How Good Work Design Can Improve Operational Costs, Productivity and Flammable Liquids Safety

Could your business benefit from embracing the principles of good work design?  

“Principle 3 — Good work design enhances business success and productivity” Safe Work Australia.

Welcome to our blog series that discusses the 10 principles of good work design. Principle 3 is a topic that we’re passionate about: using good work design practices to cut costs, increase productivity and improve flammable liquids safety in your organisation. In this blog, we’ll show you how to incorporate good work design in your own Dangerous Goods storage and handling practices. We’ll also highlight some real-life examples of good work design practices that you can easily apply them to your own business.  

Reduce The Likelihood Of Dangerous Incidences

Safe Work Australia’s Principle 3 of good work design highlights the dual benefits of a safe workplace — less dangerous incidents and less cost.  

How to structure a chemical risk assessmentBy implementing good work design practices, businesses can achieve higher standards of safety.

If staff are injured at work, there is not only the tragic human cost of the accident, but there is also the financial cost.  

Some common examples of the financial costs of workplace accidents include: 

  • 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. 
  • Business interruption - a chemical spill or serious injury can shut down production, leading to costly interruptions along the entire supply chain. 
  • 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, illness or even death. 
  • 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.

It is possible, with good work design, to utilise engineering controls, safe systems and innovative work methods to reduce the risk associated with chemical processes. Good work design can be quickly incorporated into your business and produce long-term benefits for your organisation.

By investing in these good work design improvements, you can reduce the occurrences of dangerous incidents — and protect the people in your organisation.  

Improve Your Operating Costs

Good work design is especially relevant when your business carries Class 3 Flammable Liquids. By improving chemical storage equipment, flammable liquid handling practices and decanting procedures, you can achieve considerable cost savings for your organisation.  

Here are some examples of how to improve cost-effectiveness with Dangerous Goods usage and storage: 

1. Decanting Chemicals

If you want to save costs, then consider investing in decanting equipment and bunding products that are purpose-designed for flammable liquids.  

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. Storage Of Flammable Liquids

You can also cut operational costs by choosing indoor safety cabinets and  outdoor  chemical stores that are specifically designed for Class 3 Flammable Liquids. 

Staff using Flammable CabinetWhen storing flammable liquids, consider the cost-effectiveness of using a compliant cabinet that will reduce spills, discourage over-purchasing and protect from fire and explosions. 

This on-the-job example shows how compliant chemical storage can reduce your organisation’s operational costs: 

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. 

Improvements In Productivity 

Good work design allows organisations to achieve improvements in both efficiency and productivitySometimes its just a few simple changes in your methods of operation that can produce substantial benefits in terms of productivity.  

Chemical Store

From your delivery areas to your decanting stations, there are many ways that you can improve the efficiency and productivity of your organisation.

Here are some examples of how good work design can improve the efficiency of workplaces: 

  • 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. 

Spillage

Flammable storage cabinets provide a range of risk control measures including protection for flammable liquids and spill containment.

How Can Good Work Design Assist Your Business? 

As we’ve touched on in this blog, good work design is an achievable goal for businesses that are looking to improve their cost savings, staff productivity and flammable liquids safety. One of the key solutions that we recommend is making sure that any Class 3 Dangerous Goods are stored safely in a purpose-built flammable liquids storage cabinet. Only cabinets that are manufactured to meet the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 1940:2017 – The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids, will help you improve chemical efficiencies — and keep your workplace safer.  

If you’d like to learn more about how to implement these risk control measures into your own workplace, we have an eBook that can help. Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors is a helpful guide for businesses that wish to have a better understanding of chemical compliance obligations. Access your free copy today to find out more. 

Essential Considerations when Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors download Free eBook

Walter Ingles

Walter Ingles Compliance Specialist

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Storage Specialist. He helps organisations reduce risk and improve efficiencies in the storage and management of dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals.

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