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Healthy Workplaces Risk Assessment and SMEs

Healthy Workplaces Risk Assessment and SMEs. Lorenzo Munar Project Manager Working Environment Information Unit. PTT Overview. EU-OSHA introduction Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Risk Assessment (2008-09) Dangerous Substances and Risk assessment Agency ressources

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Healthy Workplaces Risk Assessment and SMEs

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  1. Healthy WorkplacesRisk Assessment and SMEs Lorenzo Munar Project Manager Working Environment Information Unit

  2. PTT Overview • EU-OSHA introduction • Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Risk Assessment (2008-09) • Dangerous Substances and Risk assessment • Agency ressources • Information on Dangerous Substances and Risk assessment • Risk assessment tools database • Online risk assessment tool

  3. EU-OSHA introduction

  4. EU-OSHA, established in 1996, Bilbao

  5. Basic structure: Tripartite system • 60 employees from 17 EU countries • EU-OSHA is a tripartite organisation with representatives from: • Governments, • Employers organisations and • Trade unions • Governing Board • 3 x 27 EU Member States • 3 European Commmission

  6. Strategy of the Agency • Identify safety and health issues related to the Changing World of Work • The Board, Focal Points, Staff, others • Coordinate research into new and emerging risks • The European Risk Observatory Unit • Identify practical approaches to dealing with OSH issues • Working Environment Information Unit • Disseminate the information • Communication and Promotion Unit More information about EU-OSHA: http://osha.europa.eu/en/about

  7. Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Risk Assessment (2008-09)

  8. http://osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/hw2008/

  9. Why a campaign on RA? There is a need to improve the implementation and the quality of RA (EU Commission COM 2004/62): • The tasks RA, documentation and supervision are not universally spread • RA is often considered a ‘one-off’ action and is not sustained. • In the course of conducting superficial RA the focus is put on identifying obvious and immediate risks • Psychosocial risks and work organisation factors are rarely considered in RA. • The efficiency of the measures taken is not sufficiently supervised.

  10. Poor management of chemical risks in SMEs (MV=4.39) • 99.8% of enterprises are SMEs (EU-25, 2003) • Employ 66% of EU private sector workforce. • Poorer OSH situation in SMEs: • 82% of reported occupational injuries • fatal accident rate in micro and small companies 2x higher • CMRs in France: 20% of micro enterprises assess risks, 38% of small companies, 57% of medium companies, and 67% of companies with > 200 workers. • Lack of awareness/internal expertise on OSH risks and legislation; of time/resources; poor contact with OSH bodies, internal consultation and information/training to workers • SMEs want to be told exactly how to control chemicals so as to meet all regulatory requirements • Easy-to-use instruments to assess chemical risks exist – they need to be shared and made available/known to SMEs • Need to make SMEs’ owners aware that OSH is worth it. Source: Expert forecast on Emerging Chemical Risks – Risk Observatory – EU-OSHA http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/TE3008390ENC_chemical_risks/view

  11. Poor management of chemical risks in SMEs Reasons insufficient compliance • lack of information in the chain ‘producer, distributor, end-user’ • SDS are too technical, too long and of poor quality • lack of knowledge and skills in SMEs • working conditions knowledge infrastructure is not adequately organised to support companies • insufficient awareness of the risks • lack of knowledge on possiblecontrol measures

  12. Dangerous Substances and Risk assessment

  13. What are dangerous substances? Dangerous substances (DA): • Are any liquids, gases or solids that pose a risk to workers’ health or safety • Can be found in nearly all workplaces, including in SMEs (farms, hairdresser’s shops, motor-cycle repair shops, hospitals, schools…) • Include chemical as well as biological agents (bacteria, viruses, yeast and mould, parasites...) • Include substances produced as a by-product of work, as well as raw materials (welding fumes, diesel exhaust, wood dust, flour used in bakeries…).

  14. Dangerous substances and harm If the risks of using DS are not properly managed, workers’ health can be harmed in a variety of ways: • Through a single short exposure • Through multiple exposures • Through long-term accumulation of substances in the body.

  15. Health effects DS can have many different health effects including: • Acute effects: poisoning, suffocation, explosion and fire • Long-term effects, for example: • Respiratory diseases (reactions in the airways and lungs) such as asthma, rhinitis, asbestosis and silicosis • Occupational cancers (leukaemia, lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the nasal cavity) • Health effects that can be both acute and long-term: • Skin diseases, reproductive problems and birth defects, allergies • Some substances can accumulate in the body • Some substances can have a cumulative effect • Some substances can penetrate through the skin

  16. Dangerous Substances - the law • Legislation in this field includes regulations on the protection of workers from the risks related to: • Chemical agents • Biological agents • Carcinogens and mutagens (including asbestos and wood dust) • Regulations on classification and labelling are equally important, but do not apply to all dangerous substances (e.g. hairdressing chemicals, pharmaceuticals) • Restrictions on use and marketing are imposed on some substances and work procedures. • You should seek clarification of the specific national legislation that may apply to you, relating to the use of DS in the workplace.

  17. Other relevant legislation • REACHEuropean Community Regulation EC 1907/2006 creates a new, single system for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals: • Aims to do more to protect the environment and health of users • Makes industry more responsible for managing the risks from chemicals and providing safety information on substances to all who produce or use a substance. • More on REACH: http://echa.europa.eu • GHS – the United Nations Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals -will also have an impact on workers’ health • More on GHS: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/reach/ghs_en.htm

  18. In a nutshell… • By law, employers in the EU must protect their workers from being harmed by DS in the workplace. • In order to protect workers from DS, employers are required by law to carry out a Risk Assessment (RA). Workers should be involved in this task.

  19. What is Risk Assessment? • Risk Assessment is the process of evaluating the risks to workers’ safety and health from workplace hazards. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of work that considers: • What could cause injury or harm • Whether hazards could be eliminated and, if not, • What preventive or protective measures should be in place to control the risks. • RA is the basis for successful safety and health management, the key to reducing occupational accidents and illnesses

  20. Risk Assessment for DS • RA for DS involves the same basic principles and processes as for other occupational risks • Whoever carries out the RA it is essential that employees are consulted and involved in the process. They: • Know their workplace • Are the ones who will have to implement any changes in working conditions/ practices. • Different methods are available. But for most businesses, a straightforward five-step approach to RA works well.

  21. Step 1: Identify hazards and those at risk (1) • Look for substances that have the potential to cause harm, and identify any workers who may be exposed to the substances • Particular attention should be paid to groups of workers who may be at increased risk e.g: • Young workers • Pregnant women and nursing mothers • Migrant workers • Untrained or inexperienced staff • Cleaners, contractors and members of the public. Reminder: a hazard can be anything — whether work materials, equipment, work methods or practices — that has the potential to cause harm.

  22. Step 1: Identify hazards and those at risk (2) To help identify hazards: • Make an inventory of substances used and generated in the workplace • Collect information about these substances e.g. the harm they can do and how this can happen • Standardised safety labels, risk symbols, and safety data sheets (SDS), which must be provided by the supplier of a chemical, are important source of information • Check the Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for the substances • OELs help to control exposure to DS in the workplace, by setting the maximum amount of (air) concentration of a substance • Assess whether you are using carcinogens or mutagens, for which more stringent rules apply • For more information see Facts 33 and Facts 35

  23. Step 2: Evaluate and prioritise risks • Assess workers’ exposure to DS that have been identified, looking at the type, intensity, length, frequency of exposure to workers • Consider which work procedures are being used • Consider combined exposures to substances • Consider combined effects with other risks, for example: • Fire risks near flammable substances • Heavy physical work that can increase the uptake of chemicals, • Wet work that can increase the effect of chemicals on the skin • The list can then be used to draw up a action plan. Reminder: a risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody may be harmed by a hazard.

  24. Step 3: Decide on preventive action (1) Follow the hierarchy of measures to prevent or reduce the exposure of workers to DS : • Elimination – the best way to reduce the risks associated with DS • Remove the need to use the DS by changing the process or product in which the substance is used • Substitution – if elimination is not possible • Substitute or replace the DS with non-hazardous or less hazardous alternatives

  25. Step 3: Decide on preventive action (2) • Control - if a substance or process cannot be eliminated or substituted • Prevent or reduce the exposure through: • Enclosure of the process that results in DS being emitted • Control of the emission at the source • Better management of processes • Technical solutions to minimise exposure • Reducing the number of workers exposed to the dangerous substance, and the duration and intensity of exposure • Where exposure cannot be prevented by other means, ensure that individuals have suitable personal protective equipment and are trained in its use.

  26. Substitution – work processes • Start with substances and work processes that: • Have already caused problems in your enterprise (health problems, accidents or other incidents) • Make regular health monitoring (such as medical examination of workers) necessary • Are covered by specific national regulations imposing restrictions of use in the workplace • Lead to high levels of exposure among workers, or result in exposure to many workers. • Work processes to consider include: • Open processes, e.g. painting large surfaces, mixing/compounding in open containers/vessels • Processes that generate dusts, vapours or fumes, or that disperse liquids in the air, e.g. welding, paint-spraying.

  27. Substitution – substances • Substances to consider include those that: • Increase the risk of fire and explosion • Are volatile, e.g. organic solvents, or that are dispersed in the air (aerosols, dust) • Cause acute health risks, e.g. poisons, corrosives and irritants • Cause chronic health risks, e.g. allergens, substances that affect reproduction • Cause occupational diseases • Can be absorbed through the skin • Make the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. inhalation protection)necessary. • For more information see Facts 34

  28. Carcinogens and mutagens • Regulations for carcinogens and mutagens impose more stringent requirements: • Carcinogenic and mutagenic substances must be replaced as far as technically possible • Enclosure of the emitting process is mandatory if it is technically feasable • Workers‘ access must be restricted • More detailed records must be kept on workers‘ exposure, and the must be kept for longer • More information must be given to workers on exposure and health monitoring. • You should seek clarification of the specific national legislation that may apply to you, regarding the use of DS in the workplace

  29. Step 4: Take action • Put in place preventive and protective measures • Effective implementation involves the development of a plan that specifies: • Who does what • When a task is to be completed • The means allocated to implement the measures • When the assessment will be revised and by whom • It is essential that any work to eliminate, substitute or controls risks is prioritised.

  30. Step 5: Monitor and review • The effectiveness of preventive measures should be monitored • The assessment should be reviewed whenever significant changes occur in the organisation: • When there are changes in the work procedure • When new chemicals and work procedures are introduced • When accidents or health problems occur • On a periodic basis, to ensure that the findings of the RA are still valid.

  31. Record the Assessment • The Risk Assessment must be documented, such a record can be used to: • Pass information to the persons concerned • Assess whether the necessary measures have been introduced • Provide evidence for supervisory authorities • Revise measures if circumstances change.

  32. Advice for workers • To keep safe in relation to DS, workers should be kept informed about: • The findings of the RA • The hazards they are exposed to • How they may be affected • What they have to do to keep themselves and others safe • What to do in case of an accident or when things go wrong • How to know when things go wrong • Who they should report any problems to • What to do when carrying out maintenance work • The results of any exposure monitoring or health surveillance.

  33. Advice to employers: communication • Good communication between employer and worker includes: • Having a list of hazardous substances that are used or generated through the work process • Having Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and similar documents available for each DS used • Producing work instructions based on information about DS • Making sure that containers for DS are clearly labelled • Communicating the results of the RA • Regularly asking workers about potential health and safety problems • Providing workers with all relevant information, instruction and training on the DS present in the workplace.

  34. Agency ressources

  35. Information on DS and RA • There is plenty of information and guidance available to help you on the Agency website: • Information about the RA campaign: http://hw.osha.europa.eu • An RA Web section including RA tools and checklists: http://osha.europa.eu/topics/riskassessment • Information on DS specifically for SMEs: http://sme.osha.europa.eu/products/dangerous_substances/ • A PPT about DS and RA http://hw.osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/hw2008/campaign/6powerpoints/ • Frequently Asked Questions on Dangerous substances http://osha.europa.eu/en/good_practice/topics/dangerous_substances/faq.stm

  36. Information on DS and RA (2) • DS Web section including examples of good practice from across the EU http://osha.europa.eu/topics/ds • Factsheets: • Factsheet 33 - An introduction to dangerous substances in the workplace  http://osha.europa.eu/publications/factsheets/33 • Factsheet 34 - Elimination and substitution of dangerous substances  http://osha.europa.eu/publications/factsheets/34 • Factsheet 35 - Communicating information about dangerous substances http://osha.europa.eu/publications/factsheets/35 • Factsheet 39 - Respiratory sensitisers  http://osha.europa.eu/publications/factsheets/39 • Factsheet 40 - Skin sensitisers http://osha.europa.eu/publications/factsheets/40

  37. Information on DS and RA (3) • Forums: Hazardous Substances in the Workplace – Minimising risks http://hw.osha.europa.eu/en/publications/forum/10 Working with dangerous substances: The European Policy Challenge http://hw.osha.europa.eu/en/publications/forum/12

  38. Risk assessement tools database • RA tools = checklists, guides, RA tools, questionnaires, …; • This database will be available on the Agency web site; • The information will be displayed by: source/author; MS; language; area covered (generic tool/branch specific tool) type of RAR (checklist, guide, …); • It will contribute to the “state of the art” concerning RAR; • It will contribute to identify gaps.

  39. Online risk assessment tool

  40. Mobile component

  41. http://hw.osha.europa.eu Good for you. Good for business. Thank you Lorenzo Munar munar@osha.europa.eu

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