8 Killed in Chemical Fire

8 people were killed in achemical fire and 2 others were hospitalised on 10th Feb 2011. This was when a fire broke out at a factory and warehouse for household chemicals in Russia.

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Mine Accident

It has been reported that one person died and 4 others were missing when ground collapsed yesterday at a coal production area for the Afsin-Elbiston Coal Power plant in Kahramanmaras. It is also claimed that the person killed had been operating an excavator. The rest of those who had died in the mine accident were in a minibus at the time.
11th February 2011

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Ensco to build two more harsh enviroment jackups with Keppel for US460 Million

“Given the rise in jackup utilisation and our positive outlook for future demand, we believe that new construction is now the best option to further high grade our fleet with state-of-the-art equipment,” declared Mark Burns, Ensco’s senior vice president.

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Safety Supervisor kills jay walker, gets fined and banned

Safety Supervisor who killed a jay walker was spared jail. The Safety supervisor, Mohammed Iskandar Ariffin was fined $9,000 and banned from driving for five years for hitting the jay walker 82 year old Mr Tan. Mr Tan was a former Olympic sprinter and triple jumper also the President of the Singapore Olympians Association.

The Safety Supervisor Mohammed Iskandar Ariffin hit Mr Tan while he was crossing the road after attending morning mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit at Upper Thomson Road. Mr Tan died in hospital hours later.

Iskandar, 33, had been driving his car at 70kmh to 75kmh, above the 60kmh speed limit. The safety supervisor pleaded guilty to causing death by failing to keep a proper lookout.

It is strange the a Safety Supervisor whose duty it is to protect the lives of people under his care could have been speeding. A Safety Supervisors role is also to educate people and get them to want to comply to regulations, legislations and rules. Yet in this case he was the one who was breaking the rules. Unfortunately the consequence of his neglicence or non compliance to standard rules- has taken a life.

Do Safety Managers, Safety Officers, Safety Supervisors or other HSE Personnel actually practice what they preach?

Should this Safety Supervisor be allowed to continue his job as a safety supervisor? After all how can he enforce any rules when he himself is breaking standard known rules?

Is this a case of “Do what I say, but dont do what I do”? Does this happen in the safety industry?

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Obama Kill Switch

In the oil and gas industry we hear of the terms Dead Mans Switch. This is where if a powered tool is dropped (for whatever reason) the tool switches off. ie it needs the user to press on the switch to power it, once the switch is released- power cuts off.
Apparently we are learning of new things with the latest in Egypt. In Egypt there was an internet “blackout” just like how China also blacked out information on Egypts crisis. Now there is talk on a “kill switch” bill that would grant the US President Barack Obama the same power to shut down the entire nation’s Internet during a national crisis.

The intended bill would not give Obama the same level of power as the Egyptian President Mubarak but is only designed to prevent damage from “significant” cyberthreats.

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Gong Xi Fa Cai

Gong Xi Fa Cai, wishing one and all a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year 2011. Good Luck and great wishes for the Year of the Rabbit.

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Golden Village

During the festive season, everyone enjoys time with the family and time to relax. Just like this Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year, shops closed on 2 Feb 2011 and may not open till 7th Feb 2011 (although some may open earlier than that). So what do most Singaporeans do this time of the year (other than house visits and collecting “Ang Pows”)?

To the movies of course. With new movies lined up to open just before Chinese New Year or on Chinese New Year itself, most people think why not have a couple of hours at the movies. One of our all time favourite cinemas or chain of cinemas is Golden Village. With easy to book tickets on line and a vast variety of movies for viewing, Golden Village seems to be our choice.

However have movie goers asked themselves in times of emergencies will they know what to do? Do cinemas highlight what to do in emergencies anymore? Do they indicate their emergency procedures before the start of the movie?

How many times do we at the end of movies get ushered to the front exits and have to walk out a long flight of stairs and make our way back to the shopping malls? Would people panic if it was an emergency?

Can we do something about this? Afterall not all of the movie patrons are aware of safety or emergency procedures. Some of them are young kids and toddlers.

Can something be done about this? Its your choice to speak up.

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Ground Hog Day 2011

Ground Hog Day 2011 may not mean much to Singaporeans. In fact Ground Hog Day 2011 or Ground Hog Day in any year may not mean much to Asians, Middle Easterns and maybe even Europeans. It means alot to Americans and each year their eyes are set on Punxsutawney Phil. All eyes are focused on whether spring will come early this year. Everyone in the USA looks forward to the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney PA, just as he has predicted for the past 125 years (or so they say).

 For 125 years, everyone has watched Punxsutawney Phil crawl out of his burrow on Feb. 2. If he sees his shadow, there will be winter for 6 more weeks, else there will only be 2 more weeks before spring.

So fascinated is everyone that there was even a movie called Ground Hog Day with Bill Murray in the lead. About a news reporter who is doomed to relive 2 Feb every single day. He gets transported back to 6am 2 Feb (Ground Hog Day) at the end of each day. After a while he decides that he needs to end his life, yet again he gets transported back to 6am 2 Feb (Ground Hog Day). He uses that time to learn new things- like playing the piano, learning to crave out ice with a chain saw, save a mans live (everyday) until he learns his lesson. He learns that he has to do the right things.

Strangely we may like to follow customs and beliefs, like Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney PA, sometimes in our working lives it is the very customs and beliefs that hurt us.

On many occasions we have dealt with or heard people say- “Dont worry accidents dont happen to me, they happen to people that I read about in the news”.  Or when they say “The rules/instructions are wrong, I know a better way” when in actual fact the rules and the instructions are meant to do the work in a safe and orderly manner.

Unfortunately in real life we do not have the luxury of reliving our lives or if we get injured we can’t get transported back to the start of the day.

So hopefully we learn from Bill Murray’s character in Ground Hog Day that we need to do the right things.

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What is Safety? Many people have many different definitions for the word SAFE or SAFETY. So what exactly does this word Safety mean or the word SAFE?

Safety is the state of being “safe”. Ok a little bit of a paradox- Safety is the state of being safe. Safety comes from the french word SAUF. Safety is the condition of being protected against harm. Harm from or against physical. We commonly know that being safe is being kept from harm from physical harm. However there are other factors or issues that may hurt us- such as social,  financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational, incidents, accidents, errors or other types or consequences of failure. Whether intentional or unintentional. Safety is being safe from harm or any other event which could be considered non-desirable.

Safety can also be defined to be the control of recognized hazards. Recognition of hazards leads to being able to mitigate these hazards or provide control measures to these hazards such that they (or the events that are undesirable) are not released and work/play is within an acceptable level of risk.

We not only can keep people safe, but we can safe guard our assets, safe guard our environment or safe guard our reputation.

We can mitigate hazards or provide control measures by elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls or through provision of personal protective equipment. We can mitigate hazards by protecting against the event being released or the exposure from the event.

Safety can be limited in relation to some guarantee. It is important to realize that safety is relative. It would not be possible to eliminate all risks at work, at home or at play. And even if we did eliminate all, would may be very difficult and very expensive. Risks must be reduced to a state where work can be performed yet it is practicable to provide such a work environment. This is known as As Low As Reasonably Practicable. This safe situation or safe environment is where the risk are managed and risks of harm to people, assets, environment or reputation are as low as possible and manageble.

Types of Safety

There is a difference between products that are safe and meet certain standards and products that feel safe. Normative safety is a term used to describe products or designs when they meet applicable design standards. However Substantive Safety is a term used to describe objective safety that the real-world safety history is accepted. Perceived safety describes the comfort level of people. People may have a perceived value of safety. For example in some countries it is safe for people to ride motorcycles while sitting sideways or where a family may use motorcycles to transport the father, mother and their two children or lastly where helmets are not required.

Typically when we mention the word safe or safety, most of the time it is implied or interpreted as impact on life, ie the risk of death, the risk of fatality, or the risk of damage to property. People have come to learn to protect lives, assets, environment and reputation by safety engineering means and safety regulations. Other means of improving safety are from safety training, safety communication and other means.

Safety Engineering can be further split into Safety Systems Engineering or Safety Reliability Engineering.

Knowledge of the literature, knowledge of standards, knowledge of good safe practices and being well read are critical for safety practioners who wish to make an impact in the safety industry. For a good safety practioner he/she must have a depth of knowledge in his/her safety field and have track record of implementing good safe work practices throughout their career.

Safety should be seen as a component in Quality, Reliability, Availability and Maintainability. Safety is critical to quality, productivity and profitability.  

Safety measures are activities and precautions taken to improve safety. Safety measures are placed to reduce risk related to human health. Some common safety measures could include:

  • Safety Root Cause Analysisto identify real safety causes of failures and then take remedial actions.
  • Safety Inspections to visually check and inspect issues.
  • Visual Safety Examination these could be for cranes, lifting equipment and such
  • X-rays on pipes and welds for checks on cracks
  • Safety factors. When doing heavy lifts and having an allowed safety factor.
  • Safety Work Practices and Procedures
  • Safety Training
  • Safety Manuals
  • Safety Instruction
  • Safety Briefings
  • Safety Memos
  • Safety Videos
  • Safety Behaviour Observations
  • Safety Regulations by authorities
  • Safety Regulations by companies
  • Safety Policies
  • Medical Examinations to review if workers would be safe for the work
  • Safety Audits (Safety Audits External and Safety Audits Internal)
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Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Risk Management

The Ministry of Manpower Singapore and the Workplace Safety Health Council, introduced the new Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Risk Management.

This comes with the impending extensions of the Workplace Safety and Health Act to all workplaces by September 2011. All stakeholders must provide a safe work environment. This Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management aims to provide guidance on Risk Assessments and implementing Risk Management.

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