OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


1 Comment

bbhMen of Honor is a 2000 drama film, starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The film was inspired by the true story of Master chief petty officer Carl Brashear, the first African American master diver in the United States Navy. The MLSS team looked at a short excerpt form the movie and identified some issues as it related to various Health hazards in the work place. In this case the work place was the U.S Navy base located on a ship.


SAFETY HAZARDS: These are hazards range from simple spills on the floor to electrical or machine-related hazards. These are most common in the workplace and can subsequently lead to serious injury or even death. In the movie “Men of Honor”, we have identified several safety hazards.

  • In several of the scenes, there were ropes and cables running across the floor. This presented a tripping hazard. Sometimes the deck was also wet and this presented a slipping hazard which could lead to serious physical injury.
  • In one scene there was a frayed cord which caused an electrical spark. This culminated into a series of chain reactions where a rope became loose and a metal went flying which struck one of the characters Carl. Which resulted in him losing his leg. This therefore resulted in a physical hazard.


  • These hazards materialize into stressors which are short term and strain which can cause longer term effects. This can vary from the workload to lack of control and respect. In the movie “Man of Honor”, we have identified some scenarios which can fall under this category.
  • Intensity and/or pace- Throughout the movie, the men were yelled at and endured intense training. This can result in both a physical and emotional strain.
  • The captain yelled at the men and also hurled insults at them. This aspect of working conditions can prove to be a menace and also add to a stressful working environment.
  • The navy men work in an intense environment and do a lot of strenuous activity. The responsibility alone of being a navy man adds to the work organization hazard.


When looking at the excerpt you can notice that the character Carl as well as his co workers were not wearing proper safety gears. This should have been done since they were handling heavy equipment and machinery.

  1. Protective Clothing: Protective clothing is a coverall which protects the body of the crew member from hazardous substance like hot oil, water, welding spark etc. It is popularly known as “dangri “or “boiler suit”.
  2. Helmet: The most important part of the human body is the head. It needs utmost protection which is provided by a hard plastic helmet on the ship. A chin strap is also provided with the helmet which keeps the helmet on place when there is a trip or fall.
  3. Safety Shoes: Maximum of the internal space of the ship is utilized by cargo and machinery, which is made of hard metal and which make it clumsy for crew to walk around. Safety shoes ensure that nothing happens to the crew member’s feet while working or walking onboard.
  4. Safety Hand gloves: Different types of hand gloves are provided onboard ship. All these are used in operations wherein it becomes imperative to protect ones hands.  Some of the gloves provided are heat resistant gloves to work on hot surface, cotton gloves for normal operation, welding gloves, chemical gloves etc.
  5. Goggles: Eyes are the most sensitive part of the human body and in daily operations on ship chances are very high for having an eye injury. Protective glass or goggles are used for eye protection, whereas welding goggles are used for welding operation which protects the eyes from high intensity spark.
  6. Ear Muff/plug: Engine room of the ship produces 110-120 db of sound which is very high for human ears. Even few minutes of exposure can lead to head ache, irritation and sometimes partial or full hearing loss. An ear muff or ear plug is used on board ship which dampens the noise to a bearable decibel value.
  7. Safety harness: Routine ship operation includes maintenance and painting of high and elevated surfaces which require crew members to reach areas that are not easily accessible. To avoid a fall from such heightened area, safety harness is used. Safety harness is donned by the operator at one end and tied at a strong point on the other end.
  8. Face mask: Working on insulation surface, painting or carbon cleaning involves minor hazardous particles which are harmful for human body if inhaled directly. To avoid this, face mask are provided which acts as shield from hazardous particle.
  9. Chemical suit: Use of chemicals onboard ship is very frequent and some chemicals are very dangerous when they come in direct contact with human skin. A chemical suit is worn to avoid such situations.
  10. Welding shield: Welding is a very common operation onboard ship for structural repairs. A welder is provided with welding shield or mask which protects the eyes from coming in direct contact with ultraviolet rays of the spark of the weld.




One thought on “SHIP-A-OSH

  1. There is a lot of room for exploration of OSH in the movie chosen, and the hazards extend well beyond the physical hazards noted. Consider the electrical, ergonomic, biological, and chemical hazards that exist in the movie, as well as additional physical hazards that may not have been catalogued in your piece.

    When considering mitigation of risks, look beyond PPE. Does the movie show mitigation measures from other levels of the hierarchy of controls? Remember PPE should not be our first stop when seeking to reduce risk and eliminate hazards. It should be our last. A navy setting would definitely incorporate controls at several higher levels of the hierarchy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s