The HSE Document ‘Managing for Health and Safety’ (HSG65) states that a risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’.

EXAM

Guidance to learners

This is an open book examination. It is not invigilated, and you are free to use any learning resources to

which you have access, eg your course notes, or a website, etc.

By submitting this completed assessment for marking, you are declaring it is entirely your own work.

Knowingly claiming work to be your own when it is someone else’s work is malpractice, which carries

severe penalties. This means that you must not collaborate with or copy work from others. Neither

should you ‘cut and paste’ blocks of text from the Internet or other sources.

The examination begins with a realistic scenario to set the scene. You will then need to complete a

series of tasks based on this scenario. Each task will consist of one or more questions.

Your responses to most of these tasks should wholly, or partly, draw on relevant information from the

scenario. The task will clearly state the extent to which this is required.

The marks available are shown in brackets to the right of each question, or part of each question. This

will help guide you to the amount of information required in your response. In general, one mark is

given for each correct technical point that is clearly demonstrated. Avoid writing too little as this will

make it difficult for the Examiner to award marks. Single word answers or lists are unlikely to gain marks

as this would not normally be enough to show understanding or a connection with the scenario.

You are not expected to write more than 3 000 words in total.

Try to distribute your time and word count proportionately across all tasks.

It is recommended that you use the answer template.

Please attempt ALL tasks.

 

 

 

SCENARIO

You have a dual role as an experienced and respected Process Operator and a representative of workers

at a large, high hazard site, run by an international chemical manufacturing organisation.

The organisation has a reputation for having a world-class health and safety culture, with many other

industries using them as a benchmark. It is a legally compliant organisation that sets clear objectives and

checks that they are met. It employs and retains motivated workers who are aware of their clearly

defined and documented responsibilities and want to continuously improve in their roles. Absence and

sickness rates are low. The organisation listens to workers when they raise concerns and responds

professionally to external customer complaints. The organisation also takes pride in recording low

accident and incident rates and investigating any near misses to learn lessons and prevent more serious

outcomes. Across the organisation there are clear lines of internal and external communication. This

allows effective resolution of complaints. The organisation is fully insured even though the premium is

high. The organisation conducts frequent internal audits and is also externally audited.

The process you operate is running at a reduced production rate, due to a technical problem with a large

storage tank containing a highly toxic product. You have an idea what the problem is, but knowing the

limits of your authority, you feel the issue should be escalated to someone more senior. Local site

managers, engineers, supervisors and operators meet to discuss the situation. They conclude that the

tank has an internal blockage, that would normally require a complete process shutdown to clear.

However, the planned maintenance shutdown is 12-months away. They decide to seek advice from the

corporate management team to explore whether there is a different solution that would resolve the

blockage problem, but keep production going.

The local site and corporate management teams meet by video conference. The corporate management

team includes a very experienced senior engineer with 25-years’ company service. This engineer has

overseen process plant modifications, at many international sites, with zero lost time incidents. They all

agreed that modifications could safely be made to the tank, without the need to shut it down, and that

the necessary resources would be made available for this work.

The senior engineer is sent to the site to advise on, and manage, the changes that are needed to the

tank; and on the day of arrival presents a solution to you. You are unfamiliar with the technology to be

used for the modification and your reaction is one of disbelief, and you politely ask if the engineer is

serious. The engineer invites you to a meeting to conduct a systematic and detailed risk assessment of

the tank modification task. The Health and Safety Adviser, worker representatives and Plant Manager

will also be at the meeting.

At the meeting, the engineer introduces the proposed tank modification and leads the risk assessment

exercise. The risk assessment includes consideration of the highly toxic chemical, the release of which

would be catastrophic for workers, as well as people in adjacent businesses, residential houses and

schools. The engineer confirms that this proposed modification method is a safe and widely used

solution where the safety improvements are worth the cost. The risk assessment then continues with

discussion and agreement on risk evaluation, existing control measures and any additional control

measures necessary. Some of these control measures include safe systems of work, a permit-to-work

system, supplementary emergency arrangements and suitable induction training for all contractors.

Collectively, these precautions and control measures reduce high risk to low risk.

 

 

A summary of the risk assessment is circulated to all workers likely to be affected by the proposed

modification. The full version of the risk assessment will be made available on request.

Prior to commencing the work, a permit-to-work is issued to the contractors carrying out the tank

modification. The permit-to-work includes an explanation about the associated risk assessment and how

the plant has been safely prepared for this non-routine modification. The contract workers accept the

permit-to-work with the necessary precautions, including wearing of specified personal protective

equipment. Precautions listed on the permit-to-work are also communicated to all contractors and

other plant workers who may be affected. The permit-to-work explains that precautions will be

enforced, along with any other site rules, by active monitoring. This will be done while you carry out

routine plant checks and simultaneously check on the progress of the modification.

To confirm safe working and clarify overall expectations, you, along with an independent site contact

have been nominated to monitor and liaise with the contractors. The independent site contact will also

actively monitor and check additional expectations, such as contractor site entry and exit control,

resolution of any queries and the supervision standard. You and the independent site contact will check

to see whether the modification work is being controlled and is progressing as planned. This is

consistent with the organisation’s safe system of work based on the findings of the risk assessment and

the method statement provided by the contractor, the aim being to complete the job safely without

incident.

Findings from inspections form part of the overall health and safety performance review. The

performance review enables an overall assessment of opportunities for continuous improvement within

the site and reveals any need for change.

 

 

 

Task 1: Discussing moral reasons for managing health and safety

1. Comment on the organisation’s health and safety morals. (10) (500 words)

Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the

scenario.

 

Task 2: Roles and responsibilities

2. For a health and safety management system to work properly you need to have clear roles

and responsibilities.

Comment on the evidence from the scenario that would contribute to the effectiveness of the

roles and responsibilities. (10) (500 words)

 

Task 3: Influencing health and safety culture

3. Based on the scenario only, what are the indicators of health and safety culture in the

organisation? (20) (500 words)

 

Task 4: Why lessons should be learnt from incidents

4. Other than a general improvement of health and safety, what specific reasons are there for

this organisation to learn lessons from incidents? (10) (500 words)

 

Task 5: Risk assessment

5. The risk assessment for the proposed storage tank modification has been completed.

Based on the scenario only, comment on whether the risk assessment is ‘suitable and sufficient’

in the following areas

 

(a) who might be affected. (4) (200 words)

 

(b) the precautions are reasonable, and the remaining risk is low. (6) (300 words)

Note: The HSE Document ‘Managing for Health and Safety’ (HSG65) states that a risk assessment

must be ‘suitable and sufficient’.

 

 

 

Task 6: Permit-to-work system

6. The organisation has an effective permit-to-work (PTW) system.

Why should a PTW be used to help manage this storage tank modification? (10) (500 words)

Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the

scenario.

 

 

 

Task 7: Managing contractors

7. The contractors, who specialise in the tank modification method, are ready to start work

having been issued with a permit-to-work.

Based on the scenario only, discuss how effectively the contractors will be managed by the

organisation during the modification.

 

Task 8: Health and safety performance (management) review

8. The organisation’s world class reputation is partly due to carrying out an annual health and

safety performance review.

What types of information should this review consider?

(20)

Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the

scenario.

End of examination

Now follow the instructions on submitting your answers

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