OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

Common Sense & Safety…Can it improve your life?

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YOLO………or You Only Live Once as many would know it, just happens to be the mind set of most of today’s generation. Living young, wild and free is downright acceptable and expected. However, when it comes to common safety and health precautions most of today’s generation overlook certain aspects which could lengthen their “one” life. This blog reflects common safety and health hazards overlooked during a rivalry between a frat house, Delta PSI Beta and their neighbour, a young couple with a new born baby, in the 2014 movie Neighbours[1].  Although the movie is set in a city in USA for the purposes of this blog we will utilise T&T safety standards for comparison of situations unless otherwise stated.

As hilarious as the movie seemed to be, it contained numerous safety and health hazards, which could happen to anyone. One of the issues that stood out was the level of noise produced by the frat house. Noise can affect the health of individuals in many ways ranging from minor (lack of sleep) to severe (hearing impairment). Every owner, occupier or employer shall take adequate steps to prevent hearing impairment caused by noises, and diseases caused by vibration, from occurring to persons in, or in the vicinity (OSH Act, Trinidad and Tobago, 45)[2]. It also states that the Chief Inspector may issue an order to reduce the level of noise generated by a process. As seen in the movie, the frat house partied regularly with the use of loud music with little courtesy for their neighbours, especially the couple who lived next door with a newly born baby. Upon moving in the couple kindly requested the frat house to keep it down and they (frat members) agreed to do so. However, after the second night of nonstop music, it became intolerable as a booming party at 4:00 am created unbearable noise waking the couple and scaring the baby. After many vain attempts to contact the president of the fraternity, the couple decided to break their promise of never calling the police who would hopefully stop the noise. Upon arriving at the frat house the police informed the president of the complaint after which the music and partying quickly reduced. The police did not conduct any further investigation into the matter therefore the noise problem continued to exist bringing discomfort to the couple’s everyday lives.

noise

Police questioning couple about noise complaint in the presence of the fraternity president.

Consequently, rivalry between the two neighbours began, in a vicious plot by the couple an electrical hazard was created which could have led to a fire hazard. An electrical hazard is a dangerous condition such that contact or equipment failure can result in electric shock, arc-flash burn, thermal burn, or blast (Electrical Safety Definitions PDF, 2)[3].  The young couple clearly did not use their common sense in trying to sabotage the frat house by placing a hose through a window to create a situation of flood. This, they hoped would have resulted in the fraternity moving out. Shockingly as it seems….this could of lead to critical injuries as well as deaths. Who in their right minds would want to electrocute a couple of party goers or indefinitely kill? Clearly the couple was distressed. An electrical hazard would have been created if the water level had risen to an electrical power outlet electrocuting all the frat members standing in the water. Had it come into contact with electricity from a love outlet a spark would have been created and when combined with electrical equipment at the frat house a fire would have started. Luckily the frat members noticed the situation before the risk of electrocution had increased further ensuring their safety and that of the house.

Seriously not funny.

Thank God for Laws…so much more hazards could have been created.

Mind you that the fraternity had burnt down their previous house due to their reckless use of fireworks. Unfortunately they were not punished by the University but only given probation on a three strike policy. Fireworks are essentially explosives and setting them off in a wooden house, such as that of the fraternity would almost certainly cause a fire. You would think so right? The likelihood of this hazard can be rated 5/5 as Very Likely (Barcelona Field Studies Centre, Risk Assessment Severity Key)[4]. Considering the overcrowding of the house due to heavy partying and intoxication of the occupants, would make a timely evacuation unlikely. Together with the scenario of a large fire the severity of this hazard, using the severity scale for physical injuries can be estimated at 4/5 – Severe injury or trauma requiring urgent hospital attention (Barcelona Field Studies Centre, Risk Assessment Severity Key)[5].

bad neighbour

Delta PSI beta’s President

Along with the additional discomfort brought about by the fraternity house came the responsibilities of being new parents which led to increased stress levels on the young couple. Since their arrival to the neighbourhood, the father in the movie began to think that his life was boring due to the fraternity’s constant partying. He resorted to smoking marijuana and that too, at his place of work with his co –worker/friend. The head employee eventually caught them smoking behind the workplace, as the Exit door was pushed open the father quickly shoved the lit joint in his mouth. A hazard of health was created leading to the consequences of the father’s tongue being burnt as well as other parts of his mouth, he also had excessive coughing due to the inhalation of smoke. It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the safety and health of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work (Occupational Health and Safety Act Trinidad and Tobago, 22)[6]. The father was therefore not taking care of his health as well as the health of the co-worker. The head employee did not take any evasive action to prevent his employees from smoking at the workplace or at home therefore their health will continue to deteriorate which could negatively affect the company.

It’s all well and fine to have fun and enjoy life but at what costs? Surely the movie was as hilarious as Kevin Hart but it does not portray an appropriate example for viewers in terms of safety and health. There were so many situations which could have and probably might have gone wrong fortunately there was a Director and Producer present on the scene many of them were just pranks, fooling around and not so well studied revenge plots. Common sense combined with safety can help and improve our everyday life by just thinking before we act.

[1] Neighbours (released as Bad Neighbours in some markets) is a 2014 American comedy film, directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien.

[2] Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act of 2004, Amended by 3 of 2006. Ministry of Legal Affairs. Trinidad and Tobago. http://www.legal affairs.gov.tt

[3] https://www.lanl.gov/safety/electrical/docs/definitions.pdf

[4] http://geographyfieldwork.com/RiskAssessmentSeverityScale.htm

[5] http://geographyfieldwork.com/RiskAssessmentSeverityScale.htm

[6] Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act of 2004, Amended by 3 of 2006. Ministry of Legal Affairs. Trinidad and Tobago. http://www.legal affairs.gov.tt

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One thought on “Common Sense & Safety…Can it improve your life?

  1. Interesting safety observations, but my focus mainly is where the marijuana ends up in his mouth, creating a possibility of oral consumption. This opens a whole new health risk division in long term unfortunate incidents and serious self bodily harm. Studies have shown that edible consumption of the substance known as marijuana as compared to smoking it, can have some long term effects such as memory loss and hallucination just to name a few. In the producers attempt to create a comedy, they may have indirectly created a highly misunderstood personal health risk with the possibility of death. a smoked marijuana into the blood stream sometimes take minutes to begin effect while, oral consumption takes hours, leaving the possibility of an over dose. This movie related incident has camouflaged the amount of further risks that definitely would have been involved, especially as this was in a work environment, leaving viewers with nothing but laughs and an opened mind to attempt what could possibly lead them to death.
    Two dangerous symptoms that are of great concern when marijuana is consumed are that 3-10 hours of not being able to have mobility of oneself ‘ataxia’, should raise some sort of rejection to the idea and that racing heart beat for more or less the same duration ‘tachycardia’. A much greater emphasis should be taken to make aware the dangerous health risks involved in what was displayed as a comical relief in the movies produced today and if possible in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    below I have attached a link to support my comment.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/06/04/is-eating-marijuana-really-riskier-than-smoking-it/2/#7af4ddf08282

    Like

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