OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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The Risks in ‘Ladder 49’

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Ladder 49 (photo 1)

It can be agreed that the occupation of a firefighter is certainly one of those occupations that have many hazards and risks associated with it. A hazard can be defined as “a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person or persons” and a risk can be defined as “the likelihood that a person may be harmed or suffers adverse health effects if exposed to a hazard.” (has.ie).The movie “Ladder 49” was able to illustrate numerous hazards such as physical, temperature, and pressure hazards.

A physical hazard is defined by tooling.com as “A factor within the environment that can harm the body without essentially touching it.” An identified physical hazard in the movie was the absence of proper gurney for the moving of an injured individual. The consequence of this action could be long term in that the injured could be left paralyzed for life. This hazard could have been corrected with the use of a “stretcher” that are usually provided by an ambulance. However, in the situation where there is uncontrollable fire and the person needs to be immediately evacuated from the building, a stable piece of wooden slab could have been used. The removal of Jack’s protective headgear during the preceding of saving a victim in a burning building is also considered to be a physical hazard. Such action could have resulted in falling hazards where burning objects could have fallen onto his head making him susceptible to risks because he could have been injured with burns. Therefore, the most appropriate preventative measure of falling hazards will be to wear the headgear and all other appropriate protective gears (personal protective equipment) at all times regardless if the situation is mild.  The employer, representative or senior should have taken the initiative to enforce such policies.

We all have the fear of experiencing a fire and if we could handle the situation. How we are going to deal with that situation? I have encountered such situation indirectly at my primary school in San Fernando. I attended San Fernando Boys RC School, which is located on the promenade. Behind the school High Street is located. Many years ago there was a fire at one of the malls on High Street where the entire building was completely burnt. What I could remember was the massive amounts of smoke that affected our breathing and ability of sight. The principle had no choice to evacuate the entire school including all staff and students as we were suffering from smoke inhalation. This was very hazardous at the time to any person on the compound. The principle told all students to remain calm and not to run out of the building but instead to evacuate class by class. Once the school was evacuated we all stood on the promenade which was the school muster point at that time. We would see trucks upon trucks with fire men heading towards the burning building. They were all dressed in their protective gear and managed to contain the fire not allowing it to spread to other nearby buildings. The school had to be closed for two days due to the smoke emulating from the burnt building.

“Horse playing” was also categorized as a physical hazard. This was displayed when a fellow firefighter lit a piece of paper as a “joke” and through it under the washroom cubical even though it was occupied by another firefighter. This meant that the person in the  washroom was at risk because such action could have led to serious burn on that person. “Horse playing” could have controlled with the development and enforcement of rules in the work place. Employees are not supposed to be engaging in such activities in the workplace since the OSH Act states that employees ought to behave in a coherent manner in the workplace.

Apart from physical hazard, temperature hazards were also enclosed in the movie. Firefighters are always exposed to heat extending at different levels while they are on duty. This was evident when Jack removed his headgear while he was inside the burning building. This could have resulted with him suffering from heat stress which would have affected his performance and safety. This led his life at risk since he could have fainted and possibly suffer from burns, or worse, burn to death. Therefore, a mitigation strategy for such an action is education. Proper education to the employees as to the importance of wearing safety gears should be delivered to every employee. They should be told about the consequences of not wearing their protective gears and possibly draw to their attention of employees who had been victims of risk when they did not wear their protective gears. This would thereby stimulate extra interest in employees to wear their safety gears and will also be an opportunity in which the organization is complying with Occupational Health and Safety Act by safeguarding employees’ safety in the workplace.

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A Firefighter experiencing high heat and smoke from the burning building. (photo 2)

Another class of hazard demonstrated by Ladder 49 was pressure hazards. Pressure hazard is defined as “the force exerted against an opposing fluid or thrust distributed over a surface where critical injury and damage can occur with relatively little pressure”. During the investigation of a building by some of the firefighters, pressure was built up inside a pipe which eventually erupted and the pressure was released which burnt a firefighter’s face and also another firefighter’s hands. This harm could have been reduced to the firefighters if they were wearing the suitable protective equipment that is able to defend them in such circumstances. The productive equipment that was supplied to the firefighters should have been made with special materials that could protect the firefighters from such dangerous pressure.

The smoking of cigarettes from a senior firefighter as well as other firefighter’s is an additional hazard. When the superior firefighter was blatantly smoking in front Jack and the others, they must have thought that smoking in the workplace was acceptable hence the reason others were also smoking. The implications of this could be respiratory disease from those who would have inhaled the second hand smoking. In order to prevent this, ethical approach to workplace behavior should begin from the highest level of the hierarchy. That is, if the superiors practice a “no smoking” protocol in the workplace, then the lower level employees (firefighters) will be likely to follow suit.

There are many risks and hazards as a firefighter ranging at different levels. Therefore, it is necessary or rather mandatory to implement preventative and corrective measures to reduce the level of risks to ensure that safety and health is maintained.

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Use of the fire engine and ladder to control the fire and smoke. (photo 3)

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Aerial view of the burning building. (photo 4)

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Firefighter with protective equipment inside the burning building. (photo 5)

REFERENCES:

Photo 1: https://www.google.tt/search?q=ladder+49&biw=1366&bih=667&source

Photo 2: Taken from the movie Ladder 49 https://www.google.tt/search?q=ladder+49+pictures&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eedLVIX-CtLPggT7toGIBg&ved=0CBoQsAQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=X6NKlyOKl6KgHM%253A%3BfjTCKEduh1J9IM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fmedianet.mv%252Fresources%252Fpage%252Fimage%252Fladder%25252049.jpg%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fmedianet.mv%252Fpage%252F3897-ladder-49%3B709%3B304

Photo 3: Taken from the movie Ladder 49 https://www.google.tt/search?q=ladder+49+pictures&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eedLVIX-CtLPggT7toGIBg&ved=0CBoQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=ladder+49+&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=JZcJzaLSNDK7uM%253A%3BHVgqdUtcv53C7M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.danielross.net%252FImages%252FLadder49Fire.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.danielross.net%252FLadder49Gallery.html%3B718%3B497

Photo 4: Taken from the movie Ladder 49 https://www.google.tt/search?q=ladder+49+pictures&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eedLVIX-CtLPggT7toGIBg&ved=0CBoQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=ladder+49+&facrc=_&imgdii=JZcJzaLSNDK7uM%3A%3B4MXhDvqwoGpaEM%3BJZcJzaLSNDK7uM%3A&imgrc=JZcJzaLSNDK7uM%253A%3BHVgqdUtcv53C7M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.danielross.net%252FImages%252FLadder49Fire.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.danielross.net%252FLadder49Gallery.html%3B718%3B497

Photo 5: Taken from the movie Ladder 49 https://www.google.tt/search?q=ladder+49+pictures&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eedLVIX-CtLPggT7toGIBg&ved=0CBoQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=ladder+49+&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=0eJjI0eJhjZyfM%253A%3B1-FT7pnVXpBCSM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.dvdizzy.com%252Fimages%252Fl-o%252Fladder4.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.dvdizzy.com%252Fladder49.html%3B320%3B180

Occupational Safety and Health (prescribed Forms) Order.

 

OSHA. (2009). Hexavalent Chronium. U.S: Department of Labor.

Definition of Hazard: http://www.toolingu.com/class-850150-environmental-safety-hazards-150.html

Hazard assessment and prevention control: https://etshare.pbworks.com/f/Chapter%2017.pdf

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Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was a movie created to satisfy the audacious taste of people in all categories of age. It presented a story with fun packed action and comedy that perpetuated the notion of friendship, determination, faith, strength and most importantly, the love of family.

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Though highly entertaining, as University students of an Occupational, Health and Safety course, it is important to investigate the movie and identify the possible violations that the businesses and firms within the movie may have committed. This scrutiny is necessary in order to focus on recognizing the importance of Health and Safety in real life situations and also to notice the relative nature that some of these acts may have to companies existing in the world today and even this country, in addition to insisting the need to stop it.

The movie is centered on an experiment carried out by a large corporation in New York City called ‘Sacks’, which was responsible for Research and Development into medicinal advancements through improved technology. Years ago, Doctor O’Neil and his partner, Eric Sacks (President of the Sacks Company), conducted research into creating a mutagen that would be able to cure a variety of diseases and ailments through cellular growth.  This mutagen was made to allow for self-repair of human cells in times of apparent damage as well as mutative growth and development. It was destined to save a number of people’s lives in times of hurt. A rat called ‘Splinter’ and four turtles named after four famous artists in history, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello, we the test subjects for the mutagen experiment named, “Project Renaissance”. The animals were injected with the mutagen in hope to accomplish their goals of growth and mutation.  However, as the project progressed, Doctor O’Neil discovered the true intentions of his friend, Doctor Eric Sacks. Dr. Sacks was alleged to be working alongside a man named ‘Shredder’, who was the leader of a Japanese terrorist group known as the ‘Foot Clan’. Their main purpose was to take over the city and control the Government. Dr. Sacks hoped to release a toxic gas upon the city’s population that would cause widespread death and disease. In turn, he would advertise to the Government the antidote that would have been formed from the mutagen, which would ultimately cure the masses, provide no alternatives to the vulnerabilities of the Leaders of the land and in turn make himself and his allies very rich. On discovering the malicious plan of his co-worker however, Dr. O’Neil decided to burn down the laboratory with all the related information and technology about the mutagen in hope of saving the city. Dr. O’Neil, unfortunately, was not exactly successful at the expense of his life. His little daughter managed to rescue the rat and turtles in the fire that all had the mutagen within their bloodstream.

Years later, on discovering the existence and survival of the turtles, Dr. Sacks sought to revisit his tactics for city domination. The turtles and rat were however now grown into tall, human-like structures that were strong and skilled in the art of ninjutsu, thereby becoming Ninja Turtles. Their interest was in protecting the city and bringing down the Sacks and Foot Clan. Grown up daughter of Dr. O’Neil, April O’Neil, in hope to seek justice for her fallen father, worked alongside the Ninja Turtles in order to prevent Dr. Sack’s attack. That is exactly what they courageously did and they were able to defeat the clan through a variety of battles and conquests and consequently saving the city from the outbreak that was eminent.

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Now as we evaluate the movie, we look at the OSHA Act violations. Getting caught up in the whimsy of crime- fighting, super turtles can easily blind you to the endless list of health and safety issues evident in the film’s plot. First, let us discuss the premise of the movie itself. The turtles and their rat sensei were transformed by a mutagen initially created for cellular regeneration (0:36:08). How did they come into contact with this mysterious toxin? Doctors O’Neil and Fenwick experimented on these innocent animals. Animal testing, especially where toxic substances are involved, is both inhumane and unethical. If you look closely at (0:25:00), you will see that the scientist are working without safety gloves and glasses. The negative repercussions for the test subjects involved are endless, not to mention fatal in most cases.

*For more information on proper animal testing protocol feel free to visit Princeton University’s ‘Health and Safety for Animal Workers’ guidelines:http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/biosafety/animalworker/intro.htm

The movie’s main company of interest was the Sacks Research and Experimental Facility, run by the seemingly conniving Eric Sacks. His company committed dangerous acts not just to its employees but to its supposed customers, general public and environment.                                                                                         Firstly, S6 3 (a) of the act states that employers ought to, “Provide information (right to know) about hazardous chemicals”. It is clear that Sacks had his own agenda with regards to the operations of the business. In a particular scene in the movie, it was noticed that the employees were shocked and terrified in finding out about the chemicals being used as well as the intent to which they would be used. In the movie, he forced an employee to breathe in the toxin gas to which he fatally died soon after. It was done as a means of exemplifying the effect of the gas as well as instilling fear and compliance in the other employees. This is the mark of sadistic and evil employer who had no respect for human life nor the safety of his employees.

As an employer, he took profit making to an extreme level where the process seemed too much. The fact that he had hoped to unleash the chemical within the company’s building, put at risk the lives of the surrounding employees, the wider community and by extension the entire human resource. This by far could be the worst violation of Health and Safety ever. According to S9, employers are supposed to ensure the, “Protection of Safety and Health of the public”. He clearly disregarded this rule. The Provision and maintenance of a safe workplace and working environment was also an unmet rule as the company was lined with weapon holding Japanese terrorists as well as the obvious risk of dying from a deadly toxic gas at large.

One can go as far as to say that the employees within the laboratory violated the act as well. S10 (1) (a) states that employees are to, “Take reasonable care for safety and health of self and others”. They were responsible for informing local authorities on the looming threat as well as find methods to safeguarding their own lives in any way possible and that of their co-worker or friend as well in the business.

Lastly, the entire welfare of the company’s personnel and the city’s citizens was continuously threatened as the mission for human destruction carried out by Dr. Sacks. Therefore, he violated the law to value and act in the interest of the individual’s safety and health. In Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory, he speaks of a human being’s need to feel safe. From elements in society, to the environmental conditions of their home and workplace. They do not want to feel vulnerable for their lives or demotivated from working as it would be encouraging illegal activity. Once these circumstances exist, the employee would not perform well and productivity would be affected as a result. Imagine having ‘#1 Drain Avenue, Sewerville, New York’ as your permanent living address. There are many things incredibly wrong with living in a sewer. Exposure to such high volumes of faecal matter is classified by the MSD chart as a health risk. The mutant family slept, played, trained and ate in the sewer. Their underground culinary experience consisted solely of pizza delivered to them by their adopted rat father and sensei. For one thing, a strict pizza diet can cause a multitude of health risks such as clogged arteries, hypertension and heart failure. Furthermore a rat, a creature known to carry rabies and whose urinate can bring about leptospirosis, is not the best animal to be handling your food.

Fun Fact: The mutants were somewhat safety savvy. (0:57:35) reveals that the family kept a first aid kit in their home.

Throughout the film’s many fight scenes, we can see various sharp weapons and explosives used by both heroes and enemies alike. Just like the scientists, adequate safety wear and armour were not used by almost all of the characters. The only person sufficiently dressed was the antagonist, Shredder, who sported a full body metal suit. As battles waged on, explosives were thrown and fired wildly. This is an extreme safety hazard. We saw explosives used in enclosed caverns at (0:48:40) and (0:55:00) which can cause caves to collapse as well as produce sounds loud enough to puncture ear drums. Gunshots were fired in at laboratory at (0:79:39). Not only were the chemicals in that laboratory exposed, but they were also flammable (Pay close attention to the background in order to see the ‘Flammable’ sign). A misguided bullet could have easily triggered an explosion.

But what was the real purpose of the movie? Why was the mutagen created in the first place? It was all for world domination. Shredder planned to release a lethal toxin across New York City, one for which only he had the cure. He planned on using the antidote, found only in the mutant turtles’ blood, to control the city and later the world. Shortly after he had drained almost all of their blood, April O’Neil attempted to set them free by issuing an overdose of adrenaline (0:65:29). Handling and dispensing uncontrolled amounts of this drug can typically result in a rapid onset of agitation, hypertension, tachycardia, and dysrhythmias.

The final battle scene took place on the rooftop from which the poisonous gas was to be released. Can you see the grievous health risk in dispelling a mass over toxin over a city? The ninja turtles charged Shredder head on in an attempt to foil his malicious plans. The rooftop itself had no railings. This is a cause for concern because someone can easily stumble and fall off the building, as the turtles did. During the fight, shards of metal, glass and other debris fell on innocent bystanders below. The threat here is all too obvious. Observe (0:78:44) closely and you can see civilians being slashed and crushed by falling matter. In the movie,it reminded us that, “nothing is as strong as family…..you must fight together as a family”. People should adopt this manner of thinking where caring for humanity is resilient and human lives are valued and revered, especially in the workplace. Once employees are happy, the business would feel its benefits through profits and high productivity and thus by extension the entire world as it grows and is secured with a brighter future.

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Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence Prevention – http://www.brocku.ca/safety/besafe – 25th Oct, 14

                                 What is it and who is at risk?

When we hear the term ‘Occupational Health and Safety,” we don’t often think about workplace violence. A simple Google search will result in endless images of hard hats and other personal protective equipment, suggesting that we are more at risk of being hurt by actually doing our job; that the hazards we’re exposed to are most likely mechanical, electrical, fire, biological etc. However other people can pose a threat to our wellbeing, take for instance an unruly patient in a hospital and the nurse who has to calm them down or sedate them, not only would that nurse get a hit here and there but most likely she’d get an earful of insults. As a result, this is where we can see how workplace violence can get ‘swept under the rug,’ so to say.

In many professions violence in the form of physical and verbal abuse comes with the territory, think for instance law enforcement. As a result of this people can become used to this type of behaviour and that’s where harassment, gossiping and verbal abuse come in, and these have the potential to escalate into physical violence and threatening behaviours. Workplace violence can occur in almost any type of work environment causing both physical and psychological harm to employees.

According to The Bureau of Labour Statistics, in the United States there have been 14,770 reported workplace homicides between 1992 and 2012. Another survey conducted by Consumer Product Safety Commission in collaboration with NIOSH found that in 2009 more than 137,000 victims were treated for non-fatal attacks which occurred in the workplace. Though more recent data is difficult to find, from these figures it is safe to assume that workplace violence is common and a serious issue within the organization. Violence towards employees can result in loss of lives, greater turnover, lower productivity due to depression or anxiety, loss in working days due to workers taking their sick leave etc. Workplace violence negatively affects both the employee and the employer however it can be controlled and prevented through both legal considerations and risk reduction strategies.

TYPES OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Threatening Behaviour

Threatening behaviour within the workplace is a worldwide occurrence an can transpire in several ways including yelling, laughter and insults targeted to a person’s sex, race or religion, other examples include threatening phone calls or text messages, spreading hurtful rumours about others and also physical abuse such as pushing or hitting someone. Hence, threatening behaviour can interfere or disrupt activities in the workplace. Every individual would face some type of threatening behaviour throughout their work life. Threatening behaviour against employees can occur between workers themselves or by persons outside the workplace. According to an article in the Trinidad Express Newspaper earlier this year, “Housing Development Corporation (HDC) workers and contractors were threatened by residents of the community in which they demanded jobs to refurbish apartment buildings.” Due to the refusal of jobs from the contractors and workers, residents were angered and displayed threatening behaviours such as vandalizing buildings, torching the scaffolds and even painting a “kill list” on a building.

Threatening Behaviour at the Workpace can cause Stress – https://www.google.tt/search?q=violence+in+the+workplace- Oct 25th, 14

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can be described as the use of negative statements or words that can cause harm to the person being spoken to or about. This problem is prevalent in most workplaces but is so habitual that workers do not even realize that they are being verbally abused. The scars from verbal abuse can be just as disturbing and deep as wounds from physical abuse; the only difference is they are not as visible. Verbal abuse can take a number of different forms including: obscenities, name calling, insults, intimidation, threats, shaming, spreading rumors, teasing, sarcasm, mockery and scolding among others. Studies have proven that most cases of verbal abuse in the workplace occur because of an abuse of power by those in authority. Verbal abuse in the workplace is not illegal but employers must ensure that it is stopped. This is because the victim may suffer from serious psychological injury, stress and depression; working under these conditions can significantly jeopardize one’s health and safety in the workplace.  The Tina Robbins case that took place in Houston California is a good example of verbal abuse. This case brings to light some of the concepts mentioned above, it highlights issues such as gossiping, teasing and rumors; it even goes on to show how the supervisor’s behaviors  eventually led to the employee quitting the job.

Interested in reading more on this case? Read it here http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/california_labor_law/employee-abuse-00497.html#.VEkCvo0n-Zg

Harassment

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, colour, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” There are various types of harassment that occur in the workplace; however one type of harassment that tends to occur frequently is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment by definition is referred to as unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It is usually perceived that only women suffer from sexual harassment; yet sexual harassment can be experienced by both men and women. Moreover, it can be noted that sexual harassment compromises safety and equality in the workplace and it can also affect a company’s bottom line. Sexual harassment leads to a stressful work environment for those being affected. Researchers have proven that this type of violence increases illnesses and time taken off from work. In addition, it also reduces productivity in the workplace and can even lead to increased employee turnover. As a result, employers must therefore create policies that would make their employees feel safe at work and ensure that these policies are adhered to. An example of sexual harassment that took place in Trinidad was in the case of ‘Carl Tang (claimant) and Charlene Modeste (defendant)’.

Interested in reading more on this case? Read it here

http://webopac.ttlawcourts.org/LibraryJud/Judgments/HC/masalexander/2010/cv_10_03657DD13mar2013.pdf).

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can be defined as a physical force of violence between two or more individuals with the intention of inflicting physical pain and bodily injury. Physical abuse comes in various forms and fashions namely hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, burning, choking, biting and strangling to name a few. In recent times, physical abuse in the workplace has been on the rise and according to the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety health care employees, social services employees, teachers, public works employees and retail employees are at higher risks for physical abuse in the workplace as they interact with those in the public sphere. In Trinidad and Tobago many teachers have been affected by physical abuse in the workplace. These teachers have had encounters with students, other members of staff and even parents of their students. When individuals are physically abused in the workplace, it does not only leave a bruise or scar on them but it can also leave individuals feeling depressed as one may have to switch jobs and find another means of income. All in all physical abuse is a prominent form of violence which can be found in any work environment and employers need to put measures in place to prevent physical abuse from occurring and to ensure that in the event of physical abuse occurs within the workplace the unfortunate victim can be compensated for.

Worker being slapped – http://fishduck.com/2012/07/black- Oct 25th, 14.

                                                           RISK REDUCTION STRATEGIES

risk_reduction

Risk reduction strategies involve outing measures in place to lower the likelihood of harm inflicted upon employees due to violence by co-workers or outsiders.  In many companies worldwide employers use a checklist in order to reduce the risk of workplace violence in their organizations. Nurturing a positive, harmonious work environment, conducting background checks before hiring new employees and training employees how to handle themselves and respond when a violent act occurs on the job are just a few of the points accounted for on the checklist.

There are five major elements associated with Risk Reduction Strategies these are as follows:

  • Natural Surveillance, a term coined by “Crime Prevention through Environment Design”. It is believed that natural surveillance limits the likelihood of a crime occurring due to a person’s visibility by others. A number of  simple engineering controls can be used to ensure natural surveillance these include installing surveillance cameras, proper lighting throughout the establishment, installing mirrors or transparent partitions so workers are able to see their surroundings at all times etc.
  • Violence against employees involving outsiders is one of the most eminent occurrences of work place violence. As such control of access to the work premises is crucial to prevent persons who do not belong to the company from gaining entry and inflicting harm upon employees. In order to curb this situation companies need to put certain measures in place. For instance outsiders should be given an identification pass in order to gain entry, should sign in at the front desk and be given guidelines as to where they do and do not have authorization to be while on the premises and so on.
  • Activity Support deals with organizations arranging features of the environment to encourage positive activity and discourage negative activities. It is associated with using certain creative designs to promote workflow and natural traffic patterns.
  • Establishment of territoriality allows employees to have control over the workplace by allowing them the opportunity to be free when in their assigned territory; however they are prohibited from other territories. As time passes employees grow accustom to the persons belonging to their area and therefore they can immediately tell if there is an intruder.
  • Lastly administrative controls which requires management to create and enforce policies, rules and regulations reduce the risk of violence in the workplace.

                                                                       LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

When it comes to the legal aspect of workplace violence it is important to note that both the violent employee and their co-workers have rights, often placing the employer in a sticky situation.
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It is then the responsibility of the employer to prevent acts of violence in the workplace from occurring and ensure that any act of violence is dealt with accordingly by following relevant policies and laws such as the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1960) of Trinidad and Tobago.

                                                                                                 CONCLUSION

Workplace Violence is a serious and prevalent issue in all work environments. Violence can be expressed both physically and psychologically causing harm to both employer’s establishment and employees’ well-being . By conducting proper risk assessments employers will be able to determine a number of ways to reduce risks posed by violent employees and outsiders. In addition to risk reduction strategies the employer must be aware of relevant laws and regulations that govern how workplace violence should be dealt with. OSHA and NIOSH both have guidelines which are not mandatory but which are helpful to workplaces interested in reducing and preventing violence.

REFERENCES

  • “Violence in the Workplace – Google Search.” Violence in the Workplace – Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
  • “Violence in the Workplace – Google Search.” Violence in the Workplace – Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  • “Residents Threaten HDC Workers’ Lives.” Trinidad Express Newspaper. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
  • Of, Ttention. Focus On Areas. WHAT IS DISRUPTIVE, THREATENING, OR VIOLENT BEHAVIOR? (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
  • H. THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
  • “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – WE Legal APC.” WE Legal APC. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
  • “Sexual Harassment.” Sexual Harassment. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  • “LEGAL RIGHTS: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.” : Workplace Bullying & Harassment. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
  • “Effects of Physical Abuse, Pictures of Physical Abuse.” Healthy Place. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
  • “Common Menu Bar Links.” Violence in the Workplace : OSH Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  • “Defining Violence and Abuse.” Types of Violence and Abuse. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.


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Have you seen the movie “Erin Brockovich” ?

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Have you seen the movie “Erin Brockovich”?

A true story where breaches under the OSH ACT is brought to life regarding disposal of chemicals and poor health and safety practices of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). This is a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjqUUxIy_yk of the movie trailer so can get a preview.

The purpose of this blog is to bring concerns paid to the health and safety practices of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) regarding the plant at Hinkley, California.  Residents of Hinkley were exposed to a chemical hazards (high levels of chromium 6), where Erin Brockovich was given the case.   She asked the question “what does a medical record have to do with real estate” and this sparked the multi-million dollar law suit. She visited the Hinkley area and learned that many of the residents were either very sick or dying. She started to investigate the illnesses of the residents which led to the root cause of what might be causing the same type of illnesses in so many people in the same area.

Four decades prior to Brockovich’s investigation, PG&E started dumping 370 million gallons of cancer-causing chemicals (namely hexavalent chromium 6, cited in picture 1) into unlined ponds which seeped into the groundwater well most residents depended on. Levels were recorded at ten times the maximum amount allowed by law causing severe and life-threatening illnesses like cancer, respiratory problems, infertility and death. Additionally the company presented their use of chromium to the residents and passed it off as conservative levels of chromium as set by EPA standards; in other words like – it’s good for you!

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Based on the evidence given in the movie, PG&E was aware of the use of chromium 6 in its cooling towers. Chromium 6 were added to these cooling towers – used to cool down the heat generated from the compressor – to prevent fast corrosion. When the cooling water became saturated with un-dissolved solids (like chrome 6), PG&E discharged some of it into unlined earthen ponds located at the compressor station. Once the toxic material was in the unlined ponds, there was nothing to stop it from migrating to the wells (ground water) that supplied nearby homes, farms and ranches. After the water dried, soil-containing chrome 6 was free to blow in the wind where it could be inhaled by living things. A biochemist said concentrations of highly toxic chromium VI in the groundwater basin reached peak levels of 1,000 to 5,000 times the safe limit for drinking water and more than 50,000 times the safe level for inhalation.

2

MAJOR HAZARD FOUND AND IT’S EFFECTS

Hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen does not occur naturally and is highly corrosive with strong oxidizing agents rarely found in nature.  Chromium leached into soil or water when ingested by humans have adverse health effects such as skin irritation or ulceration, allergic contact dermatitis, occupational asthma, nasal irritation and ulceration, perforated nasal septa, rhinitis, nosebleed, respiratory irritation, nasal cancer, sinus cancer, eye irritation and damage, perforated eardrums, kidney damage, liver damage, pulmonary congestion and edema, epigastric pain, and erosion and discoloration of one’s teeth. (Picture 2 shows effects of chromium – skin irritation, allergic dermatitis)

1

BREACHES UNDER THE OSH ACT

PG&E did not have a social responsibility to take reasonable care for their employees and general public health. They withheld information concerning the risk involved on the effects and exposure of the chemical and violated environmental and OSHA laws.  They misled the community (the public) by allowing them to believe that their water source was safe that children could safely play in pools and all members could safely drink water out of their taps.  Several cases of health related reports in the town of Hinkley were filed, yet no initiative was taken by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to investigate the situation or to give guidance or how to protect you/dispose this chemical.

Let’s look at Part II, General duties of employers to their employees Section six (6) under the OSH ACT which was breached,  with special attention to item 3(a) Provide information (right to know) about hazardous chemicals and item  3(e) Provide information on handling and disposing hazards chemicals and their containers.  Under section seven (7), (3) to give information to such persons to provide awareness of the safety and health risks.  Part XV, Miscellaneous shows, Schedule I is a list of occupational disease caused by agents and occupational cancer.  Chromium and chromium compounds are listed as 3.1.4.

Section nine (9) a general duty of the occupier to protect safety and health of the public which is also a direct breach of the OSH ACT.  PG&E has the responsibility for managing the environment to protect the safety and health of the public from the dangers created by the operation or processes carried out and to take special care to ensure therein are integrity and adequate safety systems to prevent occurrence conforming to the approved standards.

They also ordered employees to destroy documentation about chromium contamination and there was a situation where one employee saw another employee’s face mask soaked in blood while he was cleaning the lines. Employees were left exposed to dangerous levels of the carcinogen hexavalent chromium and were suffering serious health problems.  Can we say he was given efficient PPE to carry out his task given the condition of contamination of the work place environment?  Was there sufficient and relevant risk assessment carried out and take into consideration the risk rating of the severity of the risks and ensure that they conform to OSHA compliance by eliminating or reducing chemical usage or substitute to a safer chemical.

The breaches included:  Section eight (8), PPE and respiratory devices and annual risk assessment. Section 46, notification of injury/illness, with special attention to item 46 (2) states safety/health of public at risk, immediately notification and written notice with 48 hrs. Under general duties – employers to others, section 25K (1) states provide medical surveillance as necessitated by risk assessment findings.

General housekeeping in the office at which Erin is employed is in violation of a number of breaches of the OSH ACT under Welfare.  In particular, during the scene where Erin’s boss opens his office door, he trips on misplaced boxes stacked on the floor this incident is representative of a Trip Hazard.

Other examples of Environmental Carcinogens through inhalation (smoke, gas emissions, etc.) or ingestion (contaminated food/water) these are listed under SHEDULE I of the OSH ACT as diseases caused by agents.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element which is most commonly used as a wood preservative is linked to lung cancer, skin cancer, and urinary tract cancer. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen.

Asbestos is used in insulation materials due to heat resistance where tiny asbestos fibers in the air can get trapped and accumulate in the lungs. Cancer may appear 30 to 50 years after exposure.

Benzene is released by oil refineries, which causes an acute myeloid leukemia; breast cancer; lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer.

Bisphenol A (BPA), polycarbonate plastic used in food cans and dental sealants. BPA is everywhere linked to breast and prostate cancer.

Dioxins are chemicals formed as byproducts of industrial processes involving chlorine such as waste incineration and chemical manufacturing. Dioxins accumulate in fat cells and degrade very slowly in the environment.

Formaldehyde Automobile exhaust and cigarettes is the greatest contributor to formaldehyde concentrations in the air which has caused cancer in long term exposure and it is linked to leukemia and nasopharyngeal.

Vinyl Chloride is used by plastics companies in the production of PVCs and copolymers. Exposure is largely occupational and is very low in the general population and is linked to the development of liver cancer and weakly associated with brain cancer.

LITIGATION 

After many court arguments, damages of the first 40 people resulted in roughly $110 million; PG&E reassessed its position and decided to settle the entire case. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. In 2006, PG&E agreed to pay $295 million to settle cases involving another 1,100 people state wide for hexavalent chromium-related claims and In 2008, PG&E settled the last of the cases involved with the Hinkley claims for $20 million They are facing a second lawsuit accusing the utility of failing to tell residents of a small community near Barstow about a cancer-causing agent the company allegedly let seep into local groundwater supplies.

CLEANUP EFFORTS

On-going clean-up and documentation is maintained at the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) regarding Hinkley. Samples taken in August 2010 showed that contaminated water had started to migrate into the lower aquifer.  As of September 2013, the Cal/EPA reports that some progress is being made on cleanup, but also reports that contamination has expanded to 6 miles long and 4 miles wide.  A study released in 2010 by the California Cancer Registry showed that cancer rates in Hinkley “remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008.  An epidemiologist involved in the study said that “the 196 cases of cancer reported during the most recent survey of 1996 through 2008 were less than what he would expect based on demographics and the regional rate of cancer.

 

References

Goetsch, D. L. (2011). Occupational Safety and Health. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Linder, W. (2013, November 19). Ethical Issues Within the Movie “Erin Brockovich”. Retrieved from Prezi: http://prezi.com/1nc9tnds4ga4/ethical-issues-within-the-movie-erin-brockovich/

OSHA. (2009). Hexavalent Chronium. U.S: Department of Labor.

TTOSHA. (2004, as ammended). Occupational, Safety and Health Act. Retrieved from Ministry of Legal Affairs: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/88.08.pdf

Soderbergh, S. (Director). (2000). Erin Brockovich [Motion Picture].

Pictures: https://www.google.tt/search?q=erin+brockovich+movie+stills+picture


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LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS…A COMPARISON OF BP AND PETROTRIN OIL SPILLS

Whilst our first blog based on Bad Neighbours was understandable and relatable, this, our second blog highlights many unexplainable reasons as to why oil companies fail to implement measures to curb negative effects of their operations.It can easily be said that they do not want to waste time to act cautiously when profits can be made within that same period of time. In turn many losses are incurred and it is only then that they realise their mistakes.

Everyone is familiar with the infamous incident caused by oil company British Petroleum (BP). It was documented as the largest offshore oil spill in U.S history. It occurred on the evening of 20 April 2010, a gas release and subsequent explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig working on the Macondo exploration well for BP in the Gulf of Mexico.

115 workers were evacuated and eleven people lost their lives because of the accident while 17 others were injured. The fire burned for 36 hours before the rig sank leaking hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico. As the rig sank, it led to a well integrity failure, followed by a loss of hydrostatic control of the well. This was followed by a failure to control the flow from the well with the blowout preventer (BOP) equipment, which allowed the release and subsequent ignition of hydrocarbons. Eventually, the BOP emergency functions failed to seal the well after the initial explosions.

The spill had a duration of 87 days, which lead to more than 200 million gallons of oil entering the Gulf of Mexico. The oil which leaked from the well affected a total of 100 miles of coastline in states such as, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The well was eventually capped in July of 2010, but oil is till washing up on shores today.

However, BP is no stranger to oil spills as there was a previous oil spill in 2006, when it was cited for leaking around 4,800 barrels of oil into Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, because of a corroded stretch of pipeline. BP was fined US $20 million, for ignoring opportunities to prevent the spill since they were warned four years earlier about the corroded pipe but did nothing to prevent its failure. Another incident which occurred in 2005 was a massive explosion at their Texas City, Texas, refinery, killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others. The company was fined $87 million for negligence.

Whoever lives in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago and hasn’t heard of the many outrageous oil spills of state-owned company Petrotrin should familiarize themselves with this blog or rather step out of their comfort zones. The Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago had a series of spills occurring in the state, a total of eleven between December 17th and 29th 2013.

The first spill began on December 17th 4:45 am when a 16-inch sea-line, No 10, ruptured at the bottom of the Gulf of Paria near the company’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery spilling more than 7000 barrels of fuel into the sea making it the largest spill in the history of Trinidad and Tobago.[1] An investigation conducted by six Petrotrin employees including a member from the Oilfields Workers Trade Union reported that four of the eleven leaks were related to companies which have joint ventures with Petrotrin. A weld leak was developed on December 17 on No 10 Sea Line which was said to be caused by a failed chain support not apparently defective during previous routine inspections.  The leak was discovered at Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre Port during fuel oil bunkers loading operations for the barge Marabellla.  Another spill occurred on December 17th 2013 in Point Fortin, when a gasket on a 16-inch line on Riser Platform 5 in Main Field area leaked and oil spilled into the sea. The company received reports on December 19th 2013 of oil at the Coffee Beach/Carrat Shed Beach areas in La Brea, another oil leak was reported in the area of Platform 17 in Petrotrin’s Marine Operations East Field in Point Fortin. On December 21st 2013, an oil leak was reported from lease operators Trinity Exploration and Production where two 3-inch bull plugs were discovered removed from two separate wellsite production tanks resulting in approximately one hundred barrels of oil being discharged into the environment. Other leaks were reported on December 24th at Brighton Marine Field and Moruga, Hudlin Trace, Rock River Village. All of which the causes are yet to be ascertained as Petrotrin is still investigating. On December 26th 2013 it was observed that No. 15 Sea Line, during the pumping of fuel oil to a tanker, became detached from Main Viaduct and fell into the sea, resulting in a quantity of fuel oil into the sea, the cause of this was same as previously recorded a failed chain support not apparently defective during previous routine inspections.[2] On Tuesday 29th August 2014, a ruptured storage tank resulted in the spillage of 17, 844 barrels of slop oil into the environment, with several thousand barrels of oil finding itself in the Guaracara River (Petrotrin Guaracara oil Spill: 60 percent retrieved, T&T Newsday).[3]

Petrotrin has been facing a lot of scrutiny since the spill due to a report that revealed the pipeline that exploded may not have been inspected in over seventeen years. The company was subsequently fined $20 million by the country’s Environment Management Authority[4]. Petrotrin has taken responsibility for nine out of the eleven spills and blaming the other two on saboteurs.[5]

President of Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Khalid Hassanali gave a detailed history as to how the spill occurred and said the 12 employees were interviewed at least three times for various reasons. He said: “Twelve were initially suspended. Of those 12, six were found to have a lesser level of culpability and six were found to have a very high degree of culpability. And, for those six where the level of culpability weighed very heavily, those six (yesterday) morning were issued letters of termination from employment at Petrotrin.”[6]

Picture 2 http://unctt.org/strong-evidence-of-sabotage/

Picture 3 Rise Platform 5 Cited: http://unctt.org/strong-evidence-of-sabotage/

Similarities between BP & Petrotrin’s Oil Spills 

BP PETROTRIN
Marshall Islands deputy maritime affairs commissioner Bill Gallagher, who carried out an inquiry into the explosion because the rig was registered in the Pacific nation, said lessons had to be learned from the disaster.

He said there were indications of a problem at the Deepwater Horizon rig before the blast that killed 11 people on April 20 last year but the crew failed to act.

“There were multiple signs that there were issues at the well itself, indicators, pressure testing, and things of that nature were going on,” Gallagher told Australia’s ABC radio Friday.

“There were signs that there were some problems with the well…the blow out started and then, of course, the disaster followed shortly thereafter.”

Safety warnings issued to Petrotrin by the MEEA’s Inspection Unit:
2010 roll-overs: 966. 2011 — 2,085. Number rectified in 2011 — 1,193. 2011 roll-overs: 1,858.
New warnings issued in 2012 – 1,326. Number fixed — 1,435.
Roll-overs into 2013 — 1,785.

New warnings issued last year – 1,923.
No figures were available for the number of problems resolved.

The big spill: Not a chance occurrence but a culmination of negligent events.

Causes of both Spills
The failure of the rig crew (from all parties) to stop work on the Deepwater Horizon after encountering multiple hazards and warnings

  • BP’s failure to have full supervision and accountability over activities on the Deepwater Horizon
  • BP’s failure to fully assess the risks associated with operational decisions leading up to the blowout
  • BP’s cost or time-saving decisions, which did not consider contingencies and mitigation
  • BP’s failure to ensure all risks associated with operations on the Deepwater Horizon were as low as reasonably practicable.
  • Hassanali outlined the circumstances revealed by the investigations. He indicated that from 2:10 am to 3 am on December 17 fuel oil was being pumped to a barge off the Petrotrin jetty.
  • He noted that such activities occur almost on a daily basis at Petrotrin. The employees on that particular ship, Hassanali said, had noted that fuel oil was being pumped from tank 68 but not being received by the barge.
  • Pointing to a diagram that showed the location of the tanks, pumping station, oil lines and the Lube Oil Jetty and the Viaduct Jetty, Hassanali said checks were carried out along the line to the Lube Oil Jetty but no leaks were found but the barge still was not receiving the fuel that was being pumped and instead of halting the procedure a second pump was activated and pumping of fuel oil continued until after 5:20 am.
  • Petrotrin’s President said the oil was being leaked through a fissure in the Viaduct line, which intersects the Lube Oil Line, and had the pumping stopped at 3 am there would have been a loss of about 1,000 barrels but since pumping continued until 5:20 am 7,000 barrels were lost. Hassanali said investigations would continue.

Effects and Hazards of the Oil Spills

The oil spills from both companies negatively impacted the economic, the biological and public aspects of Trinidad and Tobago.

Economic Effect-both spills mainly affected the environment. They both caused heavy damage to the sea bed and marine life. The oil damage fishing grounds which in turn caused fishes and other marine life to become mutated or unable to thrive in such an environment. Most of them either died or were unable to be used as a sustainable food source.  Thus, the livelihood of the fishermen was affected as they in turn were unable to earn a living. Since their livelihood was threatened, they become dependent on the government resulting to a strain on the economy. Furthermore, with the BP oil spill, families had to relocate which caused real estate prices to fall drastically. Thankfully in both instances, neither country was dependant on the fishing industry as its major source of revenue.

Biological hazards – Many chemical hazards resulted from both spills. With the BP spill, it was discovered that the oil released 40% of a chemical called Methane into the ocean causing most of the marine life to die or become mutated. Methane can potentially suffocate marine life and create dead zones where oxygen is depleted. There was also evidence of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), which are often linked to oil spills, and include carcinogens and chemicals that pose various risks to human health, as deep as 3,300 feet (1.0 km) and as far away as 8 miles (13 km). The PAHs can kill animals immediately, in high enough concentrations, and can also lead to cancer. Plants and land around the sea were also severely affected in both spills. With the Petrotrin oil spill, the oil devastated the surrounding mangrove as well as displacing and deforming the animals that live there. Both spills released chemicals in the surrounding air making it difficult to breathe in.

Public hazard-a 29-year-old mother of two who resides near the Guaracara River in Marabella suffered from a miscarriage on the Saturday after the oil spill occurred. She began experiencing abdominal pains and hemorrhaging and was not given any plausible explanation as to why it occurred. When interviewed she said “I don’t know if that (the oil spill) is what caused my son to die. I just having a feeling that thing (oil spill) is what caused my lil boy to get sick.” The mother had planned to name her child Kayleon Juma Troy.Several days after the spill, a Petrotrin medical doctor advised Denacia Davis, another pregnant resident, to leave her home as a precaution.(Petrotrin Oil Spill Victim Suffers Miscarriage, Trinidad Express Newspapers)[7].

It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment, who may be affected thereby exposed to risks to their safety or health. It is also the duty of every employer or self-employed person in prescribed circumstances and manner, to give to persons, not being his employees, who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking, the prescribed information about such aspects of the way I which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their safety or health.(Occupational Safety and Health Act, Chap 88:08, p.20)[8] However, it can clearly be seen that Petrotrin did not take responsibility for those affected by their operations. After each spill, relief measures were then put in place to compensate those affected and not before the spills occurred.

Recommendations Prescribed for Petrotrin

  • The Centre for Disaster Control (CDC) saw the need to respond to potential health related issues resulting from the oil spill. They activated their emergency response plan as part of a federal response to the disaster. Part of this plan included efficient communication with health departments to allow a quick response and support for potential health risks.One response action the CDC took was the surveillance of health threats. Together with health departments, they used national surveillance systems to track any breakout or worsening of any condition related to the eyes, skin, respiratory or cardiovascular systems. Evidence of foodborne outbreaks was also monitored. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) expanded the health surveillance to workers on and off shore and volunteers from potential health hazards as a result of not only the oil spill but from chemicals used in the clean-up efforts.
  • In relation to the local oil spill involving Petrotrin, none of these actions were taken. Petrotrin did not even have an emergency response plan for the residents of nearby communities. This plan though not part of BP’s response, was the responsibility of a government body. There were no signs of any similar local body with any response actions. Several questions were raised in the media about Petrotrin’s emergency response plan after clean-up efforts were underway.
  • Petrotrin should provide motivational factors to ensure that employees do what is right in order to avoid mishaps. They should also be trained in social and ethical actions so that the appropriate responses to spills can be executed to ensure the safety of those who can be affected by the spills. The company makes a well enough figure to create a meagre expense as this in order to avoid greater losses.

Although Petrotrin has a well laid out safety policy available on their website they seem to not follow through with their health, safety and environment promises as they continue to experience spills. They should have reflected and remembered BP’s 2010 spill and put measures in place in order to avoid their own dilemmas. After such a huge loss on the part of BP, Petrotrin being a large petroleum company should have learnt something somewhere.

References:

[1] Marajh, Camini (2014-04-05). “Petrotrin silent about oil spill for 4 days”Trinidad and Tobago Express. Retrieved 2014-04-24.

[2] Update on Spills (2013-12-27) http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/UPDATE-ON-OIL-SPILLS-237621491.html

[3] Richardson Dhalai (2014-08-02) “Petrotrin Guaracara oil spill: 60 percent retrieved.” http://www.newsday.co.tt/24.htmlnews/0,1985

[4] Boodram, Kim (2014-01-07). “EMA fines Petrotrin $20 million”Trinidad and Tobago Express. Retrieved 2014-02-22.

[5] Visser, Nick (2014-01-14). “Trinidad Oil Spills Leave State-Owned Energy Company Scrambling To Clean Up”Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-02-22.

[6] Sue- Ann Wayow (2014-02-08) Six Petrotrin Employees fired for Negligence. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Six-Petrotrin-employees-fired-for-oil-spill-negligence-244572581.html

[7] Sandhya Santoo (2014-08-19) Petrotrin Oil Spill Victim Suffers Miscarriage

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Petrotrin-oil-spill–victim-suffers-miscarriage-271938561.html

[8] Occupational Safety and Health Act. 2004 Amended by 3 of 2006. Ministry of Legal Affairs. http://www.legalaffairs.gov.tt

http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/gulf-of-mexico-restoration/deepwater-horizon-accident-and-response.html

http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-facts

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-bp-oil-spill

http://phys.org/news/2011-08-gulf-mexico-oil-crew-probe.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/8763644/BP-cost-cutting-a-cause-of-Gulf-of-Mexico-oil-spill-US-report-finds.html

http://news.gov.tt/content/six-terminated-petrotrin-hassanali

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/05/03/aftermath-of-an-oil-spill/

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/letters/Oil-spill-questions-for-Petrotrin–237091021.html

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/gulfoilspill2010/cdcresponds.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrotrin_oil_spill

Video Links for BP & Petrotrin Oil Spills:


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The Hazards of Flying

Hello again. Welcome to part 2 of our blog series. Our last blog focused on trips, slips and falls in the workplace. Today we’ll be talking about something a bit less relatable but far more exciting. We’ll be analyzing the major Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) themes from the movie “Flight” namely, operating heavy machinery while intoxicated (biggest understatement ever), mechanical failure resulting in harm and other noteworthy issues which popped up throughout the movie. This will not be a movie review – we’ll leave the criticisms to the critics – although it is felt that the movie could have won at least one academy award but we digress.

Fig. 2 Inverted plane (Source: corillomagazine.com, Movie Trailer, 2012. Web. 24 October 2014)

Fig. 2 Inverted plane (Source: corillomagazine.com, Movie Trailer, 2012. Web. 24 October 2014)

The movie ‘Flight’, stars Denzel Washington as Captain William ‘Whip’ Whitaker (a former Navy pilot with exceptional skills and daredevil instincts).  Whip (yeah we pitched marbles together) is a brilliant airline pilot who is also a drug addict and alcoholic.   The audience shared the experience of Whip’s pre-flight preparations; his competence during the turbulent weather; his unbelievable handling of the crash landing and ultimately, how he faces the music. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, no problem. You should at least watch the trailer, Flight 2012.  We’ll provide you with the juiciest bits so we can make all the references we want and you won’t be lost. At this point, it is our fiduciary responsibility to say, “Spoiler alert”. For example when we say awesome crash scene (ACS for short) we’re referring to this scene. I know right! The movie is centred on this ACS and whether or not it was caused by mechanical failure or Whip’s intoxication.

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