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2003 - Waste Water

A very large sewage drying facility was located on the site. Problems with continual leaks had resulted in high levels of dust being experienced in the process buildings. The staff were concerned about the potential affects to their health, but little action had actually been taken to reduce dust levels. Andy's role in this project was to evaluate the risks posed by the dust exposure and communicate those risks to staff and management in a way they would understand so that effective action could be taken. Dust level monitoring was carried out by sub-contractors and an occupational hygiene company was employed to provide some analysis of the results. Andy worked with the staff to elicit their views and concerns, and to determine what practical solutions existed. Tasks were risk assessed (according to potential dust exposure) and those with the highest risk were analysed further. There was a significant cultural element to the situation, where high levels of dust were being tolerated, although everyone know this was a problem. The assessment showed that the risks from dust exposure were unacceptable and had to be reduced. Andy proposed some immediate behavioural changes that would reduce personnel exposure. Also, he advised the company that a wide ranging culture change was necessary to ensure dust releases were no longer tolerated, and when they did occur, dealt with efficiently and effectively. Andy presented the report to an action group tasked with addressing the problem, who accepted the findings and recognised the need to urgent action.

The client was planning to change from a 8-hour to 12-hour shift pattern. The main driver for this was that they were having problems arranging cover for holidays, sickness etc. This had resulted in frequent working of double shifts (i.e. 16 hours). Andy made extensive use of fatigue research documented in HSE Contract Research Report 254/1999, and the working time directive and UK regulations. Communication was key element in this project and research about shift handover described in HSE offshore report OTO 96003 was used.