Smith, 1985). Clinics likewise assume an essential part in group assurance through more extensive Public Health issues including damage and disease avoidance, health reconnaissance and illness notice, and debacle administration. Furthermore, well beyond their center business of intense human services for inpatients, clinics are likewise concerned for the security and insurance of those inpatients regarding nonsocial disease control, clearing arrangements for inner crises, and sustenance planning and taking care of by the clinic kitchen. At last, healing facilities are likewise concerned with environment assurance through their waste administration procedure, and specifically, the accumulation and transfer of tainted waste.

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is the place the seriousness of the Hazard and its potential conclusions are considered in conjunction with different variables including the level of presentation and the quantities of persons uncovered and the danger of that peril being figured it out. There are various diverse formula used to ascertain the general danger from fundamental figuring utilizing high, medium and low classifications to convoluted calculations to figure dangers at Nuclear force stations and other high hazard work areas.

As a feature of dealing with the well being and security of your business you must control the dangers in your work environment. To do this you have to contemplate what may cause damage to individuals and choose whether you are making sensible moves to keep that mischief. In the event that you have less than five workers you don’t need to record anything. A danger appraisal is not about making immense measures of paperwork, but instead about distinguishing sensible measures to control the dangers in your working environment. You are most likely officially making moves to secure your workers, however your danger evaluation will help you choose whether you have secured everything you need to. Contemplate how mischances and sick health could happen and focus on true dangers – those that are no doubt and which will result in the most damage. For a few dangers, different regulations oblige specific control measures. Your appraisal can help you distinguish where you have to take a gander at specific dangers and these specific control measures in more detail. These control measures don’t need to be evaluated independently however can be considered as a major aspect of, or an augmentation of, your general danger appraisal.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

You have to follow the risk evaluation prerequisites set out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the prerequisite in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as changed) (MHOR) to do a danger appraisal on manual taking care of assignments.

The MHOR Regulations

The business’ obligation is to stay away from Manual handling the extent that sensibly practicable if there is a plausibility of damage. If this isn’t possible then they must lessen the danger of harm the extent that sensibly practicable. In the event that a worker is whining of inconvenience, any progressions to work to stay away from or decrease manual taking care of must be checked to check they are having a positive impact. Then again, in the event that they are not meeting expectations acceptably, choices must be considered.

The regulations set out a progression of measures to diminish the dangers of manual handling:

evade unsafe manual taking care of operations so far as sensibly practicable; survey any unsafe manual taking care of operations that can’t be kept away from; or diminish the danger of damage so far as sensibly practicable.

Workers have general health and security obligations to: take after suitable frameworks of work set down for their security make fitting utilization of supplies accommodated their security co-work with their superintendent on health and security matters educate the boss in the event that they distinguish unsafe taking care of exercises fare thee well to guarantee that their exercises don’t put others at danger

Ethical Dilemma

A moral situation is a complex circumstance that frequently includes an obvious mental clash between good objectives, in which to comply with one would bring about transgressing an alternate. Great talks on morals are regularly determined by circumstances that test our capacities to focus the correct thing to do, do successful moral activity, or lay out a powerful system for evading moral deterrents later on. Given that conceivable outcomes for moral clash exist in many fields, this area gives connections to destinations particularly equipped towards furnishing you with materials significant to your first look, this moral quandary is decently clear: It is an ill-use of your manager to lead private concern on organization time. Be that as it may there are shades of light black here. Suppose it is possible that your companion calls to let you know that your kids are sick. Is it accurate to say that it is OK for you to calendar a medical checkup? A decent dependable guideline is for a worker to check with his supervisor or human assets chiefs to clear up what include as a significant offense the organization (Horne, 1997).

Non compliance

Non-compliance is a significant, extravagant, immovable issue in healthcare which can prompt wretchedness and mischief. I have contended that the hypotheses of the reasons for human slip in associations could give an influential explanatory model of resistance. On the off chance that my contention is underpinned by experimental examination, then it would prompt distinctive methodologies to diminishing rebelliousness improvement of hypothesis.


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Workplace Health and Safety

Application of Risk Management: In the Perspective of a Workplace Health and Safety Manager


The objective of this paper is to discuss the problem related to workplace health and safety. Workplace health and safety hazards are mostly preventable provided proper precautions are taken in proper time to avoid costly losses of life and property. A hazard can be anything causing injury or disease, e.g. a health hazard, a safety hazard or an environmental hazard. The paper discusses about an organization dealing in petrochemicals. It proceeds with the identification of hazards related to the industry and designing a system to manage the heat problem.

Application of Risk Management

Starting in 1987 the US petrochemicals is a Texas Corporation operating in over 30 countries now. The company is operating successfully in meeting the demands of its customers across the globe which is beneficial for the company itself in many ways. The company is known for its timely delivery at an edge cutting price. The company has earned a worldwide reputation for its workplace health and safety management. Common workplace health and safety hazards include: transportation accidents, slipping and falling, communicable diseases, toxic events, chemical and gas exposure, workplace violence, electrocution, getting struck by objects, explosion, repetitive motion, hearing loss and ergonomic injuries, heat stress, etc.

Heat Situation is the most common incident at any chemical industry and the US Petrochemical is not an exception and there is a well-defined and established system to manage risk at the US Petrochemicals which is discussed in detail in the following paragraphs (Crockford and Neil, 1986).

Identification of hazard

At the US Petrochemicals there are various ways for identifying hazards at workplace:

Inspection: A regular walk through the workplace with a hazard checklist is a direct way of identifying many hazards. The inspection should be for physical things as well as the systems of work and work procedures. The action can be taken immediately if any straight forward problem is detected. Sometimes simple matters like non-functioning of risk control or it is not being used  or not things not kept at appropriate place, be detected which don’t need formal risk assessment and immediate action can be taken to control or eliminate the risk. Sometimes the inspection walk-through detects a situation of immediate and substantial danger to working people (Hubbard and Douglas, 2009).

Finding and applying available information: There are many sources of information which can be made readily available for particular industry or job or type of activity. Many organizations which work for the health and safety of the people publish both hard and soft copies of information on a wide range of OHS topics and industries. Industry unions and associations can provide substantial information about industrial and job hazards, this is essential to the workplace health and safety manager.

Testing and measuring: Often measurements are required to decide about any action specially in case of hazards like noise and atmospheric contaminants. For estimating general noise levels simple comparisons can be made. Measuring and testing provide accurate information about the hazard. Simple machines like noise meters, atmospheric testing machine can be used for the purpose.

Surveys of employees and others at the workplace: Information about occupational stress, workplace bullying, muscle or skeletal aches and pains which may be signal for potential hazard, can be obtained from the people by conducting surveys at the workplace.

Analysing records and data: Another way of identifying hazard is to analyse data and records. Records and data of incidents and injuries are valuable source of information about hazards.  Some organizations mostly large ones even have records or data which show trends of injury or incident. There are many safety authorities which publish data and records about the common sources of injury for different industries. Data can also be shared from other similar industries which have it.

Workplace Health and Safety
Workplace Health and Safety

Risk Assessment

The process of developing understanding and knowledge of risks and hazards to take suitable decision to control them is called risk assessment. Existence of understanding and knowledge and understanding of risks and hazards minimizes the necessity of risk assessment. At the US Petrochemicals the objective of risk management is to determine;

  1. What is the level of harm that can occur
  2. How will the harm occur
  3. What are the chances of occurring harm

A risk assessment should be tailored to the organization and the situation in which it is to be conducted. It may be elaborate and formal or simple as structured discussion. It should be done when the knowledge and understanding about a risk or hazard is limited or there is uncertainty about its outcome or everything that may go wrong is estimated or there is uncertainty about the impact of hazards upon each other to produce greater or new risks (Deloach J. 2012).

Risk Control

The risk control strategies vary as per the need of the organization and the situation. The strategies mentioned below can be used in an appropriate combination or independently.  Normally they are used in a combination at the US petrochemicals. They are as follows:

Eliminating Risk – Elimination of risk is the most effective action which can be taken to control risk. This can be done by eliminating the hazard which may not be possible. In such cases as many risks associated with the hazards as possible can be eliminated (British Occupational Hygiene Society Technical guide).

Avoiding risk: Risk avoidance means to avoid activities which may lead to possibility of loss. This is a calculated decision which may also mean to avoid earning profits because no risk no gain.

Preventing Loss: For unavoidable risks, the methods of ‘prevent the loss’ should be used.  Preventing the loss means breaking the sequence of events which cause loss.

Reducing Loss: For unavoidable losses, the methods of ‘minimize the severity of injury or financial impact’ should be used. These methods include activities of pre-loss reduction or post loss reduction.

Reducing risks– Practically it is not possible in many cases to eliminate hazards or risks but steps can be taken for changing the risk to reduce it. It is the most effective way because it is comparatively less reliant on people performing faultlessly. It can be done by substituting the risk with a lesser risk, by changing the process of work, using technology and isolating people from exposure.

Duplication/Separation: The aim of the risk control techniques is to minimize high losses and not to prevent, avoid or reduce any single operation or asset. Separation means isolating one exposure from others, e.g. a business can occupy different buildings at different locations instead of one big building. Duplication means utilizing spares or backups, e.g. a business can store the spares or backup data at different location.

Transferring Risk: Transferring risk means making such contracts with parties, other than insurance companies, such as vendors, service providers, suppliers and contractors which include transferring risk to them. This is also termed as contractual risk transfer.

Changing exposure of people to risk– The behavior of the people or the way they expose themselves to the risk can be changed to control the risk. This does not change the risk but controls it by protecting the people. This can be done by improving the skills of the people which will limit the chance of failure, by limiting the time of exposure and by providing protective equipment to them.

Controlling the risk in heat situation– For heat situation some different and specialized steps are taken like reducing or removing the sources of heat if possible, controlling the temperature, providing mechanical aids for reducing work rate, regulating the duration of exposure to heat by providing breaks or rest facilities, preventing dehydration, providing protective clothing and equipment and by providing special training about heat stress.

Implementing control strategies and assigning responsibility

The responsibility of a workplace health and safety manager is not only to establish only a system to control risk or hazard but also to ensure its proper implementation according to a suitable approach of the organization. At the US petrochemicals there is a detailed guide for different departments of the company for the implementation of control strategies and assigning responsibilities. The guide has key questions like what does the department do, how is the department organized or managed, what is the size of the department, what are the numbers of hazardous processes and hazards, what are the types of risks or hazards, what levels of harm, risks or hazards do, etc. Being a large organization, the US petrochemicals has the benefit of established formal process of implementation which ensures certainty of results and consistency and this is possible due to availability of many hazardous processes, large number of employees and many layers of management (New and expectant mothers at work).

Risk Monitoring

A risk management system can only be effective if there is a structure of reviewing and reporting to ensure the effective identification and assessment of risks and hazards and proper control over it. Compliance of standards, review of standard performance and regular audit of the process is required for improvement. At the US Petrochemicals it is assured by the monitoring system that the controls are in place and procedures are clear to everybody to follow them adequately. Changes are made in the system with the changes in the environment and the organization. The monitoring also determines that the intended outcomes were achieved, appropriate information was collected and appropriated processes were implemented and the decisions taken were appropriate according to identification and assessment (A handbook for workplaces).


Workplace health and safety is a key issue for any organization and the US Petrochemicals is not an exception. The responsibility of a workplace health and safety manager is tremendous and keeps him on toes because the things in the business world are changing fast and with this organizations are also changing and it is a challenge to keep changing the risk management strategies according to the organization. The US Petrochemical is a big organization with large number of staffs and different layers of management which makes the implementation of risk management strategies accurate. The risk management involves various steps like identification of risk or hazard, assessment of risk and hazard, control of risk and hazards, implementation of strategies of risk and hazards and finally the monitoring of the process. All these steps require serious and careful attention to avoid any incident and ensure health and safety measures.


A handbook for workplaces, Controlling OHS hazards and risks, Edition No.1, November 2007

British Occupational Hygiene Society Technical guide, No 12 The thermal environment (Second edition) H and H Scientific Consultants Ltd 1996 ISBN 0 948237 29 5

Crockford and Neil, 1986. An Introduction to Workplace Health and Safety Management (2 ed.). Cambridge, UK: Woodhead-Faulkner, pp; 18, ISBN 0859413322.

Deloach J. 2012. Key Elements of the Risk Management Process and Workplace Health and Safety.

Dorfman and Mark S. 2007. Introduction to Risk Management and Insurance ,(9 ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-224227-3.

Hubbard and Douglas, 2009. The Failure of Workplace Health and Safety Management: Why It’s Broken and How to Fix It. John Wiley & Sons.,pp; 46.

New and expectant mothers at work: A guide for employers HSG122 (Second edition) HSE Books 2002 ISBN 0 7176 2583 4

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Barrier Analysis

Barrier Analysis as a Safety Tool

Barrier Analysis is the technique used for identifying the harmful or hazardous effects associated with the harmful sources of energy. Barrier Analysis provides an equipment to study the unwanted flow of energy sources to the potential targets, people or objects, through the assessment of various barriers in order to prevent the dangerous energy flow.

Barrier analysis is an effective and efficient system safety tool used to identifying the risks associated with the defined sources of energy. The successively organized paradigm of this analysis provides reliable, rationally reasoned and independent findings about various hazards and barrier controls as compared to many other methods available for the analysis purpose.

Barrier analysis came into the picture to help experts analyze accidents and risks. Talking in general terms, the main use of a barrier is to prevent an action from happening or in other words provide a shield to the people that are a part of that environment, from the consequences. This report will highlight the relation between accidents and the barrier analysis by providing a technique to thoroughly search or investigate the accidents and safety programs. An accident can be described as the set of barriers that have failed, although the reason of failure will be mostly not included in the list of suspected causes. A barrier, in this respect, can be a hindrance, an obstruction or a hurdle that prevents an action to take place or reduces the impact of the harmful consequences. Barriers are important to be analyzed for understanding and prevention of accidents in two ways –

  • The fact that accident has occurred implies that one, or more, of the defined barriers failed. This can be either because they were dysfunctional (Polet, 2002) or they did not serve the purpose properly. The search of such barriers is therefore considered an important part in understand the cause of the accident
  • Once the anatomy of the accident has been analyzed and casual ways have been identified, the defined barriers can be used in order to prevent similar kinds of accidents that take place in the future. For this, the pattern needs to be determined.

Hence, the barrier analysis provides an effective way to consider the events that are related to the failure of a safety system (Livingston et al., 2001). However, it is not a system that is comprehensive enough to act as the sole safety analysis of the system as it may miss a few points due to system failures or human errors (Reason, 1992) while producing the results.

According to the Energy Theory or the Barrier Analysis, whenever there is a chance that the person or an object is approaching the energy flow or trying to come in contact with the environment state that can cause harm to the person or the object, it is required to isolate such environmental state or the energy flow.

As the Barrier Analysis technique is quite different from others, with a limit scope of analysis, it doesn’t fulfill all the requirements completely. But at the same time the technique is most often used to provide support to the system design hazard analysis type, preliminary design hazard analysis type or detailed design hazard analysis type. The technique is also known as the Energy Trace and Barrier Analysis or sometimes the Energy Trace Analysis.

Quite often it is seen that even if the source of energy is harmful, it cannot be removed from the system as it is an essential element of that designed system. Now here comes the role of barrier analysis. The purpose of the barrier analysis here is to identify these sources of energy and evaluate if the potential harms in the designed system can be considerably reduced with the use of relevant energy barriers. The analysis provides a simple tool to separate the energy source from the target to prevent it from the hazards. It acts as a powerful tool in the game of accident analysis and prevention. It should be known at the time of evaluation of the system that the undesirable source of energy coming from a single source is capable of affecting multiple targets. In such cases, there might be a requirement to use multiple barriers to save these multiple potential targets from dangers and provide them optimal safety.

Barrier Analysis Safety
Barrier Analysis Safety

The Barrier Analysis technique is executed by evaluating the source of energy, the energy flow paths that may be harmful for the system, and then identifying and creating the right barriers that must be placed in order to prevent the flow of energy from harming the person or the target equipment (here the target can be objects or people). In general, there are various types and ways of energy barriers that can be used in a designed system. The commonly known barriers are – procedural barrier, physical barrier or a time barrier. These barriers are created with a purpose to counteract the harmful effects of the energy paths in order to reduce the likelihood and severity of system/object damage or a personnel injury.

The type of analysis is generally used for all the types of systems with a goal that it is created to ensure consistent, effective, disciplined and efficient methods for the identification of hazards in the provided system. It is often used during the investigation of accidents in order to help understand the root cause of the incident and to study the damage conditions to ensure they do not occur in the future. The Barrier Analysis has fully devoted itself to overview the types of energy sources in the system, their attributes to understand if they are harmful; it is a tool to guide the discovery for the risks due to the energy sources that need more detailed analysis.

This tool is capable of fabricating detailed analysis report of risks in existing as well as new systems. By correctly and rationally identifying the energy flows into and out of the system, the Barrier analysis enables the growth of each of the sources of energy used in the system. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the sources of energy used in the system is important to get a clear picture of the complete system design and its behavior. The tool is pretty simple and easy to learn.

Barrier Analysis History

Although the concept was introduced more than 20 years ago, they have been only a few instances where the barrier concept was actually used. Haddon introduced the concept that the harmful effects of the flow of energy can be controlled by one of the provided barriers (Haddon, William Jr. 1973). The barriers can be listed as below:

  • Prevention of energy manufacturing or production
  • Reduction in the amount of energy like fuel storage, voltage
  • Preventing the release
  • Manipulating the rate of release, for example slow down the burning rate
  • Isolate in time or space, for example make the electric line go out of the reach
  • Strengthen the defined target, for example create earthquake proof buildings
  • Reorient persons and objects
  • Limit the extent of the damage caused, for example use of sprinklers

The barrier analysis is grounded on the concepts introduced by Haddon; these concepts were understood, adopted and improved by various other experts until the time this technique was used to give birth to a useful tool for the purpose of safety analysis.

Barrier Analysis Theory

The Barrier Analysis is based on the concept that when harmful and hazardous sources are present with in the environment, they act as a serious threat to certain targets. According to this theory, by placing effective barriers between these hazardous energy sources and the targets there is a chance to lessen the threat to these targets. In other words, when there is no isolation or a barrier between the source of energy and the target, it leads to disasters whereas placing a barrier between the energy flow and the target leads to a safe exit.  In situations where there is no barrier placed, effective safety requirement should be created to launch and implement effective barriers.

To understand the theory of barriers, there was work done on the barriers subject called Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) programme. The MORT approach (Knox & Eicher, 1983) defines a method for a complete investigation of accidents as well as a method to analyze safety programmes. This MORT barrier analysis (Trost & Nertney, 1985) is capable of discriminating between safety barriers and control barriers. The difference between the two types of barriers is that the control barriers are related to the wanted energy flow path and the safety barriers are related to the unwanted energy flow paths.

MORT even offers distinguishing between various types of barriers like: physical barriers, warning devices, design of equipment, procedures, and skills. Hence, it provides a more detailed distinction as compared to that given by Svenson (1991) and Kecklund et al. (1996) into human, organizational and technical barriers.

The process that revolves around this tool called barrier analysis is a thorough analysis of the energy sources that are involved in the system and the possible effect these sources have on the attributes present in the environment; these attributes can be any equipment or any personnel. Experts mainly carry out the barrier analysis using a worksheet or some sort of a form to provide documentation, structure and nature of the analysis and the consistency. There is so specific format that is used by the experts as all that matters is the data contained in the worksheet.

Most of the times, the worksheets, that come with columns, are used to help maintain focus and structure in the analysis. The basic information that should be contained in these analysis worksheets should be as following:

  1. List of all the energy sources, present in the system, that provide a threat to the environment
  2. Targets that are a part of this system and are prone to damage, of any sort, from these energy sources
  3. Barriers, already in place, that are meant to control the energy sources to prevent targets from hazards
  4. Barriers, not there already, that should have been placed to control the energy risks
  5. Overall system risk for the energy sources – barrier risks.

While learning as a beginner to perform an analysis, following points should be considered in order to commit one or more problems:

  • Do not try to identify all the sources of energy present in the system
  • Do not evaluate the cascading outcome of the energy sources
  • Not understanding all the energy source paths
  • Not consider the entire system in one shot, rather take a narrow view of each of the energy paths.


The main ingredients of an accident are: the energy flow that causes the harm, the people who are the victim of this harm caused due to energy flow, lack of the barriers of failure of barrier system that are created to keep the accidents apart and the events that lead to the final accident situation.  If all these mentioned ingredients are present in a place, accident has to happen; failure of one leads to prevention of accident.

Hence, the generic constituents of barrier analysis are the energy sources, the barriers and the targets. The forms the basis of the barrier analysis and each of these components must be clearly understood and inferred with reference to the context. The first step in the analysis is the identification of the energy sources. Once these sources have been found out, a problem analysis should be done to nail done the questions which help in understanding the hazardous elements in the design. Some of these questions can be like:

Have the hazardous sources of energy been identified?

What are the energy paths?

What are the potential targets?

What are the safety barriers?

Have the safety barriers been thoroughly identified?

The answers to these questions can be provided after acquiring the knowledge on the system design and its operation, knowledge on the system environmental variables and energy sources.  The analysis process studies and verifies the authenticity of the engineered and the administrative barriers. Here the created safety attributes are considered as the hard barriers and the administrative controls like warning signs, safety procedures and the controlling checks are termed as the soft barriers. As it is difficult to deal with the hard barriers as compared to the soft barriers, the hard barriers are preferred over the soft option. But it doesn’t mean that soft barriers are not used at all; these may be used in certain conditions. Barriers can be categorized under various heads based on their location, function or type.

Barrier analysis Process

The technique that was used in the analysis of Barrier concept was to identify various tasks around the energy sources and the steps taken to achieve the goal.

  1. Identifying the energy sources – in order to achieve this, it is required to study the system and identify all the possible harmful sources of energy. In this step, energy quantity and location should also be identified, whenever possible, to create the list of energy sources. To quote some examples, we have electromagnetic radiations, electricity, explosives and so on.
  2. Identification of energy paths – all the potential energy flow path leading to the target should be identified that can act as a harmful source of energy. Target can be any object, environment or people.
  3. Finding the multiple energy paths – there can be multiple energy flows, more than one dedicated energy flow, leading to the target that can cause a mishap. For an instance, electrical and mechanical functions of a fuse.
  4. Defining targets – for each of the existing energy source, study its flow from the starting point till the end to identify all the possible targets that are likely to be harmed by the harmful energy sources.
  5. Finding out the vulnerability of the defined targets – the vulnerability of the target should be identified. For an instance, faulty equipment might have very little impact on human but can damage another device say microprocessor.
  6. Identifying of the safety barriers – this is the most important step in taking safety measures. All the probable barriers in the energy path from an energy source to the target should be identified. Also, study the effectiveness of all such barriers, the impact of the sudden failure of these barriers, reliability of the existing ones.
  7. Evaluation of the system risk factor study the effect and the extent of harm caused to the target due to the energy flow, or multiple energy flows, to evaluate the risk factor. This analysis should be done with the potential barriers and without the barriers.
  8. Determine the corrective measures – analyze if the barriers provided are effective and adequate for safety of target, else recommend the barriers that should be provided to reduce the risk factor and ensure the safety of the target from the energy sources. Also determine if there is a need to analyze the situation using other techniques to understand completely all the hazards and factors leading to accidents
  9. Identify hazards – determine and track the hazards using a tracking tool
  10. Document all the steps involved in the analysis and the findings

Advantages and Disadvantages

Barrier Analysis has provided huge contribution towards analysis of various energy sources and as a tool in preventing hazards.

Advantages of Barrier Analysis

  • In accident investigation, the tool has proved to be very useful in providing unbiased details on what went wrong which includes not only the physical barrier failures but also the failures of administrative controls. It also provides a visibility on the absence of barriers that should have been in place to avoid the accident.
  • In the field of safety analysis, it offers a common point for humans reliability experts, designers, safety analysts, so that they can all focus on one common goal towards achieving the effectiveness and failure of predicted accidental steps.

Disadvantage of Barrier Analysis

The only drawback of this tool is that while doing a predictive analysis for future, they might assume more amenability with the barriers than actually tends to happen.


A useful example of how barrier analysis was used to save the target from the hazards:

At the French Cadarache nuclear power plant, barrier analysis was used to evaluate the events that led to the release of various water contaminants in the environment. Sequence of events can be described as mentioned below:

  • Somebody forgot to turn off the tap after using the water to rinse his/her eyes
  • After a certain amount of time, water overflowed from the basin and spilled into the tank used for storage.
  • Tank slowly got filled up but the overflow alarm of the storage tank failed to function
  • When the storage tank also overflowed, the low level radiation tank also overflowed but the alarm for this one also failed.
  • As a consequence, a great quantity of water spilled on the flour and flowed into the sump
  • The pump of the sump was unfortunately connected to the rainwater tank rather than the industrial waste tank so the contaminants flowed in the wrong place.

Analyzing the system for energy source path flows, the barriers and the target, it can be clearly seen that although there were two barriers provided in the system they both failed to function. The first step was the omission of an action, which led the energy source, water in this case, reaches the target. This seems to be a failure of a symbolic barrier that could have been the instructions for using the tap. Although there were no functional barriers involved in this step, use of one could have saved the target. To suggest one, a timer that automatically turns off the tap after a time could have done the task for us.

Although the next two steps involved functional barriers, both failed. These could have been replaced with alternative barriers like having difference types of fittings in the two tanks and so on.

Likewise, there are many other applications and examples that used the Barrier Analysis to study the sources, the barriers and the targets in the provided system to ensure use of effective barriers.


The report contains an overview of the Barrier concept as applied by various experts and researchers. The aim of the report is to have an understanding of how the Barrier Analysis can be used to understand the various elements of a system to evaluate the nature of the barrier that is used or should have been use. By identifying the energy sources flow and the target, evaluation of barrier can be studied.

The process can be considered as the comprehensive hazard analysis and its effect on the various element of the environment like the objects and the personnel. The analysis is very simple and can be easily used to find out various threats to the system especially the targets that are at the receiving end. Barrier Analysis provides a pictorial view that helps many analysts and researchers to visualize the risk factor involved in the system. Moreover it is pretty inexperience, which makes it excel over other tools. Barrier analysis has the capability to easily recognize most of the energy sources and their flow path; to quote examples it can recognize sources like electricity, compressed gas and so on.

This combined with the accident analysis can be very helpful in learning the pattern of the accident which happened either because of failure of the existing barrier or because of the missing barrier. The retrospective analysis can be used as an effective tool for the predictive use so that the target can be prevented from the hazards.


Livingston A D, Jackson G and Priestley K; “Root causes analysis: Literature review. HSE Health & Safety Executive”, 2001

Polet P “Modélisation des Franchissements de Barrières pour l’Analyse des Risques des Systèmes Homme-Machine. Ph.D. thesis presented at Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambrésis”, 2002

Reason, J. T. (1992). The identification of latent organisational failures in complex systems. In J. A. Wise, V. D. Hopkin & P. Stager (Eds.), Verification and validation of complex systems: Human factors issues. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

Trost, W. A. & Nertney, R. J. (1985). Barrier analysis (DOE 76-45/29). Idaho Falls, Idaho: EG&G Idaho, Inc.

N. W. Knox and R. W. Eicher, MORT User’s Manual, ODE 76/45-4, SSDC-4 (Revision 2), May 1983

Haddon, William Jr.; “Energy Damage and the Ten Counter-Measure Strategies,” Human 2 Factors Journal, August 1973.

Kecklund, L. J., Edland, A, Wedin, P. & Svenson, O. (1996). Safety barrier function analysis in a process industry: A nuclear power application. Industrial Ergonomics, 17, 275-284

Svenson, O. (1991). The accident evolution and barrier function (AEB) model applied to incident analysis in the processing industries. Risk Analysis, 11(3), 499-507.

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