The risk assessments produced have not included all significant operational hazards.
It was acknowledged by Senior Management that there has been a significant escalation in the amount of night work which in itself is a significant hazard. A documented specific risk assessment has not been established for night work.
Some Context to the Finding
This major nonconformity was raised during an assessment at a company specialising in road safety solutions, including the provision of white lining services.
White lining activities on roads such as dual carriageways and motorways is not without risk and requires effective traffic management to ensure that the level of risk is minimised. However, live traffic still presents a risk, especially when relying on drivers adhering to the speed limits.
At night, whilst the volume of traffic is reduced, there can be a temptation for some drivers to exceed the speed limit or to drive under the influence of drugs or alchohol. Also, at night, it can be harder for drivers to see clearly. Thus, there remains a level of risk of road working operatives being struck by a moving vehicle, and any injuries sustained are likely to be serious, potentially fatal.
The company had won additional projects that were going to result in a significant increase in the amount of night-work undertaken.
The company undergoing assessment had implemented their health and safety management system without any input from an external consultant.
Action taken to address the finding
The follow up report showed that "the risk assessment for hand applied thermoplastic road marking was updated and an additional line added to night work. This recognises the risk associated with working in the dark."
The company recognised the high risk nature of the activities they were undertaking and sought additional support from external consultants to help improve their health and safety management system.
Lessons to take from this finding
Remember to ensure that if there is a change in the work environment to review the existing risk assessments for suitability.
Ensure that personnel undertaking risk assessments are competent to do so (this can involve training members of staff or may involve the support of external consultants).
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