The Influence Of Job On Health And Safety
Jobs may be highly dangerous or present only a negligible risk of injury. Health and safety are important elements during the design stage of the job and any equipment, machinery, or procedures associated with the job. Method study helps design the job most cost-effectively, and ergonomics helps design the job with health and safety. Ergonomics is the science of matching equipment, machines, and processes to people rather than the other way round. An ergonomically designed machine will ensure that control levers, dials, meters, and switches are sited in a convenient and comfortable position for the machine operator. Similarly, an ergonomically designed workstation will be designed for the comfort and health of the operator. Chairs, for example, will be designed to support the back properly throughout the working day.
Physically matching the job and any associated equipment to the person will minimize the possibility of human error. It is also important to ensure that mental matching of the person’s information and decision-making requirements. A person must be capable, either through past experience or through specific training, of performing the job with the minimum potential for human error.
The major considerations in the design of the job, which a specialist would undertake, have been listed by the HSE as follows:
- The identification and detailed analysis of the critical tasks expected of individuals and the appraisal of any likely errors associated with those tasks;
- Evaluation of the required operator decision making and the optimum (best) balance between the human and automatic contributions to safety actions (with the emphasis on automatic whenever possible);
- Application of ergonomic principles to the design of man-machine interfaces, including displays of plant and process information, control devices, and panel layout;
- Design and presentation of procedures and operating instructions in the simplest terms possible;
- Organization and control of the working environment, including the workspace, access for maintenance, lighting, noise, and heating conditions;
- Provision of the correct tools and equipment;
- Scheduling of work patterns, including shift organization, control of fatigue and stress, and arrangements for emergency operations;
- Efficient communications, both immediate and over a period of time.
For some jobs, particularly those with a high risk of injury, a job safety analysis should be undertaken to ensure all necessary safeguards are in place. All jobs should carry a job description and a safe work system for the particular job. The operator should have sight of the job description and be trained in the safe work system before commencing the job.
The following simple checklist may be used to check that the principal health and safety considerations of the job have been taken into account:
- Have the critical parts of the job been identified and analyzed?
- Have the employee’s decision-making needs been evaluated?
- Has the best balance between human and automatic systems been evaluated?
- Have ergonomic principles been applied to the design of equipment displays, including displays of plant and process information, control information, and panel layouts?
- Has the design and presentation of procedures and instructions been considered?
- Has the guidance available for the design and control of the working environment, including the workspace, access for maintenance, lighting, noise, and heating conditions, been considered?
- Have the correct tools and equipment been provided?
- Have the work patterns and shift organization been scheduled to minimize their impact on health and safety?
- Has consideration been given to the achievement of efficient communications and shift handover?
HSG48 gives the following causes for failures in job health and safety
- Illogical design of equipment and instruments;
- Constant disturbances and interruptions;
- Missing or unclear instructions;
- Poorly maintained equipment;
- High workload;
- Noisy and unpleasant working conditions.
It is important that health and safety monitoring of the job is a continuous process. Some problems do not become apparent until the job is started. Other problems do not surface until there is a change of operator or a change in some aspect of the job.
It is very important to gain feedback from the operator on any difficulties experienced because there could be a health and safety issue requiring further investigation.