Reducing Safety Risks at the Palestinian Stone and Marble Industrial Sector
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The stone and marble industry is one of the most important industrial sectors in Palestine, as it is the source of income for a large number of families. Development of such sector will lead to the development of the Palestinian economy and increasing the national income. However, workers in such industry face enormous risks and hazards that could lead to major injuries or in worst scenarios the end of their lives. Such incidents could lead to huge financial losses to owners and can cause the closure of the business in the worst of cases. This project intends to pinpoint the safety and health problems in the stone and marble industry in the Palestine, and investigate how such problems could be reduced and even eliminated. The main safety problems caused by the stone and marble industries are the accidents that occur to the workers in the course of production, these problems include dust effects on workers health the effects of noise on the hearing of workers, injuries and amputation caused by rock falls etc. The work will focus on identifying all of the hazards in such industry, how to eliminate them, what equipment should be used to reduce the risks and improve the workers Safety. There are over 206 stone production facilities in the West-Bank. The study will be conducted on a sample of the sector. After reading and surveying the literature, structured interviews will be designed to address the issues mentioned previously. The team will make field visits on these stone and marble production facilities to gather the required information. Then the data will be analyzed to study the possible interventions to improve the safety level in this sector. The results drawn from the project will help the stone and marble industry. These results will help the quarries in utilizing the needed safety requirements that will help them eliminate or reduce the effects of major problems. It will also help them obtain a reduced cost insurance policy to cover their workers. This will eventually help the workers to work under safe conditions Problem Statement: The stone excavation and quarries sector is one of the largest and most influential industrial sectors in Palestine , it comprises more than 200 stone and marble processing workshops as well as quarries. These facilities usually have heavy machinery , dangerous platforms and sharp tools. The rate of accidents and the prevalence of occupational diseases among workers in this sector is alarmingly high. This sector is growing very quickly due to the increasing demand for stone and marble products, with more and more quarries and workshops being established continuously. The number of workers in this sector is also growing steadily and therefore more people are exposed to the risks associated with this activity which means that the workplace safety must become a priority for this sector Goals and Objectives The main goal of the project is to identify the most significant risks and hazards that cause work injuries and health problems in stone quarries and eventually eliminate these risks to improve the safety and health conditions in this sector. This would ultimately improve the working conditions for the employees which will increase their productivity and satisfaction. If this was achieved, then the stone and marble sector will become more attractive to local labor and will provide the companies with highly-skilled workers and enable them to compete both locally and globally , since this is one of the largest exporting sectors in Palestine. Perhaps the most direct benefit for improving the safety conditions would be lowering the insurance costs and compensation claims for injuries and health problems that result from working in this sector. This work will provide the industrial companies with an overview of the requirements for improving the working conditions for their workers , such as the approximate financial cost and the best possible method to implement a safety and health improvement of this program Structure First , the risks and hazards that are present in the stone and marble plants will be identified and encompassed , then they will be assessed based on their severity and frequency of occurrence , then appropriate solutions will be proposed for each hazard and a roughly-cut cost estimate will be made for each possible solution Methodology This chapter will demonstrate the approach and methodology that was adopted during the preparation of this project. The methodology includes the steps and tools used in the project , and they are arranged in a chronological order that reflects the order in which they were conducted and also the order in which they were put in the final report. It consists of the following sections: literature review, site visits, risk assessment using surveys, risk analysis and finally introducing controls Recommendations After identifying the most common causes of accidents and injuries and their root causes and possible solutions, the following actions are recommended: The proposed control measures mentioned above shall be implemented as described in the previous section to minimize the risks of the two main risk sources. Other causes of injuries must also be handled in the most suitable method. Visual and auditory warnings must be installed to indicate that dangerous machines such as cranes and forklifts are being operated, especially that noise levels are usually high in this type of plants and also vision is impaired by powder and dust. Old machinery and devices pose significant risk and usually have low performance and quality levels, therefore, the management should consider replacing or upgrading them, by weighting the benefits of such actions against their costs. Workers should receive training on the machinery and systems in their workplace to reduce the risk of injuries. This training must be regular and obligatory. They should also receive education on health and safety issues. Regular medical screening must be introduced to minimize the health issues related to the work in these plants. Respiratory system examination is of great importance because of its sensitivity and the potential of developing sinusitis and other problems. The vertebral column screening is also very important to prevent lower back pain symptoms. The machinery in these plants require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. This would reduce the likelihood of failures, improve quality and performance and reduces the risks. Electricity installations and power lines must be insulated to prevent shocks and electrocutions. Holes, trenches and ditches must be filled to prevent falling and tripping accidents, this is particularly important in winter hen such holes might be filled with rain water making them more dangerous. The Labor Union should work closely with the companies to improve the health and safety situation, by organizing education and training events and enforcing safety and health regulations. The Union should work with the authorities to impose sanctions and fines on plants in which workers do not use protective equipment or safety measures are not followed properly. This way the managements will have to make such precautions compulsory. The authorities should be pressured to foster the work of companies in this sector by granting them privileges and facilitations. This can help companies reduce costs and increase revenues, which will in turn improve their conditions and enable them to invest more in enhancing the overall safety and health situation for their workers. Health insurance must become obligatory for all companies working in this sector due to the high level of risk associated with its nature of work. This would improve the well-being of the workers and ultimately increase their efficiency and promote their performance.