High Risk Work (HRW), as the name suggests, basically includes all types of professions that entail either working within dangerous environment conditions, or require the use of dangerous equipment. These type of jobs can even cause deaths – therefore, it is essential that all HRW employees undergo training and education prior to starting work! High Risk Work is normally categorized into a few categories, with most (but not all) usually falling within the field of construction. The main, better known categories are described below:
• Dogging (crane and hoist operations) and Rigging – these basically involve the moving of materials by the use of cranes and hoists on construction sites. Also included are the erection of scaffoldings and other elevated platforms (which in turn create another type of high risk work; this is described below). Since materials like steel pipes and other cumbersome objects are lifted at a height, these jobs pose many safety risks.
• Scaffolding (working at heights) – Scaffoldings are temporary structures that are erected at construction sites to work on the building at a height. These are usually made with iron poles and wooden planks. Since most of these involve working at heights greater than two metres, they pose the risk of injury due to accidental falls.
• Pressure equipment operation – pressure equipment denotes all equipment which feature the use of pressurized vessels (i.e. the pressure of the gas or fluid inside the vessel is different from the ambient pressure), and thereby poses the risk of explosion when mishandled. Pressure equipment can be seen in oil refineries, nuclear plants, mining sites and various storage facilities.
• Confined spaces – Any place with a confined space entry training is defined as a confined space – that is, any place which has limited accessibility and space. These spaces pose risks ranging from limited (or even excess!) oxygen availability, presence of toxic or flammable gases, to conditions where there is a continuous increase of free-flowing solids or liquids (i.e. flooding due to leaks).
The risks of HRW can range from serious injuries, such as maimed body parts (i.e. the body part is either crippled or entirely loses its functions) and crush or burn injuries, to even death. As such, it is necessary that all workers are equipped with specialized licenses for HRW or at least, are supervised by a competent license holder. Of course, whilst the latter option is also allowed, it is best if all workers undergo specialized training before being employed in this field of work, so as to counter the many health and safety risks the work poses.