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17 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Safety management for public protection

The first step to evaluate the safety level of such existing building to assess whether the building in use is in all aspects in compliance with the prescriptive fire safety codes and the level of maintenance of the building is adequate
Taslim Ahammad
Safety management for public protection

The lives and health of human beings, the growth and prosperity of the economy, and the increasing need for safety are immediate concerns which provided the original momentum for the progress of safety management. In recent years there has been a realisation that the reliability of complex work systems in achieving operational goals safely depends on social structures as well as technical arrangements. Hence, it is now necessary to mitigate the risks in order to achieve safe operations in the public places.

As for most anything, many explanations exist for safety management: (i) Arrangements made by the organization for the management of safety in order to promote a strong safety culture and achieve good safety performance. (ii) Organised approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures (iii) Safety is about identifying operational errors and designing control mechanisms in order to prevent such errors from reoccurring.

Along with the above classifications, the following list can be considered: (i) Safety policy (ii) Safety resources and responsibilities (iii) Risk identification and mitigation (iv) Standards and procedures (v) Human factors based system design (vi)  Safety training (vii) Safety performance monitoring (viii) Incident reporting and investigation (ix) Auditing (x) Continuous improvement (xi) Management of change.

There are a lot of factors such as fuel characteristics and building environment which dominate fire spread and smoke movement. The root cause of a great majority of industrial disasters in the past can be traced back to the absence of an adequate safety management measure, system and practice.

Assess the safety- The first step to evaluate the safety level of such existing building to assess whether the building in use is in all aspects in compliance with the prescriptive fire safety codes and the level of maintenance of the building is adequate. However, such buildings are normally constructed to the ‘‘old’’ prescriptive requirements, and the safety level provided in these buildings might not be the same as the standard enforced today. Assessment on the basis of current prescriptive requirements may cause such buildings to be regarded as ‘‘sub-standard’’. However, whether such ‘‘sub-standard’’ warrants immediate improvement action is subject to contention.  Principles may paraphrased as follows: (i) Unsafe acts, unsafe conditions and accidents are symptoms of failures in the management system (ii) The circumstances that produce severe injuries can be identified, predicted and controlled (iii) Management should direct safety efforts by setting goals, and by means of planning, organising and controlling to achieve these goals (iv) The key to safety is to be found in management procedures that fix accountability.

General themes listed: (i) Genuine and consistent management commitment to safety, including: prioritization of safety over production; maintaining a high profile for safety in meetings, personal attendance of managers at safety meetings and in walkabouts; face-to-face meetings with employees that feature safety as a topic; and job descriptions that include safety contracts. (ii) Communication about safety issues, including: pervasive channels of formal and informal communication and regular communication between management, supervisors and the workforce. (iii) Involvement of employees, including empowerment, delegation of responsibility for safety, and encouraging commitment to the organisation.

Methods: (i) Safety climate survey (ii) Satisfaction with safety activities (iii) Involvement in health and safety (iv) Communication about health and safety (iv) Perceived supervisor competence (v) Perceived management commitment to safety (vi) Frequency of general unsafe behaviour (vii) Frequency of unsafe behaviour under incentives

Process and practice - It is usually regarded as a sub-system of the total organisational management and is carried out via the organization’s safety management system with the help of various safety management practices. Safety management systems are mechanisms that are integrated in the organisation and designed to control the hazards that can affect workers’ health and safety. Safety management practices are the policies, strategies, procedures and activities implemented or followed by the management of an organization targeting safety of their employees. They are the essential elements permitting an effective management of safety in firms and are designed to comply with the existing legislations applicable to the organisation. The extent to which these practices are implemented in an organisation will be manifested through various actions and programmes of the management and will be clearly visible to an insider like an employee. Safety management system and its practices can be regarded as a predecessor of the building’s/firm’s safety climate.   Design buildings for fire and safety -In attempting to design buildings for safety, whether in the context of design of individual buildings (as might be done by a fire safety engineer) or in designing building regulations that are intended to cover broad classes of buildings (as might be done by building regulatory bodies), it is a basic requirement that the designers have an appreciation of the circumstances in which unwanted events cannot occur. Due to large number of people and complex building environment, once fire occurs, the evacuation is difficult to be accomplished which may induce many people casualty. Therefore, reasonable fire and safety design is very important to ensure life safety.

Reinforced concrete structures - Reinforced concrete structures have been widely used as a major building form for decades and some concrete structures have reached or exceeded their design working life of 50 years but remain functional. The design working life of a reinforced concrete structure depends on a number of parameters: (i) The location of the structure and its expected environmental conditions (ii) Conceptual and structural design, detailing, intended use and level of maintenance (iii) Materials’ specification and properties (iv) Appropriate method of construction.  Understanding safety management and apply for the prevention of fire and others critical issues in all procedural areas for public protection, desperately essential.

The writer is Assistant Professor Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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