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Oliverp1  
#1 Posted : 03 December 2019 14:12:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

Hello,

Sorry this may come across a bit long winded but I just want to make sure I have provided enough detail.

The company I work for have 3 operations.

1) Non-hazardous pigment production

2) Hazardous Solvent based gelcoat manufacture 

3) Addition of non hazardous pigment into hazardous solvent based gelcoat.

Currently the operatives who work on operations two and three wear disposable overalls type 5&6 conforming to EN13982 and EN13034. They wear the same suits but the probability of getting chemicales on you suit is far more likley in operation two as they are manufactuiring the product. Operation three only involves taking the lid off a keg or drum adding non hazardous pigment and thein either placing the drum under a mixer with a lid or putting a lid back on a keg for mixing on the gyroscopic mixerThe operatives who work with non hazardous pigments just wear boiler suits.

Operations one and three occur in the same unit and operation two is in the unit next door. The MD would like everyone in the Unit where operations one and three take place to wear the same suits to prevent any ambiguity. If everone was to wear the disposable suits then this would create more expense for the company, the other option is to change operations one and three's disposable suit to a catagory 1 suit reusable suit "intended for minimal risk" but the MD isnt convinced that is suitable because he thinks if you are working with gelcoat then a type 5&6 suit must be worn even though operations two and three and completley different.

Basically I am asking is it a fair assessment to make that operations two and three do not need the same level of protection because one is manufacturing the gelcoat and is higher risk, the other is just topping up gelcoat containers with pigment and in normal operation gelcoat shouldnt get on them?

Also this is just all in theory I am going to do a couple of trials with the proposed suits to see if they work well. I just dont want to get to this point if the theory isnt correct.

Thank you,

 

Roundtuit  
#2 Posted : 03 December 2019 16:52:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

In the spirit of keep it simple why can't the mixing occur where the solvent is produced?

The solvent is your hazard which you are providing PPE (rather than work wear) for.

Removing lids, pouring materials and attaching mixers may present fewer opportunities for chemical spill but it is still the same chemical you are guarding against.

chris.packham  
#3 Posted : 03 December 2019 22:31:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

Your post concentrates upon chemicals and protective suits. Presumably your operators will also be wearing gloves. I can envisage that these are much more likely to come into contact with the solvent. How much research into their actual (as opposed to performance according to EN standards) have you done? Selection and use of gloves for protection against solvents is much more complex than many realise. 

Oliverp1  
#4 Posted : 04 December 2019 08:21:04(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

Hi,

Thank you for your replies.

Roundtuit) The solvent based gelcoat is produced on a mezzanin floor with little space this unfortunatley isnt an option. Yes they are exposed to the same product but the people who manufacture the gelcoats are also exposed to various other chemicles (powders, low viscosity liquids, corrosives and the gelcoat under pressure from pumps) so I would argue the severity is lower and the probability is lower therefore surely you could justify a lower standard of protection. This is how we justify lab staff wearing labcoats because their risk of exposure is even lower. 

Chris) For now I do just want to concentrate on suits but thank you for raising this point and I will look into selection of glove at another time. Is there any infomation I can look at to help me when I do look into this?

chris.packham  
#5 Posted : 04 December 2019 08:51:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

Oliver - I have sent you an e-mail on gloves

thanks 1 user thanked chris.packham for this useful post.
Oliverp1 on 04/12/2019(UTC)
mike52  
#6 Posted : 04 December 2019 10:10:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
mike52

Oliver.


You said your production is on a mezzanine floor. Wby is this? and how do you prevent any spillage reaching the floor below.


Mike
hilary  
#7 Posted : 04 December 2019 10:29:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

Oliver

Most safety people in your place would give their eyeteeth to have an MD who actually cares and puts safety first.  Yes, there will be additional expense but if he or she is prepared to weather that cost then I say go for it.  Give your employees the maximum protection and prove that you care and that money is not "all important" and safety comes first.

In terms of kudos and moving the perception of safety forward within your organisation, this is a gift.

thanks 1 user thanked hilary for this useful post.
chris42 on 04/12/2019(UTC)
Oliverp1  
#8 Posted : 04 December 2019 10:45:50(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

The production is on a mezzanine floor because the product is mixed in 4x3 ton mixing vessles suspended by the mezzanine.

Spills are prevented and controlled by the use of sump pallets for the additives and the vessles are filled by operatives who have a cut off switch, there is an overfill alarm, the formulation will only allow for the creation of 2.5 tons of product so normal operation will not overflow the vessles, spill kits are provided in the even on the spillage, the area below the mezzanine is bunded to capture any spillage and flow meters let the operative know how much product they are putting in.

Oliverp1  
#9 Posted : 04 December 2019 11:00:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

Originally Posted by: hilary Go to Quoted Post

Oliver

Most safety people in your place would give their eyeteeth to have an MD who actually cares and puts safety first.  Yes, there will be additional expense but if he or she is prepared to weather that cost then I say go for it.  Give your employees the maximum protection and prove that you care and that money is not "all important" and safety comes first.

In terms of kudos and moving the perception of safety forward within your organisation, this is a gift.

There is no doubt that this isnt a bad position to be in regarding the MD's backing and I know I am in a fortunate position because he would be willing to pay for the suits if he had to. Im just trying to decide if he does have to.

There is only 2 employees that are involved in operation 3 at any one time the rest in that unit are involved in operation 1. We would still be overprotecting the majority of our workforce while arguably providing adequate protection for the other 2. I know it is difficult to decide over a forum without proper context but I just wanted to see if anyone agreed with the logic that operation 3 could be considered "minimal risk" due to the difference in use from operation 2. 

Cheers

Roundtuit  
#10 Posted : 04 December 2019 13:48:39(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If this is a single building with all three operations occurring the protection should be the same for everyone - not to the lowest but the highest common denominator.

If a line splits or seal fails the leak isn't going to select which employee it hits based upon what their duties are it will be whoever is in the firing line.

Oliverp1  
#11 Posted : 04 December 2019 14:25:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

process 2 is in a seperate building everyone in that unit will carry on using the catagory 5&6 disposable suits. 

Processes 1 and 3 will be in the same building and they will be wearing the same suits. It just depends if process 3 is classed as a "Minimal hazard" then a catagory 1 suit can be worn. 

chris42  
#12 Posted : 04 December 2019 14:25:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Originally Posted by: Oliverp1 Go to Quoted Post

and in normal operation gelcoat shouldnt get on them?

Will it always be normal is the point here, can you ensure 100% of the time normal.

Chris
thanks 2 users thanked chris42 for this useful post.
Roundtuit on 04/12/2019(UTC), hilary on 05/12/2019(UTC)
chris.packham  
#13 Posted : 04 December 2019 22:29:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

Surely the whole point of a risk assessment is not just to assess the potential for harm to come to someone due what they are actually doing. For me that is actuality. The risk is that something that is not normal occurs that causes damage to health. This requires more than just considering what happens as routine, but what 'could happen' and the potential consequences.

thanks 2 users thanked chris.packham for this useful post.
Roundtuit on 04/12/2019(UTC), hilary on 05/12/2019(UTC)
Oliverp1  
#14 Posted : 05 December 2019 08:37:34(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

If I didnt think this form of PPE could be used for this job then I wouldnt have suggested it. As you say a risk assessment is to control the abnormal as well as the normal. In this job the abnormal would be a spill of either a drum or a keg. A small spill you would be able to wipe off your suit and carry on. A spill of a drum could result in 250kg falling over but this is very unlikley as it would take considerable force and FLT's arent permitted in this area. A large spill could cover a lot of the suit but regardless of which suit (the proposed one or the current one) the action would be to remove that and any contaminated clothing and wash any areas of skin exposed immediately.

Also as I have previously mentioned I am not suggesting these changes will be implemented straight away. I am just asking if anyone agrees with the theory. If the theory is right then I will trial the proposed suits and await employees feedback. If they are happy with the suits and think it is protecting them then the idea can be moved forward again. 

I find it surprising that people are suggesting that because it is the same substance the same controls should be put in place when the whole point of a COSHH assessment is to implement controls of how the substance is used. Even water could be hazardous when used in certain ways so this surley highlights that a seperate COSHH assessment should be created and because of that different control measures could be put in place. Afterall in operation 2 respirators are used but they are not deemed necessary in operation 3 becaue of the different circumstances.  

hilary  
#15 Posted : 05 December 2019 08:38:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

I totally agree with Chris and Chris.  You should always consider worst case scenario within the confines of the work and protect to that level if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

H&S is as much about employee buy-in as it is about compliance with the law.  If you get employee buy-in then the compliance is that much easier.  If we are only talking about 2 employees at any one time and you have 100% backing to get the higher grade suits then to me it's a no brainer, just do it.

 

Oliverp1  
#16 Posted : 05 December 2019 09:11:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oliverp1

Hi its not two people its everyone in that unit. If it was two people the solution would be easy as you said. 

hilary  
#17 Posted : 05 December 2019 10:09:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

The solution is easy, the MD has stated that he would like everyone to wear the same protective clothing.  You have mooted an option with him that he is not comfortable with.  You have now come on here to ask if your assessment is fair and the people on here have voiced concerns similar to those of your MD.

At the end of the day, your MD is legally responsible for the health, safety and welfare of those employees.  If he has come up with a solution that he is happy to pay for, then you should implement it.

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