I’m amazed at the reaction that Gabrielle’s recent article: Where to put the Portaloo is a Hazard has received. As per usual the Safety Spud Heads have missed the point and started debating about OSHA washroom regulations and having more comprehensive checklists. The Safety Potato Heads get and appreciate the point she is making about people and unconscious decisions they make and what factors may influence that.
Anyway, one of our loyal Potato Heads, who got the point but was reminded of some things he has seen out there, has sent in these couple of Port-a-loo anecdotes that I thought might be of interest:
When I saw your post on SIWA, as well as your SafetyRisk site, it reminded me of this first photo which I have attached. I took this about five years ago at a drilling site in the Surat Basin. Unfortunately, the Drilling Superintendent who placed the sign in front of the two portaloos failed to see the humour in placing that sign there.
Sometimes, we do get to see a little bit of the ridiculous with these.
Another point of interest with portaloos is the difficulty (and yes, hazards too, associated with moving sufficient portaloos along a pipeline right of way so they are available, clean and fit for purpose with the mainline welding crew, which can number as many as 150 to 160. When the welding crews are moving 1.5 to 2 km per day (CRC Evans, Howell Davies, etc) it becomes a bit challenging for the spread boss to keep the portaloos up to the crews, who generally prefer to just go off the side of the RoW. This is despite clear and concise instruction by management that this practice is not to occur.
One landholder on the QCLNG pipeline placed remote, movement activated security cameras in various places in an attempt to prevent this, and I understand he got a number of very candid photos, but I never did get to see the quality from cameras subjected to the outdoor, atmospheric conditions, which were dry and very dusty at the time.
The second photo is what remains of a portaloo following the floods in Central Queensland in January last year (2013). This was one of the portaloos used by our principal contractor for the mainline welders and was not moved to higher ground (along with a great deal of other equipment which was submerged and ruined) and this was the result. When I saw a 65 joint string of welded pipe (each 12 metre joint weighs 4.5 tonnes) picked up, moved and mangled by the force of floodwater, it gave me a far greater appreciation of what floodwaters can do. Do I believe in the government campaign to stop people driving through floodwaters – you bet I do!
Hope these are useful to you at some point. I also have many more photos and anecdotes regarding various workplaces and jobs which I’m only too happy to share. My motto is that there is no confidentiality in safety, as, if I have something which I can share to keep a worker safe on another jobsite where I have a colleague working, I will definitely share what I have. After all, that is why I am in safety.
David Carter MSIA MAOQ JP (Qual)
Managing Director – Situational Safety Pty Ltd
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