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Health &Safety for the Inspector

With over 31 years experience ranging from decorating, industrial grit blasting / spraying, supervision / management / inspection, I have seen some things that are best left unmentioned in terms of Health and Safety in the workplace explains Dave Horrocks, MICorr, ICORR Level 3, CSWIP 3.0 Welding Inspector.


y aim here is to add some valuable input into the Health and Safety aspects of inspection in the field and also lay down

the basic guide of self protection against grit blasting and painting activities when carrying out inspection duties. All too often we see the blasters and sprayers

with adequate protection for their activities. However, on more than one occasion I have seen clients and inspectors wearing a paper dust mask and a white paper suit thinking this is ok for the short time period they will be in the encapsulation area. Let’s stop and think here; some coatings contain volatile flammable organic solvents which can form explosive mixtures with air. Couple this with poor air flow / extraction and the outcome can be fatal, as recent events throughout the world have shown. Old coatings such as red lead are very much still present in this day and age and the inspector will no doubt come across this in his inspection life. Again careful consideration is needed here to ensure you are adequately protected. Question; have you been blood lead tested? If you’re wearing Respiratory Equipment (RPE), have you had a lung function test? If a close fitting RPE device is being worn, have you been face fit tested? There is a lot to think about and hopefully, the client and the contractor will enforce strict rules and regulations to follow. However, beware of the dangers; ensure you are protected correctly and more importantly stop and evaluate your activities in advance of any assessment or inspection.

Stop and ask yourself this:-

• Are you familiar with what is going on in the encapsulation/work area?

• You may not know the site, so has someone told you what’s behind the entrance door as you go in. This sounds basic but I’m sure it should be part of the induction training once you arrive at the project.

• Have you, personally, had all the necessary training for that project to proceed with your activities?

• Do you require an escort? It may be important that you are shown the area’s first so you can familiarise yourself with your new surroundings.

• Who will supply the protection you require in terms of PPE and RPE?

Is it in date? So often the inspector will carry his pride and joy of a ‘mask’, but when the filter is found to be out of date the cry comes, “I have had that for years!”

• Has a sypol/coshh assessment been carried out to determine the correct protection factor?

• Did you know a close fitting respirator has to be face fitted? Some will no doubt be aware of this however not everyone is familiar with this rule.

Is there somewhere for your RPE to be stored and maintained?

• Who will replenish your supplies? • How do you know when to change the respirator?



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