In this report I will explain the different precautions taken to provide a safe place of work in three different workplaces. The first will be about Health and Safety at Graham School. The second will be about Health and Safety at Scarborough Sixth Form College and the last will be about Health and Safety at CP Kelco’s Knowsley Plant. The aims of this report are to see which workplace has the most hazards and precautions that they have to handle.
Safety in science is very important. In safety you can be pro-active or re-active. Pro-active is where you stop a hazard before it happens e.g. not throwing a can onto the field so that it does not get chopped up by a lawn mower and can cut someone. Re-active is where you see an accident and do something to prevent another accident happening. A hazard is something that could or would cause us harm. A risk is where an activity has the potential to do us damage. A risk assessment is where you assess the risk of an activity. Every workplace has a Health and Safety representative who has to carry out risk assessments to keep the employees safe. In law, health and safety plays a big part. There is a Health and Safety executive who provides instructions and advice on how to stay safe in the working environment. They also have the ability to shut a place down.
The risk assessments we at Graham School and Scarborough Sixth Form are given have eleven headings. I am sure that if you were a science executive you would have a more complex risk assessment. The risk assessments we get at Graham go like this. The first heading is Name of assessor, which is where you put your name or whoever was doing the risk assessment. The next is Date where you put the date the risk assessment was carried out. The next is activity, which is where you put the name of the activity, which is usually given to you. The next is Hazards, where you put all the hazards involved with that particular activity e.g. Bunsen burner. The fifth heading is Risk and that is where you put all of the risks associated with the Hazards you already have e.g. for Bunsen burner you would have burning your self.
The next heading is Those at risk, which is where you list the people at risk while you are doing the experiment. This is usually just the person doing the experiment but if you where dealing with explosive chemicals you should say anyone in the room. Control measures is the next heading and that is where you write what measures you will take to stop one of the risks happening e.g. wear aprons and goggles. The next heading is Training. This is where you write about how much training you need to do the experiment and is normally just about how to use the equipment correctly and safely. The next heading is Emergency action, which is where you would write about what to do if an emergency did happen e.g. wash hands if in contact with chemicals. The tenth and second to last heading is Remaining risk, which is where you write what the remaining risk is when you have taken all of the precautions. Most of the risk assessments I have done, in this box I have wrote low risk. The last heading is the Signature of assessor, which is where you sign your name.
Below are all the hazard signs, with their meanings below them, I could find on the website http://www.tapex.com.au/Safety/html/hazard.htm
Health And Safety At Graham School
The sorts of hazards we have at Graham aren’t as hazardous as the chemicals kept at the sixth form and nowhere near as hazardous as CP Kelco’s Knowsley plant because the students haven’t had the required training to handle the sort of chemicals or equipment used at these places.
Some of the hazards we have in the science department at Graham are:
Harmful chemicals e.g. hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid,
Glass or sharp objects have a risk ob snapping or smashing and being very sharp e.g. beakers and a scalpel,
Electrical equipment can give you nasty electric shocks or burns,
Flames and hot objects can give you a nasty burn and you may need medical assistance,
Objects in the middle of the floor could lead to spills, splashes and breakages all contributing to possible injury and Radioactive materials.
As the hazards at Graham aren’t as bad as at The Sixth Form and CP Kelco’s Knowsley plant the precautions taken won’t have as many precautions as one of the other two might. Some of the precautions Graham School take to provide us with a safe environment to work in the labs are:
A gas shut off valve in case there is a fire coming from the gas taps you can shut it off and stop the fires main source of fuel,
An electric shut off valve to cut off the electric. This is also protected by the use of a key being needed to actually turn it on,
We have an extractor fan cupboard to stop harmful chemicals sending out harmful scents. There is also an immediate shut off switch to turn off the fan,
There is a fire extinguisher that has a clear sign making it easy to see,
There are heatproof mats to stop the Bunsen burner burning the tables and to put hot objects on,
Wires are kept on tables rather than the floor to stop people tripping over them,
There are some Laboratory Rules so that when you enter the science lab you know how to keep yourself and others around you safe,
Always try to make sure that coats, bags and stools are under the desks to prevent people tripping over them.
These precautions are all in place to stop injuries happening and to prevent the hazards above.
In the foyer outside my lab room there is an fire exit to allow quick and easy access if there happens to be a fire in the lab room and also a fire alarm, extinguisher and a sprinkler to help you put out the fire. Inside the prep room there is a well-signed radiation storage unit with a padlock to keep students from getting in and the cupboard also has lead lining to stop the radiation from these chemicals leaking out. The radioactive chemicals are then also well covered and provided tongs to help you take the radioactive chemicals out. The acids kept in the room have tight lids on them and kept in good storage, as is the equipment.
Health and Safety at Scarborough Sixth
There are more dangerous hazards at Scarborough Sixth Form because the experiments done at the Sixth Form need more harmful chemicals than Graham School needs because the exams are more challenging.
On our first trip to the Sixth Form two of their lab technicians kindly agreed to answer some of the questions that others in my group and I had planned to ask them. Mrs Penny is the Biology technician and Mr Whalen is the Chemistry technician and taking them into consideration we planned which questions to ask which person.
Here are the questions that we asked Mr Whalen and the answers he gave us:
Q1. Do you have any harmful chemicals that students can’t use?
A1. The only chemical that students can’t use is Bromine. He also added that even he didn’t like using it because it is that harmful.
Q2. Where do you store the chemicals when not in use?
A2. The chemicals are stored in a secure room that is always kept locked keeping it a restricted zone. The sections of the rooms are separated to keep the types of chemicals separate and the higher the shelf the more risky that chemical is. The really highly flammable chemicals and bromine are kept in fireproof cupboards that are locked and the key is kept in that room. There is also a list on the outside of the storeroom so that if there is a fire inside the room the firemen and firewomen know what hazards there are in the room.
Q3. Have you ever been in a situation where a student has been injured and how did you react?
A3. He told us that there was one occasion when a student spilt a very high-risk chemical on their hands and their skin started to bubble. As he had done a risk assessment on all the chemicals and had used the hazcards he knew what to do and washed it off as soon as possible.
Q4. What is the most dangerous Chemical you have and what does it do?
A4. Bromine is the most harmful chemical as it is the only one that students aren’t allowed to use. It is very toxic, corrosive and dangerous to the environment. It could kill you or give you chronic health problems and can burn through your skin.
Here are the questions that we asked Mrs Penny and the answers she gave us:
Q1. What sort of objects do students get to dissect?
A1. They are not allowed to dissect live animals because of the threat of spreading disease. They buy them from an Educational Farm or Slaughterhouse to make sure the animals are always clean. The objects you can dissect are fish heads, hearts and eyes. You need an apron and gloves if necessary and after the experiment you need to use nail scrubbers to stop you getting bacteria under your nails.
Q2. What do you do with the agar dishes after they have been used?
A2. The agar dishes go into an auto-cleave that pressure heats them to 120? which kills the bacteria and the spores (eggs), which only die at 120?. After this they are sterile and can be disposed of.
Q3. Do you have any harmful bacteria that students can’t use?
A3. The College isn’t allowed to have harmful bacteria because they have to get category one bacteria that have never been know to cause disease. They use a septic technique to grow the bacteria that they want to keep the bacteria in the environment safe. To sterile they use an inoculating loop and heat it till it is red hot. Then they dip it into the culture and waft it through a flame to sterilise. They must always have oxygen otherwise the bacteria might get pathogenic.
Some of the hazards they have at the College are a lot more dangerous than the most dangerous hazard at Graham. Some of the hazards though are the same as the ones at Graham such as sharp objects, broken glass, gas, flames, chemicals and electrical. The only hazard that Scarborough Sixth Form have in their science labs are micro-organisms. The chemicals that they have at the Sixth Form are more dangerous e.g. bromine.
Some of the hazards include:
Chemicals that could be poisonous or give off fumes that irritate the eyes or lungs, or may be carcinogenic (causes cancer),
Glass or sharp objects can cause cuts and with the bacteria around that could lead to death if your not very careful,
Electrical equipment, as with Graham, could cause electric shocks or burns,
Flames and hot objects can cause burns or a room to set on fire,
Micro-organisms could cause disease or if not disposed of properly could cause damage to the environment. As could the use of animal tissues or organs,
Radio-active chemicals or materials have a possible risk of cancer or genetic problems in you children in the future.
Health and safety at The Central Science
I didn’t put this in my introduction because I am not going to write much about this workplace apart from three different chemicals they use there which are all very dangerous.
Arsenic is very toxic and may be fatal if inhaled. The employees have to take extreme car when handling this chemical.
Hydrofluoric Acid is a possible mutagen if it come into contact with skin. A mutagen is a chemical which has the ability to change DNA meaning that this chemical needs to also be handled with extreme care.
Diethyl Ether is very explosive. This chemical can explode from just a bit of static electricity. This chemical needs to be kept well locked away and very carefully handled.
Health and Safety at CP Kelco’s
The reason I am doing this place of workplace rather than The Central Science Laboratory is because this one had more varied hazards to the first two sections of my report than The Central Science Laboratory did.
CP Kelco are a company that specialises in making Xanthan Gum. That is a gum that is used in Fruit Pastilles and other sweets. They have lots of processes to make sure the food is sterile and the employees are safe.
Hazards and Precautions
As there are so many hazards I will go through the precautions and tell you what they prevent. Here is a list of the precautions taken and the hazards the prevent:
Shutting off the high pressure steam when working on the pipes because the steam is so high pressure that it can easily cause serious burns. The company is currently being sewed because one of the valves was leaking after they had shut it down and an employee got burnt.
Lots of engineers on site to fix mechanical problems as soon as they arise. This prevents further danger to employees because they are not using broken equipment.
Sterilizing the food can prevent people at the end of the chain (the people who purchase and eat the food) getting ill. To do this they free the gum in a huge freezer that can drop to really low temperatures.
They use vacuums to pick up heavy objects so that employees don’t hurt their backs causing serious pain later in life.
There are warning and health signs everywhere meaning you know what to do before you actually start and you know the hazards in that particular area.
Ladders have an inspection every six months meaning that employees know that the ladders are safe for use.
Automated plant use from computers in control room, which stops people going into the plant and possibly causing themselves harm.
Micro-biologists perform checks to make sure that the finished product (gum) has no mould while chemists perform checks to make sure that no lumps of metal or plastic are in it and that it is the right consistency.
Wear long sleeves to stop your self getting burnt from acids, alkalis and the steam, Helmets in case of work over head, Goggles to stop things getting into your eyes, Safety boots with steel toe caps, thick tread and that are anti-static. Also wear ear protectors because there is a lot of noise, gloves, respiratory protection i.e. dust masks to stop glyoxal getting into the nose channels as it can irritate them, protection suits when handling powder and green chemical suits when handling acids or alkalis which can burn.
Two chemicals that are highly dangerous are IPA, which is flammable and so not to be smoked around. It is also explosive. Ammonium Nitrate is a fertiliser but is actually the main ingredient for making a bomb.
If in contact with a chemical there are safety showers for a full body wash and also eye wash stations that have a sterile solution for cleaning your eyes.
The plant has a lot of people trained in first aid and it has first aid boxes. It has a first aid room in the Admin Building. They also have people trained in the use of a defibrillator, which is kept in the Shift Managers Office. It is used to shock peoples heart back into action.
If there ever is an emergency the staff are all well trained and know what to do. They have a fire alarm, which is tested every Friday morning. They also have trained first aid personnel in each department who are trained in CPR. They have to fill out an Accident Report Sheet to stop it happening again. Health and Safety is always first on the agenda at morning meetings.
My aims for this report were to see which workplace has the most hazards and precautions that they have to handle. In conclusion I have decided that CP Kelco’s Knowsley plant has the most hazards and precautions to handle out of all of the three. I think that they all handle the hazards well enough though but the only difference is that even after taking the precautions CP Kelco’s Knowsley plant still has a high risk where as the others do not.