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Acknowledgements

Author

This unit was prepared by Tom Power with guidance from Dr Arlene Hunter.

Tom Power is a lecturer in science education at The Open University. His research interests include teacher education in the global south (www.open.ac.uk/deep) and the CASE intervention. He has been a teacher and an advisory teacher in East Sussex and a specialist adviser to the TTA teacher research panel.

Dr Arlëne Hunter, Staff Tutor in Science in Ireland
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3 Recorded temperatures

Analyses of over 400 proxy climate series (from trees, corals, ice cores and historical records) show that the 1990s was the warmest decade of the millennium and the 20th century the warmest century. The warmest year of the millennium was 1998, and the coldest was probably 1601. (Climatic Research Unit, 2003)

Throughout historical times, fluctuations in the Earth's mean temperature have been recorded. During the seventeenth century, the Thames periodically froze over during winter and m
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2 A 4.6 billion-year history

Climate change is a natural process of warming and cooling that has occurred all through the Earth's history. Throughout geological time there have been ‘hot-house’ periods and ice ages. In order to understand the current situation, it is necessary to have some sense of context and perspective, from historical and geological time-scales. The document below shows a chart showing a generalised temperature history of the Earth.

Click on 'View document' to see the chart

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1 Natural climate change?

The chart below shows a record of the global mean surface temperature of the Earth compiled for the past 140 years. Clearly there is an upward trend, but what does a chart like this really show?

References

Anon. (2003) ‘Spy chief warns food industry over terrorism’, Environmental Health News, 24 October 2003, p. 2.
Cabinet Office (2003) Dealing with Disaster, revised 3rd edn, Civil Contingencies Secretariat.
Commercial Union Risk Management Ltd (1992) ‘Crisis: A timetable for recovery’.
Dodswell, B. (2000)
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6 Conclusion

Perhaps it is a truism to say that all life is full of risk. We encounter many uncalculated outcomes, some beneficial and others adverse. It can be difficult to know which adverse events will prove permanently disadvantageous, since some may lead to innovation and opportunities for the future. Businesses, especially in the financial context, often consider risk in terms of opportunities for gain. Risk in our context is a way of describing the probability and consequences of harm, or at worst
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5.3.4 Plan testing and validation

It is one thing to have a plan; it is another thing to have a plan that you can rely on to work. There is an old military maxim that ‘A plan only gets you into first contact with the enemy. After that, you fly by the seat of your pants’ (Anon). A 1993 IBM report on business continuity planning confirmed this when it revealed that ‘half of the plans failed completely or substantially when they were first tested’ (IBM, 1993, p. 5).

The IBM report identified three categories of pla
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5.3.2 Plan auditing

Having got the draft plan, it is worth checking it over to see that all the major issues have been covered. The appendix below contains a set of guidelines for the initial audit of a generic ‘general purpose’ plan. For site-specific plans such as might be produced by an SHE manager in industry, or a business continuity manager for an office complex, the headings may need some modification.

Guidelines for an emergency response plan audit (PDF, 2 pages, 0.1MB)


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5.7.1 Plan preparation

Perhaps the first question to ask is ‘What is an emergency plan?’ Dodswell, in his guide to business continuity management, defined an ‘emergency management plan’ as simply:

A plan which supports the emergency management team by providing them with information and guidelines.

(Dodswell, 2000, p. 56)

Another definition, of an ‘emergency preparedness plan’ prepared in the co
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5.6 Business continuity planning

An organisation's strategy regarding insurance for its business risks is no substitute for high-quality risk management and emergency preparedness to address all contingencies. Some incidents we have mentioned above. Others may involve IT security for example. While the day-to-day activity of an organisation may not be particularly hazardous, it can still be affected by a hazard not of its own making. Examples might be a natural disaster such as flooding, or a hazardous activity on an adjacen
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5.5 Emergency planning as an organisational management function

If emergency services' EPOs plan to respond to other people's emergencies, people managing a business activity with major incident potential have a different perspective. They have to respond to emergencies within their own organisation. In effect, if an incident occurs, the organisation is itself in a crisis, with functionality impaired. All of this comes into the corporate governance area and the implications of internal control. This requires companies to ensure that they have a sound syst
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5.3 Emergency planning as a formal requirement

Several pieces of legislation make the preparation of emergency plans a statutory requirement. The European Directive on the control of major accident hazards (Council of the European Union, 1996a), the ‘Seveso II Directive’, outlines the planning requirements for industrial sites with large inventories of hazardous substances. In the UK, the requirements of this directive have been incorporated into the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Health and Safety Executive, 1999a). I
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4.2.1 Comparing the management systems

One approach to BS 8800 follows the ISO 14001 model, and the ISO 14001 system itself was closely modelled on the previous ISO 9000, with the 2000 revision of ISO 9000 following ISO 14001 principles. As a result, you may imagine that there are similarities between the standards. Many of the elements are similar, and some are nearly identical. Management systems share common elements, including developing and documenting procedures, training, record keeping, auditing, and corrective action. Fig
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4.2 Why integrate management systems?

Integrating any management system with the business is essential if progress is to be made, but here we are concerned with integrating management systems with each other.

Managing a business continues to set new challenges and demands especially when viewed against:

  • significant competition;

  • high customer and community expectations;

  • returns on capital employed;

  • regulatory compliance;


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4.1 Introduction

Annual costs to employers from accidental injury and occupational illness are on the order of 5–10 per cent of the gross profits of UK industry. The total social cost, including the cost of benefits and National Health hospitalisation and treatment, make this a truly staggering drain on the nation's coffers!

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3.1.1 The cause

A small digression will be made here to question the use of the word ‘cause’ and to reflect on the view expressed by Kletz (1988, p. 2). He argues that the word has an air of finality about it, and is concerned that finding the cause discourages further investigation. He cites an example that the cause of a pipe failure was corrosion – which suggests that we know why the failure occurred. He draws the analogy of the cause of a fall being gravity – suggesting that nothing more can be d
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3.1 Types of incident

Now we can progress to an examination of some incidents by studying selected reports and publications.

Returning to the word ‘accident’, we can cite another definition:

An accident is an undesired event which results in physical harm and/or property damage. It usually results from a contact with a source of energy above the threshold limit of the body or structure.

(Kuhlman, 1977, p. 5)


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2 Setting priorities

Activity 3

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • define risk in the most appropriate way, and appreciate the need to prioritise risks;

  • appreciate the costs of illness associated with workplace activities;

  • describe in outline the development of models used to explain the cause of incidents and to promote prevention;

  • recognise the multiple causes contributing to many incidents, and be able to represent them diagrammatically;


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8 Summary

  • We are biologically predisposed to provide for our offspring and may try to ensure that this provision continues after our death. However, our interactions with other members of society are wide-ranging and many people leave legacies to benefit the wider community.

  • All species alter their environment to some extent because they do not live in isolation from one another. The study of the interactions between plants, animals and their environ
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