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A client/investee is required to implement all reasonable precautions to prevent accidents, injury, and illness of workers in the course of performing their duties. This includes following industry-specific worker’s safety standards and implementing preventive and protective measures to:

  • Eliminate hazards by removing an activity from the work process (such as substitution with less hazardous chemicals or use of different manufacturing processes);
  • Control the hazard at its source through use of engineering controls (such as local exhaust ventilation, isolation rooms, machine guards, and acoustic insulation);
  • Minimize the hazard through design of safe work systems and procedural control measures (such as job rotation, training safe work procedures, lock-out and tag-out, workplace monitoring, and limiting exposure or work duration); and
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in conjunction with training, use and maintenance of the PPE. PPE provides additional protection to workers exposed to workplace hazards in conjunction with other facility controls and safety systems.

A client’s/investee’s efforts to protect the health and safety of workers in the design and operation of facilities encompass the following aspects:

  • Integrity of workplace structures. Facilities should be structurally safe and floors/surfaces should be free of accumulated material.
  • Severe weather and facility shutdown. Facilities should be designed and constructed to withstand the expected elements for the region and have an area designated for safe refuge of workers.
  • Workspace and exit. The workspace provided for each worker should be adequate for safe execution of all activities and passages to emergency exits should be unobstructed at all times.
  • Fire precautions. The workplace should be designed to prevent the start of fires and the facility should be equipped with fire detectors, alarm systems, and fire-fighting equipment.
  • Lavatories and showers. Adequate lavatory facilities (toilets and washing areas, including hot and cold running water, soap, and hand drying devices) should be provided for the number of people expected to work in the facility and segregated by gender, if necessary.
  • Potable water supply. Adequate supplies of potable drinking water (meeting drinking water quality standards) should be provided and supplied to areas of food preparation or for the purpose of personal hygiene (washing or bathing).
  • Clean eating area. A clean eating area needs to be designated within the facility, where workers are not exposed to hazardous or noxious substances.
  • Lighting. Workplaces should receive natural light and be supplemented with sufficient artificial illumination to promote workers’ safety and health, and enable safe equipment operation.
  • Safe access. Passageways around the facility should be segregated for pedestrians and vehicles; hand, knee and foot railings should be installed on stairs, fixed ladders, and platforms; floor openings should be covered; covers to protect against falling items should be installed; and measures to prevent unauthorized access to dangerous areas should be in place.
  • First aid. Appropriately equipped first-aid stations should be easily accessible throughout the place of work, including Eye-wash stations and/or emergency showers.
  • Air supply. Sufficient fresh air should be supplied for indoor and confined work spaces, through appropriate air distribution systems, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
  • Work environment temperature. During hours of operation, the temperature in work, rest rooms and other welfare facilities should be maintained at an appropriate level.

Physical hazards in the workplace represent potential risks of accidents, injury or illness due to repetitive exposure to mechanical action or work activity. This may result in a wide range of injuries, from minor and medical aid only, to disabling, catastrophic, and/or fatal. Multiple exposures over prolonged periods can result in disabling injuries of comparable significance and consequence. Physical hazards in a client’s/investee’s operations stem from the following:

  • Rotating and moving equipment. Injury or death can occur from being trapped, entangled, or struck by machinery parts due to unexpected starting of equipment or unexpected movement during operations.
  • Noise. No employee should be exposed to a noise level greater than 85 dB(A) for a duration of more than 8 hours per day without hearing protection.
  • Vibration. Exposure to hand-arm vibration from equipment such as hand and power tools, or whole-body vibrations from surfaces on which the worker stands or sits, should be controlled through choice of equipment, installation of vibration dampening pads or devices, and limiting the duration of exposure.
  • Electrical. Exposed or faulty electrical devices, such as circuit breakers, panels, cables, cords and hand tools, can pose a serious risk to workers. Overhead wires can be struck by metal devices, such as poles or ladders, and by vehicles with metal booms. Vehicles or grounded metal objects brought into close proximity with overhead wires can result in arcing between the wires and the object, without actual contact.
  • Eye hazards. Solid particles from a wide variety of industrial operations, or a liquid chemical spray, may strike a worker in the eye causing an eye injury or permanent blindness.
  • Welding/hot work. Welding creates an extremely bright and intense light that may seriously injury a worker’s eyesight. In extreme cases, blindness may result. Additionally, welding may produce noxious fumes to which prolonged exposure can cause serious chronic diseases.
  • Industrial vehicle driving and site traffic. Poorly trained or inexperienced industrial vehicle drivers have increased risk of accident with other vehicles, pedestrians, and equipment. Industrial vehicles and delivery vehicles, as well as private vehicles on-site, also represent potential collision scenarios.
  • Working environment temperature. Exposure to hot or cold working conditions in indoor or outdoor environments can result temperature stress-related injury or death. Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect against other occupational hazards can accentuate and aggravate heat-related illnesses. Extreme temperatures in permanent work environments should be avoided through implementation of cooling and ventilation.
  • Ergonomics, repetitive motion, manual handling. Injuries due to ergonomic factors, such as repetitive motion, overexertion, and manual handling, take prolonged and repeated exposures to develop, and typically require periods of weeks to months for recovery.
  • Working at heights. Fall prevention and protection measures should be implemented whenever a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling more than two meters.
  • Illumination. Work area light intensity should be adequate for the general purpose of the location and type of activity, and should be supplemented with dedicated work station illumination, as needed.

Chemical hazards in the workplace represent potential risks for illness or injury due to single acute exposure or chronic repetitive exposure to toxic, corrosive, sensitizing or oxidative substances. They also represent a risk of uncontrolled reaction, including the risk of fire and explosion, if incompatible chemicals are inadvertently mixed. Chemical hazards in a client’s/investee’s operations stem from the following:

  • Air quality. Poor air quality due to the release of contaminants into the work place can result in possible respiratory irritation, discomfort, or illness to workers.
  • Fire and explosions. Fires and or explosions resulting from ignition of flammable materials or gases can lead to loss of property as well as possible injury or fatalities to project workers.
  • Corrosive, oxidizing, and reactive chemicals. Corrosive, oxidizing, and reactive chemicals present similar hazards as flammable materials. An additional hazard of these chemicals is that inadvertent mixing or intermixing may cause serious adverse reactions, which can lead to the release of flammable or toxic materials and gases, and may lead directly to fires and explosions. These types of substances have the additional hazard of causing significant personal injury upon direct contact, regardless of any mixing issues.
  • Asbestos containing materials. The use of asbestos containing materials should be avoided in new buildings or as a new material in remodeling or renovation activities. If asbestos containing materials are present, particularly friable asbestos representing the potential to release fibers, the repair or removal and disposal should be performed according to internationally recognized procedures to prevent worker exposure.

Biological agents represent potential for illness or injury due to single acute exposure or chronic repetitive exposure. The use of any harmful biological agents should be avoided and replaced with an agent that, under normal conditions of use, is not dangerous or less dangerous to workers. If use of harmful agents can not be avoided, precautions should be taken to keep the risk of exposure as low as possible and maintained below internationally established and recognized exposure limits.

Radiation exposure can lead to potential discomfort, injury or serious illness to workers. Workplaces involving occupational and/or natural exposure to ionizing radiation should be operated in accordance with recognized international safety standards and guidelines. Exposure to non-ionizing radiation (including static magnetic fields, sub-radio frequency magnetic fields, static electric fields, radio frequency and microwave radiation, light and near-infrared radiation, and ultraviolet radiation) should be controlled according to international standards.

Additional precautions are required for workers in special hazard environments such as a confined space or an isolated workspace. A confined space is a wholly or partially enclosed space, which is not designed or intended for human occupancy and in which a hazardous atmosphere could develop as a result of the contents, location or construction of the confined space or due to work done in or around the confined space. Serious injury or fatality can result from inadequate preparation to enter a confined space or in attempting a rescue from a confined space. A worker in an isolated space is out of verbal communication and line of sight with a supervisor, other workers, or other persons capable of providing aid and assistance, for continuous periods (exceeding one hour). This puts a worker at increased risk should an accident or injury occur.

A client/investee should establish procedures and systems for monitoring and recording occupational accidents and diseases as well as dangerous occurrences and incidents, to verify the effectiveness of prevention and control strategies in their operations and monitor employee productivity against lost time injury. If a client/investee does not adequately protect the health and safety of workers in the course of operations, leading to severe injuries, illnesses, and even fatalities, this represents a significant reputational risk and financial liability to the client/investee.

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