I’m currently studying the Piper Alpha Disaster for a Work Health Safety Diploma.
The following is an incomplete list of who was on the Piper Alpha at the time of the disaster.
when you have endured two years of offensive remarks or conduct, including a rape threat and has not been able to work since July 2010.
In the words of Maurice Blackburn senior associate Holly Pinnis
“Kate was subject to behaviour no one should ever have to endure. The fact that this happened at her workplace under her employer’s nose makes it all the more shocking.”
“This case puts all employers on notice. If you have an employee being harassed and bullied, you can’t sit on your hands. “
The link between all these, is the distractions which occurred.
A study published in June 2002 titled “The Stressed Hippocampus, Synaptic Plasticity and Lost Memories” concludes in part
“Stress, a naturalistic factor that contributes to memory impairments, constitutes a significant problem in today’s increasingly populous and long-living society.”
Or to put it another way:
‘The important factors that keep showing up involve a combination of stress, emotion, lack of sleep and change in routine, where the basal ganglia is trying to do what it’s supposed to do, and the conscious mind is too weakened to resist. What happens is that the memory circuits in a vulnerable hippocampus literally get overwritten, like with a computer program. Unless the memory circuit is rebooted—such as if the child cries, or, you know, if the wife mentions the child in the back—it can entirely disappear.’
– Professor David Diamond in a March 2009 Washington Post article
What lessons can be learnt?
The blog post title was borrowed from a post at On The Floor @Dove.
As part of the Getting Things Done methodology, David Allen talks about the martial arts concept of having a Mind Like Water. I was talking to a friend the other day about it. I mangled the quote at the time Jules, so here is the actual quote:
Imagine throwing a peddle into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t over-react or under-react.
– David Allen
Zendictive has a better version of the parable. And some advice on controlling feelings.
From Zen Psychiatry, the STOP acronym:
Stop when you realise you’re about to get hijacked by your reaction.
Take a Breath
Observe how your body is reacting.
Proceed when you’ve done the first three (STO)
Particularly in the case of CO2 fire extinguishers, where the complimentary use of them is “cooling beer cans” .
Spent the morning looking at the number of fire extinguishers needed in an Australian office building (ie. a Class 5 building).
Here’s the process I followed as a Health and Safety Representative:
First I grabbed a copy of the Building Code of Australia. It’s also known as the National Construction Code Series. From that I find out that:
And that’s where things start to get rubbery.
Yes, I’ve blurred the details out. Go buy your own copies of the relevant Australian Standards.
AS 1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment
AS 2444—2001 Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets—Selection and location
National Construction Code Series – Building Code of Australia
I was looking though some OH&S training notes, and this explanation of how Australian Standards are used with OH&S laws in Victoria, seems quite useful:
Australian standards outline the minimum requirements that assist any organisation to achieve it’s minimum regulatory requirements. They are vehicles for communication between producers and users, establishing a common language, which defines quality and establishes safety criteria.
There are over 6000 Standards maintained by approximately 9000 volunteer experts serving on around 1700 technical committees, supported by a full-time staff of 280. Standards give you extra information related to health and safety in the workplace that are not included or detailed in either regulations or codes of practice.”
-CGU Safety and Risk Services – 5 Day HSR Course 2012
Which, is often followed by “I thought there was a 15kg limit”.
Long story, short (in Victoria Australia), there isn’t any.
However, the Regulations require the employer to identify any task which involves hazardous manual handling, and then take actions to either eliminate or reduce the hazard and/or the associated risks. The Regulations include any task requiring the ‘application of high force’ as hazardous manual handling.
– OHS Reps @ Work: Weight limits – what are the legal limits for lifting?
The following references might also be useful:
A guide to Handling large, bulk or awkward items
Code of Proactive for Manual Handling, Part 3
Manual Order Picking (talks about "safe" lift zones)
Moving and Lifting Objects
Children’s Services – OH&S Kit
OHS in Commercial Laundries and Drycleaners
There are a number of Australian work glove standards. Here is a list of the most common.
AS/NZS 2161.3:1998 (EN388) – Protection against Mechanical Hazards
The EN388 standard applies to all types of protective gloves with respect to mechanical aggression from abrasion, cutting, tearing and puncture. These ratings are calculated from laboratory test results and do not replace the actual testing of the product in real conditions in the field. The results also enable you to compare the performance between various products.
AS/NZS 2161.5:1998 (EN 511:1994) Protection against Cold
The EN511 standard defines the requirements and test methods for gloves which protect against convective or conductive cold down to -50°. This cold can be linked to climatic conditions or industrial activity.
AS/NZS 2161.4:1999 EN407:1994) Protection against thermal risks (heat and fire)
This standard specifies test methods, general requirements, levels of thermal performance and the marking for protective gloves against heat and/or fire. It is to be used for all gloves which protect the hands against heat and/or flames in one or more of the following forms: fire, contact heat, convective heat, radiant heat, small splashes or large quantities of molten metal.
AS/NZS2161.10.3:2005 (EN374-3) – Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms – Determination of resistance to permeation by chemicals
The EN374-3 standard involves determination of the resistance of the materials making up the gloves. Resistance to permeation is assessed by measuring the time for a chemical to breakthrough glove material. Samples are cut and placed in a permeation cell which enables the chemical to be placed in contact with the outer surface of the glove. Air or water is passed through the cell to collect any chemical that has broken through the inside surface of the glove. It is recommended to only use the test results, which have basically relative values, to compare the materials on the basis of the major categories of passage of time.
AS/NZS 2161.10.2:2005 – Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms – Determination of resistance to penetration
Adopts EN 374-2:2003 to specify the method for the determination of the resistance of protective gloves to penetration. The primary test is an air leak test, and gloves meeting this Standard are considered to be suitable for use against biologically hazardous material
Ansell – A Guide to EN Standards for Gloves
Elliott’s Quality Safety Gear – Glove Standards
Active Lifting Equipment Co Pty Ltd – Australian/New Zealand Occupational Protective Glove Standards