Home Solutions During welding in closed environments, the air gets contaminated by welding gases.
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General Introduction: As a team we observed and researched four subsystems of safety for TS Construction. Each subsystem presented different hazards and/or risk for injury to the employees. The four subsystems were the person/operator, machine/materials/tools they used, environment they worked in, and the safety management of that company. NIOSH explains that system safety has two primary characteristics. The two characteristics are “(1) it is a doctrine of management practice that mandates that hazards be found and risks controlled; and (2) it is a collection of analytical approaches with which to practice the doctrine” (Clemens & Simmons, 1998). As you will learn, each subsystem will present a different hazard, and system safety states that those hazards be controlled. Below is a brief description of each subsystem and what hazards and/or risk are present within TS Construction.
Subsystem A: For this subsystem we randomly selected one operator at TS Construction The worker was an ironworker/welder for our company. We asked him to honestly fill out our questionnaire, as well as sit down for a personal face to face interview to learn more about him. The questionnaire and interview helped us analyze his pre-existing health problems, as well as his psycho-social conditions. After the survey was complete, we determined that our operator was satisfied with his job; however, he explained he was mentally and physically exhausted often during work. His overall health was fair, but he was suffering from chronic lower back pain, respiration issues, and having high anxiety and stress issues. He stated that the working environment made it harder for him to breathe and when he was welding, he often found himself in an awkward posture. It was also noted that he missed work for a day because he was sick but he came back the next day even though he still felt bad.
Subsystem B: Welding steel frame connectors require adherence to safety standards to protect workers from physical injury. In welding, a number of tools and equipment are used to protect workers from sustaining any injury. We used some resources from different websites to gather information about these tools as well as interviewing the employee and ask about them. As reported by a worker at KLB Welding Service, basic tools used during welding include;
Subsystem C: Consequently, I interviewed a worker at KLB Welding Service and asked questions from Örebro University Hospital website (Örebro University Hospital, 2007) to assess work environment safety. The worker reported that mostly they use personal protective equipment to protect themselves during harsh working conditions. The PPE that welders use includes;
Subsystem D: For this subsystem we personally questioned each position of the safety hierarchy at TS Construction. We learned that TS Construction’s top priorities are employee safety, overall performance, and holding themselves to a high level of integrity We also learned what each job requires and how they achieve those requirements. It also gives good detail about how safety interacts with the different departments in the company and how important safety is to those departments. The safety management program at TS Construction presents great concepts; however, some Safety Managers do not value the rules and require disciplinary action to be given. TS Construction is growing and they believe day by day their safety management program is improving. They are not going to stop working on this program until it is close to perfect.
When gathering data for our operator at TS Construction, we specifically focused our attention to the medical history questionnaire, as well as the job performance survey. Please reference Appendix 1.A: Operator/Worker Baseline Questionnaire to review the survey. We decided to randomly chose one employee to complete the questionnaire and survey, which would end up giving us a good impression of his/her preexisting medical conditions, overall job satisfaction, family history with drugs and/or alcohol abuse, as well as indicate what kind of depressions or anxiety he/she might have. We also decided to have a personal interview with this individual to learn more details about the overall situation taking place. The worker we surveyed was a 45-year-old White male who is married with a high school diploma. He is currently an ironworker/welder for TS Construction. He has worked for us for twenty-seven years and six months, but has worked as a welder for over twenty years and three months. He has worked swing shift since being hired on, and has stated that he is overall satisfied with his job at our company. He has admitted that his job can be physically and mentally strenuous at times, but he at least gets along well with his fellow coworkers. However, our worker has noticed a decrease in his performance over the past four weeks and believes it has to do with his asthma or lower back pain, since he has had issues with them in the past. While working swing shift, our operator is exposed to different working environments that could help trigger his asthma. Being an ironworker/welder, our operator also runs the risk of awkward postures which increase the pain in his lower back. According to the survey, our operator believes his health is fair, on a scale between poor to excellent. Our survey informs us that our operator has many health complications. These include high blood pressure, shortness of breath, loss of balance, asthma, chronic low back pain, and a spinal injury. Medication is taken for three of the listed complications previously stated. For the operator’s asthmatic problem, he takes Alvesco. He takes an inhaled dosage of 320 mcg twice a day. Alvesco has some common side effects. These include candida infection and acute asthma episodes. A study was performed and stated that patients who inhale a dosage of 320 mcg were at risk of a candida infection. Our operator stated that he has never had any of these side effects in the past (“HIGHTLIGHTS”, 2008). For our operator’s high blood pressure problem, he takes a 10 mg dose of Demadex once a day. Demadex helps lower blood pressure levels for patients taking 10 mg does daily. Possible side effects include weight gain, tinnitus, drowsiness, and heart failure (“Demadex” n.d.). Lastly, our operator takes a muscle relaxant called Carisoprodol, as well as Aspirin to help maintain pain levels of his chronic back pain and spinal injury. He takes 200 mg dose of Carisopodol and 325 mg dose of Aspirin twice a day. Side effects for taking Carisopodol include impaired mental or physical abilities to perform or operate a motor vehicle, gastrointestinal infections to the stomach or intestines, and addiction problems if abused (“SOMA”, 2009). Our operator has admitted to having back pain time and time again. He has noticed that he puts himself in awkward postures when bending over to weld or perform ironwork. Refer to Figure One in Appendix 1.B to view our operator in an awkward posture. He stated that the medicine does help, but there are times at work he still feels great amounts of pain. Since taking these medications, our operator has never shown any side effects to the medicine; however, his health problems that he does not take medication for could be responsible for his decreased performance issues. Figure Two in Appendix 1.B shows viewers a proper adjustable workstation. Our operator could use this workstation to help with his awkward postures straining his lower back pain.
The next section on our survey discussed if our operator has ever seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, and on average how much caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol he has daily and weekly. According to our survey, our operator has seen a psychiatrist and a psychologist before. We brought in our operator for a face to face interview to learn more about his experience. The operator admitted that he has had stress issues, always wondering if he could provide the best for his family. He has been known to work overtime every chance he is given. He also stated that he went to a psychologist to work on his anxiety issues. He fears he is not providing enough for his family, as well as fears he is not always there when his children need him (extracurricular activities). He is not taking any medication to help relieve his stress or anxiety, but has admitted to drinking and smoking to cope with his issues. Our operator drinks an average of two cups of coffee a day, as well as drinks about three caffeinated soft drinks a day. He does not drink any type of energy drink though. He drinks an average of six to eleven alcoholic drinks per week, and has noted that he prefers beer to hard liquor, but will occasionally enjoy hard liquor. His family history has shown no previous addiction problems to alcohol. He also smokes cigarettes and cigars. He started smoking whenever he was seventeen, and has never tried quitting. He smokes around three packs a week, and has the occasional cigar. He started smoking cigars at age thirty and has not tried to quit. He only smokes about two cigars a week; however, he has smoked more whenever he feels stressed. Over the last four weeks or twenty-eight days, our operator has missed four days of work. One day he said he was felling under the weather, and the other three days he said one of his children were sick, and he had to take them to the doctor because his wife was out of town. It was noted that the day after our operator was sick, he did not look very well the following days at work. He was asked to see the nurse, but refused and said he had an important job to finish. This could have been one of the factors for his decreased job performance, but it is something he has not admitted to.
After reviewing the outcome of this questionnaire and survey, TS Construction has become more aware of our employee’s psycho-social and medical conditions. We are also looking how to correct our operator’s awkward posture issues. These key issues have been sent to our safety management and upper management departments and is under review to help improve the understanding of our employee’s needs. More of our employees will be approached to review their conditions both mentally and physically. Starting with a ground up approach, we will try to help improve our business as a whole. We understand there are many more issues our employees are facing, but might not be informing us about. At TS Construction our employees are the number one priority and they should be treated like it.
___ Widow or Widower
___ Black or African American
___ Hispanic or Latino
___ Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
___ Native American or Alaskan Native
___ Other (please specify)
___ Wish to abstain/Decline to answer
____ 8th grade or less
____ Some high school
__X__ High school graduate or GED
____ Some college
____ College graduate (Bachelor’s Degree or higher)
___ Excellent ____ Good _X__ Fair ___ Poor
_X__ Yes ___ No
Dose (include unit)
320 mcg twice daily
200 mg twice daily
10 mg once daily
325 mg, twice daily
___2__ Number of cups per day _____ I don’t drink coffee
___3__ Number of glasses per day _____ I don’t drink caffeinated soda pop
_____ Number of can(s) per day ___X__ I don’t drink high energy beverages
_____ Number of pills per day __X___ I don’t take caffeinated pills or stimulants
_____ None _____ 1-2 drinks per week _____ 3-5 drinks per week ___X__ 6-11 drinks per week _____ 12-17 drinks per week _____ 18-23 drinks per week _____ 24-29 drinks per week _____ 30 or more drinks per week
a) Coronary Artery Disease or had a heart attack? ___ Yes __X_ No
Approximately how many years ago was this diagnosed? _________Years
b) Diabetes? _X__ Yes ___ No
Approximately how many years ago was this diagnosed? ____12_____Years
Now please think of your work experiences over the past 4 weeks (28 days). In the spaces provided below, write the number of days you spent in each of the following work situations.
a. If so, how many days? __1__Days
a. If so, how many days? _3___Days
a. If yes, how many days of work did you miss in the past 12 months because of a work related accident, injury, or poisoning? (If less than 1 day, enter 0.) _____ Number of days (0-365)
____ Never ____ Seldom __X__ Often ____ Always
____ Never ____ Seldom ____ Often __X__ Always
____ Very satisfied __X__ Satisfied ____ Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied ____ Dissatisfied ____ Very dissatisfied
____ Strongly agree _X___ Agree ____ Neither agree nor disagree ____ Disagree
____ Strongly Disagree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
As you can see in figure one, our operator is welding in an awkward posture. This would add more stress to our operator’s lower back pain. The welder should either be given a proper work station to work with, or learn a more reliable posture to weld.
Figure 1 : An ironworker welding in an awkward posture that poses concern to his lower back.
Figure 2: An example of a proper workbench that a welder can perform work and maintain a correct posture.
Figure two shows us an appropriate work station that is adjustable to users. This makes working easier because it does not put much tension on the operator’s back.
Based upon the interview with the worker, we had good idea of how welding of steel frame connections could be done on an elevated level. We considered the fact that for a researcher to collect reliable data, the questionnaire must be good and understandable (Jacobs Jr, Ainsworth, Hartman, & Leon, 1993). On the same note, researchers may not get good responses despite having the best questionnaire. As such, we first piloted our questionnaire before distribution and administration (Kuorinka et al, 1987; McDowell, 2006). Piloting allowed us an opportunity to rephrase the questions in a bid to invite richer responses concerning the welding process in elevated positions.
Subsystem B comprise of the following tools:
(i) Chipping hammer, wire brush, and hand file: In welding processes such as stick welding, the slag removal takes place after depositing each weld bead. During the welding process, the chipping hammer is used to dislodge slag from the weld surfaces (Cocks, 2000). The wire brush is then used to wipe away the dust and any remaining chips from the weld. In case the dust and chips are not wiped away from the weld or the slag is not dislodged from the weld surface, the material gets entombed upon making a cover pass (Frances, 1956; Lucas, 1926). A chipping hammer has a spiral on the handle, which is used to protect the user`s hand from direct heat from the metallic substance being welded (Humpage, 1971). Also, the wire brush has steel bristles and a plank of wood at the handle, which is not for decorative purposes but its main purpose is to protect the user from the direct heat coming from the metal being welded. The reason attributed to having wooden handles on these two tools, which are the chipping hammer and the wire brush, is that metal is a good conductor of heat. Therefore, if it does not have a good heat insulator, it may injure the person carrying out the welding operations. The hand file has two functions, namely to remove burrs from the metal as well as to smooth the grind edges. It is worth taking note that it is necessary to have a more precision apart from what the grinder provides, and therefore, a hand file is used to attain this objective. Figure 1, 2, and 3 illustrates these three tools.
(ii) Vice grips and pliers: Pliers are used for picking up or handle a metal object that welding has been done on it because it is usually very hot. On the other hand, the vice grips are used to achieve a firm grip on that particular object being picked up or being repositioned. In most cases, when performing welding purposes at elevated levels, vice grips are used instead of clamps. The reason attributed to this assertion is the fact that the two tools, vice grips, and clamps, are used to hold metal plates or any other objects against a stationary grinder or sander. Moreover, pliers and vice grips are used to protect the user’s hand from heat because even a cold metal gets toasty fast on a grinding wheel (Rai, De, Bhadeshia, & DebRoy, 2011). Vice grips and pliers are illustrated in Figures 4 and 5 respectively.
(iii) Clamps: When welding a joint on metal on an elevated level but that particular object is secure in its location, for example, a standing piece of metal like a pipe, clamping is not a major issue (Scotto, 1986; Smith, 1943). However, as far as free moving objects and plates are concerned, it is important for the welder to set-up or fit-up before even thinking about the next process, which is to strike an arch. Therefore, clamps are used to affix metal sheets or plates to a flat position (Steve, 1970). Therefore, the main purpose of clamps is to carry out fixturing and fit-ups. The clamps mainly perform a similar function, but the most expensive clamp is the most durable.
(iv) Sharpie, soapstone, and scriber: Just like in woodwork, metalwork calls for several measurement activities because the length or width of a metal plate is very important when designing and creating metal tools. Therefore, this implies that when performing welding at elevated levels, a welder must use rulers, squares, levels, calipers, tape measures, and combination squares (Stol & Cobes, 2007; Stol, & Cobes, 2008). Marking a cut line or a joint line on an elevated metal can be a challenge. The reason attributed to this claim is that whether elevated or not, most of the metal surfaces are slippery, and therefore when carrying out welding activities, the welder always uses three tools, namely sharpie, soapstone, and scriber. A sharpie is an ink-maker that is resistant to water, soapstone is a whitish rock mineral, and a scriber is a tool made up of a steel metal and it is used to etch a sharp line (Sued, Pons, Lavroff, & Wong, 2014). Figure 6 shows sharpie, soapstone, and scriber.
(v) Vice: It is important to take note that in welding, especially when conducting welding on elevated levels, a beginner must use a vice to secure the metal in its grips (Thomas, Staines, Norris, & De Frias, 2003). Figure 7 shows a vice.
This is where you will locate all of the completed surveys, pictures, videos, specific illustrations from manufacturers’ information sources used for the information gathering process for this portion.
Use the following links to properly generate the figure and/or table headings you will need.
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Figure 1: Chipping hammer (used to dislodge chips from the weld surfaces)
Figure 2: Wire brush (used to wipe away the dust and any remaining chips from the weld)
Figure 3: Hand file (used to remove burrs from the metal and to smooth the grind edges)
Figure 4: Vice grips (used to achieve a firm grip on an object being picked up or being repositioned)
Figure 5: Pliers (used for picking up or handling a hot welded metal object)
Figure 6: Sharpie, soapstone, and scriber (used for measurements)
Figure 7: Vice (used to secure the metal in its grips)
I used questionnaires from Örebro University Hospital website (Örebro University Hospital, 2007) to inquire about the temperatures of the region. We also piloted our questionnaire before distribution and administration to give us an opportunity to rephrase the questions in a bid to invite richer responses concerning the welding process in elevated positions.
In the geographical region where the task is performed, there are summer-winter fluctuations. During the cold conditions, the worker may experience challenges when undertaking the welding. However, the winter seasons do not have adverse effects on the welded joints. In other terms, brittle fractures do not occur at the connections. This is because the steel pipes are notched with aluminum alloys. During summer seasons, the professional experiences few challenges. Also, fractures do not occur at the connections since the temperatures are not too high to cause stress on the pipes.
In extreme cold weather conditions, workers are supposed to wear warm clothes to prevent cold weather associated diseases. Human body’s ability to retain heat is less efficient than its ability to lose heat (UIL). When the temperature falls coupled with other body conditions such as dehydration and exhaustion, the risk of cold associated disorders such as Frostbite and Hypothermia increases. Consequently, understanding warmth production and retention is essential to avoid and manage cold-related diseases. According to NIOSH (2010) Cold Stress, workers need to protect themselves by putting on appropriate clothing such as many layers of loose clothes to provide warmth as shown in Fig.1. Cold weather may cause a lot of body shivering thus reducing work rate (NIOSH). During steel frame welding, workers are advised to avoid touching cold steel surface with bare hands but must wear gloves as illustrated in Fig.2. During rainy season, workers may find it difficult to continue working. Also, employees must avoid staying outside during breaks to minimize exposure to cold. First Aid Kits also form a critical part of cold management measures (NIOSH). Therefore, companies must avail hot packs of chemicals in first aid kits.
Also, International Labor Organization (ILO): Radiation Protection, requires that all workers exposed to any form of radiation must be protected. Despite working in cold environment, employees at KLB Welding Service have still exposed radiation risks. For example, visible lights and ultraviolet radiation expose workers to devastating effects such as cancer and other disorders (ILO). Therefore, personal protection equipment must be used to keep employees healthy.
Have you been bothered during the last three months by any of the following factors at your work place? (Örebro University Hospital, 2007)
Room temperature too high
Varying room temperature
Room temperature too low
Figure 1: Proper welding attire during winter months
Figure 2: Welding gloves
Within this portion you will provide a description of the organizational aspects of the safety department. First describe the means and methods used to gather your information. Remember to remember to properly site your sources (use Purdue OWL: In-Text Citations: The Basics resource - Link). The safety department directly oversees the operator safety while performing the defined task. The key components of these aspect are reflected in the image shown in Figure 1 below. Each of these sections should be described as they “currently” exist with a minimum of two full well written paragraphs.
Figure 1: Organizational aspects of safety management department.
(1 Paragraph Min): Key Functions are the main and essential objectives which direct the contractor toward efficient work and flourish in the construction industry. Examples of primary safety management enticements may include, but exclusive to, the management of:
• Humanitarian concerns
• Insurance and other costs of accidents; and
• The company safety image.
(4 Paragraph Min): Location in the Organization & Relations (Links) with Other Departments: suggests its hierarchy of reporting and communication with officials above and under its level. Figure 2 figure below presents one possible location of a safety department in an organizational structure.
Figure 2: Location of quality control department. (Good or Bad?)
For this report you will need to create one “current” organizational structure. Use the following link to develop your organizational structure/charts in Office WORD.
Create An Organization Chart
Your organizational chart should be presented within the larger overall organizational structure. You can use certain line indicators to illustrate the relationship status with other departments. This can be used to further describe Relations (Links) with Other Departments as the safety department’s current relationship states with other key departments.
(3 Paragraph Min): Key Personnel are those personnel, at the management, supervisor, and field level who are key in the effective design, development, and employment of the safety program. Provide job descriptions for at least the Safety Director, and the two other personnel at the next lower level within the organization structure. Use the following link to compose these descriptions (NOTE: Only compose a Job Description Summary for each).
(1 Paragraph Min): Safety Management Tools description will be of the use of microcomputer, software, and other technologies that are utilized.
(4 Paragraph Min):The company’s Safety Management Program is an important element for overall safety behavior of the firm. Effective safety programs are the outcome of planning, coordination, and commitment by all employees of a company, from the worker at the lowest in
the hierarchy to the highest official. Describe the company’s “current” safety program, and include the following minimum, but not limited to, elements.
NOTE: A paragraph is comprised of a minimum of five complete sentences.
References (APA format)
This subsection discusses the job descriptions at each level for working at TS Construction. Here one can learn what the position details include, as well as how they are supposed to do it (“Job” n.d., para. 1). There are four levels of hierarchy when working with safety at TS Construction. One would start at a safety assistant, then move up to safety professional, regional safety manager, and finally Chief Safety Officer of the company. One representative of each position was personal interviewed to learn more about their job duties. Below you will find out more information about each job.
At TS Construction, safety is our top priority, that is why our Chief Safety Officer (CSO) works directly under the Chief Executive Officer(CEO). He is responsible for keeping records of our personal protective equipment (PPE). The CSO is in charge of every region’s PPE and has to ensure it is efficient and in good working condition for our employees. He will communicate with each regional safety manager, who should report to their safety professionals and assistants of each region. Here they can discuss which PPE is being used, how much inventory they have of each, and the condition of each PPE. Our Chief Safety Officer is responsible for implementing new safety principles, skills, and/or standards throughout our company’s regions. It is important that his principles, skills, and/or standards are approved by our CEO. After he receives approval from our CEO, he consults directly to all of our regional safety managers who then implement those principles, skills, and/or standards to their respected regions. The CSO will hold a video conference with all of our safety managers, safety professionals, and safety assistants to ensure they understand the new principles, skills, and/or standards, as well as answer any question they may have. Our CSO also has to monitor all our regions to ensure all of our newly hired and experienced employees have updated trainings and know their responsibilities for working at TS Construction. He uses a similar method as stated above. They will contact all of our regional safety managers and ask for an updated spreadsheet and copy of their training records to make sure everything is up to date. Our CSO will then split the responsibility of keeping safety records with our safety managers. The CSO will have copies our all records, and each safety manager will have a copy of their region’s records. Review our organizational structure in figure one under Appendix 1D: Management.
Our Safety Managers main tasks are to comply with our CSO, but also to report all accidents and hazards, handle disciplinary procedures, and preform jobsite inspections. Jobsite inspections are preformed quarterly by our regional safety managers. They are responsible to visit each jobsite in their region and conduct an inspection to identify hazards and housekeeping issues. During these inspections, our safety managers can identify hazards and implement disciplinary procedures to our safety professionals and assistants. By disciplining them, it will teach our safety professionals and assistants what to keep an eye out for during their inspections. This will ensure all of our safety employees are on the same page on what to identify, which will keep help keep our employees safe. Figure one below shows that our safety managers will report to our CSO, but also displays that safety professionals and assistant of each region will report to their respected regional safety manager.
Finally, our Safety Professionals and Assistants. Our Safety Professionals hold a higher rank than are Safety Assistants, but they work together at their jobsites to ensure standards and regulations are met. It is their responsibilities to provide first aid training, fire prevention training, and identify hazards and know how to control them. First aid training will be required for our foreman and welders working on the jobsite. Safety Assistants will train employees on first aid. Each foreman and welder will demonstrate they can perform first aid before receiving certification from our Safety Professionals. All employees at each jobsite will receive fire prevention training from our Safety Professionals. They will be trained how to extinguish fires, as well as know evacuation procedures whenever a fire is present. They will also conduct jobsite inspections and report any finding to their Safety Managers. Jobsite inspection should be done at least biweekly to ensure hazards are made aware of and mitigated as soon as possible. Lastly, our Safety Professionals and Assistants will be in charge of disciplinary to their respected employees. With the help of our Security and Human Resources departments, our safety department can discipline employees. TS Construction firmly believes hearing about safety issues and concerns from other departments will help reinforce how
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