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Strategy for zero reportable incidents during Erection

1.0 Introduction:


Erection typically refers to larger construction of industrial plant systems and equipment. "Erection and commissioning" primarily refers to the installation and professional oversight of major industrial plant facilities and large equipment installation by qualified design engineering companies, etc.


Job of erection itself is hazardous by its nature. Name any hazards from electrical shock to physical like slip, trip & fall or from heat/sun burn to fire & explosion – all of them may be present is the construction sites, especially when the erection is in progress.


Erection is an activity where one may find everything shabby and housekeeping is a major issue. Equipments are in poor condition through long use or lack of care. Outdoor activities are as such exposed to environmental stress. As a result, we come across multiple hazards.


Among all of these, the most serious hazards during erection are related to falls from height, either from working positions or while gaining access to them. Other serious hazards are related to structural instability or failure during erection and while transporting, handling and lifting heavy components.


One more aspect, the physical hazards are more likely to result in sudden injury, and generally involve a rapid release of energy. Physical hazards include fire, explosions, compressed gases, high vacuum, and electrical hazards.


Strategy for zero reportable incidents during Erection must focus on the Zero Accident Vision (ZAV), which is based on the assumption that all (serious) accidents are preventable. ZAV is then the ambition and commitment to create and ensure safe work and prevent all (serious) accidents in order to achieve safety excellence.


2.0 Understanding Heinrich triangle from erection parse:


This idea of Heinrich Triangle proposes that if the number of reportable accidents is to be reduced then there shall be a corresponding fall in the number of close calls or near-misses.


Before setting the strategy for zero reportable incidents, we must recall Heinrich Triangle first. We may assume that Mr. Heinrich had termed ‘reportable incidents’ as ‘serious injuries’. Hence, adequate attention shall be given towards Near-Miss capturing.


Fig 1: Heinrich Triangle and Modified Heinrich Triangle


This basic triangle has gone through serious of modification. The triangle was first proposed by Herbert William Heinrich in 1931 and has since been updated and expanded upon by the others.


3.0 Proactive Approaches:


Fig 2 explains how this modification has now indicated a shift from ‘Reactive’ to ‘Proactive’ approaches. This means that proactive approaches like identification of unsafe acts and unsafe condition would result in the reduction of incidents.


Fig 2: Heinrich Triangle as Lag and Lead Indicators


Intensive proactive activities like formation of Safety Rules, Hazards Identification, Risk Assessment, Safety Observations, Safety Management System Audit & Assessment, Implementation of Safety Standards, Risk Based Thinking & Awareness among the all section of people, Training, Visual displays, SOPs & Work Instructions, and Competence & Capacity Building along with stringent approach towards application of safety rules will be required.


Although Job Safety Analysis breaks the tasks down into logical job steps, lists the typical hazards associated with each of these job steps, and describes the control measures implemented to eliminate or control the risk for the workers safety yet better & effective method is available for the project & construction type of work environment. Conventional Risk Assessment methods like HIRA, JSA, JHA etc. are very effective in the running plant, factory and non-factory environment.


4.0 Strategic Intent:


When the intent is zero reportable incidents, each & every person working in the erection activities shall set up an ultimate goal is zero accidents. Organization’s objectives and Individual KPA/KRA shall be aligned at all levels and percolated down the line accordingly. These 10 steps may serve as important guideline for strategy formation:

1) Commitment:

Make sure everyone is committed to safety. Everyone in your organization, from top management to the newest employee, must be committed to safety as the number one priority. Hence, commitment towards safety through observation of the number of unsafe acts, unsafe condition and capturing of near-misses shall be the parts of KPA/BSC.

2) Safety Standard:

Set clear standards for workplace safety performance. Make sure that employees understand the rules and the supervisors enforce them. No of violations shall be the key component.

3) Leadership:

Take the lead. Explain to supervisors and managers the importance of setting a good example and following all safety rules themselves—for example, wearing proper PPE and taking the same precautions as workers. Furthermore, supervisors should lead the effort in hunting down hazards and correcting them. (Awareness & Training)

4) Employees Involvement:

Get employees involved. As for example, give workers responsibility for planning and conducting inspections, for analyzing their own data on work hazards, and for designing safety checklists. Safety Observations & reporting shall be everybody’s responsibility.

5) Awareness & Communication:

Promote understanding. Emphasize that hazards put employees’ personal health and safety at risk. Understanding the “why” of safety is a strong motivator.

6) Capacity & Competence building:

Train for competence and safety. Train employees well and frequently. Make sure they have the information and develop the skills they need to prevent accidents.

7) Encourage feedback:

Welcome input from employees. Praise workers who identify and correct hazards, or who report problems they can’t fix.

8) Look for teachable moments:

When hazards are identified, do more than just correct them. Use them as learning experiences to help workers become more alert and more sensitive to potential danger on the job.

9) Correction & Corrective Action:

Move swiftly to correct safety problems. Make sure you respond promptly to identified hazards and take immediate steps to correct them.

10) Improve Continuously:

View accident prevention as an ongoing challenge. It is something supervisors and employees have to focus on every day, always improving, always setting new safety objectives, and always making steady progress toward achieving them.


5.0 Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS):


Hazardous nature of Erection & Commissioning of any Project type of activity calls for special attention and a Risk Assessment of unique nature. Safe Work Method Study/statement (SWMS) is one such type activity, which is most suitable for Project type of jobs. It is different from other risk assessment documents such as a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) or a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) as it is not intended to be a procedure but rather a document which is prepared in consultation with all relevant persons. However, SWMS can work in conjunction with and as a supplement of HIRAC and JSA or JHA.


SWMS is a document that sets out the high risk construction work (HRCW) to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities, and the measures to be put in place to control the risks. It is generally different from other documents that focus on specific tasks or processes, such as a Job Safety Analysis or a Safe Operating Procedure.


SWMS is Management Tool to determine appropriate controls to mitigate risks/hazards associated with various activities of a work and it is not intended to be a procedure—rather it is a tool to help supervisors and workers confirm and monitor the control measures required at the workplace.


It is one of the most critical barriers created by the organization to prevent occurrence of an incident. Success of this Tool depends upon its adequacy and effective deployment and its important features are:

  • Correct & logical sequencing is of utmost importance in order to prevent additional Hazards and Risks

  • A work shall be approached and completed in Four Phases

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) shall always be considered as a common element of any work


As a minimum, the SWMS must identify the work that is HRCW. State the hazards and risks to health and safety from that work. Clearly detail the measures selected to control those risks.


SWMS has 4 major stages:

o Phase I: Pre-Planning Phase:

It is often called as Desktop study, where list of activities are identified and hazards are identified. Quantum of associated risks is estimated based on the available site information. Probable Action Plan for Minimizing the Risk is done. Based on all these, a very basic form of SWMS is prepared.

o Phase II: Planning phase:

A site visit is done. Based on the site condition, the activities are modified and the resources like manpower, skill, equipment etc. are planned. One of the important parts of this phase is planning for ‘Emergency Response’ and the necessity of contingency. Accordingly SWMS is modified, reviewed and approved.

o Phase III: Execution Phase:

Project is executed. Any deviation from the approved SWMS is analyzed and amended.

o Phase IV: Closure of Permit & Handover

Project work is complete in all aspect.


6.0 Conclusion:


As a nutshell the Strategy for zero reportable incidents during Erection shall have the following features:

  • Management’s commitment with stringent safety rules and policies

  • SMART Objectives and targets, which must include Awareness, Training, Near Miss capturing, Audit & audit points closure etc.

  • Recruiting qualified person for the job e.g. competent scaffold erector, certified electrician etc.

  • House-keeping and 5S, Use of proper PPE, scaffolding, ladder etc.

  • Visual Display with appropriate safety instruction

  • Preparation of project specific Safe Work Method Statement

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