The Importance of Health and Safety

SECOND ISSUE 2005 NUMBER 57 The Importance of Health and Safety Employee health and safety (H&S) has always been paramount in the way Golder Assoc...
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The Importance of Health and Safety Employee health and safety (H&S) has always been paramount in the way Golder Associates’ many operating companies conduct their business. But in 2005, we have made a commitment to improve our H&S systems to a world class level. This will include a combination of upgrading our local systems to provide a uniform system worldwide that exceeds just local compliance and empowering staff to continuously improve our H&S systems through lessons learned. The Request for Improvement feature of our web-based eFacility software platform allows our internal databases to be used and integrated globally. A key element of this system will document that staff are trained in reducing the risks of being in unsafe situations and considering the hazards that exist in the areas in which we routinely work. Outside of offices, we are commonly exposed to potential hazards on mines, landfills, construction sites, power plants, roadways and industrial sites where there may have been previous chemical releases. To improve internal awareness, a comprehensive risk assessment of the hazards to which our

people are commonly exposed has been carried out for our Australian and Canadian offices. This is being expanded to Asia, Africa, Europe and the rest of the Americas to complete worldwide coverage. Training courses in these areas will be provided by Golder U (our internal training division) and will be expanded to assist our clients externally. We look forward to sharing with you our performance improvements in this important area and talking with you more about heath and safety in the future.

Robert A. Fraser, Regional Leader Asia Pacific Brisbane, Australia

In this issue :  Training leads to safer construction sites  Asbestos - an old concern, new challenges  Health & safety now strategic at Eaton Corporation

 Occupational Health & Safety moves out to the “Frist Aid” box  Managing the fire threat on an offshore petroleum facility  Dealing with the threat of mold in buildings

 Safer access to fuels along Amazon River  Fast response to oil spills on the Canandian prairies

Managing the fire threat on an offshore petroleum facility

Dealing with the threat of mold in buildings








WITH BY A COMBINATION OF ASSESSMENT, REMEDIAL ACTION AND EDUCATION. As one of the fastest-growing parts of the United States, Florida is seeing significant new construction of both single-family homes and multi-residential units. However, in many cases, correct construction procedures for keeping out moisture are not followed. The result can be that mold finds a welcoming home inside wall cavities and ultimately inside living areas. Mold spores concentrated in a building’s interior can be a serious health hazard to inhabitants. Allergies can be triggered, asthma attacks can increase, and there is growing evidence that mold can cause asthma even in people without a history of the disease. Mold is particularly a threat to anyone whose immune system is compromised, such as the elderly and people with HIV/AIDS. In extreme cases, even buildings themselves can become a hazard to health and safety. Mold attacks the wood frame, and in some cases destroys the structural strength of the wood, potentially causing wall sections to collapse.

Our client’s facility exports large volumes of natural gas liquids, some of which must be pressurized and stored at extremely low temperatures. The facility includes an offshore platform, two marine terminals for transferring fuels to waiting tanker ships, and onshore facilities. Our client needed an overall fire safety philosophy that would set out the broad principles that would guide implementation and practice of fire safety measures. Issues Golder considered included ways to extinguish fires after they occur, fire prevention and suppression, safe refuge areas for employees in case of a fire and evacuation procedures. Golder’s work included developing fire scenarios and establishing potential fire zones. It also involved proposing gas and explosion detection systems, active fire protection systems including deluge and hydrant systems, and fire protection walls. Developing measures was particularly challenging for the offshore platform, partly because of the small area and crowded space on the structure. The result is a comprehensive plan that will allocate resources wisely and effectively to protect workers and allow the continued flow of hydrocarbons to an energy-hungry world.

To address this issue, Golder assesses structures to determine the presence, nature and extent of mold problems. Our inspectors can then recommend remedial actions and ways to prevent problems from recurring – such as improving a building’s resistance to moisture entry. Golder has also developed an educational program on mold prevention and treatment that it offers to maintenance staff and managers of multi-family buildings. Golder also provides instruction on mold and moisture management on a continuing-education basis to educational institutions. The result is a greater understanding of mold issues and a safer interior environment.

Training leads to safer construction sites THE HAZARDS POSED BY CONTAMINATED SOIL ARE NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD BY WORKERS WHO MAY BE AT RISK ON CONSTRUCTION SITES, BUT A NEW TRAINING INITIATIVE IS HELPING TO PROTECT THEM. Construction projects, if located on sites that contain contaminated soil due to previous industrial use (such as “brownfields”), can pose a hazard to construction workers. Volatile organic compounds such as trichloroethylene can be particularly dangerous if a worker enters a deep excavation in soils that contain these chemicals. Through a training program offered by Golder’s in-house education division, Golder U, employees from Europe were recently brought together in Stockholm, Sweden to learn more about how to deal with contaminated soils on construction sites. The program, which was led by Dave Pritchard from our Calgary, Alberta office, was attended by Golder employees from Sweden, Denmark, Hungary and the United Kingdom. Among the many topics, they learned the importance of dealing safely with chemical hazards such as handling contaminated soil, inhaling hazardous vapors, monitoring sites and how to take appropriate actions to protect the safety of site workers. Physical hazards including heavy equipment, traffic, underground utilities and deep excavations were also addressed.

The aim of this training is to share Golder’s considerable expertise and lessons learned with people from all of our operating regions. Through training programs such as this, Golder helps keep its own employees safe with increased awareness – helping to improve the safety of construction sites for everyone involved.

Health & safety now strategic at Eaton Corporation ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND SAFETY (EH&S) CONSIDERATIONS ARE HELPING GUIDE EATON CORPORATION, A DIVERSIFIED INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURER WITH GLOBAL 2004 SALES OF US$9.8 BILLION, AT A STRATEGIC LEVEL. Driven by a desire to provide a safe work environment, to be a good corporate citizen, and also to protect shareholders’ interests, Eaton has for several years commissioned Golder to audit EH&S compliance at various Eaton sites around the world. This work involves looking for EH&S-related risks and, if necessary, helping develop a plan for managing those risks. As a result of this due diligence, Eaton is better able to meet the requirements of shareholder-protection legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States. As well as evaluating existing operations, EH&S audits are carried out on potential acquisitions to determine whether environmental issues such as contaminated soil might cause an otherwise sound purchase to turn into an expensive problem. Further audits are carried out post-acquisition, and in many cases Eaton’s purchase agreement regarding the acquisition specifies situations in which any abatement costs can be charged back to the previous owner. Post-acquisition EH&S audits have also become part of the overall process of integrating newly acquired businesses into the larger Eaton organization. In developing this initiative, the globe-spanning nature of Eaton’s operations called for a service provider with a similarly wide geographic reach. Having a worldwide network of offices makes it possible for Golder to provide speedy and appropriate response to Eaton’s needs. The result is peace of mind for employees, who feel their workplace is safe, and shareholders who feel the same way about their investment.

Occupational Safety and Health moves out of the “First Aid” box ORGANIZATIONS ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE STARTING TO SEE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (OSH) MEASURES AS A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTOR TO THE RISK-MANAGEMENT BENEFITS OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. This has meant that OSH is expanding out of its traditional focus on the physical well-being of employees on the job, into a broader definition that includes employees’ families, as well as suppliers, local communities and others who may be affected by an organization’s operations or products. The focus is also broadening to include employee wellness, work-life balance, occupational and community health, ethical issues and product stewardship. One of the challenges in making this shift is that OSH is one of the most heavily regulated aspects of business, with unions, government organizations, insurers and other interest groups all having a voice. However, as corporations seek to become better public citizens, they

realize that they need to go beyond regulation. Corporations also see that OSH can be more than managing risk – it can help them stand out from competitors. A case in point is the minerals and resources company Anglo American PLC, which has extended its workplace HIV/AIDS programs into communities associated with its operations. As well as being good from a humanitarian perspective, this investment in people helps build a more productive workforce and contributes to long-term community health. Health and safety lie at the heart of Corporate Responsibility and can be a make or break issue for a company’s reputation. It’s time to take it out of the First Aid box.

This article is based on a paper presented at the IOSH Health and Safety Conference in May 2005 in Cardiff, UK by Karen Clarke-Whistler and Roger Mitchell.

Safer access to fuels along the Amazon River

COMMUNITIES ALONG THE AMAZON RIVER AND ITS TRIBUTARIES WILL HAVE SAFER ACCESS TO VITAL SUPPLIES OF DIESEL OIL AS A RESULT OF GOLDER’S WORK ON SAFETY MEASURES FOR THE BARGES THAT CARRY THE FUEL. Refined fuel is transported by contractors on barges along the Amazon River to generating stations that provide electricity for schools, hospitals, homes and businesses throughout this vast region. Delivery of the flammable liquid can be difficult at times due to a lack of docking facilities at many of the river ports. Further navigation challenges come from seasonal changes that can cause the river’s depth to rise or fall by more

than 10 meters (30 feet). Golder was called in to perform a risk analysis of the diesel fuel transfer operations from the barges to the power plants. What was found after interviewing the involved parties and visiting several sites was that long-standing ways of operation included some safety risks, and that when safety training was provided in the past, procedures were not always followed. In some cases, fire-fighting

equipment needed to be repaired, training needed to be updated and equipment for dealing with spills needed maintenance work. Golder’s work will help our client ensure that the important work of fuel delivery to these riverside communities is done in a way that is safe and environmentally sound.

Fast response to oil spills on the Canadian prairies RESIDENTS OF THE PETROLEUM-RICH CANADIAN PRAIRIES, AND THE AREA’S NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, WILL BE SAFER THANKS TO AN EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES FAST RESPONSE IN CASE OF SPILLS. Speed of response is vital in the case of threats such as pipeline leaks, transport truck rollovers and train derailments that could release chemicals to the air, onto the ground and into surface water bodies. Quick response helps to control the spread of a spill so its impact is limited. This protects the health and safety of residents, animals and plants and of workers who are on site to deal with the spill. A new service, just in its first stages of implementation, will allow Golder clients in western Canada – including pipeline operators, truck transport carriers and a major railway – to call a toll-free phone number in the case of an emergency. This Environmental Emergency Hotline will reach wireless handheld devices carried by a rotating group of Golder staff members, on a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week basis. These people will then assess the situation, determine the best course of action and direct the cleanup response. Each of these firstresponse professionals has significant remediation experience and therefore can be expected to have a good grasp of the nature of the problem and how to solve it, and also has the authority to commit resources to the situation immediately. The result is greater safety for the region’s inhabitants – of all kinds.


– an old concern, new challenges ALL OVER THE WORLD, PEOPLE CONTINUE TO CRINGE WHEN THEY HEAR THE WORD “ASBESTOS” For more information about the projects featured in this newsletter please contact us at: [email protected] Electronic versions of the newsletter are available at Just follow the links to our “Library“ and “Newsletters“.


Projected mortality through 2020 Mesothelioma Asbestosis


Asbestos related deaths


First year of complete reporting




































While employees who worked directly with asbestos are considered most at risk, there is growing evidence suggesting that even low-level exposure over prolonged periods can be hazardous. For example, the British Health and Safety Executive estimates that over 25% of those people dying from Mesothelioma, which is the most debilitating asbestos cancer, had worked in the construction or maintenance sectors. As a result, occupational health and safety agencies are starting to assign new asbestos management duties to facility maintenance people who are responsible for commercial, institutional and non-institutional facilities. In the United States, over 100,000 legal claims were launched regarding asbestos in 2003. Many asbestos producers and companies using asbestos in their products have already gone bankrupt or are threatening to file for bankruptcy protection. The U.S. government is considering establishing a national trust fund to compensate asbestos victims, similar to that for tobacco. The insurance industry, which has already paid out



Once considered a wonder material, with the use of asbestos peaking in the 1960s and 1970s, the material became linked to major health issues, including cancer types that are incurable and nearly always fatal.

Deaths by year

$20 billion to alleged asbestos victims, estimates that over $200 billion may be needed over the next 50 years to provide for Americans injured by asbestos. To help organizations deal with the continuing asbestos challenge, Golder has conducted hundreds of asbestos audits of buildings and facilities to determine the presence and condition of asbestos containing building materials and to recommend appropriate control, remediation or management actions. Due diligence that includes getting appropriate advice and carefully documenting the response made to the asbestos problem can go a long way toward protecting both organizations and people.

Asbestos mortality will likely peak around 2015 reflecting heavy exposures in the 1970s

LEAD AUTHORS: Roger Mitchell, Nottingham, England, UK | TRAINNING Andreas Wagner, Mississauga, Ontario, Cananda | ASBESTOS Brian Senefelder, Buffalo, New York, USA and Pascal Meyer, London, England, UK | EATON Karen Clark-Whistler, London, England, UK | OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY Frank Nijman, Jakarta, Indonesia | OFFSHORE PETROLEUM Charles Haury, Jacksonville, Florida, USA | MOLD Helder Ferreira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | SAFER FUEL DELIVERY Dave Pritchard, Calgary, Alberta, Canada | FAST RESPONSE ON THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES Managing editor: GREGORY BECKSTROM Editorial assistance: ERICA SHAFFER Copy writing: GLOBAL REACH COMMUNICATIONS Design : LUZ DESIGN+ COMMUNICATIONS

w w w. g o l d e r. c o m | s o l u t i o n s @ g o l d e r. c o m Africa: + 27 11 254 4800 Asia: + 852 2562 3658 Australia and New Zealand: + 61 7 3721 5400 Europe: + 44 1628 586 213 North America: + 1 800 275 3281 South America: + 55 21 3084 3490

Technically Speaking

is published for valued clients and employees of Golder Associates. This quarterly newsletter includes articles showcasing innovative and technically challenging projects that Golder professionals have worked on throughout the world. We value your opinions. Please contact Gregory A. Beckstrom, Managing Editor, at + 1 651 697 9737 or [email protected] if you have any questions or comments. This paper is recycled and recyclable.