Safety is no accident thanks to upgraded toolkit

A new version of Nynas’ renowned ‘safety toolkit’ which provides guidance on all aspects of handling bitumen safely is about to be distributed in updated form.

First launched in 2005, the Nynas bitumen ‘safety toolkit’ has been modernised and extended to meet the developing needs of industry and to ensure safe practice remains top of the agenda. The new look toolkit is entitled ‘Safety is No Accident – Observe, Think and Act’ and includes an updated handbook, educational DVD, poster plus a ‘quick-guide’ for use by operatives while working.

Publication and distribution to customers, hauliers and depots (as well as Nynas’ own staff) is scheduled to take place imminently. Visitors to the Nynas stand at Hillhead 2012 in June are welcome to apply in person for their own toolkits.

This latest initiative from Nynas has its beginnings in the company’s Bitumen Safety Awareness campaign dating from 1996 which set out to heighten awareness of good practice when handling bitumen. The object was to maximise safety while minimising the risk of harm, to individuals and the environment. Director of Nynas’ UK Business Area Jim Christie explains Nynas’ thinking as follows.

“In a practical and user friendly way, our new toolkit provides essential guidance on safe ways of working which if followed should prevent accidents during transportation, storage and handling of bitumen,” he says. “We know safety is high on our customers’ agendas and it is on ours, too. We feel we have a responsibility to encourage safe practices relating to bitumen and the updated toolkit is one means by which we are meeting that responsibility.”

The first safety toolkit was well received by the bitumen industry and end users alike. The object had been to create a toolkit that contained valuable safety information and training material that were universal in nature, in terms of the spectrum of those with a need to know – from suppliers to buyers; operatives to head office staff.

Nynas decided to revisit the package two years ago. The aim has been to update the written and visual material and make this even more pertinent across the spread of markets in which Nynas operates. It was an acknowledgement that times are changing and more essential information is becoming available.

“Guidelines from the European association Eurobitume on bitumen handling have been revised and we wanted to incorporate these in the new handbook. Also REACH – the European regulations on chemicals and their safe use – is now in force and we felt this should be referred to,” says Nynas UK HSSE Manager Paul Lamb.

Mr Lamb was closely involved with the toolkit updating. “Once we had brought the words up to date the graphics had to be modernised with added animations. The original video was reshot to make this more pertinent to today’s way of working safely. I should add that the relaunch of the toolkit is serving to reinvigorate the Nynas safety awareness campaign both within the company and our ‘Partnership in Safety’ with customers.”

All the work updating the safety guidance has been carried out internally within the Nynas organisation with departments across the board cooperating and contributing to the toolkit’s contents. The material was assembled and is presented under the key message that: ‘Safety is No Accident’, with users exhorted to: ‘Observe, think and act’.

Personel Protective Equipment (PPE)

Contents of the toolkit

The toolkit’s principal ‘tool’ remains the handbook, which is entitled ‘Safe handling of bitumen – a practical guide’. Its contents listing is much the same as before, with distinct sections on:
• product information
• health, safety and environment
• distribution, transport, loading and unloading
• handling and storage, and
• appendices.

As the handbook’s preface says, bitumen is safe to handle, if handled correctly. The main aim of the book is to provide the reader with a clear, useful understanding of bitumen from product and HSSE information through to guides on distribution, handling and storage. The wording remains clear and simple, although the texts of the new document’s sections have been updated. REACH, H2S, current classification of bitumen and so on is detailed in the health, safety and environment section.

The appendices contain (as mentioned above) Eurobitume’s new guidelines plus (as before) the association’s ‘Burns Cards’. Eurobitume’s notes for guidance of first aid and medical personnel are also included. Personal protection equipment now has its own appendix and the ADR regulations (pertaining to tankers) also get a separate entry. There is also a glossary of bitumen related terms.

The toolkit’s quick guide is credit card size, opening up to A4. It focuses on six main safety issues, namely fires, water in bitumen, PPE, thermal burns, contamination of insulation and hydrogen sulphide; plus refers to environmental issues.

Among the toolkit’s contents is a DVD very different to the original safety video. The DVD shows best practice in line with both Eurobitume and UK RBA documentation. The contents also reinforce the principal safety messages of the handbook and quick guide in a modern way. The toolkit as a whole truly reinforces the message ‘Safety is No Accident – Observe, think and act’.


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