Applying the principles of good work design to Flammable Liquids handling and storage 

Sep 17, 2019 Posted by Walter Ingles

This blog is Part 1 in a new series on the principles of good work design, and how they apply to flammable liquids handling and storage. Work health and safety regulators in Australia have identified that good work design can reduce the incidence of workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses — as well as improve the overall WHS infrastructure at a business or workplace.  

Good work design is a key component of Dangerous Goods management and storage, so in our blog series we’ll be explaining how to apply each of the 10 principles of good work design to minimise the chemical hazards (ie, flammable liquids) at your job site, as well as your overall compliance risk. 


What is good work design? 

Good work design is a pro-active approach to workplace operations that breaks down individual job tasks to minimise hazards, protect the health and safety of individual workers and streamline organisational efficiencies. Good work design focuses on four key areas: 

  • Work - the actual job or task being performed. 
  • Work systems - the equipment and procedures in place. 
  • Physical working environment - the location and conditions of the work area where the task will be performed. 
  • Workers - the competence, skills and experience of the workers carrying out the task, as well as the amount of supervision they will receive. 


Applying good work design to Dangerous Goods storage and handling 

Good work design can be implemented immediately at a workplace by analysing and updating existing job tasks. In terms of flammable liquids, good work design includes: 

  • Developing safe work procedures for every point in the life cycle of flammable liquids at the job site — ie, ordering, receiving, putting into storage, decanting and transfer, usage during production, disposal. 
  • Installing storage, decanting and transfer equipment that has been manufactured to Australian Standard AS1940:2017 – The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids — and is suited to the chemical quantities held at the job site 
  • Optimising the working environment where flammable liquids are present — ie, having safe lighting, proper signage, consistent housekeeping, secure access, preventative maintenance and integrity testing. 


10 Principles of good work design 

To assist business owners and operators improve the safety and efficiency of their organisation, the Australian government has identified 10 principles of good work design. Let’s take a quick look at the 10 principles and how they might apply when managing Dangerous Goods like Class 3 Flammable Liquids.  

  • Principle 1 Good work design gives the highest level of protection so far as is reasonably practicable — minimise exposure to flammable liquids by using storage and decanting equipment manufactured to Australian Safety Standards. 
  • Principle 2 — Good work design enhances health and wellbeing — provide a safe workplace that includes engaging work, regular training, interactive management and genuine concern for the welfare of people. 
  • Principle 3 Good work design enhances business success and productivity - increase profitability by using flammable liquids decanting and transfer equipment that minimises spillage and chemical waste.  
  • Principle 4 Good work design addresses physical, bio-mechanical, cognitive and psychosocial characteristics of work, together with the needs and capabilities of the people involved — streamline rosters to reduce daily exposure times to chemical fumes and vapours. 
  • Principle 5 Good work design considers the business needs, context and work environment — implement good housekeeping practices that ensure flammable liquids and other chemicals are not left lying about the worksite. 
  • Principle 6 Good work design is applied along the supply chain and across the operational lifecycle — streamline purchases and deliveries of flammable liquids to minimise the quantities needed to be kept onsite. 
  • Principle 7 Engage decision makers and leaders — managers and supervisors quickly follow up and address system failures, chemical hazards, or incidents involving flammable liquids. 
  • Principle 8 Actively involve the people who do the work, including those in the supply chain and networks — when developing safe work procedures, consult with the workers, supervisors, and contractors who actually handle and use flammable liquids on a day-to-day basis. 
  • Principle 9 Identify hazards, assess and control risks, and seek continuous improvement — use a four-step risk management methodology to ensure that every hazard associated with flammable liquids is properly identified, assessed and controlled — as well as monitored and regularly reviewed. 
  • Principle 10 Learn from experts, evidence and experience — investigate the root cause of chemical spills, exposure incidents and injuries related to flammable liquids, then introduce corrective actions and preventative controls based on the findings. 

Keep reading our blog series as we unpack each of the 10 principles of good work design and offer practical examples of how they could be applied to job tasks and storage practices involving flammable liquids. 


Next steps 

Using a Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet that has been manufactured to Australia Safety Standards is a critical component of good work design. Safety cabinets minimise chemical exposure because they safely contain flammable vapours and fumes. For more information about how to select and introduce a safety cabinet for even small quantities of flammable liquids, please download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. Download and read it today by clicking on the image below:  

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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