Safety in the Workplace – The Human Factor

Human Factors can play a huge part in accidents and near misses within the workplace.

When it comes to the safe use of compressed gases, effective training and the sharing of information play a crucial role in reducing risks caused by Human Factors.

In the UK we have access to equipment that has undergone stringent testing and is therefore safe to use if done so correctly.  However, training in the correct use of the equipment is imperative to reduce risks caused by Human Factors.

All to often we are contacted by companies who have experienced an incident directly caused by operator error.  In most cases the reason for the incident can be attributed to incorrect working practices resulting from failure to provide training and information to staff.

For example, approximately 90% of incidents involving oxygen & acetylene/propane gas occur due to operators carrying out incorrect light up and shut down procedures.

Fire damaged acetylene regulator

This acetylene regulator and equipment sustained fire damage as a result of a flashback.

This flashback incident was caused by human error.   In this instance the operator was not aware of the correct light up and shut down procedure for the equipment in use.  The operator did not purge the system prior to light up, resulting in an ignition.

Fortunately the operator and his colleagues reacted quickly, escaping to safety and alerting the fire service.

Organisations such as The HSE and BCGA recognise the importance that human factors can play in helping avoid accidents and ill-health at work.

Here you can read the recommendations from these organisations who work hard to promote a culture of safety in all businesses in the UK.
BCGA – Consideration of human factors in the gases industry
HSE – Introduction to Human Factors

We rely on human actions for safe operations. therefore practical training coupled with classroom teaching is essential.  Proactive Gas Safety provide training that gives operators knowledge and skills to handle gases and equipment safely and with confidence.

It is important that suitable training, in line with relevant codes of practice, is ongoing and supported by good working practices.

We recommend a 3 year renewal system for our training courses.  Customers who have trained within 3 years receive reference material and access to technical support from our team.

Take a look at our range of gas safety courses here.

PGS are committed to promoting the safe use of compressed and cryogenic gases in the workplace.  If you have any concerns about compressed gas at your location then please do get in touch and we will do our best to help.