Chapter 8 physical risk control


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Chapter 8 physical risk control

  1. 1. PHYSICAL RISK CONTROLINTRODUCTION TO RISK CONTROLThe control of risk can be divided into two main areas. These are financial risk controland physical risk control. This chapter will deal with physical risk control first.Financial risk control can be divided into internal and external financial risk control.This is basically dealing with the financial consequences of a loss. The mostimportant tool dealing with this aspect is insurance. Despite this there are othermethods of financial risk control which will quickly be reviewed later. Physical riskcontrol is divided into three parts. These are avoid the risk, reduce the risk andprevent the risk from occurring. All three aspects will be dealt with in this chapter. Itmust be borne in mind that management must make a conscious decision to do or notto do something based on the risk analysis carried out earlier. It is possible to accept arisk if it is within acceptable limits whatever management decides those limits to be.Therefore one option management has is to do nothing. In taking this optionconsideration should be given to the question of the damage that could arise bearingin mind legal liabilities as well as personal and physical injury. In considering legalliability you must remember that if somebody is injured they only have to prove that,on the balance of probabilities, the injurer was negligent. It could be held that anidentification of risk together with a failure to do something about it could be held tobe negligenceWhen considering actively carrying out risk control cost has to be borne in mind.Management will have to allocate resources which could be used elsewhere or notenter into a particularly risky undertaking. If the risk analysis is carried out the cost of
  2. 2. reducing or preventing the risk is known and therefore decisions can be made withthese in mind. Obviously if the steps to control risk deal with more than one event thiswill be more persuasive when making a decision. As indicated above all steps relatingto risk control should also be made bearing in mind the legal consequences.There are three choices when considering physical risk control, the first is to avoid therisk, the second is to prevent the loss and the third is to reduce the loss. If the risk istoo great for management to take then the task involved should not be started or, if itis already happening, it should be stopped. An example is buying land for building afactory in an area subject to flooding. This risk may be too great for management totake and therefore should be avoided.In most instances management will wish to pursue the chosen activity therefore theymust take steps to reduce or prevent any future losses. Risk consists of both frequencyand severity thus a strategy can be developed to deal with either or both these factors.Reduction of risk usually refers to the severity of the possible loss. This can bereduced by installing sprinklers in a building or providing first aid in the event of apersonal injury. Prevention refers to probability and strategies should be developed toreduce the probability of an event occurring. Such steps as installing burglar bars toprevent burglaries or guarding machinery to prevent accidents are risk preventativemeasures.SAFETY THEORIESIn this section we are going to discuss some safety theories which can be used to bothreduce and prevent possible accidents. The idea of a theory is to help you think abouta problem rather then be any depiction of what happens. You can view safety from
  3. 3. two different perspectives. You can argue that it is an engineering problem or apsychological one. That is safety revolves around people or technology. The theorieshave approached safety from both these perspectives. People experience injury andtechnology produces risks which need to be handled.There are a number of safety models which will be discussed. The first is the chaintheory. Each step in dealing with losses represents a link in a chain. Break a link andthe loss increases, follow the links without a break the amount of the loss will bedecreased.Diagram one depicts the links. The first link is the source of loss. This means dealingwith the point where an event can occur before it is likely happen. For examplemachinery should be made safe or before a building is constructed management canensure that fire precautions are installed. Access and egress can be planned in theevent of a fire occurring. Employees should be trained in safety procedures. Theyshould wear, for example, protective clothing when riding.The second link involves the reduction of hazards. Hazards are situations which arelikely to increase the possibility of an untoward event occurring. Control the hazardsand the risk is reduced or prevented. Clearing waste on a regular basis would reducethe possibility of a fire occurring.The third link is the minimisation of loss. In this case the event has occurred and anattempt must be made to reduce the impact of the occurrence. Fire extinguishers orsprinklers will reduce the effect of a fire. A good escape plan will minimise the
  4. 4. possibility of damages occurring to people. A burglar alarm could reduce the timeavailable to burglars to remove goods. Separation of materials which are combustibleby keeping them in separate buildings would also reduce a loss if a fire occurred. Ifdangerous materials are kept separate from innocuous ones then if a fire does occurthe amount of loss will be reduced.The final link is salvage. Once the event has occurred and its effects ended thensalvage operations should take place. If a fire occurs in a clothing shop it may bepossible to remove the clothes and reduce the damage caused by smoke and water bycleaning them thoroughlyThe next theory is one which is heavily oriented towards the human approach. Thiswas formulated by Heinrich, H.W. He carried out some detailed research into theoccurrence of accidents and ascertained that approximately 88% of all accidents wereas a result of unsafe acts committed by human beings and the remaining 12% wascaused by technological factors. From these observation he developed a theory whichhas come to be known as the domino theory. Heinrich considered that there were anumber of factors which contribute to an accident. These could be likened to anumber of dominoes standing in a row. If one is knocked down the remainder alsofall. This is depicted in diagram two. Remove one of the dominoes and the possibilityof a loss occurring is reduced. In Heinrich’s view there are four dominoes which leadto an accident. The first is entitled the social environment. Individuals are brought upin a particular environment. Some people have little concern for their own or otherpeople’s safety, they might consider it “macho” to take chances. The second dominois entitled the fault of the person. This means that the person himself has particular
  5. 5. tendencies to enter into unsafe situations. This is the psychological make up of theperson that leads to the individual either deliberately doing something which is unsafeor was unaware of the fact that he or she was entering into an unsafe act. It is theperson who is at fault, the psychology of the individual as opposed society’s effect onthe person concerned. The third domino is entitled the unsafe act. This is the actualact itself which leads to the injury. This could be the loss of balance on a horse or thefailure to secure the stable door properly so that an animals escapes. The final dominois the injury itself, that is to say the broken leg or arm or the damage to property.Remove one of these dominoes and the likelihood of the injury occurring is reduced.Heinrich advocated concentrating on the unsafe act as little could be done about socialand psychological factors. In order to illustrate his theory Heinrich uses the exampleof an employee who, when falling from a ladder fractures his skull. The injured partydescended the ladder with his back to it, in wilful disregard of instructions. On hisway down he caught his heels in an upper rung and fell. The employee had beentrained how to use the ladder yet blatantly disregarded what he had been told. Thiscan be argued to be the fault of the person. The unsafe act was the descent of theladder backwards and the injury was the fractured skull. Investigation revealed thatthe worker came from a background which encouraged unsafe acts. Heinrichconsidered that the best domino to remove was the unsafe act. Training can be givento try to reduce this type of event from occurring thus dealing with the possibility ofthe worker entering into an unsafe act.A further theory which may help in dealing with risk control was developed byHaddon. .This is called the energy transfer approach. Haddon argues that accidentsgenerally occur because of the sudden, unplanned release of energy such as
  6. 6. hurricanes, fire, lightning and vehicles. In his view there are ten ways in which thesesudden releases of energy can be handled. These are depicted in diagram three. Thismethod combines the human and mechanical approach to safety and therefore you cansee elements of the previous two ideas in this system. It contains an advantage overthe other systems in that it focuses on the way in which a common energy or forcethat could cause an accident can be dealt with. This approach can be used regardlessof the type of untoward event being considered. The model can be applied in theevent of fires, theft, accidents of all types or falls.Diagram 3 Haddons Energy Transfer Model Strategies Illustration1 Prevent marshalling in the first Prevent workers from climbing to place high places from which they may fall2 Reduce the amount of energy Reduce the number of workers which is marshalled from which permitted to climb to high places accidents may result.3 Prevent the release of energy Build guard rails to prevent falls which has built up. from high places.4 Slow down the release of energy. Reduce the height from which employees must work; slow down the rate at which explosives are permitted to burn.5 Separate, in space or time, the Prohibit entry to blasting areas energy which is released from the during blasting periods. object susceptible to injury6 Place a physical barrier between Require workers to use safety energy source and the object helmets, shoes or goggles. susceptible to injury.7 Modify the contact surface by Design cars with padded dashes; rounding or softening the edges. build toys without sharp edges.8 Strengthen the object against Require fireproof building damage by energy release. construction. Require workers to be vaccinated against disease.9 Mitigate the damage that has not Use fire alarm systems, sprinkler been prevented by previous eight systems, emergency medical care measures. facilities, storm-warning systems.10 Use rehabilitation and restorative Retrain injured workmen with techniques where damage has permanent disabilities occurred.
  7. 7. Haddon argues that an escape of energy can be dealt with by ten strategies. These areset out in diagram three. Alongside each strategy is an example of how it can beapplied in a particular set of circumstances. The first strategy is aimed at preventingthe marshalling of energy in the first place. An example is workers climbing to the topof a building. A release of energy occurs should they fall. The second strategy is toreduce the amount of energy which is marshalled. For example do not allow so manyworker on the roof or reduce the height from which they can fall. The third strategy isto prevent the build up of energy in the first place. An example is to reduce theamount of combustible material on the premises or not allow workers on top of thebuilding. The next strategy is to slow down the release of energy. An example givenis to put a longer fuse on explosions. The fifth strategy is to separate, in space or time,the energy which is released from the object susceptible to injury. For example keephighly flammable buildings in a special section of the building which is separated byfire walls from the remainder of the premises. The sixth strategy consists of placing aphysical barrier between the energy source and the object susceptible to injury.Examples of this strategy are the wearing of safety hats or gloves when dealing withcertain chemicals. The next strategy is to modify the contact surface by rounding orsoftening the edges. Removal of sharp objects from children’s toys is an example ofthis strategy. The eighth strategy involves strengthening the object against damage byenergy release. The vaccination of horses against disease is an example of this.The penultimate strategy is to mitigate the damage which has not been prevented bythe previous eight measures. Examples are providing first aid for injured persons orhaving a strategy ready in the case of a defective product entering the market. The
  8. 8. Final strategy is the use of rehabilitation and restorative techniques where damage hasoccurred.SUMMARYThis completes the discussion of physical risk control. One should bear in mind thatwhen dealing with this aspect of risk management there will be legislativerequirements which have to be met. Most countries have implemented safety, health,safety and welfare rules to protect individuals at a place of work and these have to becomplied with consequently the risk manager should be well aware of the legislativerequirements when implementing risk control. In dealing with physical risk controlrisks can be categorised under various headings as discussed earlier.