Safety programme is known to most, but not implemented
Safety programme is known to most, but not implemented

Safety programme is known to most, but not implemented

What are the potential hazards that have to be guarded against in the process of cement and concrete manufacturing?
Dust emissions are one of the most significant impacts of cement manufacturing and associated with handling and storage of raw materials (including crushing and grinding of raw materials), solid fuels, transportation of materials (e.g. by trucks or conveyor belts), kiln systems, clinker coolers, and mills, including clinker and limestone burning and packaging/bagging activities. Packaging is the most polluting process (in terms of dust) in cement production. Exposure to cement dust can irritate eyes, nose, throat and the upper respiratory system. Skin contact may result in moderate irritation to thickening/cracking of skin to severe skin damage from chemical burns. Silica exposure can lead to lung injuries including silicosis and lung cancer. Airborne silica dust enters the body primarily by inhalation. The inhaled airborne dust particles smaller than 10 ¦m can be deposit in the area of respiratory bronchioles, which can lead to the development of pneumoconiosis with increased risk of silicosis.

There are many processes in the cement manufacturing process which produce harmful gases and vapors. Nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions are emitted from the high temperature combustion process of the cement kiln. Carbon dioxide defined as greenhouse gas is mainly associated with fuel combustion and with the decarbonation of limestone.

Exposure to wet concrete can result in skin irritation or even first-, second- or third-degree chemical burns. Compounds such as hexavalent chromium may also be harmful.

High heat & Thermal effects on the human body can be caused due to prolonged work under direct sunlight in summer; wearing impermeable protective clothing when doing heavy work; or working in an enclosed area with a strong heat source, poor ventilation, and high humidity (e.g., heavy equipment operators in an enclosed cab with without sufficient ventilation). Incidents and injuries resulting in burns arise from contact with hot clinker or cement powder. Hazards are particularly associated with hot cement kiln dust (CKD), and dust on preheater systems. Chemical (alkali) burns may also result from contact with CKD.

Raw mill and preheater tower: Material in the mill is at temperatures up to 120¦C, in the tower the material can be as hot as 900¦C. Contact with the material is more likely when clearing blockages in the tower where there is the potential for it to flush through the process and during rodding and cardoxing where it can be ejected over a wide area.

Hot Clinker: Contact is possible in the clinker cooler building; along the clinker pan conveyors; in the clinker dome and along the belts to the cement mills

Precipitator and bypass dust: Contact is possible when access is required to the precipitator hoppers; working on the screws and drag chain conveyors and maintaining the dust transfer pumps

Hot cement: Contact is possible when accessing the cement transfer lines; working on the packers and carrying out work on the cement screw conveyors and drag chains Several physical hazards as listed below are also associated with cement and concrete manufacturing processes are as below:

High Noise emitted during blasting, crushing and operation of conveyors can cause chronic diseases like Noise Induced Hearing Loss.

Vibration from handling heavy equipment can affect either hands and arms or the entire body. Whole-body vibration can occur from operating large mobile equipment, such as drillers, air hammers, pile drivers, tractors, graders, excavators, earth-moving equipment, and other large machinery. Hand-arm vibration can result from using hand-held power tools, such as pneumatic drills and hammers, and disc grinders.

Exposure to radiations such as x-rays, gamma rays from equipment used to gauge the density and thickness of pipes and welds can cause increased risk of developing cancer and genetic disease

High workload for workers is another big hazard in a cement industry. Workers carry 45-50 kg bags in dusty, hot and bad lighting environment causing high risks of muscular skeletal diseases and pains in areas such as lower back, spinal columnsand shoulders.

Some of the other common hazards associated with cement and concrete manufacturing processes are:
Unguarded machinery used in the manufacturing process can lead to worker injuries.
Workers may be hit by falling objects from conveyor belt systems, elevators or concrete block stacking equipment.
Slips, trips and falls

Exposure to dust and high temperatures, contact with allergic substances, and noise exposure can be defined as hazards associated with health; while falling/impact with objects; hot surface burns; and transportation, working at height, slip/trips/falls can be defined as hazards associated with safety.

What are the safety measures the cement companies have to take in their plants? Ensuring a health and safety culture at a cement and concrete manufacturing plant is one of the most critical issue for these industries. (3M/Remedial strategy) For this purpose, health and safety policy should be adapted with other policies of the company. Additionally, risk management policy of company should be developed, and risk assessment should be performed regularly and efficiently. Some of the safety measures that cement companies have to take in their plants are as listed below:

Cement dust:

  • Usage of automated packing machines and enclosed conveyors
  • Storage of crushed raw materials in closed bays
  • Usage of soap and water to avoid skin damage
  • Avoiding exposure to cement dust to prevent bronchitis and silicosis by Wearing Appropriate respiratory protective equipment like respirators

Confined areas (lack of oxygen, poisonous gas, fumes or vapour, fire and explosions, dust, hot conditions...)

  • Permit-to-work
  • Cleaning before entry with provision of lighting
  • Testing the air before entering with provision of ventilation
  • Use Supplied Airline respirators (positive pressure systems)

Falling Objects:

  • Tidy workplace
  • Avoid working beneath elevators and conveyor belts
  • Use fall protection personal protective equipment

Working at height:

  • Usage of appropriate ladder and scaffolder
  • Usage of fall protection system
  • Usage of appropriate personal protective equipment

Noise and Vibration:

  • Technologies of noise attenuation, absorption and insulation
  • Appropriate hearing protection (ear plugs and ear muffs)

Heat burns:

  • Eliminate the heat burn hazard by installing high heat insulators
  • Reduce the risk at source
  • Isolate people from the hazard
  • Control the risk by other means
  • Protect yourself with the correct PPE as mentioned below Aluminum alloy, fibreglass, or galvanised steel footguards can be worn over usual work shoes. Heat-resistant soled shoes protect against hot surfaces;
  • Heat, splashes from hot metals and liquids, impacts, cuts, acids, and radiation can threaten the torso. A variety of protective clothing is available, including vests, jackets, aprons, coveralls, and full body suits. Fire retardant wool and specially treated cotton clothing items are comfortable, and they adapt well to a variety of workplace temperatures.
  • A wide assortment of gloves, hand pads, sleeves, and wristlets for protection from heat burn hazards are available.

Slip, Trips & Falls:

  • Good housekeeping; sufficient lighting and tidy work place
  • Identify and fix fall hazards, such as slippery surfaces, damaged ladders and walkways

Fire (conveyor belts, electrical cables, fuels, waste combustible materials..):

  • Proper waste disposal
  • Good housekeeping
  • Using heat andflame detectors
  • Fire-fighting andrescue equipment such as fire extinguishers; self contained breathing apparatus

Safety guards of machines:

  • Exposed moving machine parts must be provided with safety guards
  • Maintenance of conveyor belt systems

What is the equipment you are making for improving the safety in cement manufacturing environment?
We strive to deliver comfortable, well-designed personal protective equipment (PPE).
Some of the PPEs which can help protect workers in a cement and concrete manufacturing plant are listed below:
Disposable particulate respirators: A disposable particulate respirator also known as air-purifying respirators protects the user by filtering particles out of the air as you breathe. Disposable particulate respirators come in valved or Unvalved versions. The exhalation valve gives more comfort to the wearer as it helps in releasing the hot & humid exhaled air immediately out of the respirator thus providing better comfort to the wearer.
Reusable respirators with particulate filters:
Reusable respirators represent a cost-effective and comfortable method of protecting workers from the harmful effects of gases, vapours and particulate hazards found throughout many working environments.
Powered air purifying respirators: A powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) is a type of personal protective equipment used to safeguard workers against contaminated air. PAPRs consist of a respirator in the form of a hood, or full-face mask, which takes ambient air that is contaminated with one or more type of pollutants and actively removes (filters) a sufficient proportion of these hazards, and then delivers the clean air to the user's hood or Full face mask. PAPRs are sometimes called positive-pressure masks, blower units, or just blowers.
Supplied airline respirators: Airline respirators, also known as supplied air respirators (SAR), are used when air purifying respirators (APR) cannot provide sufficient protection from airborne concentrations of the chemical (or a combination of the chemicals) being used. Airline respirators may also be used when unknown chemicals or chemical concentrations are present, when chemicals that absorb poorly in the chemical cartridges of APR's are present, in oxygen deficient atmospheres or in Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) situations.
Self-contained breathing apparatus: A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), sometimes referred to as a compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA) or simply breathing apparatus (BA), is a device worn by rescue workers, firefighters, and others to provide breathable air in an immediately dangerous to life or health atmosphere (IDLH).

Eyewear: Eye protection is protective eyewear for the eyes, and sometimes face, designed to reduce the risk of injury. Examples of risks requiring eye protection can include: impact from particles or debris, light or radiations, wind blast, heat, paint spray or impact from some type of flying objects or other airborne substances. Suitable eye protectors must be provided where there is a potential for injury to the eyes or face from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, potentially injurious light radiation, or a combination of these.

Every protector shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer and must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection against the particular hazards
  • Be reasonably comfortable when worn
  • Fit snugly without interfering with the movements or vision of user
  • Be durable
  • Be easily cleanable and be capable of being disinfected

Hearing protection: Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise exposure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Hearing protectors are required to prevent noise induced hearing loss. Hearing protection devices reduce the noise energy reaching and causing damage to the inner ear. Ear muffs and earplugs are the most common types of PPE.Disposable earplugs should be used once and thrown away; non-disposable ones should be cleaned after each use for proper maintenance. Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective.

Fall protection equipment: A personal fall arrest system is one option of protection that OSHA requires for workers on construction sites who are exposed to vertical drops of six feet or more. Attachment Location. Body harness. Vertical lifeline/lanyard. Webbing. According to OSHA standards, only retractable lifelines, or full-body harnesses with shock-absorbing lanyards are accepted as personal fall arrest systems.

Hard-hats: A hard hat is a type of helmet predominantly used in workplace environments such as industrial or construction sites to protect the head from injury due to falling objects, impact with other objects, debris, rain, and electric shock. Protective hats for head protection against impact blows must be able to withstand penetration and absorb the shock of a blow. In some cases, hats should also protect against electric shock. Recognised standards for hats have been established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Each type and class of head protector is intended to provide protection against specific hazardous conditions. An understanding of these conditions will help in selecting the right hat for the particular situation. The wearer should be able to identify the type of helmet by looking inside the shell for the manufacturer, ANSI designation and class.

What is the level of hazard communication followed in the Indian cement industry and how it compares with the international best practices?
The purpose of any hazard communication is to classify and label dangerous substances used/ produced in a cement industry thus enabling the enterprise to identify the hazards that these substances can cause. This thus enables the enterprise to draw attention of the users from those hazards and enable them to act in a systematic manner in order to protect them appropriately.

Over the last decade the Indian cement industry has gone through a major change when it comes to hazard communication. However, what's still lacking is a stricter enforcement of the actions at the ground level in order to safeguard the users from such hazards. One of the major reasons leading to a poor enforcement is lack of training and awareness to the users on the ill effects of these hazards on their bodies and the proper measures to be taken in order to keep themselves safe. Having said that, I still believe a lot has been done by the Indian cement industry in terms of training and awareness but there is still a big scope of improvement to achieve the levels of International best practices.

Thus, it can be seen that the health and safety problems in cement manufacturing industry can be reduced by hazard communications, maintaining safe working conditions, preparation and implementation of safe operating procedures, study of environmental conditions, and enforcement of safety procedure, training of employee and periodic medical supervision and use of personal protective equipment. All these activities are possible only with the support of top management and co-operation of workers as well as active participation of supervisory staff.

What are the benefits that high safety standards bring in for a corporate entity?
Safety and health has a tremendous value to it. When a person gets hurt at job, the company has to replace him with somebody that might not be as well trained which might lead to lower production and the quality of work might suffer. Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are costly to everyone.

A safe and healthy work environment pays, in more ways than one. Each year millions of workers lose time from work because of job-related injury or illness. The direct and indirect costs of work injuries and illnesses equal those of some deadly diseases like cancer. These are only financial costs. There's no way to know the value of the quality of life lost to injuries and illnesses.

For workers: Work injuries and illnesses can affect every aspect of life for workers and their families. For workers, injuries or illnesses can cause loss of life; pain and suffering; loss of income and financial well-being; stress on relationships; loss of job or career and health-care costs beyond what is covered by insurance. Workers may also suffer from low self-esteem, loss of independence, mental health problems, other medical problems, and damaged relationships.

For employers: A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business. Plus, protecting workers is the right thing to do. For a small business, one injury can mean financial disaster. Costs to a business include production losses; wages for work not performed; increased workers' compensation insurance costs; damage to equipment or machinery; hiring and/or training new employees; decline in product quality and worker morale and high turnover and lost work time. The cost of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths is much greater than the cost of workers'compensation insurance alone. Insurance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these costs. It is found that a comprehensive safety and health program reduces workers' compensation insurance rates and improves the work environment in addition to reducing overall injury expenses.

There are numerous benefits of following health and safety practices in the workplace, and all benefits are based around employers having a duty of care for their employees and anyone else who may be on their premises.

Benefit 1 - Protecting your staff
Following health and safety guidelines is primarily to protect employers and their staff from injury, illness or coming into any other form of harm in the workplace. One of the main benefits of following health and safety practices is to prevent common workplaces injuries such as back pain, falling from height, asthma, injuries from slips and trips and asbestos-related illness.

Benefit 2 - Reducing absences
Following health and safety guidelines and maintaining a safe work place will reduce the risk of work-related illnesses and injuries, and therefore reduce staff absences. Employers therefore also save money on the direct costs of absences, such as paying salaries.

Benefit 3 - Improving productivity
If your colleagues and employees are able to work in a safe environment, this will improve morale and overall productivity.

Benefit 4 - Saving money
By maintaining health and safety practices in the workplaces, and therefore reducing absences and improving productivity, you will be saving money by retaining staff. Money spent on absences and recruitment processes will decrease, and the business' profits will increase.

Safety pays for Everyone
The cost of injury prevention is far less than the cost of an injury. A safe and healthy workplace attracts and retains quality employees. It's an asset to a community, operates more efficiently and enjoys a healthy bottom line. The business and the workers thrive in a safe, healthy, respectful and caring environment. Safe and healthy workplaces have more satisfied, productive workers who produce higher quality products and services; return to work more quickly after an injury or illness; feel loyal to the organisation and are better places to work thus retaining employees for much longer duration.

Is there a concept called Total Safety Management, and if yes, what are its components?
The concept of the total safety management (TSM) is a performance-oriented approach to safety in the workplace. It gives a business a competitive advantage using the strengths of their employees to their benefit. In this approach businesses have realised that a safe work environment has a direct correlation on productivity. Another key driver to TSM is team focused, in that a business works as a solid unit in creating a better work environment which helps to improve top performance. In this system we realise that it is an ongoing work in progress. It is forever trying to improve upon itself and strive to make things better. An effective Total safety Management should have the following features:

Reduce the risk of workplace incidents, injuries, and fatalities through data-driven measurements and improvements
Involve people from different parts of the organisation to make safety a shared responsibility
Be well organised and structured to ensure consistent growth and performance
Be proactive, preventive and integrated into the culture of the entire organisation
Given the above requirements, the major components of a successful safety management programme are:
Formalised safety policies: The first step to safety success is to outline the organisation's safety policies - your organisation's position on the importance of safety, and the general expectations from each employee as to how to act in certain situations.
Effective and regular communication about safety and health: Having safety policies that are frequently communicated and accessible to everyone is important. It's critical that organisations discuss the safety policies with employees and managers to ensure understanding and adoption.
Support for behavior-based safety: The safest companies in the world recognise the importance of creating habits around safety. That's why many of them focus on behaviour-based-safety - a safety methodology that focuses on improving safety through habit creation.
Utilisation of both leading and lagging indicators of safety: Organisations with outstanding safety records develop a systematic method to measure what's going on throughout their entire safety operation. It enables them to quickly and easily understand why something went wrong if it ever does. However, most organisations are far from this type of systematic reporting capability.
Cutting edge tools and systems: Companies with low injury rates equip their employees for success and they do so through more than just processes and programs. They leverage cutting-edge tools and systems to keep their employees prepared and ready to handle whatever they need to.
Frequent safety training and discussion: The safest companies in the world recognise the importance of continuous education of their employees, and they prioritise it.
Empowered and motivated employees: Empowering employees through your approach to safety can result in tremendous outcomes for your organisation.
However, many organisations struggle to achieve the proper level of employee engagement.
Comfort with reporting issues related to safety: It's natural to want to get the job finished on schedule -or even ahead of time - but with a "get it done quick" attitude, accidents happen. Top tier organisations emphasise the importance of reporting potential problems before they occur or reporting incidents the moment they happen.

Are there any estimates on savings due to high standard of safety measures at the national and global levels?
Employers can save $4.00 to $6.00 for every dollar spent on a safety and health program. Workplaces with successful safety and health management systems reduce injury and illness costs 20-40 per cent, according to OSHA.

References
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - https://www.osha.gov
Central Pollution Control Board- (CPCB)- http://cpcb.nic.in
HSE, UK - http://www.hse.gov.uk
British Safety Council - https://www.britsafe.org
Director General of Factory Advisory Services and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) - http://dgfasli.nic.in
Industrial Health NIOH Statistics on Silicosis - http://www.nioh.org
The Factories Act 1948 (India) and Noise Regulation (Regulation & Control) Rule-2000 (India) - http://dgfasli.nic.in
Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India - https://labour.gov.in
World Health organisation - WHO - https://www.who.int

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