Risk and Safety Management, Risk Control Systems and Performance

Introduction

There are a number of drivers to setting Criticality Criteria and they include International Legislation and Guidelines, National Legislation, Regulators Guidelines, Industry Guidelines and Company Requirements. The idea and identification of Safety-Critical Elements that incorporates both equipment and systems is the foundation of engineering verification (Woods, 2009, p.69). A safety system is determined by various other systems in order to operate successfully. On the other hand, a safety critical element or equipment is the last option to preventing an accident from occurring (Apostilakis, 2004, p.1). This element is usually periodically inspected or tested and independent.

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Engineering Critical Assessment is charged with determining if a piece of structure or equipment is fit or appropriate enough to meet the service requirements for which it is to be used (Chenhall, 2003, p.27). In addition, a risk assessment is carried out to examine those things that could cause injury or harm to individuals to enable an organization to determine whether or not it is taking enough precautions or should do more in preventing injury (Glendon, Clarke & McKenna, 2006, p.403).

Workplace accidents are bound to happen especially when one is working in the engineering sector and therefore should be confronted beforehand. It is also important for an organization to manage risk effectively to ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for individuals to work in (Hansson, 2004, p.353). Risk and safety management as well as risk control systems and performance requires that the management or executives of an organization implement safety and health measurements in the workplace to control various risks that may arise (Gustin, 2008, p.195).

Assessment

Critical Risk Control System (Safety Critical Elements)

Critical Risk Control System or Safety Critical Elements are equipment, systems, component parts, structures, plants whose failure to properly function as per the requirements could lead, or contribute to a serious accident within the workplace (Leitch, 2008, p.45). In engineering, there are a number of engineering safety critical elements relating to equipments and components that prevent or mitigate risks in the workplace. They are listed below.

Electrical Equipment design-fit for purpose Industry best practice

The Electrical Safety Regulation Act of 2002 was implemented to not only ensure the electrical safety of employees but also ensure that any electrical equipment sold or hired is considered safe for application (Watts & Chapman, 2002, p.15). It was also to enhance customer protection as regards electrical work.

Organizations or firms located in the desert area should ensure that all their electrical appliances and equipment are designed in a manner to fit their assigned purposes to avoid any damage or risk factors that may occur if this is not carefully considered (Wilson, McCutcheon & Buchanan, 2003, p.94). Installing the best design fit electrical appliances and equipment would also save the organization expenses incurred during the replacement of faulty electrical appliances.

Electrical Maintenance and Inspection managed by Electrical Department

Most individuals tend to think that those working in the electrical department in any organization or company just sit around and wait for the next best idea from engineering. However, that is not true. Managing electrical maintenance and inspection can prove quite a challenge as a lot of background engineering experience is required especially for those chemical plants or firms located in deserts (Whitney, 2000, p.130).

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It is therefore important and advisable that such firms employ qualified and competent staff to manage their electrical appliances and equipment, ensure their proper maintenance as well as to conduct inspections once in a while to avoid any future exposure to avoidable accidents such as fire (Wang & Roush, 2000, p.44).

Safety Devices – circuit breakers, fuses, separate electrical distribution boards for each block

Even though the majority of firms or companies do not realize it, circuit breakers, fuses, and electrical distribution boards are effective safety and risk management devices that come in handy in situations where risks are most likely to occur, for instance in a chemical plant (Daft, 2009, p.600). Installation of separate electrical distribution boards would be appropriate for chemical plant buildings and other firms located within the desert as they would provide manageable wiring and avoid electrical faults.

On the other hand, circuit breakers and fuses would also be suitable in the prevention of hazards in organizations or firms located in deserts such as chemical plants in that they protect both the personnel and electrical appliances as they trip in the event of any fault (Doherty, 2000, p.17). Fuses also disconnect immediately an electrical fault occurs thus preventing occurrences of fire within the building.

Communication mast likely preferential strike point

Communication masts are suitable for all forms of wireless communication and these can be appropriately used in desert plants or firms. For the majority of firms located within the desert, radios are usually their primary means of communication and can be made effective by erecting communication masts (Watts, 2003, p.23). Communication masts are also helpful in that in cases of lightning, they would be the first to bear the impact of the lightning, thus providing safety for those individuals within the building.

As there is nothing one can do to prevent a lightning strike during a rainstorm, it is always advisable to install large tall communication masts, as they are good conductors of electricity (Desourdis, Smith, Speights, Dewey & DiSalvo, 2002, p.111). The majority of buildings located in deserts tend to be constructed at higher terrains as compared to other residential buildings. They are therefore more vulnerable to lightning strikes and should ensure that such risks are prevented by implementing risk and safety management measures (Glendon, et al., 2006, p.404).

Bins for cigarettes outside each accommodation block and building

In desert plants or factories, it is important that there be placed bins for cigarettes outside each accommodation block and building to prevent the occurrence of fire. The majority of workers tend to smoke and it would not be logical to implement a non-smoking policy within the plant. The management should therefore consider educating their workers on the risks associated with the disposal of cigarette butts in areas not designated and should instead dispose of them in bins or other designated equipment (Woods, 2009, p.70).

It is important for organizations or companies to clearly identify fire safety strategies in order to achieve better standards as regards risk and safety management in addition to constructing better buildings.

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Smoke Detectors in all rooms permanently energized, alarm in Control Room

Smoke detectors can be defined as those devices meant to sense any presence of smoke within a building, warning its occupants in advance and enabling them to escape fire before being exposed to smoke inhalation or burns (Hansson, 2004, p.354). In such firms that are located in deserts, it is recommended that they install smoke detectors in all rooms permanently energized whereby ionization smoke detectors are the best option. These detectors are capable of detecting visible and invisible aerosols that may occur during the early stages of a fire (Watts & Chapman, 2002, p.16).

In firms or organizations, control rooms are those serving as operation centers where a service or faculty can be controlled and monitored (Daft, 2009, p.601). It is therefore crucial that alarms be installed in control rooms especially in desert firms or organization to ensure that information is passed on in due time incases of an emergency or fire. The control room should also assign specific individuals who can be in a position to efficiently and safely control alarm loads and improvements (Chenhall, 2003, p.28).

Smoke Detectors in all rooms Automatic fire alarm, manual alarm call points at each building

Automatic fire alarm systems offer early warnings of developing emergencies, facilitating swift and safe evacuation of individuals within a building (Glendon, et al., 2006, p.405). These fire alarms also summon fire fighting departments as soon as they are sounded, providing accurate data as regards location of the fire and enabling firefighters to not only report on time but also handle and contain the fire before spreading to adjacent rooms (Woods, 2009, p.71). The management should also consider fitting call points in easily accessible as well as conspicuous points along escape routes of the plants or organizations. They should be located near the exits to the open air together with all storey exists within each floor (Desourdis, et al., 2002, p.112).

Telephones should also be installed at each floor to ensure that incase of an emergency, most, if not all, of the employees and individuals within the building are warned in due time. Workers and staff should also be made aware of any special numbers that they would be required to dial in such situations.

Flame Retardant furnishings, Concrete building

Concrete is that material used in construction, composed of cement and other materials for instance gravel, granite, chemicals and water and hardens as well as solidifies once it is mixed with water due to hydration (Hansson, 2004, p.355).

Managers of a plant situated in the desert should consider constructing their building using concrete in order to be in a better position in providing risk and safety management in case of fires that usually break out in deserts (Wilson, et al., 2003, p.98). Flame retardant is usually incorporated in furnishings as well as majority of electronic equipment within buildings or offices and provides fire-resistive protection. These are mostly recommended in desert plants as they can be installed in openings where wiring, piping or cabling is found in walls, ceilings and floors (Glendon, et al., 2006, p.406).

Fire retardant furnishings as well as concrete buildings have been observed to be non-combustible that is, they neither support combustion nor burn, and therefore can be appropriate for construction of desert factories or plants (Woods, 2009, p.72). Concrete is best used in construction of buildings that are vulnerable to exposure of fire.

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Alarm Bell reinforced by manual raising alarm, knocking on doors (Mitigation)

For large desert plants and firms, it is quite difficult for an individual to go to every door and knock on it to warn the others. It is also difficult for one to manually raise alarm, as it would only be heard by a few of those individuals who are nearby. It is therefore important for management of such organizations or firms to install automatic alarms that can be switched on in times of emergencies and activated all over the building (Desourdis, et al., 2002, p.113).

Portable fire extinguishers, fire hoses and hydrants as appropriate

These safety critical elements are vital in any organization especially for a firm or plant located in the desert. Portable fire extinguishers should be provided and made easily accessible to employees for their use incase of an emergency before the arrival of the Fire Department (Hansson, 2004, p.378). However, the management should train these employees on how to handle and use these portable fire extinguishers in order to be able to effectively control and manage a fire incase of an outbreak. Fire hoses should also be made long enough to enable those using it reach the core of the fire if need arises.

On the other hand, for those firms or plants within a desert, there should be fire hydrants placed at designated spots around the plant’s or firm’s compound for easy access as a risk control systems and performance policy (Daft, 2009, p.602). Fire hydrants are active fire protection measures as well as sources of water that provide municipal water to allow fire fighters tap into the water supply in the process of extinguishing a fire (Woods, 2009, p.73). It is advisable that these fire hydrants be brightly colored for easy location incase of situations where fire has occurred and there is a lot of smoke in the atmosphere, such that one cannot properly see anything or anyone. There should also be hydrant signs indicated by the letter H that allows one to know the existence of one nearby incase of fire.

Medical facilities for casualties

Accidents can occur in organizations or firms especially in desert plants that may tend to deal with certain chemicals or nuclear substances. It is therefore important for management to install safety kits and emergency medical facilities for workers who may suffer from exposure to such hazards (Glendon, et al., 2006, p.).

Working in firms located in the desert such as chemical plants means that the staff and personnel are at a risk of exposure to toxic fume and other chemical injuries. Such organizations should ensure that not only are they well equipped with first aid kits and other medical care equipment but that they are also located near a medical health center (Gustin, 2008, p.221). In cases of serious injuries, these organizations should have personal aircraft for emergency transport to nearby medical facilities.

General Functional and Survivability Requirements for Safety Critical Elements

Performance Standard No.1 Critical Risk Control System (Safety Critical Elements)
Performance Objectives:
The main objective of Critical Risk Control System is to adequately and efficiently plan cost, time and resources within an organization
Boundary:
This control system includes safety critical elements
Functionality
Functional Requirements Performance Criteria Basis Assurance Verification
Safety Critical Elements are meant to ensure that risk and safety management measures as well as risk control systems and performance are implemented within an organization The measurable performance criteria expected from these elements is that of good if not excellent These criteria are acceptable as they are effective in risk management and control The achievement of the performance criteria was checked through worksheets and record logs Verification is achieved by action tracking devices throughout the lifecycle of the plant/firm
Reliability/Availability
Component Performance Criteria Basis Assurance Verification
Safety Critical Elements In terms of reliability and availability, these elements are required to perform excellently These criteria are acceptable as they are effective in risk management and control The achievement of the performance criteria was checked through worksheets and record logs Verification is achieved by action tracking devices throughout the lifecycle of the plant/firm
Survivability
Hazardous Event Component Performance Criteria Basis Assurance Verification
Fire Safety Devices, Bins for cigarettes, smoke detectors, flame retardant furnishings, alarm bells, portable fire extinguishers These elements are required to perform excellently and efficiently These criteria are acceptable as they are effective in risk management and control The achievement of the performance criteria was checked through worksheets and record logs Verification is achieved by testing, inspection and maintenance throughout the lifecycle of the plant/firm
Interaction / Dependency
System Interactions/Dependencies P.S. Ref.
Other Critical Risk Control Systems Solar panels may affect performance of these elements in that they may be preferred to previous elements as risk and safety management measures 1

Review of How the Performance of these Critical Risk Control Systems is assured over the lifetime of the plant

Maintenance, inspection and testing

It is vital for any organization dealing with engineering and is located in the desert such as chemical plants or firms to ensure that inspection, maintenance of the facility and other electrical equipment and tests are carried out on a continuous basis in order to ensure effective performance of the plant (Woods, 2009, p.74). Performance quality tests should also be carried out as regards their computing and communication systems to avoid any lapses or faults that may be avoidable to begin with.

Monthly inspection of the building that incorporates checking of individual offices should also be conducted to guarantee continuity of the business and stability of the building structure for years to come (Chenhall, 2003, p.149). There should also be a Critical Risk Control Systems register to record and analyze the performance levels of the various activities of the plant.

Records kept of activities and any findings

For such organizations or firms as chemical plants, there should be presence of maintenance logs, defect logs and calibration records to monitor how electrical appliances and factory equipment are maintained as well as the expenses incurred in the process (Apostilakis, 2004, p.5). In this way, management of these organizations are better able to keep record of those equipment that are considered defects and those that are repaired in addition to monitoring how long equipment lasts.

How deficiencies are dealt with

There occurs deficiencies in majority of organizations that can be effectively dealt with through change management process, action tracking systems and defect log and review (Hansson, 2004, p.356). Every deficiency should be immediately reported and the necessary action taken to fix the problem.

Conclusion

The implications and effectiveness of this system is that they do play a great role in averting the dangers that are bound due non preparedness during fire disasters. The idea of having a risk and safety management mechanism in place essentially means that a risk that was to happen or that are bound to happen usually are prepared for in advance. In addition, since workplace accidents are nearly impossible to happen especially when one is working in the engineering sector and therefore the issue of proper risk management should be confronted beforehand. It is important for any organization worth its repute to manage risk effectively to ensure that the work place is a safe environment for all the workers to work in.

Risk and safety management as well as risk control systems and performance requires that the management or executives of an organization implement safety and health measurements in the work place to control various risks that may arise.

References

Apostilakis, G. E. 2004. How Useful is Quantitative Risk Assessment? Risk Analysis, Vol. 24, No. 3. Pp. 1 – 12.

Chenhall, R. H. 2003. Management Control System design within its Organizational Context: Findings from Contingency-based Research and Directions for the Future, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 28(2-3). Pp. 127 – 168.

Daft, Richard L. 2009. Organization Theory and Design. 10th edition. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning. Pp. 600 – 649.

Desourdis, R. I., Smith, D. R., Speights, W. D., Dewey, R. J., and DiSalvo, J. R. 2002. Emerging Public Safety Wireless Communication Systems, Boston: Artech House. Pp. 111 – 119.

Doherty, Neil A. 2000. Integrated Risk Management: Techniques and Strategies for Managing Corporate Risk, New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 17 – 47.

Glendon, Ian A., Clarke, Sharon, and McKenna, Eugene F. 2006. Human Safety and Risk Management, 2nd edition, London: CRC Press. Pp. 403 – 500.

Gustin, Joseph F. 2008. Safety Management: A Guide for Facility Managers, 2nd edition, The Fairmont Press, Inc. Pp. 195 – 298.

Hansson, S. O. 2004. Fallacies of Risk, Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 7, No. 3. Pp. 353 – 360.

Leitch, Matthew. 2008. Intelligent Internal Control and Risk Management: Designing High-Performance Risk Control Systems, Burlington, VT: Gower Publishing, Ltd. Pp. 45 – 273.

Wang, John X., and Roush, Marvin L. 2000. What Every Engineer should know About Risk Engineering and Management. London: CRC Press. Pp. 44 – 251.

Watts, John M. Jr. 2003. Fire Risk Indexing: A Systematic Approach to Building Code ‘Equivalency’ for Historic Buildings, APT Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 4. Pp. 23 – 28.

Watts, John M. Jr., and Chapman, Robert E. 2002. Engineering Economics, Section 5, Chapter 7, SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, NFPA, Quincy MA. Pp. 15 – 30.

Whitney, Sally. 2000. Managing Internal Risks, Best’s Review. Pp. 130 – 141.

Wilson, Laird, McCutcheon, Doug and Buchanan, Marilyn. 2003. Industrial Safety and Risk Management, Edmonton: University of Alberta. Pp. 94 – 171.

Woods, M. 2009. A Contingency Theory Perspective on the Risk Management Control System within Birmingham City Council, Management Accounting Research. Pp. 69 – 81.

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