How to identify and assess workplace hazards?

A key step in any safety protocol is to conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the work environment and equipment at a workplace. In a hazard assessment, it is important to be as thorough as possible because after all, you can’t protect your workers against hazards you are unaware of. Therefore, there should be a nominated trained safety officer for conducting formal risk assessments at each workplace or project site. To identify and assess hazards, safety officers or trained employers and workers should: collect and review information about the hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace. conduct initial and periodic workplace inspections of the workplace to identify new or recurring hazards. investigate past illnesses, incidents, and close calls / near misses to determine the underlying hazards, their causes, and safety and health programme shortcomings. group similar incidents and identify trends in injuries, illnesses, and hazards reported. consider hazards associated with emergency or non-routine situations. determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result for each hazard identified, and use this information to prioritize corrective actions. You can understand the steps necessary to assess your workplace safety hazards for self-assessment here. [LINK to the document/template can be added after checking with trainers/GERMI]. One can also study the ‘Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs’ issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States.     The post ID for this chapter is 2688. For any suggestion or comment regarding the content, you may write to us […]

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What are workplace hazards?

One of the “root causes” of workplace injuries, illnesses and incidents is the failure to identify or recognise hazards that are present, or that could have been anticipated. Hazards exist in every workplace, but how to distinguish the most potential hazards that pose threat harm to the workers? By identifying hazards at your workplace, you will be better prepared to control or eliminate them and prevent accidents, injuries, property damage and downtime. The meaning of the word “hazard” can be confusing. Often dictionaries do not give specific definitions or combine it with the term ”harm”. The main difference is that “harm” is a physical injury or damage to health whereas “hazard” is a potential source of harm to a worker. Major categories of workplace hazards are as follows: Physical hazards are environmental factors that can harm an employee / worker without necessarily touching it, including heights, noise, radiation pressure, etc. Chemical hazards are hazardous substances that can cause harm. These hazards can result in both health and physical impacts, such as skin irritation, respiratory system irritation, blindness, corrosion and explosions. Safety hazards create unsafe working conditions. Such hazards can be introduced over time as workstations, equipment or tools become worn or maintenance is neglected. Biological hazards include viruses, bacteria, insects, animals, etc., that can cause adverse health impacts. Ergonomic hazards are a result of physical factors that can result in musculoskeletal injuries. This usually occurs when the type of work, body positions and working conditions put a strain on your […]

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What are personal protective equipment?

03/01 Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is the equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter. PPE is the last line of defence in protecting workers from hazards in the workplace. Before requiring workers to wear PPE to protect them from a specific hazard, the employer must try to eliminate the hazard or reduce it as much as possible. PPE is not the most effective safety measure because it places only a barrier between the worker and the hazard. The hazard still exists; so if the right PPE is not worn properly or when it is needed, or the PPE fails (for example, gloves leak), the worker is not protected. Types of Personal protective equipment Head Protection  Head protection is an essential element in providing workers with protection from heavy impact, falling and low-hanging objects, and electrical hazards. A hard hat should be worn in all situations where there are head protection hazards. All forms of head and scalp protection must be of the suitable head size and correct fit. It should have some ventilation and an easily adjustable headband/chin strap, where appropriate. Class G and H hats protects from electrical shocks up to 2,200 volts and 20,000 volts, respectively.The relevant standards are BS EN 397 and BS EN14052. Proper use and care of the hard hat Always wear your hard hat while you are working […]

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Do concrete roofs and metal roofs have different mounting structure?

Solar PV modules can be installed on almost all kinds of rooftops. The complexities involved in installing a PV module may differ with different rooftops, type of roof construction and roof strength. Therefore there are different PV module mounting structures for metal roofs and flat concrete roofs. Some of the examples of commonly used mounting structures based on the roof type are mentioned below. Flat concrete roofs (example RCC) Concrete roofs are in general the easiest way to install a solar power plant as the access for installation and later operations and maintenance if very easy. Depending on the roof design and shadow-free area the common type of module mounting structures for concrete roofs are highlighted below: 1. Low elevation ballast structures  This type of structures are designed for flat roofs with limited load capacity and where there are no shadow issues. The design of the system includes a windshield (sloped wind deflector) that seals the system and reduces the suction force of the wind on the PV modules making the installation stable under high wind load and prevents the frame from overturning/lifting. Typically such mounting structures have a tilt angle of not more than 15 degrees. 2. Elevated ballast structure This type of structures are advised for flat RCC roofs which have shading issues. These structures can be designed for high ground clearance and can easily combat heavy wind loads. These structures are also designed for installation with penetration to the roof; however, it is not recommended. Instead ballast-based […]

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Can a mounting structure cause damage to my roof?

Many property owners worry about damaging their roof on installing a rooftop solar PV power plant. However, as these installations will last at least for 25 years, so it is important to make sure that all pre-existing damage to the roof is assessed and repaired, if needed. It is also to be noted that the installation being done should be well within the safety limits and it should be able to withstand the weight of an additional structure without any structural damage, leakage and water logging, etc. PV module mounting structures designed and installed correctly do not cause damage to the roof. The spacing of brackets and purlins spreads the weight of the solar panels across a large cross-section of the roof area. If you have a flat roof, you won’t need to put holes in it for installation. Installations on flat roofs commonly use ballast mounting systems which involve no holes. A few examples of ballast mounting structures used widely these days are: Roof damage as a result of a solar PV power plant installation is extremely rare because installers take precautionary steps while installing the structure and the solar panels. However, if property owners are concerned about damage to the roof, they can question the installer about their installation process, measures they take to prevent roof damage and workmanship warranty, and check whether it covers the roof damage in case it occurs.

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What are the components of a Solar PV Module?

Solar photovoltaics are made with a number of parts, the most important of which are the solar cells which are connected and sandwiched between glass and metal. Major components of a PV module are: Module Frame   Glass Encapsulant Back Sheet Backsheet is a film of that protects the solar cells from severe environmental conditions. A solar back sheet is the last layer at the bottom of the solar PV module and is typically made of a polymer or a combination of polymers. Junction Box                        

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Difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline PV modules

Both mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar PV modules have cells made of silicon wafers. To build a mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline module, wafers are assembled into rows and columns covered with a glass sheet, and framed together. Poly-crystalline cells are square-shaped whereas mono-crystalline cells are square with missing corners. While both of these types of solar PV modules have cells made from silicon, mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline modules vary in the composition of the silicon itself. Mono-crystalline solar cells are cut from a single, pure crystal of silicon. Alternatively, poly-crystalline solar cells are composed of fragments of silicon crystals that are melted together in a mold before being cut into wafers. Mono-crystalline modules have better efficiency and power capacity.

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How does temperature affect solar panels?

Solar panels react differently to the operating temperature. The efficiency of a solar panel decreases as it increases above the ambient temperature. Each solar panel has a temperature coefficient (which is defined in datasheet of panels). The temperature coefficient represents the rate at which the panel will underperform at each increase in degree Celsius (°C). Most panels have a temperature coefficient of between -0.2% /°C to -0.5%/°C, when tested under standard laboratory conditions, where ambient temperature is set to 25°C. For example if the temperature coefficient of a particular type of panel is -0.5%, then for every 10C rise, the panel’s output power will reduce by 0.5%. [Source: Youtube] [Publisher: altE Store’s Educational Video Channel]

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How much roof area is required to install a rooftop solar PV system?

Size of a rooftop solar PV system depends on the roof area available for installing the solar panels. It is very important to ensure that no shadow falls on the solar panels throughout the year therefore, it becomes very important to calculate the available shadow-free area out of the total roof area for installing the solar panels. According to the rule of thumb, 10 square meters shadow-free area is required for installing a 1-kilowatt rooftop solar system.  

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How can I check if my roof is suitable to install solar PV?

A quick inspection of your roof is the first step in determining if you can install a rooftop solar PV system on your roof. The following are a few factors that one can check (before the installers) to know if the roof is suitable for the installation of solar PV. 1. Roof orientation  The best position for solar panels is towards the south, but even west- and east-facing roofs can accommodate solar panels. However, you should keep in mind that skylights, air-conditioning units, and pipelines etc. installed on the roof can affect overall available space for the installation of solar panels. 2. Shading on the roof It is important to take note of the shading caused by nearby water tanks, antennas or buildings & trees. These objects can have an effect on the performance of the solar PV system by causing obstructions between the sunlight and the solar panels. If you have a high-rise building casting a shadow on the complete roof area, installing solar panels on this roof may not be ideal, it would be better to avoid the installation in such shaded areas. 3. Age of the roof The age of the roof/building is also one of the important factors primarily in the metal/asbestos roofs. Although the solar PV installation expert will study the roof profile in detail before designing and installation, here are a few points that can be observed: Loose or broken tiles Punctures and cracks Standing water/leakages Any type of structural damage The video explains […]

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