Putting Good Work Design Into Practice  On Your Class 3 Flammable Liquids

Originally published November 9, 2021 12:54:03 AM

Have you been reading our blog series on applying the principles of good work design to flammable liquids safety? We’ll now be highlighting Principle 5: Good work design considers the business needs, context and work environment — and explaining how this principle can be applied to your flammable liquids storage areas and handling practices.  

What is good work design?  

The most effective design process begins at the earliest opportunity during the conceptual and planning phases. At this early stage there is the greatest chance of finding ways to designout hazards, incorporate effective risk control measures and design-in efficiencies. 

Safe Work Australia

Good Work Design — Principle 5 

Principle 5 of good work design recognises the trading needs of an organisation and ensures that work procedures are not only safe, but practical and affordable.  

There are three key considerations to this principle: 

  • Considering business needs - keeping workers safe while meeting production schedules and sales targets. 
  • Considering context - evaluating how individual work tasks fit into the complete supply chain and operational life cycle. 
  • Considering work environment - ensuring the physical layout of work areas (including machinery and equipment) supports individual job tasks. 

STOREMASTA Blog Image - HAZCHEM Safety training and supervising your workers

Principle 5 of Safe Work Australia’s good work design considers 3 points: the needs of the business, the context and the work environment.

“Good work design is most effective when it addresses the specific business needs of the individual workplace or business.” Safe Work Australia. 

Steps To Good Work Design 

Safe Work Australia lists 7 clear steps when implementing good work design.  

How to structure a chemical risk assessment

There are 7 crucial steps that you can take if you want to implement good work design into your own organisation.

Following these 7 steps will also ensure you’ve fulfilled your compliance obligations under Part 3.1 Managing Risks to Health and Safety of the WHS Regulations, and Division 2 Consultation with workers of the WHS Act. 

Steps Actions Example
1 Direct Business operators and senior managers authorise and activate a good work design initiative. 
2 Consult Workers directly involved in the implementation of the project — as well as individual job tasks — are consulted. 
3 Identify Existing (and potential) hazards are identified. 
4 Assess

Hazards are assessed, and where possible eliminated at the source. 

5 Control Safe work systems are implemented according to the needs, context, and physical work environment of the business. 
6 Review Work systems are reviewed to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, effective, and installed correctly.  
7 Improve Work systems are reviewed to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, effective, and installed correctly.  


Good Work Design Principles In Practice 

So, how can you take these 7 steps and put them into practice in your own workplace. 

Let’s now have a look at how you can direct, consult, identify, assess, control, review and improve work design in your own organisation by using a real-life example.  

Flammable Corrosive drums-1You may wish to consider how to incorporate the 7 steps into improving your own flammable liquids operations.

EXAMPLE: Your worksite keeps unleaded petrol in 205 litre drums on a pallet in an open area. Anyone needing fuel for the small machines and outdoor equipment in their department brings their own jerrycan and gets the fuel they need. There are no set procedures in place, and very often apprentices and new workers are sent to complete the task.  

Step #1. Direct 

The General Manager instructs the HSE Manager to clean up the fuel drum area for compliance, reduce wastage, and design out hazards as far as possible. The HSE Manager has an allocated budget for the project. 

Step #2. Consult 

Workers who decant the petrol, plus supervisors who oversee the fuel drum area are consulted to gain a better understanding of the existing work processes and associated hazards. 

petrolConsulting your staff and supervisors about flammable liquids handling and storage procedures can assist in improving good work design in your operations.

Step #3. Identify 

An external Dangerous Goods Consultant specialising in Class 3 Flammable Liquids is appointed to carry out a comprehensive safety audit of the fuel drum area and decanting process. The Consultant identifies several hazards as well as handling practices that are resulting in significant spillage and chemical waste. 

Step #4. Assess 

The HSE Manager and Dangerous Goods Consultant meet with the WHS Committee to consider the installation of a series of drum dollies, drum caddies, spill funnels and drum lids. Each item is considered based on the potential to: 

  • reduce waste (cut costs) 
  • reduce processing time (increase productivity) 
  • minimise chemical exposure hazards (WHS compliance) 

Step #5. Control 

The decanting equipment for the petrol drums is purchased and installed. Workers and supervisors are briefed on the new fuel decanting and transfer procedures. 

STOREMASTA Blog Image - Hazardous chemical safety training for managers and supervisors

When implementing new equipment in your workplace, make sure that all relevant staff are trained on how to use the equipment correctly and safely.

Step #6. Review 

7-10 days after the decanting equipment has been installed, the HSE Manager and Dangerous Goods Consultant carry out a follow-up safety audit.  

During this audit, they discover that since installing the drum decanting equipment, workers have stopped wearing PPE while filling jerry cans. A more detailed training plan is developed, and workers are supervised more closely as they get used to the new work procedures — including the need to wear PPE

Step #7. Improve 

The HSE Manager consults with the purchasing manager to monitor petrol usage and determines there has been very little reduction in wastage. Further examination determines that greater restrictions need to place on the fuel decanting station — and closer monitoring of fuel use in departmental areas. 

How Can You Improve Good Work Design? 

Thanks for reading the latest instalment in our short blog series on good work design. We hope you’ve been able to gain knowledge and understanding on how to follow the 7 steps detailed above to improve work design in your own business. One of the most significant ways (and arguable, one of the simplest) to improve good work design in your flammable liquids areas is to choose a compliant flammable cabinet. By using a flammable liquids storage cabinet that has been manufactured to meet Australian Safety Standards, you’re supporting every aspect of good word design Principle 5.  

Compliant cabinets reduce your compliance risk (business needs), they’re purpose-built for Class 3 Flammables (context) and they effectively minimise chemical exposure of individual workers at their job stations (environment). Like to learn more about meeting your chemical storage responsibilities and improving organisational efficiencies? Our eBook, Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors, explains everything you need to know about flammable cabinets and will introduce you to our proven risk control methodology: IDENTIFY – ASSESS – CONTROL – SUSTAIN. Why not download our helpful (and 100% free) guide 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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