Welcome to the latest edition of our blog series on the principles of good work design. In today’s blog we’ll be looking at a topic close to our hearts — using work design practices to improve organisational efficiencies, cut costs and improve productivity. We’ll be unpacking Good Work Design Principle # 3 and offering some local examples for incorporating it into your Dangerous Goods storage and handling practices.
“Principle 3 — Good work design enhances business success and productivity” Safe Work Australia.
Reduction in dangerous incidents
Principle 3 of good work design highlights the dual benefits of a safe workplace — less dangerous incidents, less cost. Apart from the tragic human cost when workers are injured or die at work, there is also an associated financial cost. Examples include:
- Insurance and worker’s compensation - making an insurance or worker’s compensation claim has associated administration costs and excess payments. Premiums increase alongside claims.
- Wages - costs to hire and train additional workers to cover shortages due to injury, death, and illness.
- Business interruption - a chemical spill or serious injury can shut down production, leading to costly interruptions along the entire supply chain.
- Clean-up - the cost of materials and labour as chemical spills are cleaned up, or fires extinguished.
- Property and asset damage - chemicals spills, fires and explosions damage and destroy property which must be replaced.
- Investigations - staffing shortages as managers, supervisors and line staff are pulled out of their regular duties to assist incident investigators.
- Penalties - dangerous incidents and workplace fatalities can also result in hefty fines and loss of reputation.
Designing out risk associated with a chemical process by using known engineering controls, work methods and safe systems — over the long term will reduce the occurrences of dangerous incidents.
Operating Cost savings
Good work design is especially relevant when your business carries Class 3 Flammable Liquids, because improving your storage equipment, handling practices and decanting procedures can produce immediate cost savings. Here are some clear examples:
1. Decanting chemicals
Using decanting equipment and bunding products that are purpose-designed for flammable liquids can lead to several direct cost savings. Here’s a real-world example:
Workers are hand pouring fuel into a 205-litre chemical drum — they have been using a plastic funnel to assist the pouring. After a risk assessment they install spill funnel lids (with debris strainers) on the top of the chemical drums, then provide supervision and training as workers transition to the new procedure. Now they enjoy the following cost savings:
- Less spills and waste - the spill funnel lid has a large surface area, so the risk of over-pouring or leakage is greatly reduced.
- Less contamination - debris are caught in the strainer and removed before it can contaminate the chemicals.
- Less injuries to workers - the task of decanting chemicals is much easier now and workers don’t make as many mistakes.
- Less time to complete the task - now the task is so much easier it takes much less time, workers can engage in other duties.
2. Flammable liquids storage
Safety cabinets and stores that are specifically designed for Class 3 Flammable Liquids are another way organisation can cut costs. For example:
A site inspection and safety audit flags a hazard relating to flammable paints and solvents. Paint tins, solvents, brushes and used rags are being left on an old pallet near the waste station. Some of the tins look like they have never been used, others are empty (but still have chemical residue) and many of them are rusty and damaged. Other paints and solvents are being left on workbenches, even in the lab. You install a Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet and install in the maintenance shed to consolidate storage of these flammable chemicals. Benefits include:
- Reduction in over-purchasing - now the paints and solvents are stored in one place, it’s immediately obvious what stocks are onsite. Older stocks can be used without inadvertently ordering too much.
- Spill protection - the risk of a hazardous chemical spill is greatly reduced as the flammable liquids cabinet has a light-tight spill sump. Uncontrolled spills have a lot of associated containment and clean-up costs.
- Fire and explosion protection - having the paints in the cabinet reduces the likelihood of the chemicals igniting or causing an explosion. Fires and explosions destroy assets and property, plus increase insurance premiums.
Good work design also leads to organisation efficiencies and productivity improvements. Here are some examples:
- Morale - a safe, and organised workplace improves worker motivation and morale. Happy workers tend to be more productive and engaged in the business.
- Space - having dedicated cabinets and stores for flammable liquids frees up space on the job site. A lot of time can be wasted accessing chemicals when items are scattered over the job site.
- Deliveries - chemical deliveries can be put away immediately when there is a dedicated chemical store or safety cabinet in place.
- Decanting - using purpose-built chemical decanting equipment and bunds can reduce chemical handling times.
- Reduced waste - when there is fewer chemical spills and waste, time is not lost in cleaning and disposal.
Are you interested in learning more about how a Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet, that has been manufactured to Australian Standard AS1940:2017 –- The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids, will help you improve chemical efficiencies (and keep your workplace safer)? Please download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors for a better understanding of your chemical compliance obligations. Read it today by clicking on the image below: