BSc Safety, Health, and Environmental Management
Personal Reflection Statement
Through engagement in the course and under the guidance of the different learning outcomes, I now understand various concepts of industrial safety and health management. Initially, I had considered industrial safety to be a subject that came somewhat automatically to industrial employees. I believed that the management of organizations faced with various hazards had the mandate to provide safe working conditions for the employees. I also had the notion that employees could sue organizations in case of work-related injuries. They had a right to be compensated for injuries incurred at work without any counter arguments. As such, I often failed to comprehend why companies waited until after being sued by disgruntled employees to take action on work related injuries. Comparing my knowledge on industrial safety before the course and after taking the course, I am confident that the course has increased my depth of understanding of issues about industrial safety.
The same can be said about the health aspect of industrial management. The distinction between safety and health before the course was clear from my perspective. For instance, I was convinced that industrial health management involved taking care of those who fall ill within the precincts of the organization. Moreover, I felt it was the role of the organizational management to create suitable and reasonable procedures for addressing illness related issues within the organization. In my view, industrial health was aimed at getting optimum productivity through motivating workers. Motivating workers was to be done through portraying care towards their problems such as sickness. Through engagement in the course, I have realized that industrial safety and health are subjects that cannot be separated. There is no clear way in which one can separate the concept of safety from that of health, as the two have a cause and effect relationship. Lack of safety can cause ill health in an organization due to injuries. Similarly, ill health can result in reduced safety in the organizational environment due to the potential for infections, especially when water or airborne microorganisms cause the illnesses.
The aim and primary objective of the paper is to provide a personal reflection about health and safety assessment in organizations. The paper will describe safety risks like combustible dust, describe the role of occupational hygienists, and the learning outcomes of the course. The study will also summarize the study and offer recommendations to promote safety in industries.
3. Hazardous Industries (500 words below each sub-contents)
Combustible Dust Hazards and Explosion (250 words)
Combustible dust materials cause health and safety risks in industries (Eckhoff, 2003). Combustible dust materials are highly flammable because of their fine texture and ability to catch fire and explode. Flour, sugar, wood, and grain are some of the organic materials that produce combustible dust powder. Other substances include metals and nonmetallic inorganic materials. All industries should be aware of activities that create dusts. For instance, the industries should check to see if the dusts are combustible to mitigate the possibility of fire outbreaks. Industrialists should look for areas that are prone to collect dust such as crevices, roofs, equipment, dust collectors, and ceilings (Eckhoff 57). Any slight disturbance can cause the particles to explode and cause fire outbreaks. Some of the industries that are prone to face combustible dust explosion hazards include food production, woodwork facilities, coal-fired power plants, chemical manufacturing companies, and facilities that recycle metal and plastics. According to Eckhoff, dusts collect through industrial activities such as transportation, processing, grounding, shaping, and polishing and handling materials (89). Ogle argues that all workplaces that generate any form of dust should mitigate the risks of combustion and explosion (73). Combustible dust explosions occur when there is fuel to burn, an ignition source, oxygen, the dispersion of dust particles and the confinement of the particles. According to Ogle, dispersions occur when dust particles get suspended in the air while confinement is the enclosure of dust in a limited space (20). Industries should eliminate dusts in all suspected areas of accumulation such as roofs, use materials that do not accumulate dust, and introduce dust collection systems and mechanisms.
- Role of Occupational Hygienist (250 words)
Occupational hygienists are important in the workplace because they identify, assess, and control health hazards (Tillman 124). Occupational hygienists understand how biological, physician, and chemical agents may affect the health of employees. The deterioration of health among employees reduces productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Examples of chemical agents include vapors and dusts; physical hazards include heat and noise, while biological hazards include viruses and bacteria. In addition, psychological factors such as violence, bullying, and stress can cause health risks. It is the responsibility of an occupational hygienist to mitigate the health risks. Specifically, they should provide practical and evidence-based solutions to control the risk. According to Tillman, the responsibilities of occupational hygienists vary depending on the industry under study (179). In addition, occupational hygienists should employ a cost-effective measure to lower the costs of operations. Individuals wishing to work as occupational hygienists should excel in Biology, Math, Chemistry, English, Physics, and Calculus. They can work from the field or office. Office professionals research, write and present reports, communicate with clients, and provide expert advice to the management. However, field professionals take samples, conduct tests, and oversee training activities. All organizations need the services of occupational hygienists because of the costs that arise when health risks arise within organizations. Organizations should, therefore, implement health risks to prevent bad public image.
Some of the duties include:
- Undertaking surveys
- Testing the levels of exposure
- Compiling assessment data and preparing annual reports
- Communicating with other employees about available risks
- Teaching employees how to mitigate health risks
- Collaborating with health and safety organizations (Tillman 59)
(Pls revamp the learning outcome e.g Highlight or bullet point each learning outcome for easy to understand and reduce those unnecessary words around 1000 -1200 words instead of 1945 words)
First learning outcome: Based on the course learning outcomes, I had expected to gain immensely in various aspects of industrial management. One of my expectations was to learn more about industrial management. I did not understand how learning about industrial safety and health could take such a long time. As a result, I assumed that I would be learning more about management than industrial safety and health. I considered the safety and health management concept to be part of the general organizational management, and I concluded that I would understand more about the application of management in the safety concept. I could not place the legal and structural functions in an organization in their correct positions within the context of industrial safety and management. I, however, waited to make observations as I hoped taking the course would help me better understand my points of divergence. In addition to my expectations on industrial safety and health connection, I expected the course to help me identify the control points associated with the different manufacturing processes and how to identify hazards at different points. While I always considered organizational safety to be an obligation of an organization’s management, I was not aware what the extent of enforcement of the same was.
Second Learning Outcome: It gave me hope about the potential for learning the practical safety and health expectations from companies and how they can be pursued practically to ensure that an organization complies with all statutory requirements. Apart from the concepts of occupational health and safety, I have also come across the work injuries benefits act, in which an employee, having experienced an injury in the course of duty, can seek compensation or insurance cover to cater for the losses incurred. My understanding of this area has enabled me to desire to know more concerning the extent of organizational liability in such areas. In this way, I managed to learn more about the recommended actions upon experiencing a work-related injury and also the conditions under which the organization is held liable for the same.
- I have learned many other aspects through the course and I can say that I have been built immensely regarding new knowledge about various hazardous industries such as construction, shipbuilding, diving work, and facilitated management including general hazardous industries. With this kind of knowledge, I believe I am empowered to work as a health and safety management level position in any industrial organization. I can impart the knowledge acquired to others and apply it for my benefit in any organization that I have the opportunity to be part in future.
- I believe that studying this course has enabled me to understand that there are hazards in every industry and every workplace. Through studying the course, I have learned that each organization needs a safety manager due to the common perceptions of industrial safety. Based on this new information, I believe I can build a better workplace not only through engaging the personnel in safety training and applying the same on a personal level but also understanding that the application of the principles of safety management has to be different across different organizational settings. Others can understand the concept of safety management better from me if I use practical examples that they are in contact with each time, and which give them the most real experiences. For instance, it would be unreasonable to describe safety management using examples from the pharmaceutical industry, especially when the information recipients work in the plastics manufacturing industry.
- In undertaking the course, the major change that I have experienced is in the association of health and safety and its application in the industrial setting. Initially, I considered health and safety to be two different concepts in the industrial setting. This perception has since changed as I am now aware that they are inseparable. The course has enabled me to see the link between the two while understanding the common points of evaluation of different companies.
Third Learning Outcome: Another feature of my beliefs that have been changed significantly through the course is my perception about different industries. For instance, I initially believed that each industry has various processes and there is no point of commonality. I am now aware that organizational operations revolve around units, most of which are shared across several industries. For instance, operations in an oil refinery and a bio-fuel refinery are almost similar, as they are centered on distillation processes.
The perception that the knowledge gained cuts across all disciplines extensively expanded through the discovery that most of the procedures applied in the determination, evaluation, and mitigation of risks and hazards are common across all industries. For instance, I have since found out that the HAZOP process (Hazard and Operability) is the most common procedure across industries for the determination and reduction of organizational risks (Albert et al. 153). Based on this procedure, I also realized some of themes such as control point identification are common across all industries.
As a safety and health manager, it will be my responsibility to collaborate with other managers in the identification of the control points and the respective risk management measures. I also learned that the theme of risk prevention and reduction before mitigation runs across all industries. In every risk assessment process conducted, the main objective was to evaluate the extent of risk and subsequently make plans on reducing or eliminating the risk. Mitigation plans are only prepared in case the risk escalates, unfortunately; its potential for resulting in harm also heightened. These are standard procedures across different industries, and I believe the main rationale for reviewing operations in different industries was to help us, the students, to understand the role of safety and health management in the general industrial setting.
Fourth Learning Outcome: The knowledge absorbed concerning different industries has not only enabled me to understand the differences in operations across industries but also instilled knowledge about differences and similarities in hazard control procedures. Exposure to a variety of settings has made it possible for me to develop depth in my understanding of risk control. Each of the industries reviewed provided different pieces of information about hazard identification and control. The variation of hazards by industry could not have been understood by any other way except by comparing various industries.
After an evaluation of all that I have learned through the course, I believe that if I were to take the course afresh, I would take a deeper outlook into the industrial process details. I would make an effort to understand every aspect of operations in each of the industries. I have gradually realized that industrial safety is a subject that requires great attention. Failure to check each of the control points effectively can result in unforeseen and uncontrolled hazards.
The course has been very informative regarding delivery. The course was delivered in an engaging manner which sparked my interest from the beginning. The clarification of the learning outcomes at the beginning of the course did a lot to push me towards the objectives of undertaking the course. Through the different course teaching approaches, I believe that it was delivered in the best possible ways, to enhance effective comprehension of the content. For instance, understanding industrial safety and health begin with an understanding of the industry itself. I can confidently state that within the scope of the course, the delivery of industrial process reviews was conducted effectively. The exemplification was also informative and constructive towards the accomplishment of the course learning outcomes. As a continuing student, I believe that this is one of the best and probably the most appropriate courses towards my efforts to become a health and safety manager in the industrial context. Furthermore, the course provided me with sufficient information not only for practice but also for training others. I, therefore, believe that with greater effort, I will be able to develop more essential knowledge in the area of industrial safety and health. While most of the aspects of the course were easily comprehensible, there were tough-to-comprehend aspects. The most difficult concepts were about the industrial processes. For those who are already trained on the basics of various industries and/ or have to experience in the same, the entire course can be enjoyable and easily comprehensible. On the other hand, those who have no experience in industrial operations may need to dig deeper into the operating principles of various industries. I have no experience so I, had to work hard to grasp the processes.
To further enhance my skills in the studied area, I will take the initiative to further my knowledge in both industrial processes and industrial safety and health procedures. One of the ways in which I will do that is to practice some of the concepts I learned in the workplace. For instance, in every industry I access, I will make a concerted attempt to identify the critical control points, variable parameters, and the hazards associated with the process. I will also make an effort to attend various seminars and conferences on industrial safety as well as on industrial processes. With the technological advancements, I believe changes in industrial technologies will also result in changes of the presented hazards. I will, therefore, learn as much as possible about the new technologies used in different industries. I believe the information gained will help me to develop my skills in industrial safety and health management. In addition to this, I will try to work within groups as I realized that it is easier to identify all risks and hazards in an organization when working as a group than when working individually. I look forward putting into practice all the information I acquired through the course, in industrial management. I hope to develop the industry, for the betterment of all the parties involved.
All businesses that have industrial and health safety issues should seek the services of experts. Many businesses and organizations face lawsuits because of health risks and safety issues within the organizations. The costs that the organizations incur to compensate victims and rebuild their image mean that the organizations should prevent the risks from occurring. Industrial safety and health management experts like occupational hygienists are important in every organization because they educate employees about the need for safety. In addition, they educate the employees about practical safety measures that are fundamental in all businesses. I will further my studies in the field and gain a competitive advantage over other experts in the field.
The course has taught me a lot about health and safety risks associated with industries. Industrial safety and availability of health procedures are fundamental aspects in all organizations. Organizations need to employ risk assessment experts who will mitigate the risks associated with health and safety. Furthermore, I have learned a lot from studying industrial safety and health management. I believe that I will be able to improve my knowledge in the field through further reading and research. I am positive that I will develop fundamental skills that will be vital in pursuing my career as an industrial safety and health management official.
Albert, Alex, Hallowell, Matthew and Kleiner, Brian. “Emerging strategies for construction safety and health hazard recognition”. Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research 10, 2(2014): 152- 184.
Tillman, Cherilyn. Principles of Occupational Health & Hygiene: An Introduction. Place of publication not identified: Allen & Unwin, 2006. Print.
Eckhoff, Rolf K. Dust Explosions in the Process Industries. Amsterdam: Gulf Professional Pub, 2003. Print.
Ogle, Russell A. Dust Explosion Dynamics. , 2016. Print.