Monday, June 10, 2013

Hazard Mitigation

I hear cursing from the operations manager's office and go to investigate. A new client requires all their contractors to submit worker safety hazard mitigation plans for hazards that could exist on the job. We're all for safety. We've had serious discussions on how to mitigate the risk of slip and fall due to water spilled from the water cooler. (Confession: the spilling is usually my fault. I always put too much water in my water bottle and then displace some when I put the cap on). So taken individually, the hazards and need to mitigate them seem reasonable, but when I see the laundry list of hazards our mitigation document requires I can understand how this has caused temporary insanity in the ops manager.

Bears. How will we mitigate the hazard to workers caused by bears? We will not open the doors of the aircraft if there are bears observed in the vicinity. We will not carry uncaged bears on the aircraft. We will not stay at hotels infested with bears. We can't carry bear spray because in an unpressurized but none the less reasonably closed and confined space, the risk of spraying ourselves far exceeds the possible benefits.

Heat/cold stress: How will we mitigate such hazards? We will wear appropriate clothing. We will use the heater and air cooling vents as appropriate. We will drink water and eat food. We will use the sweat glands and shiver reflex that biology has provided us with.

Dehydration: We will mitigate the hazard of dehydration by making potable drinking water available to all crew members at their stations, and drinking it.

Weather fluctuation: We will mitigate the hazards of weather fluctuation by following the basic instructions we learned from our mothers or other caregivers around the time we learned to dress ourselves and walk to the park to play. We will wear appropriate clothing, monitor changing conditions and choose alternate routing or end the mission if the weather proves challenging.

Solar radiation: We will wear sunscreen. And hats. And really cool aviator sunglasses.

Try it. Try to explain with a straight face how you will mitigate the hazard of slipping and falling while boarding an aircraft, and then go on to explain how you will mitigate the hazards of bee stings, fallen trees, earthquakes, traffic accidents, stabbing oneself with the pointy end of a pencil, and encounters with a man wielding a mango. You can do a few, but after a while you end in profanity, sarcasm or wondering sadly about the fate of humanity when workers need a written policy to know when to come in from the rain.

10 comments:

Cedarglen said...

A fun post, thank you. It is also seasonally appropriate and a great reminder for all. If nothing else, DRINK the provided water; you need it. Who the heck wants to deal with a crew member who has functioned through the fligh't, only to collapse, unconconsious on th e apron when leaving the aircraft. Oh yes. I've seen it happen. Drink you water, boys and girls because it will keep you alive. A few women will object, I know. Crap! Methods and equipment necessary for you to unload some water ARE available, work just fine and Ms. Atx has addressed this before. While never as easy as for a male, fully functional gear is available that will allow you some discrete relief when necessary. Peeing in your flight suit may not be the best choice, but it IS better than not drinking, becoming dehydrated and, eventually unable to function. Be smart, pilots and other crew: Drink your water - or maybe - die.
Great post madam. Thanks.

Ramiel said...

It's kind of amusing!

Mitigate means make it less severe; making something into something else requires you to have control over it. I hope if we humans ever have control on things like weather, that we'd at least know how to safely operate a pencil.

Tell them, you need to give paid and fully catered 5 hours of ground instruction to all adult employees on how not to stab oneself with a pencil!

World'sMostAnxiousPerson said...

Reminds me of my previous life as a science teacher. I remember writing risk assessments for using scissors and glue; for using dangerous chemicals like lemon juice and vinegar.
I really don't miss it.

Curious Chemeng said...

It's a shame too, because it makes the hazard mitigation planning for the more dangerous hazards that much harder to do. By the time you get to them, you're rolling your eyes and trying not to fill the page with snark.

I've seen it many times. How to not trip, how to not strain your back while lifting, how to not get a sunburn, how to stay hydrated, how to stay clear of a moving vehicle, how to not get a chemical burn from a very dangerous chemical...

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

When I worked at LAX I had to watch a movie that told me not to drive behind a 747 when it was spooling up and taking off, the hazard being my little vehicle might go flying back into the fence. Go figure. And to challenge anyone who tried to double in when your card was swiped into a secure area. As I watched the LAPD do that exact thing I wondered who the rules were written for?

World'sMostAnxiousPerson said...

As a quick question, do you often find yourself confronted by people brandishing mangos?

Is it always men?
Is it always a mango?

Is the risk mitigation different for other fruits?

enquiring minds need to know.
Maybe this video will help
click here

DataPilot said...

This SO reminds me of my life.

I learned years ago that, so long as the mitigating factors are written down and made accessible to all affected persons, no one cares what they actually say.

"Bears"? Use common sense.
"Gargoyle attack"? Use common sense.
"Direct asteroid impact"? Common sense... or whatever. We're probably not going to live through it, anyway.

Write the mitigating factors down, post them on an official web page, send emails to persons with a link to the page (which the afore-mentioned persons will almost certainly ignore), and your tail is covered.

Works like a charm.

Cedarglen said...

The greatest hazard imposed by this client seems to be flatulence. You might remind said client that getting out of bed is also a hazard. And double shame on you for spilling water at the water cooler. Attempted assault charges may be pending.

Michael5000 said...

I actually prefer staying in hotels infested with bears. You can usually negotiate a good discount.

leisuresuitwally said...

Bear Mitigation