OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

Cutting the Risks at the University of the West Indies Carpentry Workshop: An OSH Assessment




Image 1: University of the West Indies Carpentry Division, St. Augustine, Trinidad.


Occupational hazards are everywhere; as a result of this officials of health and safety must make it their duty to properly inspect working procedures. Various strategies such as a risk assessments and regular health and safety checks must be conducted to ensure the safety of workers and staff. A risk assessment is essentially an investigation of a particular environment which looks for various forms of hazards, which may affect the health, and safety of all persons involved there, it also identifies sensible measures which can be used to control the risks in the workplace. A hazard is anything that can cause damage or harm. It may include components such as chemicals, electricity, ladder work, mechanical failures, lack of personal protective equipment, and even an inadequate workforce. The following blog content is aimed at enlightening all its viewers of some major hazards which people face in most manufacturing and industrial workplaces today, specifically the University of the West Indies (UWI) Carpentry Shop.

Mechanical Hazards

Machine Chop/Cut Hazard



Image 2 & Gif 1: Employee operating and measuring machinery and equipment without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In the image above we see an employee of the UWI Carpentry Shop sawing a sheet of ply without any gloves on his hands and also not using a push stick. His entire hand is at an extreme risk, as contact with the blade will cause irreparable damage to his hand possibly causing it to be severed or detached. Splinters from handling the wood can also pierce his skin causing damage because while he is handling the wood with his bare hands, he is contributing to the sharp wood shavings puncturing and remaining in his hand causing infections such as mid palmar abscess and other biological diseases which can further the damage. According to the Reed Group, Medical Disability Advisor, MDGuidelines, a palmar abscess is an abscess deep within the tissues of the palm of the hand. An abscess is a localized collection of pus secondary to infection, usually bacterial and can occur in any of the compartments formed by the complex array of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, joints, blood vessels, and nerves that make up the hand.

Solution/Recommendation: It is recommended that the employees wear their personal protective equipment while operating at work so as to avoid any injury or damage to themselves.






Image 3 & 4: Carpentry Shop Temperature Hazard

Have you ever worked in an unbearable or uncomfortable temperature? Was it humid or too cold?  You may have! Just like these employees of the UWI Carpentry Shop where we found temperature hazards. The temperature on entering the workshop was unbearably hot and when asking the employees how they managed to work in such hot conditions, their reply was that “we came on a good day.” They said that usually there is little to no wind blowing into the shop and the sun is 10 times worse causing conditions to increasingly worsen. We also observed that the ventilation fans located to the top of the building were not functioning and even when they were fixed or repaired, it is still was too high to serve its purpose, so there substitute was to use a high powered standing fan to circulate the air throughout the shop, but this lead to another major problem, as the standing fans pushed the lying dust directly into the employees eyes and created a dusty and congested atmosphere, which added to the risk of both ergonomic and biological hazards as dust contributes to very stressful work conditions and can eventually lead to respiratory illness, but while observing we also felt the dust in our throats and our eyes after being there for only 1 hour, and it was seen that the employees were not wearing dusk masks and safety glasses when we came in but only when we spoke to the supervisor inform him of our purpose, he only then hurriedly and not too discreetly told his employees to gear up. All workplaces in every sector or industry especially manufacturing should have all safety measures in place for its employees, there must be a provision of proper ventilation and breathable work areas to allow employees their comfort and safety. Employees must also wear their personal protective gear at all times especially when working around dust and other dangerous substances. In the case of the UWI Carpentry Shop, the supervisor or manager must allow employees to take sufficient breaks to give the employees a break to remove themselves from the continuous dust and clear their nasal passage way .Introducing formal systems of work to limit exposure such as flexible working patterns, job rotation, and workstation rotation should be encourage and implemented.



Trip Hazards

Fall Hazards: Slip and fall & Trip and fall

Crush and Lifting Hazard




Image 5 & 6: Trip and Fall Hazard from extension cords and residual dust.

These electrical extension cords as seen in the image above were carelessly placed in commonly used walkways. This was extremely dangerous since there were many sharp objects and powerful machinery in the vicinity, and could cause an employee to trip and fall and injury themselves or even having the machinery fall unto them causing even more damages. The saw dust on the ground heightened the risk of slipping and falling because of the lack of grip on the surface if an employee was to fall.

Solution/Recommendation: It would be recommended to put rubber mats around the work site, and have the employees do regular cleaning of their work space so to avoid any injury from tripping or slipping and falling. It is also recommended that the employees safeguard all highly powered machinery away from areas where they can easily fall and damage someone.


Crush and Lifting Hazards



Image 7: Standing Lumber posing Crush and Lifting Hazard

As seen in the image above the size of these lumber is very huge. With permission we tried lifting the lumbers and then realised how heavy they were, not to mention dangerous. There is a lifting hazard present since their area is confined and the board due to the size is awkwardly standing against the wall and if an employee presumed to lift one, it would be very difficult as the space is small the move it smoothly to different directions and is very heavy to carry across long distances, thereby causing a lifting hazard. It can also lead to a crush hazard as it may in some situation fall unto an employee while passing by and crush him to the floor causing him to be seriously injured.

Solution/Recommendation: These boards should not have been stored in that upright position since the chance of it falling is very likely. It should be laid down on the ground or isolated table away from commonly used spaces and should only be accessed if needed by more than one employee. When telling the supervision, he agreed with us to move it soon which was a very good measure of safety on his part. Lifting hazards are mainly caused by improper lifting, posture and ergonomics, therefore the employees and supervisors must ensure that their work-process entails a safe system of work whereby proper lifting techniques are used all throughout the workplace. By using the following simple but proper lifting technique tips, the employees will avoid compressing the spinal flow or straining the lower back when lifting. The simple acronym used to memorise the lifting technique is S-S-R. Squat (Foot to Shoulder level) – Stance (keeping good posture) – Rise {slowly rise and lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back)}. Keeping your back straight, hold the load as close to your body as possible, Use your feet, while leading your hips to change direction, taking small steps. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move. Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.


Electrical Hazards






Image 8, 9 & 10: Electrical Panel Box immersed with “Cob Web” and barred of by wood (improper safeguarding)

Wall plugs filled with dust

In the images above, you will notice that all the electrical equipment is improperly maintained, that can cause serious damage to all employees who work within the area. There is cob web surrounding the electrical panel box that cause cause static and fires from the dust particles. The panel box itself is not properly safeguarded as it is opened and barred off by wood and the wall plugs are filled with dust that can cause electrocution and again electrical static.


The employees and supervisors MUST ensure that only appropriately licensed or registered electricians carry out electrical work, providing safe and suitable electrical equipment for example. Providing enough socket outlets as overloading socket outlets by using adapters can cause fires, as well as ensuring power circuits are protected by the appropriate rated fuse or circuit breaker to prevent overloading and erosion of dust. If the circuit keeps overloading and dust keeps increasing, this can create a fire risk due to static and using battery powered tools instead of mains operated where possible.

Always inspect and test all electrical equipment as it will help determine whether it is electrically safe to work around that area. Have regular cleaning of electrical panels and wall plugs with the proper equipment.


Fire Hazard




Image 11 & 12: Inspected Fire Extinguisher in UWI Carpentry Shop

While inspecting and observing the Carpentry Shop we bounced up on some fire extinguisher that were serviced on time and ready to be used. This is a very good example of proper safety measures in case of fire hazards, as the fire extinguisher is fully operational and has been inspected by the necessary persons.


 “Who hurts when I get hurt”?

Regardless of the types of hazard, be it Physical, Chemical, Biological, Psychological or Ergonomic Hazards we often think that it’s the person that got hurt, or liable to get hurt, is the only one that matters. But what about the person(s) directly associated with the person at risk? Should you the person at risk consider the welfare of your loved ones if you were to be injured? You may not be working for a hefty salary, or even be able to afford an insurance, or the organisation you work for does not provide health insurance. You often consider your economic circumstances before your health and safety. I say STOP, think about if you can be replaced at home or if your body part can be replaced. And if you were fortunate to survive, what will be your future, and ultimately the future of your family.  He who works safe today lives to work another day.


  1. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2016/10/11 https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/electrical.html
  2. Occupational Heat Exposure, July 2009, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/
  3. Extreme Hot or Cold Temperature Conditions, 24 October, 2016, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/hot_cold.html
  4. Managing Workplace Temperature, June 2010, http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/managers.htm
  5. Pressure Equipment, January 2011, http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/managers.htm


  1. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/proper-lifting-technique




Image 13: Workers without safety gear when we just arrived.



32 thoughts on “Cutting the Risks at the University of the West Indies Carpentry Workshop: An OSH Assessment

  1. Quite a detailed evaluation, which would have been useful to the leaders with whom you shared your findings. Good job in general. However, I could not understand how dust could introduce ergonomic hazards.


    • Thank You! Miss, however we do apologize for this. It was a honest mistake in writing as it was suppose to be biological and chemical hazard. Why Chemical Hazard? Well according to our research found in the United States Department of Labour; Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “the health effects associated with wood dust come not only from biological organisms such as mold and fungi which grow on the wood, but also chemicals such as formaldehyde, copper and many more chemicals used in the processing of some woods.” Though we were unable to identify the specific chemical components within the wood at the carpentry shop, we still wanted to give a general mention to our viewers that the wood we use and its residue after sawing/cutting can have chemical hazards causing risk to our health and safety. Thank You again Miss.


  2. A good assessment, this work space is similar to many in Trinidad. Simple hazards that are easily fixed are ignored and worked around, exposing workers to unnecessary risks.
    Most of these are ‘low hanging fruit’ that managers can fix quite easily. Some examples of this in this assessment would be, industrial ventilation fans installed in walls a few feet above floor level, respirators supplied for staff, shelving for unused wood and permanent sockets installed at workstations.
    Although some of these may sound complicated they can all be implemented at minimal costs.


  3. Some of the highlighted hazards were so blatantly dangerous, i still can’t believe in 2016 people still function like this. It was very insightful overall and a real eye opener to some hidden and not so hidden dangerous in the work space.


  4. According to OSHA Act 2004 and 2006, employees must assume personal responsibility for their own safety and actions at work and must be aware of and respect all potential hazards. Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under subsection (1), Provision of adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for head, eye, ear, hand, and foot to prevent body injury. Employer is also responsible for provision of Instruction and training and supervision to ensure safety and safe use of equipment for handling, storage and transport of materials and substances. As seen UWI Carpentry Work shop OSHA Blog the worker who was working the lathe was in breach of wearing full PPE, I wish to add further recommendations to the report that employees not allow to work without personal protective clothing. Nowadays most companies locally and abroad do not workers to work if their employees’ are not properly clothed in terms of wearing PPE. Companies such as Repsol, Lake Asphalt Trinidad and TTEC have a strike no tolerant policy when it comes to the safety of its workers.


  5. Well done ddpreppers! I was a bit confused as well when you mentioned that the dust as part ergonomic hazards, however, you cleared that up pretty well in your response above.

    Another valuable hazard to make mention of is the noise hazard. Did you know that the level of noise produced from these electrical saws whether cutting steel or wood can impair one’s hearing over time? Believe it or not if an employee or student exposes him or herself to this level of noise everyday for a few hours, over the long term this person will actually suffer hearing loss that cannot be reversed or corrected with medical surgery or applied treatment. Actually, what happens is that the level of noise damage tissues in the ear overtime, depleting our sense of hearing.

    I think it is critical that knowledge is shared as well because the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago does not go into too much details with regards to noise levels and how certain levels of noise can negatively impact on one’s hearing.


  6. I think this was some really quality work put forward here. This assessment can be matched to several other work environments in Trinidad itself where conditions and standards are left much to question. Basic measures can be made to resolve many issues identified here and it is appauling to see that these issues are still taking place in this day and age. I think that your recommendations put forth were very logical and practical and these hazards can be solved quickly. As stated above, the noise hazard is something worth mentioning. In any sort of workshop, noise is a concerning factor which can have both short and long lasting effects. It should be addressed by providing ear-plugs to workers too minimise the noise levels that they may be exposed to. It can cause headaches, discomfort and loss of hearing temporarily or long term. Again good work overall!


  7. Great job ddpeppers! It was interesting to find out all the breaches in safety protocols in a carpentry workshop, it was surprising that many individuals did not have the necessary protective gear when dealing with machinery and lumber on a consistent basis.

    Another hazard in this setting is Biological. All the lumber either stacked or piled throughout the workstation presents the perfect breeding ground for pests. As it was mentioned that the workstation lacks proper ventilation is inviting enough for ants, roaches, rats/mice to inhabit a corner or a confined warm space in the workplace. Biologically, these pests can unknowingly scamper on all surfaces therefore staff handling materials or touch surfaces without protective gear are at most risk for viruses and bacteria such as food poisoning or Leptospirosis.
    The OSH ACT of Trinidad and Tobago provides guidelines for health and safety protocols that employers and employees must follow, however it doesn’t specify the extent an employee must be protected within the compound. Furthermore, no detail is given to compensate employees equally for sickness caused by the workplace environment.


  8. This is a nice piece. The department was relocated recently about a year ago and this is far better than what existed before. I think the UWI on the whole needs to educate their employees and students on health and safety in the workplace and on the campus. Some employees are seriously not aware that their lives are at risk by the jobs they perform everyday. While the University and by extension the H&SU must ensure a safe work environment for its employees it is also the responsibility of the employees to ensure their safety and health on the job.


  9. A very informative assessment, there were additional electrical hazard in the workshop with the power outlets being knotted and suspended from the ceiling. Electrical hazards exist in contact with exposed live parts, exposing employees to electric shock, electrocution, burns, fires, and explosions where an electrical fault is the source of ignition. The knotting of the cords can result in wires being broken. Additionally, the electrical cables are being suspended from the ceiling which places the wires under tension, over time the insulation will wear, creating an electrical hazard.

    Violations of the OSHA Act
    All conductors shall either be covered with insulating material and further efficiently protected where necessary to prevent danger, or they shall be so placed and safeguarded as to prevent danger so far as is reasonably practicable. (OSHA 2014, Schedule 2, Electricity Regulations, 2)

    a) Minimum stress should be placed on conductors and provide enough bulge to keep it from pulling out.
    b) Management should encourage electrical safety-related work practices through training and supervision.
    c) Undertake better housekeeping practices to ensure that trailing cords does not pose a hazard, the use of over floor cord covers can be implemented.
    d) It was noted in the blog that there was no indication of the time frame of when the recommendation should have been met nor who was responsible for undertaking them.


    • Overall, this blog was well done in my opinion, the way in which the information was laid out was very easy to read, understand and follow. The use of pictures kept me interested when reading the information and also helped me to understand the hazard much better because there was the use of visual aid. The hazards were clearly identified with the use of sub-headings, and to me this blog was very organized and well thought out. Through the identification of each I hazard, I was able to understand which of the hazard each of the photos were illustrating.
      The introduction that was given at the beginning of the blog was excellent as well, since it gave a clear summary of what the blog was going to be about. I must also commend the use of the video in illustrating the mechanical hazard since it gave me a live representation of the hazard itself occurring.
      One weakness in the content that I identified was for the solution/recommendation in mechanical hazard, instead if just stating that employees should wear personal protective equipment, further explanation should have been given with regards to what type of protective equipment should be worn. The use of pictures to illustrate the types of personal protective equipment that should have been used, in my view would have also strengthened the blog in terms of keep the reader more interested as they would of been able to clearly identify these protective gears.
      Another weakness in my opinion was under the carpentry and temperature hazard, the recommendation/solution was not separated with a sub-heading like the others. I am not sure if this was a mistake or it was intentionally done, however I believe that consistency of structure throughout the blog would make it more professional. So my recommendation in this regard would have been to separate the recommendation/solution with a sub heading for this hazard.
      Finally, another solution that I thought could of been added to the trip and fall hazard was that hooks could of been screwed to the work station tables so that the cords from the different tools can be hung on these hooks, hence they would not be lying on the ground and posing a trip hazard.
      Thus, overall I personally found this to be an excellent and well-organized blog. The content was very informative and the structure in which the content was laid out was very reader friendly. I hope that my recommendations are worthwhile to the group who did this blog.

      Anita Ali


  10. This blog examines the occupational risks identified by the carpentry department at the UWI, St. Augustine Campus. It identifies, through appropriate images and descriptions, some of the workplace practices and conditions that exist in that department that were not in line with proper occupational, health and safety guidelines. The author identified several hazards that were noted in department: physical hazards – an employee cutting wood without proper protective gear; temperature hazards – the carpenter’s workroom was apparently unbearably hot for the employees and fans were non-functioning while the windows were small and outdated; another hazard was an electrical extension cord extending across the walkway and broken electrical plugs filled with dust. These issues were highlighted and recommendations made to improve the environment for the employees. However, it was not all bad news because it was noted that the fire extinguisher in the department had been recently checked by the proper authorities. The blog clearly presented evidence of workplace occupational, health and safety infringements and underscored the importance of observing proper OSH guidelines in the workplace. The author encouraged workers to be aware of proper OSH practices for the workplace because in the final analysis an individual’s health and well-being should be their number one priority, because if an person is injured on the job due to poor OSH practices, they may die, be injured for life which then makes them incapable of earning an income to care for themselves and their family.


  11. Great piece. Enjoyed reading every minute of it . Glad to know that OSH are in good hands. We need more people in Trinidad and Tobago championing the cause.


  12. A detailed insight onto operations in the carpenter shop. I was wondering if there is the presence of first aid kits , eyewash stations or adequately trained first aiders. In this environment are any medical testing facilities made available to the employees to monitor effects of working here (hearing ,visual or otherwise) ? Is the employee responsible for his own PPE or is this provided ?



  13. Every employee in the working environment, must be aware of all the safety percussion that a company has. In many occasions, because of a lack of understanding of how to:
    Access the information about the safety of the worker environment and the knowledge of how to follow these procedures, can be week factors as to why employees do not follow them.

    In the working environment , there are many hazards that can hamper the productivity of an employee, in terms of one’s health. One’s health is a key aspect of any company’s labour force.The working environment should be associated with cleanliness and have proper ventilation systems. For instance , after one completes a task , he or she should ensure that their workspace is clean.Additionally , when it come to ventilation, especially in a environs where there is a lot of dust like in this workshop, there should be a proper ac unit rather than a fan because the fan can blow the dust particles on the skin of the employees , which can be a health risk for them.
    Before one begins to work , one must also ensure that they are fully dressed with the proper equipment before attempting to work.in this case for instance,proper eye wear , gloves,face mask, long clothing to cover the skin in most cases overalls and proper foot wear . this corresponds to employees taking the necessary precautions for protecting their health. In this scenario , the worker had on short sleeve overalls, which meant that dust particles made contact with his skin,which as noted is dangerous. Additionally , the employee was not, properly using the machinery ,which is very dangerous.
    Proper use of tools. Tools should be properly used so that it can perform its job effectively. As such employers, should ensure that employees are aware of how to properly use each tool and machinery in the workplace. This can be done be having workshop programs and where Training and demonstrations and further instructions can be provided for employees safety. These training demonstrations , can be done on a yearly basis to ensure that employees are always properly using the equipment.
    Electrical wiring should be neatly and safely secured ,in a manner for safe use. For instance having a secured way of placing wires so that employees do not stumble on it. In some of today’s work environment,electrical wires are being placed into steel electric proof covers, which are then bolted unto the walls of the floor. As such this will prevent employees from tripping and falling. All electrical boxes ,should be closed and not open ,when not in use .as such when going to start a shift after turning on the power , you should close the box, so as when progress in work begins, the dust particles will not get on the switches in the panel box. If this happens, the switch may not function properly to turn on or off and can be a risk.additionally , the company can have yearly , electrical inspections, to ensure that each machinery being operated , is being used at its equal potential.
    As pointed out every organisation should be prepared for any accident that can occur,such as a fire ,organisations have the necessary equipments to combat this if it does occur .as well as having yearly fire drill procedures for employees and general inspections for the company.
    Materials , in this case lumber wood, should be stored in a proper manner, so that it won’t fall and hurt employees.not only should it be placed in a laid down position , but it should be secure with safety belts,after it is stacked on top each other.

    Hope this helpful


  14. I must say well done to you and team for this very detailed and insightful assessment. It was well structured and clearly outlined. I love the way you used the photos and gif to give readers a visualization of what you are talking about. This is an eye opener not only for persons working in the carpentry shop but also for persons who may face these risk on a daily basis in their offices. Especially, when you made reference to the electrical cords being placed across a common walk way and fire extinguishers not served, these are conditions that people work under and are issues that some managers are aware of but refuse to take necessary actions to address so as to ensure the safety of their employees. I do hope that the findings were able to effect change in the common risky practices to a more healthy and safe practice.
    Once again good job!

    Best Regards,


  15. After reviewing this blog,i was impressed by how clear and informative this information was presented. The pictures and video clip was very interesting and made the blog much more easier to understand. The blog was able to show clear evidence of work place occupational, safety and health violations. Yes, I believe that the University is guilty of violations of the OSH Act, but I am also a strong believer that every employee should seek his or her interest and protect one’s self at all cost.
    Although well written, I will like to make a few comments on my observation. Under Physical Hazards, a recommendation for special floor mats that allow employees to walk over safely, whilst allowing the electrical cords to be protected within it. I would have preferred the blogger to state who his recommendations were directed too, and a possible feedback as to what decisive remedial actions planned. I also observed that no mention was made or pictures shown of OSH/SMS signage located in the workshop. if there were signage, were the employees violating the warning/caution signs. Another observation, were there any “eye wash” station in the workshop in the event of an emergency.
    However, it was nice to see the blogger recognizing his mistake with the ‘ergonomic hazard”. Nevertheless, the blog was well presented and provided a lot of information.


  16. After reviewing this blog, I was impressed by how clear and informative this information was presented. The pictures and video clip was very interesting and made the blog much more easier to understand. The blog was able to show clear evidence of work place occupational, safety and health violations. Yes, I believe that the University is guilty of violations of the OSH Act, but I am also a strong believer that every employee should seek his or her interest and protect one’s self at all cost.
    Although well written, I will like to make a few comments on my observation. Under Physical Hazards, a recommendation for special floor mats that allow employees to walk over safely, whilst allowing the electrical cords to be protected within it. I would have preferred the blogger to state who his recommendations were directed too, and a possible feedback as to what decisive remedial actions planned. I also observed that no mention was made or pictures shown of OSH/SMS signage located in the workshop. if there were signage, were the employees violating the warning/caution signs. Another observation, were there any “eye wash” station in the workshop in the event of an emergency.
    However, it was nice to see the blogger recognizing his mistake with the ‘ergonomic hazard”. Nevertheless, the blog was well presented and provided a lot of information.
    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.


  17. I agree that Safety is everyone’s business and it is a must that in any firm or organization, safety practices need to be adhered, well monitored, assessed and put into action plan for immediate action. Well done ddpreppers for this useful and educational yet simple blog that reflects ways of cutting the risks inside the carpentry workshop in UWI.

    According to my opinion I have picked strengths in your blog that helps this assessment to be very informative. Firstly, you built on your Niche, (which is Safety), in all the hazards that you have mentioned (be it Physical, Chemical, Biological, Psychological), you tackled these issues within this niche area and you construct ways in which readers, the workshop department and UWI as a whole can do more to limit and avoid these hazards. You developed your content within your Niche and this was well done.
    Secondly, Detailed Oriented. The details of your assessment advantages us readers. You have used the OSHA ACTS for example and I quote ‘According to OSHA Act 2004 and 2006, employees must assume personal responsibility for their own safety and actions at work and must be aware of and respect all potential hazards. Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under subsection (1), Provision of adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for head, eye, ear, hand, and foot to prevent body injury’, these detailed the strength of your assessment and they justifies your report’s content because it gives readers insights and also provokes to reading understand in simple English.
    Thirdly, you take criticisms. As you may have noticed number of comments on your assessment, you were able to take these criticisms. For instance, you mentioned about how dust could introduce ergonomic hazards. This twists me at first place, but then you later explain your reasons on the previous comment.
    Finally, the use of pictures, gif and references in your blog keeps your readers awake and it shows the level of research you have done to complete your blog and it was well laid out.

    The weakness of your blog could be you have no ‘Call to action plan’, even though you have your recommendations there, you don’t offer the next step much and it is very important to have your call to action plan in schedule in order to continue the conversation. Present options to let the readers understand how to take the next step, this can be whether following your blog for further update on results or following you on other forms of social media or better still emailing you for consultation.
    You have later explained your reasons for Ergonomic hazards which shows that you failed to do it before you post your blog. Re proof reading is very important and I would like to encourage you for this.
    Overall over, the weaknesses that you have mentioned in your assessments that employees directly encountered within the workshop is highly expected in any carpentry workshop and they need immediate attentions because safety measures are a tool to minimize loss costs.

    The content of your blog is very simple; however, I would recommend you to use more graphs as you go deeper into your assessment. You can collect more data on previous hazard accidents employees faced within the workshop and use these statistics into graphs which will support your blog even more.
    At your introduction you can also mentioned about the Hierarchy of Control of Hazard ( Eliminate, Substitute,Isolate, engineering controls,administration and PPE ) to marry hazard risks that you are going to talk about in your blog , this will give readers insight of what they will expect to read ahead in your blog.
    Overall, I did learn a lot from your blog, simple and very informative. The content was well organized and I hope my recommendations will be a valuable tool for your group to use in our blog
    Wishing you all the best
    816012504 (DR)


  18. Being someone who is new to the OSHA act and related matters, I have found this blog to be very informative and detailed. This assessment was able to highlight the hazards, risks and violations in the carpentry workshop with such clarity that it was easy for me to relate to and understand. These violations are also present in so many other work spaces within the country and even, though to a lesser extent, in some of our homes for example the electrical cords running haphazardly on the floor. The recommendations made sought to address the violations/ risks involved in an attempt improve the work environment and the safety of the employees. This thereby reduces the risk of an employee getting injured or lives lost.
    The information was put across in such a simple and effective matter whereby others like me who are not fully aware, can appreciate, gain awareness and easily understand the content and points the blogger highlighted. The use of pictures and video was also effective in giving me greater understanding and visual of the exact issues which were presented. Great work.


  19. This article was an interesting read for me being a student at U.W.I. Although I am aware that some companies in Trinidad and Tobago expose their employees to hazardous working conditions at times, I did not expect to see it present to this extent at UWI especially it being in a University setting where safety should be a top priority.

    Overall this blog was done pretty well in my opinion as aside from being straight and to the point, all the key hazards of this workshop were shown and thoroughly explained to the reader. As a student it was an eye opener to me to see a University’s workplace with mechanical, fire, electrical and temperature hazards (to name a few) being present. What was even more shocking is the simple things such as not having proper follow through with PPE guidelines can lead to so much bigger issues for this workshop such as a worker can fall extremely ill due to not using a dust mask or loose a limb by a crush and lifting hazard and the list goes on.

    What was even more appalling was to read that only when the supervisor noticed that the students where doing research he mentioned to the workers to throw on their proper PPE gear which should not be as it should be worn at all times.

    I do believe however, that it seems as though as a small workshops, it is a norm that safety guidelines are not always followed through. This is due to the fact that workers are of the opinion that they are skilled in this area, an accustomed to the type of work that they don’t need to wear the proper attire however, it is the job of the supervisor to ensure that all safety is taken as God forbid something goes wrong, it would be on him/her to take responsibility as well as it is only then the workers will take better safety precautions.

    All in all this article reminded me that all jobs are risky in its own way, however it is the responsibility for the workers and higher superiors to take charge in knowing that their workers and themselves are safe at all times whether it be a small or large scale setting. I also like how these students kept me engaged through the pictures which allowed me to get a visual of how the workshop setting is and the dangers in it. I would also like to commend them on not only giving the readers the hazards of the environment in which they researched but also they gave quite useful recommendations.

    What I would recommend however, is that noise is a major hazard which was not included and noise is a hazard which greatly effects workers in these types of environments. It is clearly seen that the workers pictured were not even wearing ear muffs which means they were exposed. Lastly, the group should have allowed an outsider to proof read the blog before posting as there were a few errors such as the use of improper phrases like “bounced up” an a few grammatical errors.

    Good investigation and blog!

    812 000 614


  20. I was quite interested in the topic as I wanted to see what were the possible risks involved at the UWI Carpentry workshop. Reason being, as a student at the University I am of the belief that safety should be the number one priority in this institution seeing the influx of people around however, this blog was an eye opener yet not surprising.

    The bloggers totally executed the post in a style in which I appreciated which was quick and to the point whilst adding value to the reader. I opened the blog expecting to read about hazards such as temperature, trip and fall and maybe fire. However, seeing how many other hazards came in to play was surprising being a workplace at UWI.
    Simple PPE protocol where not being followed and it was thoroughly explained by the bloggers in this post which was one of their strengths. As a reader, I appreciated that the hazards seen was not only explained thoroughly but recommendations were also given. The pictures were also a bonus to the piece as it gave readers a visual and a sense of being present to see what the bloggers experienced.

    What I took away is that despite being a reputable institution, UWI carpentry workshop is basically like any other small institution/workshop in Trinidad and Tobago were no one really follows proper safety guidelines. In the blog, they noted that the supervisor hinted to the workers to throw on some gear after realizing that the students were doing an investigation and this should not be. As a supervisor, he/she is responsible for the workers to ensure everyone and those around are safe. However, when workers are skilled especially in a field and work-space for some time, they believe no proper PPE of safety should be taken into consideration really as they are “accustomed” But, when some injury or fatality occurs it will be then safety will come into play.

    Lastly, a few recommendations were noted which would have added a bit more to the blog to make it better than just a good blog. They forgot to mention an important hazard which is noise and this is one which is major in these sorts of environments and clearly present as the workers pictured were not wearing ear muffs. Secondly, when I saw the first video I was expecting more, hence don’t only place one video as it leaves the reader somewhat disappointed as myself for instance wanted to see more as my interest was heightened. Lastly, the blog should have been proof read by an outsider as there were few grammatical errors and improper usage of Trinidadian dialect such as “bounce up”. All in all, good read and thank you for all the information provided.

    812 000 614


  21. The blog was well done, it was easily to follow and understand. The pictures help a lot so I an get a clearer picture in my head while I read. The structure was well done in my Opinion, the content of the blog show a lot of details which is helpful for readers to understand. Love the media that use these pictures that point out the Health & Safety aspect of the blog. But I do think that more should have written about hazards such as mechanical, this refers to the moving of machinery from one place to another, in doing this major injury can occur. As mention there is not proper ventilation which can creates fungus in the workplace which can do damages to one health, Also the picture show that the man was not wearing gloves this could be very serious since it can lead to cuts as well as other object that can easily harm the person hands.

    Every employees must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and of others affected by their work, they should bring to the managers attention which they believe can do endanger to themselves.

    I do recommend that the University of the West indies carpentry workshop manager should be trained so they can have the knowledge to make it a safer environment for themselves and the employees, I would say putting a system in place as well as getting a permanent Safety Officer to work with those individuals in the workplace this will make sure that they wear the proper protective gear at all time. Proper working practice such as a machine list, A lot of signs should be place in the workplace,
    the work area must be kept clean and that is not shown in the pictures.

    In the blog nothing was mention about employees compensation, they should have something like an incentive program where once proper safety is practice they will get an incentive at the end of each month.

    Thus, I believe the blog was very informative especially how it was laid out, I do hope my recommendation would be helpful.

    Simone Sirjue
    ID – 816008505


  22. The contents of this blog post was very interesting to read particularly because it assessed a Workshop in UWI which as a student have seen multiple times but never considered the OSH aspects of it. Generally the contents of the blog post was presented in a comprehensive manner with the key terms being clearly defined and the objectives of the blog post being clear. One aspect of this blog in particular that stood out for me was the use of a specific organization and workshop. The OSH Assessment was very specific and did not generalize the information to a particular industry. The interaction with the Supervisors and other employees which was supported by images and “gifs” also added an element of interest to the post because it provided a real life experience of what takes place around us every day and as such we should be educated on OSH and apply this in our work place. This blog post also highlighted research done previously and this not only provided additional information but supported what is being practiced presently versus what is not being practiced.

    While the structure was simple, the lay out of the various points could have been in a different manner for ease of reference. Example by using numbers or bullet points when starting a new type of hazard as this would help the reader to keep track of the list of hazards mentioned in the introduction. In addition to this, the opening paragraph should have provided a very clear definition of what is Occupational Hazards since this was the basis of the blog and it would have given a good platform for the additional information to come. One recommendation to the supervisor would be to educate employees on OSH and highlight the importance of ensuring the guidelines of the OHS Act are adhered too.

    Overall it was a well written post, I must commend the writer for being creative and innovative by selecting this Workshop in UWI to assess and using tools like “gifs” and images to highlight the aspects of OSH that was under investigation.

    Tishara Khan


  23. Firstly i would like commend all on a job well done. Far too often occupational safety and health matters have been neglected with sometimes dire results.
    The identification of all related hazards were well pointed out but I believe the recommendations should have been separated from the body of the text,
    this was only done for the electrical panel summary.
    Other recommendations that could have been applied are as follows.

    1. Quantity of Fire Extinguishers were in my opinion inadequate for the size and quantity of material in the workshop.

    2. Extinguisher type seemed incorrect for the type of material. looks like (CO2) bu wasn’t sure from the picture.

    3. Hanging power extension cords were clearly visible but no recommendation to use it.

    4. Proximity of wood & paint materials to electrical lines and panel boxes is a serious fire hazard. (Serious Recommendation Needed)

    5. Fire Extinguisher next service date missing.

    6. Jewelry worn while working with machines.

    More emphasis should have been placed on the fire hazard simply because for the materials involved. Remember: A fire may double in size every 30 seconds and can spread 1100% in the first four minutes. Heat rises at the amazing rate of 90 feet per second; that’s almost 60 mph.

    The final recommendation should have been more serious. The workshop needed to be shut down and all issues and findings rectified before any further work carried out. In short, this workshop is an extreme fire hazard in my humble opinion.

    Great Job Everyone (BravoZulu)


  24. October 8, 2017

    Cutting the Risks at the University of the West Indies Carpentry Workshop: An OSH Assessment

    A very good attempt at your OSH Assessment. It was clear throughout what the hazards were and you gave recommendations on how the risk associated with these hazards could be mitigated against. Well researched and thought out. Good structure. I just thought I would share some ideas to further strengthen your analysis.

    A good introduction. To further reinforce the need for such OSH assessment, could be highlighted by mentioning the legal requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act proclaimed in 2006: The extract from the OSHA Act states:
    While in your introduction you clearly identified and defined what a hazard is, and went on to speak about risk assessment, but you could have also defined what a RISK is. The Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Health and Safety Authority and Agency Risk Assessment handbook defines a risk as “the chance, high or low that someone will be harmed by a hazard”. It is a probability and there is a way to measure it.

    The International Civil Aviation Organization has a Safety Management Systems Manual that you will find very helpful in doing any other assessments. It is used in assessing risk in aviation related operations, incidents and accidents. It measures Risk Probability, Risk Severity and then these two elements are compared in a Risk Index table that determines if a risk is acceptable or not and is displayed in a Risk Acceptability table. I think you will find it very helpful as it can be adapted to other industries.

    • Good hazard identified in lack of protective hand gear
    • Another hazard is the sawdust on the floor. Sawdust on a terrazzo floor is very slippery and the risk of the worker while operating the machinery can lead to a slip and fall and resultant injuries.
    • Also should highlight the positives – dust mask, protective eyewear was being worn by employee

    • Good review of the carpentry shop.
    • I had a question of how dust could have been an ergonomic issue but on reading previous comments on your blog I saw where you clarified that it was an error in your blog.

    • Great identification of the hazards.
    • The fact that there were so many electrical extension cords and wires all over the floor points to a lack of sufficient plug outlets which suggest a need for additional outlets to be placed.
    • Very good recommendations especially for the Lifting hazards where even proper lifting techniques were identified.
    • To further enhance the risks arising from the physical hazards identified, mention could have been made of the obvious need for much more additional work space so workers could operate safely; better storage shelving could also be accommodated to place all the standing heavy pieces of wood. A woodwork shop is supposed to be very spacious.

    • The review of the electrical hazards and the risk associated with these hazards resulting in electrocution or electrical fires were good but could be further enhanced by also highlighting the need for electrical panels to be also easily accessible AT ALL TIMES especially for emergencies.
    • Some recommendations were made on some hazards you identified, but there was no supporting pictures or references :
    I quote

    “The employees and supervisors MUST ensure that only appropriately licensed or registered electricians carry out electrical work, providing safe and suitable electrical equipment for example. Providing enough socket outlets as overloading socket outlets by using adapters can cause fires, as well as ensuring power circuits are protected by the appropriate rated fuse or circuit breaker to prevent overloading and erosion of dust. If the circuit keeps overloading and dust keeps increasing, this can create a fire risk due to static and using battery powered tools instead of mains operated where possible.
    Always inspect and test all electrical equipment as it will help determine whether it is electrically safe to work around that area.”

    One of the fire extinguishers pictured has not been inspected since 2010 and that is not good.

    Again a very good OSH assessment. To further enhance and strengthen your assessment if it was not done, mention could have been made about the following:
    • Were any of the workers at the carpentry shop trained in first aid?
    • Were there identifiable safety officers?
    • Was there adequate hazard and safety signage?
    • Are safety briefings conducted and if so are they conducted on a regular basis?
    • Is the supervisor or the workers familiar with the OSH Act of T&T?

    Hope my comments help.

    P.S. Am curious. Based on your assessment, were any changes made at the carpentry shop?


  25. Firstly I would like to begin by saying the article was very well put together. A lot of information on the health and safety matters was outlined significantly. The article was really easy to read and understand. I really admire the pictures and videos showing the examples of what were being said. It was also very detailed from the electrical to the temperature. All these risks are very common in most construction workplace, which we take for granted until someone gets hurt. I notice that a lot of recommendations were made under the pictures about the safety issues. To strengthen this article, I would of put a employee wearing the correct the protective equipment for people who are not sure what is missing or don’t know what it looks like. The statement “These electrical extension cords as seen in the image above were carelessly placed in commonly used walkways” was used a little too harsh. For instance most times when we use extension cords, we drag them out quickly and don’t really place them in a safely manner. And my recommendation for this would have been the people who actually used the cord especially to place them in a good manner to avoid the tripping over them or blaming others. Overall it was a good observation done on the workplace and I hope many people in this field take into considerations all the points you made and how to improve them.
    ID number: 814005192


  26. 816010819

    This was very informative to me as I thought that as the most long standing tertiary education institute in the country, UWI would have had better standards in respect of heath and safety of the workers. Your photos and video clip made your article very appealing. I like the fact that you highlighted both the major hazards that can occur such as the worker’s hand being completely severed, plus you identified the minor hazards, or what we would minor but which can turn out as a major hazard over time as the abscess that can occur from splinters getting into the worker’s hands.
    Under you heading ‘Standing Lumber Posing Crush and Lifting Hazard’, I admired that you discussed your concern with the Supervisor before writing your report. Therefore, the likelihood of your recommendation being implemented is greater. While your article highlighted various hazards at the Carpentry Shop, you did not hesitate to comment on something good that you saw, with respect to the fire extinguishers being inspected as required. You added your article with a quite sobering thought on the long term effects of poor health and safety standard. Your article was much appreciated and good effort.


  27. This article shines a light on the lack of Health and Safety practices in the UWI Carpentry Shop. This odious and dilapidated warehouse that has been dubbed a Carpentry Shop of a University, is very embarrassing and should be audited by OSHA.
    The photos used in the article delineated some of the shortcomings, which helped the reader grasp a true visual of the inconsistencies in the shop. Example; Lack of Safety equipment used, emergency equipment storage, plumbing and electrical lines correlating, unsafe practices by employees and most of all irresponsibility on the Supervisor’s behalf.

    Management is responsible for developing training programmes, standard operating procedures and safety practices within the work place. They are also responsible for enforcing these rules and regulations for the implementation process to begin. Managers and supervisors should all lead by example. In this case the lack of leadership created an environment of negligence.

    This article exposed the “norm”, which occurs in other similar environments in Trinidad, which should be unacceptable. A poor remuneration package, should not be an excuse for continuous unsafe practices, it should be used as a driving force for anyone to protect and safeguard themselves. The article also shows that majority of individuals are not safety conscious and continue to embrace that type of culture. Whatever happened to safety first.

    The article, though created good visuals and contained good content; was carelessly written with a lot of grammatical errors and should have placed a lot more emphasis on better recommendations.

    The Carpentry shop should be temporarily shut down, audited by OSHA and should consider a full-scale renewal of that building (a new shop).


  28. In the University of the West Indies Carpentry Workshop, many Occupational Hazards exist. They can be classified as mechanical hazards , temperature hazards , trip and fall hazards, crush and lifting hazards and fire hazards. Image number 2 mechanical hazards. The employee who was sawimg a sheet of ply wood was not wearing glovs to protect his hands from wood splinters. He was also not using a push stick to protect his handsfrom coming into contact with the actual blade. These wood splinters can cause abscesses and bacterial to develop infections , to develop deep within the palm of the hands.
    Temperature hazard images number 3 the employees of this Carpenter workshop have been working in very hot humid underbearable and uncomfortable conditions for quite sometime. So far the efforts which have been made to correct this situation only resulted in the saw dust and other dust particles being blown all over the place. This situation could be affected the health of all of the employees who work there. Their eyes and lungs could be affected.
    Crush and Lifting Hazards . this type of hazard is caused mainly by standing lumber in this capenty work shop. Falling lumber can cause serious injury to any one utilizing or working in this workshop.
    All employees should wear their personal protective equipment at all times. This should eliminate much of the mechanical hazards. The carpentry workshop should be air conditioned and it should have an extractor fan to expel all of the dust and other particles out of the building.
    The workshop need to be rewired to avoid the running of extension cords all over the place


  29. Cutting the Risks at the University of the West Indies Carpentry Workshop: An OSH Assessment
    October 29, 2016 by ddpreppers

    Safe and security is every one’s business in any working firm or organisation and I totally agree that Occupational hazards are everywhere and people have to be carefully educated on how to Eliminate hazard by physically removing the hazard, substitute – by replacing the hazard, use engineering controls which can isolate people from the hazard , have a positive Administrative controls to change ways people work and finally PPE that is to protect workers with personal protective equipment .The University of the West Indies Carpentry Division through this blog has identified some issues on the constructions of this department. I have found strength and weaknesses of how this carpentry area has been functioning over years under the threat of hazard and I would like to say this assessment has been very informative, educational and can be uses as a proposal report for UWI. Further down I will elaborate on the strength of this blog followed by its weaknesses according to my opinion.

    Strengths: The blogger built on a Niche
    This blog develops a content within the common interest subject called ‘Safety’. The blogger tries to tackled the pertinent issues and assessments within this niche respectively and it gives us reader a common ground as what we are expecting to get more within the blog and it was well done. Through this niche the bloggers managed to do their research work accordingly to the subject area. Through this niche they came up to identify all the hazard that contracts the safety environment within the carpentry workshop as mentioned and I quote ‘Mechanical Hazard (machine shop and cut hard), Electrical Hazard, Temperature hazard, physical hazard (trip/slip fall) and also crush on lifting hazard ect’ ddppreppers. All of these came to an attention when we talk about safely in the workplace.

    Detailed oriented
    The bloggers used the OSH acts as guard lines and protocol to guide them in their findings, different references sources, pictures and gifs to defend their writings, all in detailed oriented manner. In any blog I believe the details of one’s finding makes the blog more interesting and provides more insight information’s to drive your readers and for them approve your assessment to be true. The detail part maybe the hardest but in the end of your blog we can always related and come up with a common conclusion. The way you used your own pictures make it easy for us readers to understand more.

    Take Criticisms
    While reading through your blog at the first place I was bit confused when your mentioned ‘Ergonomic Hazards’ and chemical hazard, yet you have taken the criticisms and respond promptly at the first comments as make mentioned and it shows that you understand the message that your trying to put across in you. The most successful bloggers were the ones being able to spot trolls early on and head them off the pass. They are able to take criticism well and yes you did well.
    Helpful when you’re putting them together.
    The passion with your work has put these finding together and I believe the carpentry department, UWI and individuals may be able to act on what has been said in order to improve this area.

    The Weaknesses that I identify within your blog is that you do not have a call to action plan. Call to action plan offers your reader the next step. Us readers will not always going remember you after reading your blog, but, if you provide the hint to the next step, you’ll be followed and this is true. Continue your conversations, present option for reader by letting them aware to subscribe to your blog or following on social media or even options of emailing you in order to continue the conversation as you build on to the safety and wellbeing of UWI which is the most important contribution you can offer.
    Other than that, the weaknesses that you have mentioned in your assessment generally speaking were educational and very important. Employees need to be well monitored and placed in a working environment that is safe for them. You did not clarify about the chemical hazard which gives a little bit confusion for few readers, however, you have done your best to respond and it teaches us lessons for prof reading in advance.

    For recommendations, I would encourage you to use more statistic diagrams where it can further analysis your finding, for example, number of previous accidents that’s taken place within the workshop. You can also mention something about the first aids which is what reader might always want to know when someone talks about safety and hazard and it is very important.
    The layout of your blog is very simple and short, use of simple English really conveys the message safely to reader and how you structure your hazard findings was very informative and I hope my comments and recommendations will assist this group as you continue to be the voice of safety in this generations.

    Wishing you all the best.
    DTR :816012504


  30. It’s a great thing to know and be educated about the dangers that surround us even if we don’t see every one. This blog really helped me in understanding various hazards that people are exposed to on a daily basis. Being a learner that is new to the whole OSH concept, I was able to follow through and understand the OSH hazards brought forward here. The information presented was clear, precise, in some areas straight to the point, and informative which is great to begin to capture the attention of readers. Great use of headings and labeling. Pictures as a form of evidence were important especially for readers like me to see what is being talked about so great job with that. Hazards were clearly identified and stated under each category which is good for people to know the differences in them. I personally think that all employees should be aware of hazards, not just the ones stated here but all others and protect themselves from the risk of being involved in situations that can damage their well-being. But it is even more important for managers and supervisors to ensure a hazard-free zone for all their employees. I do believe that this is not just UWI, because many organizations around Trinidad and Tobago have work spaces like this. The sad reality is that organizations choose to bypass and overlook minor hazards that pose risks for their employees and only seek to take action when major situations occur. Fair recommendations were given and I do hope that it does not get “swept under the rug”. Readers take note. Lots of great info here!!! Overall, great job, well organized and all the best in future blogs. Cheers.


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