Safety Assessment of Process Plant

Modified: 18th May 2020
Wordcount: 3980 words

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Safety is one of the most essential things that must be considered while designing a process plant. Safety in design aims to prevent any harm and injuries by considering the hazard in the early planning process. Safe design means the incorporation of hazard identification and risk assessment in the early design process to eliminate the potential injury or minimize the damage. If any small hazards or risks are left unchecked, it might lead to loss of lives and property.

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The task of this assessment is to incorporate the safety measures at the early stage of the design. The plant will be built in 100m X 100m ground located in the Humpty doo area adjacent to the Arnhem Highway and the main operation is to recycle scrap steel. The details of the design are already provided in the assignment sheet. This report also does a risk analysis of the major hazards that are identified in this design.

Analysis of Common Issues and their mitigations

Hazards and issues are inevitable while running any process plant. These hazards and issues might lead to health issues, loss of property, loss of lives. However, if they are addressed at the proper time with proper methods, they can be eliminated, or the impact can be reduced. Thus, some potential hazards that can be seen during the operation of the plant and the recommendation to control or prevent those issues are explained below

Roadways on site

Transportation is one of the important infrastructures of a process plant. Various road trains, trucks, forklifts, vehicles are used in the operation of the plant to transport the scrap metals.  Over many years, there has been a lot of road-related accidents leading to deaths and injuries in various states of Australia. Lack of road for pedestrians, narrow road and use of forklifts in narrow space leads to many hazards. Heavy-duty vehicles and machines such as road trains, cranes, forklifts are used in everyday life of an operating plant to lift and transport heavy loads and any minor issue in these machines can lead to the load falling from a height and getting hit by the forklifts.

To prevent these hazards and issues, while designing the process plant, the path for pedestrians should be allocated. Only authorized personnel should be allowed around the heavy lifting areas to prevent casualties and there should be a clear signboard depicting precautions and safety measures to create awareness among the workers. People visiting the process plant and the work personnel should be made aware of the traffic rules and it should be reinforced for every people regardless of their position and power.

Turning Radii

Turning Radius is the smallest circular turn a vehicle can make. Making a road with lower turning radii than the vehicles used can lead to various accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths. The main medium of transportation for a process plant such as ours are road trains, trucks, cranes, etc and having less turning radius can lead to a collision of two-vehicle while turning. However, having a higher radius can also lead to drivers pursuing the easy road and lead to accidents.

The simple way of preventing these hazards/accidents is to build a road with a large enough turning radius which is suitable for the biggest vehicle that the plant uses. This might also change according to the weather and geological conditions of the site. If it snows or rains, the radius must be larger to accommodate the slipping of the vehicle.

Crane Operation

Crane is heavy machinery that creates a mechanical advantage to lift and transport heavy objects beyond human capability. In a process plant, it is used to lift heavy machinery, steel scraps, load trucks for shipment. The cranes used in the process plant are of 5-tonne capacity and the maximum weight of the load used in the process plant is approximately 3 tonnes. As a result, the loading failure can be avoided. However, there have been a lot of instances where cranes failed because of overweight as the driver tries to carry load which is out of its capacity. Because of the carelessness and narrow road, the crane can lead to falling of stacks, collisions with other vehicles. Sometimes the high speed of the wind, lack of counterweight can lead to the overturning of the crane. These hazards can cause serious property and death. Error in the system of the crane can lead to falling of heavy objects from a height.

To reduce these hazards, the driver should check the condition of the crane before using it if all the functions or parts are working properly or not. The weight of the loads needs to be checked before using the cranes, the paths where the crane is used should be made as wide as possible. The area around which the cranes are operated should be restricted and only authorized personnel should be granted access. There should be a warning and precaution signs around the sites to warn people about the dangers.

Forklifts Operation

Forklifts/Industrial trucks are used to lift, stack and transfer loads in a processing plant. Every year forklifts lead to various casualties and deaths and loss of property. It is caused by the error of a driver and sometimes a worker moving near the forklift or inadequate traffic. Some accidents occur due to people trying to assist the loads. Not wearing seat belts can lead to injury or death as the forklift might tip while working on uneven ground.

However, these hazards can be prevented by using seatbelt which can be lifesaving when a forklift tip. The driver needs to be careful and check whether the load is stable or not. Since it is a dangerous job, the driver needs to be skilled and trained to operate the forklift. The people working near the forklift area should be careful and look out for each other. There should be designated restricted areas where people are not allowed when a forklift is in operation and people should follow these rules.

Lighting Requirements both indoor and outdoor

Lighting is a significant thing in any workplace. Poor lighting can lead to a lot of problems and casualties. It can lead to a halt in the operation of a process plant. Bad lighting can cause a serious effect on the performance of a machine operator, people might not be able to see properly resulting in incorrect measurement, or usage of a machine by pressing the wrong switch. Thus, these problems need to be solved as soon as possible with the help of a solar inverter, generator or using high-quality materials/ bulbs.

Working at heights

Working at heights is a dangerous job and it is a major cause of deaths and injuries in the workplace. Use of ladders, incomplete scaffold, falling from the roof edge or fragile roof are the major causes of injuries in any place.

To prevent this, the work should be done on a stable surface or roof. While working on a height, a fall prevention device such as temporary platforms, guardrails, scaffolding needs to be constructed to make a safe environment. A fall arrest system such as a safety nest or fall arrest harness needs to be installed as well. While climbing any ladders, slip resistant footwear must be worn and carrying large objects while ascending and descending a ladder must not be done.

Safe stack heights of bundles

The process plant deals with a container of a maximum of 3000kg weight and they are to be stacked together. A tiny error while stacking these containers can lead to falling of the containers which might cause harm to the people and damage properties as well. Inappropriate use of forklifts and cranes can lead to these hazards while stacking the containers. Thus, to prevent these hazards, the stacking needs to be done carefully and experienced personnel should be using these machines. The area around which the stacking is done should be vacant and only authorized and experienced personnel should be given access to the area.


Fencing is one of the essential things required in any workplace to keep it safe from outer interferences, robberies, and damages. Without a fence around the site, anybody can walk in and harms, injuries can occur to the people trespassing as they don’t have any knowledge about the site. Thus, proper fencing and gating can prevent trespassers, robberies and decrease the damage to the surrounding people. Gate should be designed as wide and should have high clearance for admitting huge vehicles responsible for transporting the objects in and out of the plant.

Medical room

In a processing plant, there are many things that can lead to accidents and injuries. All the affected workers are given first aid treatments before taking it to the hospitals. So, a medical room is a necessary thing in the workplace. However, there have been many instances when people have died of minor injuries due to the lack of first aid treatments and equipment. This is because of not regularly checking the expiry dates and stocking the medical supplies.

Health and safety

Health is the most important thing in any person’s life. To maintain a healthy and safe environment in the workplace, both the employer and employees should coordinate with each other. Even though the health of an employee is considered while designing the plant but carelessness of the workers, errors while using the machines, natural disasters lead to various diseases and sometimes even death.

These accidents/hazards can be avoided by simply following the rules and regulations. The use of safety helmets, glasses, masks, harness, etc can prevent a worker from getting injured. Creating awareness among all the people associated with the plant can also reduce these casualties.

Internal clearance heights

The process plant we are designing processes scrap metal. Thus, heavy machines such as forklifts, pressing and cutting machines need to be used. If the roof does not have enough internal clearance heights, it might be difficult for the forklift to carry the loads. More importantly before deciding on the internal heights of a plant, dimensions of the machine need to be known to make sure that the machines easily fit into the plant.

Sizing and positioning of the receiving area

The proper sizing and positioning of the receiving area is very important in the functioning of a process plant. The size of the receiving area should be large enough to accommodate transportation vehicles such as cranes, forklifts and especially road trains. If the receiving area is not large enough, the number of incoming scrap metals will be decreased as smaller vehicles are the only option for delivery and it will lead to less production. Having a small receiving area can injure people and cause property damage. The position of the receiving area should be in a suitable position, near to the stock room so that minimum force is needed to take the loads to the processing machines.

Major hazards in this plant

Electrical hazards

Electricity is the major source of power for a process plant. All the equipment and machines used in the plant is powered by electricity. It might be a boon for processing plants but mishandling the electricity or electric equipment can cause electrical shocks and lead to serious injuries sometimes even death. Accidental touching of the wire underground can lead to an electrical shock. There are also chances of short circuits which can cause huge damage to the machines and can cause a fire as well. However various safety measures can be used to avoid or prevent these hazards and they are listed below

  • Any damaged electrical equipment should be disconnected and fixed if possible.
  • Regular inspections and testing of the electrical equipment must be done.
  • A tag should be attached to the equipment with the time and date of testing and the name of the tester
  • The equipment which is declared safe by the authorized tester should only be used.
  • Any work which is being conducted close to the overhead or underground powerlines must be prohibited.
  • Any contact of the electric wires and cable with water must be prevented.
  • An alternative source of power like a generator or solar inverter should be kept during power out.

Manual Tasks and handling of the equipment:

Manual tasks are essential for any workplace and it can be hazardous if it is not done correct way or done repeatedly. Injuries might occur from sitting for too long, bending and handling heavy items. To prevent any injuries while performing manual tasks, proper procedures must be taught to the worker about lifting or transporting heavy objects. Any situations where repetitive or high force and vibration is encountered must be avoided to minimize the injury inflicted from manual tasks.

 In a processing plant such as ours, includes using trolleys, forklifts, and cranes to transport steel scraps from one place to another. Any mistakes while operating these machines can cause serious damage to property and lives. Thus, proper training must be provided to the drivers before using these machines. While supplying the processing machines with steel scraps, some of the pieces might fly out and injure someone. So, a boundary should be created and only authorized personnel wearing safety equipment must be allowed. While lifting the heavy containers proper care and measures must be taken to ensure that it does not fall. The tripping of the stacked container can also be reduced by making them stable.

Fire hazards:

Fire-related hazards lead to casualties involving property damage and loss of lives. Fire can be generated from short circuits, mishandling of chemicals, overheating of the machines, cigarettes or even microwave oven in a processing plant. If not contained in the early stage, not only the operation plants get damaged, but the surrounding areas will also be affected by the fire. Some of the preventive measures are listed below:

  • Proper methods are used to handle reactive chemicals
  • Smoking should be prohibited in and around the processing plant
  • Enough fire extinguishers need to be placed in proper places so that the fire can be extinguished easily before it spreads
  • To prevent the fire from spreading to the surroundings, a clear gap should be made between the fence and site. This gap should be made in such a way that there is no medium for fire to spread
  • Water sprinklers should be fitted in the building
  • Fire alarms should be easily accessible and visible to notify people about the fire

Following these preventive measures can avoid fire-related hazards but if accidentally anyone is injured, proper medical equipment and medicines should be available on site.  Emergency services should be available as well.

Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are dangerous as they have poor ventilation, less oxygen, and airborne contaminants. Some examples of confined spaces are tunnels, sewers, shafts, tanks, pipes, chimneys. To minimize the risk of people getting hurt, safe entry and exits must be made. If the work in a confined space can be done from outside, we should avoid going in. The air inside the confined spaces can be made safe by cleaning it regularly and allowing more air in. An explosion can also be prevented by getting rid of all flammable gases and having emergency procedures ready whenever someone goes in the confined spaces can reduce any injuries. A warning signs should be posted at the entrance of all confined spaces.

Mental Health

Mental health is as important as physical health. Recognizing and managing risks related to mental health lead to a safe, healthy and productive workplace (SafeWork NSW,2019). However, due to workplace stress, bullying, fatigue and violence, the mental health of the workers is affected. But a mentally healthy workplace discourages these acts and can sometimes intervene in these matters as well. Mentally healthy workplaces can boost confidence in people, develop financial security. Thus, increasing the productivity of the workforce and reduced injuries as well.


Health and safety are the most essential thing in the workplace. Every workplace has its sum of Hazards but what differentiates a hazard from risk is the approach to it. To reduce the likelihood of injury, safety glasses, helmets, harness and scaffolding should be used at all times while working at greater heights. To create a safe and healthy environment, a hazard needs to be identified at an early stage and proper control measures need to be taken. Creating awareness among the people about it might work as well. A presentation depicting the pictures of people who suffered because of not following safety rules and regulations might break some sense into some overconfident people who think highly of themselves and disregard the safety procedures. The safety in a workforce can be enforced by doing scheduled and unscheduled safety inspections. Different medical and rescue programmes must be established and finally the workers needs to be encouraged to actively participate in workplace safety.


In conclusion, this report sums up the hazards associated with a steel scrap processing plant. This report also provides some details of the design of the process plant. Every industry is associated with potential hazards, but the impact of this hazard on the people is defined by the design. If risk assessment and safety measures are developed at the initial stage, these hazards can be reduced and avoided safely. Mitigations of any problems can be achieved if the control measures are taken at the right time. Thus, if safety rules are followed, most of these hazards can be avoided and planning for these hazards needs to be done at the early stage of the design.


  • Deshmukh, L. (2005). Industrial safety management: Hazard identification and risk control. New York, N.Y: McGraw-Hill Education LLC.
  • Tweeddale, M. (2003). Managing risk and reliability of process plants. Boston: Gulf Professional Pub.
  • SafeWork NSW. (2019). Manufacturing. Retrieved from
  • Warner, R. (2019). Creating a safety culture: WORKPLACE SAFETY TIPS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW. LP/Gas, 79(8), 51.

Risk Analysis of the Major Hazards encountered in the design plant




Likelihood (Almost certain, likely, possible)


Levels of Risk (Intolerable, tolerable and negligible risk)

Human injuries

Financial cost

Work productivity

Environmental Damage

Electrical hazard

Electric shock

Short circuit fire 

Chances of Death and serious injury

Chances of damaging the whole building











Tolerable risk

Intolerable risk

Manual task and handling of equipment

Workers lifting and moving a heavy object

Error while handling the heavy machinery such as forklifts cranes

Can cause serious injury

Can cause death and loss of property by getting hit by the machinery or falling objects











tolerable risk

Intolerable risk

Fire hazards

Exposure of inflammable chemicals

Can cause fire and serious damage to lives and property






Intolerable risk

Mental health 

Bullying and work-related pressure affecting the mental health of the workforce

It can affect the confidence of the workers resulting in less hard work, laziness. Thus, decreasing the production 






Intolerable risk

Confined spaces 

Contact with contaminated air

Contain flammable gases

Can cause airborne diseases

Can cause fire and explosion of building











Tolerable risk

Intolerable risk 


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