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FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions:

  • If two machines with same noise emitted is standing next to each other: 90 and 90, total noise is not 90 but 93
  • Working Conditions which impose additional stress on the body such as uv radiation, high temp, pressure and humidity may increase toxic response to a substance
  • Futher distance does minimise noise, but double distance does not half noise level, double distance minimises noise with 6db
  • If a Pump noise is 78 and the area noise is 82, total noise is not sum of both.  82-78 =4
  • Difference in 4db adds 1.5 to loudest noise.  Noise is thus 83.5 or 84 db,
  • 5 FAQ (Weereens net 4):  Do dosimeters record conversations?
  • Why do we calibrate equipment?
  • Do Earplugs together with earmuffs double my hearing protection and half my exposure?
  • What are some of the recognised sources of analytical methods used for occupational Hygiene analysis?
    NIOSH ; UK HSE; OSHA; ISO ; National Standards

Illumination

Illumination plays an important role in the working environment as it influences not only efficient task performance, but also the safety of the employees. The lighting of a working environment can have an influence on the comfort and the mood of an employee and this can also have a major effect on task performance and employee safety. According to the lighting requirements of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces, OHSAct (85 of 1993) the following should be complied with by the employer:

  • The lighting in a workplace must be sufficient to secure efficient task performing by the employees.
  • The employer must make sure that there is no glare that can impair the vision or safety of the employees.
  • There should be no flickering of lights to avoid the stroboscopic effect and impair the safety of the employees.
  • The employer must supply emergency lighting for employees who work in dark environments or in the night.

Surveys that can be provided by HHC to assure the compliance with the law include:

  • Lighting during the day time (natural lighting)
  • Lighting during the night time (artificial lighting)
  • Emergency lighting

Noise

Noise is defined as an annoying sound and is in most cases unwanted as it can be hazardous to an employee. Noise can have damaging effects on the hearing of a person and can even influence the physiological wellbeing of a person. Long term exposure of an employee to sound levels higher than 85 dBA can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss. The mental and physiological wellbeing of employees can be influenced as noise can cause disturbances in sleeping patterns, cause headache and considerable amount of annoyance.

It is required by the employee according to the OHSAct (85 of 1993) to comply to the following:

  • No employee should be allowed to enter and work a working environment where the noise level exceeds die 85 dBA noise rating level.
  • Where the above is not reasonably practicable, control measures should be taken to assure the exposure of employees are not exceeded. The herarchy of control are: Engineer control measures, Substitution, Separation, Administrative and then lastly (when the first control measures aren’t possible) Hearing Protective Equipment.
  • The employer must conduct a noise risk assessment every two years.
  • The employer must have the noise survey be carried out by an Approved Noise Inspection Authority.
  • Working areas where the Noise Rating Level is at or above 85 dBA must be zoned as Noise zones.
  • The employer must implement hearing conservation measures in the noise zones.
  • The employer must provide medical surveillance for the exposed employees.

Hazardous Chemical Substances

Hazardous Chemical Substances (HCSs) can be defined as any substance that can be toxic, harmful, corrosive and can serve as an irritant or asphyxiant. The HCSs include dusts, fumes, gases, mists and vapours. HCSs can have a major impact on the health of employees if they are overexposed to these substances.

Employees can be exposed to HCSs be means of inhalation, absorption through the skin or eyes and digestion.

It is the responsibility of the employer to comply with the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances, OHSAct (85 of 1993):

  • The employer has to conduct a HCS health risk assessment every two years.
  • The employer must assure that air monitoring is conducted by and Approved Inspection Authority every year for substances with a Control Limit (CL) and every two years for substances with a Recommended Limit (RL).
  • The employer must  zone areas where the measured substance concentrations exceeds the Occupational Exposure Limits (as given by the OSHAct (85 of 1993) as respirator zones.
  • The employer must implement control measures (engineering, substitution, separation, administrative and Personal Protective Equipment) in the respirator zones.
  • The employee must provide medical surveillance to the employees who are exposed to HCS.

HHC is an Approved Inspection Authority for the monitoring of hazardous chemical substances and can evaluate employee exposure to hazardous chemical substances through the use of recognised sampling methodologies.

HHC can provide surveys for the determination of employee exposure to hazardous chemical substances including dusts, fumes, gases, mists and vapours.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics can be described as the science of how the body performs physical tasks or activities. Ergonomics involve the assessment of workstations (such as desks and chairs), mobile equipment (such as trucks) and job activities (such constant lifting etc.). Ergonomics can help in providing safe and comfortable working environments for employees.

Poor ergonomic designs in the working environment can result in injuries such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) and Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs). The poor ergonomics can have major effects on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, discs and nerves.

Common factors that can play a role en Ergonomics in the working environment are the following:

  • Maintaining awkward body postures for prolonged periods of time in the working shift.
  • Tasks that involve excessive repetition such as repeating the same motions over and over again.
  • Tasks that involve excessive force such as lifting, pushing or pulling equipment.
  • The use of pressure tools, edges or hard surfaces that can result in contact stress on soft tissues of the body.
  • The use of equipment that causes excessive vibration.

Asbestos

Asbestos is known to be a popular building material in South Africa since the 1930’s. Asbestos was used in fibre cement products, roof sheeting, gutters, water tanks, decorative textured coating on ceilings, in boiler and pipe lagging, or as thermal, acoustic or fire retardant insulation. Today asbestos is known to be very dangerous as it can cause lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and death and therefore has been banned since 2008.

Employees who perform working activities such as maintenance, decorating, renovating or demolishing of buildings (more precisely old buildings) can be exposed to asbestos unknowingly. Asbestos can lead to serious health effects of employees or occupants of buildings or areas where contamination with this substance occurred.

It is the responsibility of the Employer to comply with The Asbestos Regulations, OHSAct (85 of 1993):

  • The employer must assure that an Asbestos Risk Assessment is conducted.
  • The employer must assure that a written inventory of the location of asbestos in workplaces or premises are made and maintained.
  • The employer must have a written safe work procedures and this procedure must be followed during maintenance, repairs, alterations and dismantling of buildings that contain asbestos cement sheeting and related products.
  • The employer must assure that a Plan of Work that has been approved by an Approved Asbestos Inspection Authority is followed during work involving raw asbestos, such as stripping of asbestos insulation.

 

HHC is an Approved Inspection Authority that can provide surveys of Asbestos in the working environment by using recognised sampling methodologies as prescribed by the OHSAct (85 of 1993).