Safety in the industry is as much important as production itself. It underscores because industrial safety system, usually known as Integrated Control and Safety System (ICSS), is an integral part of most industries. Industrial safety is targeted at providing protection against menaces, risks and hazards which can occur in different forms, in the industry. It is, however, not intended for controlling only the hazard. Process control systems are rather provided for controlling the hazards. This essay takes a brief look at what safety in the industry is and also its correlation to public health.
Virtually every industry has its own risk. When accident occurs in the workplace, the life of the workers can be greatly ruined and also productivity in the workplace can be limited. That is why risk assessment is vital in every industry. Industries that deal with chemicals should be particularly careful at the level of exposure of the chemicals. The occupational exposure limit (OEL) must not be exceeded and also contact with the chemicals should be avoided. In conditions where contact should not be avoided, adequate protection equipments should be used in ensuring reasonable protection against a hazard. Public health and safety industry are interlinked with each other. Public health refers to the science and art for prevention of diseases, promoting health as well as prolonging life through organized efforts, as well as informed choices of organizations, communities, individuals, society, and so forth.
Public health is a vital field today because human health is being threatened on a daily basis. Industrial activities are one of the major sources of threats in the human environment. That makes it quite obvious that the safety in the industry is related to the public health. Public health aims at improving the quality of life and health of individuals in society by ensuring that diseases as well as other physical and mental health conditions are prevented and treated (Public health).
The oil & gas industry can be quoted as an example of the industry where public health is mostly important. That is because the environment is greatly threatened by the extraction, processing and burning of crude oil. That is of significant concern due to which governments ensure implementation of those public health laws in the oil and gas industry. Environment and public health laws apply to both conventional and unconventional oil and gas developments. The Clean Water Act (CWA) is a good example of this law. This act ensures that oil and gas well site operators get permits for discharges of water they produce during their operation processes such as fluids used for fracking and fluids from oil bearing formations. Another good example is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which regulates the management and disposal of hazardous wastes and performs other functions (GOA, 2012). Apart from serious safety concerns associated with mega industries, there are many other hazards that may cause a safety threat for public. Some of these hazards include:
- The object may fall outside the boundary of an industry especially while working on scaffolding,
- The pedestrians may struck by vehicles leaving and entering in the industry,
- During erecting scaffolding, the dismantled parts may go fall out of the boundary,
- Immense risks are associated with the storage of different materials,
- The plant machinery and equipment,
- Use of hazardous material in the industry,
- Electricity and other associated energy sources,
- Dust, noise and vibration and noise generated by industry may give rise to public health problem (HSE).
Agencies as Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and functioning under the US Department of Labour are tasked with the responsibility of making sure the protection of the public, workers, and the environmental facilities subject to OSHA and EPA control. They do this by ensuring that federal laws are timely and effectively implemented. They sometimes share the same responsibilities but in some cases, their responsibilities are distinct. That shows the nexus of public health and safety in industries (OSHA, 1991).
Industrial activities greatly threaten the water, air, land and various other aspects of human life. Contaminants are being released into the atmosphere and water bodies by industrial action. Wildlife is greatly threatened, and a lot of aquatic and terrestrial organisms have gone into extinction as a result of industrial actions. Oil spill in high seas and water bodies not only affect aquatic organisms, but also people living near the water body. In addition, such industrial actions greatly upset the aquatic habitat which has a direct effect on man and his environment.
The amounts of pollutants emitted and released into the atmosphere by industrial processes get beyond the threshold level and affect human health. Consequently, it reduced the human lifespan. Some of these pollutants affect plants that man depends on for food. It is essential to put public health into consideration to ensure absolute safety in industries. Public health considers all these menaces and provides a sure-fire way of reducing their effects as well as protecting man and his environment.
It explains why organizations like the EPA, OSHA and many others work tirelessly towards ensuring that human health should be improved. Public health must be put into consideration at all levels of production in various industries to ensure that particulates emitted from the manufactured products are at the controllable and healthy level. Public health cuts across different aspects of life and encompasses health education, control of diseases, sanitation as well as the regulation of pollution. Public health aims at achieving its aim through various programs such as immunization, rural and urban health clinics, disease tracking and epidemiology, medical research and public education campaign, sanitation and pollution control (OSHA, 1991; Public health).
In short, public health and the safety industry cannot be separated. The occupational exposure limit must not be exceeded and also contact with the chemicals should be avoided. Because various agencies in the United States do their best to administer public health and safety and also ensure that the various federal laws relating to public health are kept in contact. Safety in industries is implemented in order to make sure the safety of the workers, and the public. High end safety techniques and principles have to be implemented to make sure that safety practices and public health are seriously regulated.
GOA. (2012). U.S.Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health requirements (GAO-12-874). Retrieved from website: www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-874
HSE. Health and Safety Executive, (n.d.). Protecting the public. Retrieved from website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/publicprotection.htm
OSHA. Environmental Protection Agency, (1991).Memorandum of understanding between the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Sealth Administration, and the US Environmental Protection Agency office of enforcement. Retrieved from website: www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=MOU&p_id=238
Public health. In Wikipedia. doi:www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_health