Risk management involves the identification of potential risks, including any hazards. The management has to find ways of eliminating the risk. If this is not possible at the time of assessment, the management has to find ways of controlling the risks by avoiding or reducing them. It is a structured and continuous process that reassesses and searches for new risks and hazards. Requirements under this task include the development of risk management programs and procedures, implementation of the program, and constant maintenance to ensure that the program is working as intended. Risk management also involves the review of all activities concerned with environmental health and safety, as well as any products and services. Risk management is a part of the organization’s culture and practices and is applicable to all the activities of a project. The management should ensure that there is a record of risk management activities, and it should communicate these results to all entities. Risk management includes an examination of the work area designs, equipment, materials, and other substances in the work place, and the identification of hazards outside the working environment, which can affect the health and safety of the different entities in the organization (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012).
Risk management should address different elements within the workplace environment, including human behavior, potential risks to other people other than the employees in the organization, the supply chain and other undertakings, the activities of all people with access to the workplace, as well as work processes and operating procedures. A safety case is a risk management technique that is especially useful when dealing with hazardous facilities and high-risk activities. It involves the identification of significant hazard facilities, which might include chemicals and petroleum goods. Controlling risks is a systematic process in the form of a hierarchy. The hierarchy levels include elimination, substitution, engineering controls and isolation, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012). It begins with the first control measure of risk elimination and working downwards.
This involves recording of all environmental health and safety incidents. It requires the investigators to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident and analyze it. This enables the organization to find the main cause of the incident, prevent the occurrence of any future incidents, and eliminate any form of misunderstanding and blame on the part of the employees present when the incident happened. The people conducting the investigations should be competent and should consult with other stakeholders involved. The investigations conducted should be timely as any delay can have consequences on the results. No one, including the employer, should disturb the site of the incident until the investigations are done. The employer has the responsibility of preserving the site and all evidence until the relevant authorities arrive. However, the employer also has a responsibility of ensuring that all people are safe (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012). The incident report identifies any measures that the management can use to control and prevent the incident from happening again. In addition, it details any corrective measures that the management needs to take to deal with the incident.
The person conducting the investigations should communicate the results to the relevant stakeholders. The employer should use the results of the investigation to improve the working environment by eliminating any hazards. The report should include information such as the type of the environmental health and safety incident, details of any injured person, including the gender and occupation, information on the location of the incident, the evidence collected including the statements of the witnesses and any photographs taken, and the details of the event. In addition, the report should include information on the root causes of the incident based on the investigator’s findings, the consequences of the incident to the people and the environment, and the details of the results of the outcome. The person conducting the investigation should include details about his authority and competency.
Emergencies are incidents that can cause serious injuries or death to people, and they can have serious negative consequences to the environment. An emergency management program includes all the activities and arrangement such as the procedures, budget and resources that different people undertake to manage emergencies. Management of emergencies involves controlling incidents and containing them so that there is minimal danger to persons, property, and the environment. The people involved have to anticipate different emergency scenarios to enable them to develop an emergency response plan. The employees should know what emergencies mean. They should be able to recognize whenever an emergency occurs, they should know how to respond to emergencies, and know the right way to report the emergency to the management. The response plans developed are in compliance with the law, simple, direct and flexible to accommodate any changes (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012). An emergency management program should be able to deal with internal and external emergencies.
An emergency response plan addresses threat plans, specific plans, functional plans, government and sector plans. In addition, it provides the necessary resources, arranges for external stakeholder communication and support action, and arranges for communication with emergency services and local authorities. The requirements under this task involve the development of emergency management procedures, as well as the implementation and maintenance of those procedures. It also involves identification of different emergency situations, development of emergency response plans, identification of the role of the management and responsibilities of different entities, and the identification of the available resources, including human resources and the facilities available. The management should conduct periodic tests and exercises and review the procedures. Conducting drills and refresher courses will prepare the employees to respond quickly to emergencies. Competent personnel should manage the emergency program, and they should be able to carry out their roles expediently. The employer should provide them with the equipment they need to carry out their roles. The personnel should be aware of the risks faced in the course of their duty (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012).
All entities should have a clear understanding of fire prevention and control, after undergoing training. The employees should understand how to use fire extinguishers, and they should have knowledge of any fire fighting hazards. The training that the employees and other entities will receive will include lessons on the principles of fire, when they need to evacuate and stop attempting to stop the fire, the different types of fire fighting equipment and how they are used, as well as the hazards they can incur when using the equipments. In addition, the training will include information of the procedures that employees need to follow in case there is an emergency. This will include identification of assembly points, and procedures to use when reporting to the superiors (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012).
In some cases, there is a need to provide refresher training. For instance, it is necessary to provide refresher training when the employees feel that they do not have adequate information, when there is a change in the procedure for fire prevention, when there is a new fire hazard potential, and when the employees relocate to an area where the equipment used is different. Routine maintenance of fire fighting equipment, fire alarms and any other fire detection and warning system is necessary to prevent the spread of fires. Exit and entry points should be free of any obstructions to ensure that people are able to access them whenever necessary. In addition, the entry and exit points should have emergency lighting in case the usual lighting fails during an emergency. People should be able to read any warning signs and other information. The writing should be in an understandable language, and it should be clear. People should ensure that they prevent explosions by knowing how to handle explosive materials and other dangerous materials (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012).
Medical surveillance is necessary after conducting a risk, or occupational hygiene assessment as this enables one to determine the level of exposure and to control exposure. Medical surveillance is necessary after exposure to hazardous materials. Medical surveillance is undertaken by a competent person, such as a HAAD licensed physician (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012). The physician prepares a surveillance report after examining the patient, and he includes information such as the effect of the materials that the person was exposed to and the effect of the exposure on the health of the employees. The report includes any needs that the employees might have because of the exposure, as well as the treatment needed. The physician should give an explanation of the report. Employers can make use of a questionnaire, to collect data that includes personal risk factors such as allergies, history of the employee and his or her family, a person’s lifestyle and previous medical conditions, and occupational history including stressors from a previous employer. Stressors may include biological, chemical, physical, or ergonomic. The employer shall communicate the results of the surveillance to the concerned employee and shall give them a copy of their medical report. Employers can offer counseling and health education if they find them necessary. This will enable employees to have more information concerning the health risks of their occupation and those associated with their lifestyle habits. The employer covers the cost of surveillance, as well as any other costs associated with the exercise, such as the medical costs.
Employees working in companies that import, store, distribute, sell, or use any form of hazardous materials shall receive training before they begin working. The purpose of the training is to ensure that all the entities, including the employees, managers, and supervisors have adequate information on how they can handle hazardous materials. Therefore, the person conducting the training should be competent and able to deliver the message using language that everybody will understand. Employees training cover different elements including how to use data or profile sheets, the personal protective equipment they need whenever they handle and use hazardous materials, the properties of these materials, as well as the risks associated with their use, and how they need to handle and store the materials. The employees need to know the best way they can dispose off the materials without causing further risks or harm to other people, and to the environment. The training will cover the actions that employees can take to ensure that they do not expose themselves to the materials. The training will enable employees to know how they label the materials and hazardous waste, the meaning of different signs, classification of hazardous materials, as well as how they can deal with incompatible hazardous materials.
All employees need to know the control measures they can take in case of an incident. Some employees may need additional and specialized training depending on their position. For instance, employees that move the materials need to know how to drive safely, different techniques including correct loading and unloading and ways of securing loads, what they can do in case of an accident or any incident, and the reporting requirements. Employees need to understand the importance of having documentation, including transport and emergency management documentation. Managers at different levels and supervisors need training as well. They need to know and recognize any security risks, the control measures they need to take to reduce or eliminate the risk, the actions to take in case there is a security breach, as well as how to notify and alert the management about the security risks. All employers dealing with hazardous materials need to know the environmental laws, regulations concerning the handling of the materials, medical waste, and other chemicals, and any other legal requirements. Employers should follow the rules and regulations pertaining to banned substances. They need to have the proper documentation including the required licenses and permits that will enable them to handle hazardous materials (Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, 2012).
Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center. (2012). Abu Dhabi environment, health and safety management system regulatory framework (AD EHSMS RF). Retrieved from http://www.adehsms.ae/Pages/ADEHSMSDetails.aspx