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Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

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Safety Gears- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005


(Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Poster, 2005)



Occupational health and safety, is a discipline with a broad scope involving many specialized fields. It involves the promotion of maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well -being of workers in all occupations. It includes the prevention among workers of adverse effects on health caused by their working conditions, protection from risks resulting from factors adverse to health by placing and maintaining workers in an occupational environment adapted to physical and mental needs. Health and safety is important as “work” plays a central role in people’s lives, since most workers spend at least eight hours a day in the workplace, whether it is on a plantation, in an office or factory.

This movie is about a boy name Charlie who came from a poor family. His luck changed when he was the winner of one of the five golden tickets inside a Wonka chocolate bar. He won a tour to Willy Wonka’s (Johnny Depp) largest chocolate factory in the world. Willy Wonka was an unusual candy maker who closed down his factory when some of his employees stole his secret recipes. Fifteen years later, he placed five golden tickets in five chocolate bars in an effort to find a successor. It was then observed, while watching this movie, there was a lot of hazards present within the factory and Charlie’s home. Thus, this blog serves as a tool to assess various hazards that were observed in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005”.




Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 1. Oompa Loompa using a jackhammer

As the children and their parents look on in awe at Willy Wonka’s unusual worker, they are unaware of the danger posed to their hearing. This danger is none other than the continuous noise being emitted by the Oompa Loompa’s drill. While this worker is following the OSHA regulations by wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), that is, the earmuffs to protect hearing, persons nearby are exposed to the loud noise. Fortunately for them, the risk of experiencing hearing loss is very low because they do not remain in close proximity to the noise for a significant period of time. Wearing proper safety gear is a form of protection from hazards as it reduces the risk involved.



Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 2. A scenic shot of the factory’s Chocolate River

In this image, depicting Willy Wonka’s edible garden, there is the scenic view of the world’s only chocolate river. As aesthetically pleasing as it may seem, Wonka’s world renowned chocolate river presents lethal hazards for employees and visitors alike. The banks of the river have no barriers in place to prevent slip and fall hazards. It has been seen multiple times throughout the movie that Willy Wonka, the working Oompa Loompas and the visitors were standing dangerously close to the edge of the river banks. Furthermore, there was a small bridge linking one side of the river bank to the other. The bridge is narrow, steeper on one side, and covered in grass without any form of rails.

An actual, non-fictional company based in the United Kingdom wrote an open letter to Mr. Willy Wonka as a clever way to promote their safety gear. The owner of A-Safe (UK), David Smith wrote “Segregation of pedestrians from unauthorized areas is key to the factory’s safety.” He went on stating that they provide high-vis, flexible Pedestrian Barriers that can act as both guide and protection for staff and visitors. He mentioned the provision of Slide or Swing Gates for the Oompa Loompa who may need to access the river for quality control purposes.”



Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 3 and Figure 4 demonstrating Oompa Loompas throwing and catching items from a tree

In this scene, the hardworking Oompa Loompas are seen literally picking the ‘fruits of their labour’. However, hazards run rampant for every worker involved from the picker to the collector. The worker to the top of the tree may suffer a fall hazard since he is propelling his body to and from on top of a tall tree to launch the goods to the bottom for collection. The workers to the bottom may suffer a crush hazard since they could be hit by the falling items. Safety equipment and gear which can be utilized in a situation like this is a properly constructed scaffolding to ensure that the Oompa Loompa can safely climb up and down the tree. Moreover, a safety harness and a lanyard should be connected to him on the scaffolding in the event that the worker falls.

Figure 5: Proper safety gear that should have been worn

With regards to getting the items down to the other worker who is at ground level, there should be some sort of basket to collect the goods and a rigging/lowering device to ensure that the items are lowered slowly and safely, instead of being thrown. Even if a lowering system is implemented, the workers at the bottom still need to be equipped with helmets/hardhats as a preventative measure for any falling debris.

Grace Drennan Gagnet advised that in addition to wearing hardhats each employee on a scaffold should be provided with additional protection from falling debris through the installation of toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems, or through the erection of debris nets, catch platforms or canopy structures that contain or deflect the falling items in an effort to prevent physical hazards. (Grace Gagnet 2000)



Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Figure 6. Oompa Loompas dancing on a thin piece of metal placed high above ground.

In this scene, the Oompa Loompas are seen dancing on a thin piece of metal that is a a few feet above the ground. They are jumping and dancing on the job which causes a hazard if one of them were to fall. There is also nothing to break the fall which means if any of them falls, this would result in injuries which can be quite serious because of the distance they are falling from. To prevent this from occurring, the use of proper signs indicating no horseplay while on the job should be used to prevent any accidents or incidents.



Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Figure 7. The exterior of Charlie’s home

The yard has many objects scattered around with rocks leading to the path towards the door. There is also a bit of clutter closer to the house which is occupied by old furniture. The house is fenced using pointed sticks that have no safeguard at their tips. There can be a slip hazard in the snow near these sticks which would result in a serious puncture wound.



Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Figure 8 and 9. The flooring and roof of Charlie’s room

The house is crooked! This is made even more obvious when the father enters a diagonal door. The floor of Charlie’s room seems to be pieces of board nailed together un-orderly in some areas. If someone is walking there and not paying attention, this could cause them to step and fall. The ceiling inside the house is made of a few wooden boards and because of the apparent holes in the roof; they have been exposed to different weather patterns. These wooden platforms seem to be swollen and it is clear to see that they are falling apart. There is nothing below them to prevent them from falling and if they do fall, Charlie can suffer from a fall hazard while his family especially the grandparents are at risk for a crush hazard. The roof of the house is not stable and there are holes in it. At any moment a roof tile can fall in and there is nothing to break the fall.

Just looking at the picture below makes me nervous! I’m all for improvisation but I’d rather be safe than sorry, wouldn’t you? The placement of the ladder is totally wrong. According to Health and Safety Executive (Safe use of ladders and stepladders), the ladder should be placed on firm, level ground. What can you deduce from the picture below? In my opinion, the surface the ladder is placed on does not look wide enough. It also does not look firm and immovable. If the surface the ladder is on happens to move or shake it is possible that the ladder will as well. Anyone on the ladder at that point in time can fall or slip. It is somewhat likely that this will occur but if it does the damages of the fall or slip would be moderate since the distance from the ladder to the floor is not that far apart.


Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Figure 10. The ladder leading to Charlie’s room



Class A: Fire involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.

Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figures 11 and 12 above show the welcome fireworks at the factory and the fire caused by sparks emitted from fireworks.

Solid materials found in the welcome scene were plastic, metals and textiles. The dolls were made out of plastic, metals and chocolate which are considered flammable materials which resulted in a fire. The cause of the fire was due to a spark from the fireworks at the end of the welcome show. The sparks touched the dolls which resulted in the fire spreading onto other objects around it. The objects around the dolls were a chair made out of plastic and lastly the red curtain which was made out of various textiles such as velvet and velour.

In this scene we see the occupiers passing through a pathway which was in between the fire to enter the factory. The OSH Act Part V states S.26 (1) “Provide adequate means of escape in case of fire”. As a result of this, we see there was no adequate exit to escape the fire other than the closed gate behind the occupier, which results in a violation of the OSH Act. There was also no notice to the fire department of a fire which is another violation of the Act (S.26(6) Requirement to give notice to the fire authority and the municipal corporation of any change of use). In addition there was no fire extinguisher which also violates the Act (S.27(1) Safety provisions in case of fire).

Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figures 13: Access to the factory though the fire

Here are some fire prevention tips that should have been utilized to avoid these types of situation:

  • Fire Extinguishers – ensure that there is always a fire extinguisher in your workplace (more than one if possible) educating employees and employers to have basic knowledge on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Exits – provide sufficient exists for everyone in your workplace to exit easily and safely without causing harm to anyone with the use of appropriate signs.
  • Sprinkler Systems & Smoke Detectors – each workplace should have sprinklers to slowly extinguish fires and smoke detectors to alert workers as to when a fire is taking place.

Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 14: Image showing the location of the beds of the elderly folk living in Charlie’s home

The bed is directly in front of an active fireplace and there is no safeguard in front of it. If anything is to pitch from the fire, it would land directly on the bed which has thick linen on it. This would by extension cause damage to the elderly persons and could potentially burn down the house which is made entirely of low quality wood.



At the nutting room located in the factory, we see Miss Veruca Salt being carried and thrown into the nutting hole which leads to the garbage incinerator. Incinerators use the process of heat to burn the waste materials. The outcome of this process is to reduce the volume of waste material and disposing it in a much more compact and neat way. The consequence of being thrown into an incinerator could be catastrophic. It could result in severe burns. An individual can also inhale smoke from the burning of the waste and this can result in affecting their respiratory system. This could be prevented by safeguarding the area where the squirrels operate such as a barricade around the hole big enough for the nuts to fall into the hole but small enough to make sure no human can fit through, under or over the barricade.

Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 15.  Veruca being lifted and thrown into the garbage incinerator.

Another solution to avoid Miss Salt’s incident is simply to put a “DO NOT ENTER” sign on the gate right before entering the nutting facilities. We see Mister Wonka close the gate with a lock but it wasn’t enough. Signs can be read and individuals will be alerted based on the colour of the sign. Occupiers should have also partaken in a basic safety procedure presentation which should have been shown to them before entering the nutting room. Lastly, they should be notified why it’s dangerous to enter the nutting area and the consequences of entering before arriving to the room.



As simple as it may seem, not having a proper backrest on a chair while working, can be very uncomfortable as well as having long term and short term effects on an individual. It can be seen in the picture below that the female at the workstation does not have proper back support for her chair. According to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (OSH Answers Fact Sheets, 2014), the backrest of the chair should have a firm lumbar support; in this instance it does not. The worker is at risk but it is not major. If the problem is not fixed she can eventually develop a hunched back in the long run and back pain in the short run.

Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Figure 16: The toothpaste factory where Charlie’s father works.

Ergonomics, however, refers to more than just the equipment used in carrying out work tasks. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive (2013) notes that ergonomics “deals with psychological and social aspects of the person and their work” as well.  In the figure below, we see the employees’ reaction to their employer after being told abruptly that there will be immediate changes in their workload and productivity for a certain period of time. They are required to produce twice the amount of output due to time constraints which makes for very exhausting work. Moreover, the employees were not allowed a smooth transition into their new tasks, showing a lack of support and care from management. All of these things can impact negatively on the psychological and physical well-being of workers. Psychological because the high workload leads to increased stress and irritation on the job and the latter (physical well-being) because physically they are exhausted, raising the risk of accidents occurring.

Source: Image from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 17: Mr. Salt’s factory depicting the issue of ergonomic hazard.



Upon entering the Invention Room of the chocolate factory, we observe that the room is filled with liquid chemicals of all different sizes and colours stacked together. Some are even placed on Bunsen Burners. This can pose a risk to employees who come into direct contact with these chemical as the bottles are not properly labelled, and leaks or spills of flammable or toxic substances can lead to burns if exposed to skin and eyes as well as an explosion or fire. The severity of this could lead to long term injury or even loss of life.

Inhalation of these toxic substances without proper respiratory mask can severely affect your lungs overtime. According to the OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standards (HCS), it requires that all hazardous chemicals must be properly labelled with safety data sheets for exposed workers including information on the hazardous chemicals in their work area and measures to be used to protect themselves. The labels should include harmonized signs, word, pictograph or hazard statement for each hazard class or category. As we see from the picture below, the bottles contain no informative labels, precautionary sign or hazardous symbols to indicate the type of hazard or hazard class thus increasing the likelihood of contamination.

Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 19 and 20 show the various chemicals in containers that are not labelled.



Directly behind the bed is a fridge with a microwave on top of it. Since it is clear that the roof is leaky, if water gets into the sockets where the appliances are plugged in, this could cause an electrical fire. This would easily spread to the bed, and potentially cause the house to burn down.

Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 21. Fridge and microwave placed behind grandparents bed.



Source: Images from the movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Figure 22. The glass elevator used to travel in and out the factory.

The picture above illustrates the use of a glass elevator as the primary means of transport in and out of the factory. However, this can prove to be a Psychological Hazard to those travelling in the elevator as it is lifted to immense heights causing the occupants heart rate to increase. Also, the speed at which the elevator traveled at can an increase in the levels of anxiety and stress to the occupants. This can lead to a traumatized state, especially if the worker is afraid of heights. Therefore, as a preventative measure, the elevator should use a metal frame instead of glass, properly fastened to thick metal cable wires and move at a reasonable paste to accommodate all age differences.



Safety is no joking matter whether it may be at home or at work. We all must be careful of our surroundings at all times which will help prevent us from serious injury and harm. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor; you are still at risk for hazards to occur. Our group Safety Gears were able to depict the hazards both in Charlie’s home and at the Chocolate Factory. Even though the movie is fictional, most of the hazards found, occur in everyday life and we need to be aware of it. Our blog provided an insight as to what can happen if we do not follow proper safety rules and guidelines. It is okay to be like Grandpa Joe after reading this blog, we understand.

Grandpa Joe dancing



“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, AnnaSophia Robb, Julia Winter, Helen Bonham Carter, Jordan Fry, David Kelly, Philip Wiegratz, Deep Roy, Missi Pyle, Noah, Taylor, Adam Godley, Franziska Troengner, James Fox, Liz Smith. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2005.”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Poster. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.impawards.com/2005/charlie_and_the_chocolate_facotry_ver2.html

Ergonomics and human factors at work: A brief guide (2013, March). Retrieved October 5, 2017 from www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ergonomics.htm

Gagnet, G. D. (2000). Fall protection and scaffolding safety: an illustrated guide. Rockville, MD: Government Institutes.

Hazard Communication | Occupational Safety and Health Administration: OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standards (HCS). Retrieved October 05, 2017, from https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html

How Does an Incinerator Work? (2010, March 22). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-does-an-incinerator-work

OSH Answers Fact Sheets (2014, March 5). Retrieved October 04, 2017, from Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/chair.html

Safety Center, Inc. | Safety Programs | Workplace Safety Classes | Cal OSHA. (2013, May 22). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://safetycenter.org/12-tips-to-prevent-workplace-fires-national-fire-safety-month/

Safe use of ladders and stepladders. (n.d.). Retrieved October 04, 07, from Health and Safety Executive: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg455.pdf

There’s no business like SNOW-business! Inside the tiny British company which has provided the white stuff for Harry Potter, James Bond, Gladiator and a host of other Hollywood films. Retrieved October 03, 2017 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2766805/There-s-no-business-like-SNOW-business-Inside-tiny-British-company-provided-white-stuff-Harry-Potter-James-Bond-Gladiator-host-Hollywood-films.html#ixzz4v94ckNTf

U.S Department of Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA’s Hazard Communication, Retrieved October 05, 2017, from




  1. For more information on the right and wrong ways to sit at a desk/work station, please refer to Cosmopolitan Health and Fitness Magazine at: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/a33365/ways-youre-sitting-wrong/
  2. For more information on bridge design, please refer to Chapter 2 of the text: Requirements of Bridge Design and Evaluation by Fu, Gongkang
  3. Also for further reading on bridge design please refer to the online article entitled Aesthetic Guidelines for Bridge Design by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, available at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/bridge/pdf/aestheticguidelinesforbridgedesign.pdf





Optimal Safety presents, OSH coverage in the movie “Despicable Me 3”.



    Despicable ME 3 encapsulates former super-villain Gru as an agent for the Anti-Villain League with his wife Lucy and adopted children. It’s a case of Good vs Bad throughout the entire movie as they battled against Balthazar Bratt, a former 1980’s child star, who seeks revenge against the world. He is extremely vengeful, as he specifically wanted to destroy Hollywood as a revenge for cancelling his TV show. A revolution began to form amongst the minions, with Mel being the leader. The mischievous Minions hope that Gru will return to a life of crime after the new boss of the Anti-Villain League fires him. Instead, Gru decided to remain retired and travel to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother for the first time. The re-united siblings soon find themselves in an uneasy alliance to defeat the elusive Balthazar Bratt.

      Although the movie was one that was family oriented, rated “E”, adventurous and comedic, it showcased many safety and health violations, as several hazards and risks were identified. Perhaps the producers thought that these issues could have been overlooked, as their intended audience (i.e. children) may not notice them. Hence, the objective of this blog post, is to highlight the various categories of hazards within the movie. The movie displayed physical, biological, chemical, ergonomic and psychological hazards.




     Throughout the movie physical hazards were seen. Physical hazards are factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. These are substances or activities that threaten one’s physical safety. Physical hazards such as falls, noise and electrical were observed in the movie to name a few. If the right protective gear had been used most of these hazards and risks could have been eliminated. As such, the use of PPE when required must be emphasized.

   According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of Trinidad and Tobago Chapter 88:08 part VI Section 23 (1) which states that all persons entering an area in an industrial establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminants or any other bodily injury, shall be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard and adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices, and no person shall be permitted to be in any such area unless he is wearing such protective clothing or device.  Even though safety and health hazards in the movie may not have caused serious damage, according to Bird’s Accident Triangle, the more near misses that are encountered through unsafe acts, the greater the possibility of the fatal accident occurring. Had it not been an animated movie, such risks could have been fatal or lead to sever damages.

birds imageBirds Accident Triangle states that, for every 600 times persons may have experienced near misses there can be 30 damaged incident, 10 minor or 1 major injury (Kevin).

Falling Hazard

      Slips occur when a person’s feet loses traction with the ground surface, whereas, causing trips to occur which happens when a person unexpectedly catches their feet on an object or surface. Falls may result from a slip or trip but many occur during falls from low heights or into a hole, ditch or body of water. The types of fall hazard identified in the movie were trip, stump, step and slip.

stairsFigure 1: Minions visit to Dru’s place.

I.     Trip and Fall: In figure 1, while getting off the plane via stairs, on arrival at Dru’s place, one minion tripped and bumped into the other causing them both to tumble down the stairs. It was noticeable that one minion was clothed in diving gears which contributed to the fall. This fall could have caused serious injuries to the minions. Gru, being the guardian, should have ensured that they held onto the railings which would have prevented them from falling.

 BrattFigure 2: Balthazar Bratt climbing the ship to steal the diamond.

    At the beginning of the movie Balthazar Bratt climbs the ship without the use of a harness, helmet or any other safety gear. See figure 2. This may have resulted in Balthazar falling into the ocean if his adhesive flippers stopped working. Following this scene, another hazard discovered were Gru and Lucy reported to the Anti-Villain League (AVL) and whilst being hoisted to the blimp on a mechanized sofa no harnesses, helmets, seat belts or other PPE were worn by the couple.

    Protective gear is important and can help lessen the occurrence of hazards. The OSH Act position on protective measures is that the provision of adequate and suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard to employees who in the course of employment are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury and the provision of adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices.


Noise                     Figure 3: Person driving in the street playing loud music.

    Noise is one of the most common occupational health hazards. Figure 3 above, shows an extract from the movie where a young man is listening to loud music, through large speakers while in his car. The speakers are in close proximity to him/ his ears. If this is done consistently and for lengthy periods, it can impair his hearing or eventually lead to hearing loss. Under the list of occupational diseases in the OSH Act, Hearing Impairment is caused by NOISE.

    The OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago Regulations #34 also states that every owner, occupier or employer shall take adequate steps to prevent hearing impairment caused by noise, and diseases caused by vibration, from occurring to persons in, or in the vicinity of, his industrial establishment.

    In Despicable Me 3, other noise hazards can be seen where Bratt, used the sound waves / shockwaves from his sonic keytar to blow away Gru, who attempted to prevent Bratt from stealing the diamond. This is classed as noise hazard as it could have impaired Gru’s hearing. See figures 4&5 below.   

Noise 1 Noise 2

Figure 4 & 5



ElectFigure 6: Dru punched the electrical panel to cease the robot from burning Gru with his laser.

    Electrical hazard can be dangerous when someone make contact with live parts causing shock and burn to oneself. Electrical hazards were vividly seen where Dru put his hand into the robot to stop it from harming Gru. See figure 6. Although it was a heroic move, this could have led to death from being electrocuted.

escapeFigure 7: Minions escape from jail.

     Another electrical hazard identified, was the scene where the minions escape from jail. See figure 7. While working on the plane to get out of jail one of the minions connected cables to their power source, the battery, while the other held onto the exposed wire on the other end. This resulted in an electric shock which could have been detrimental to that minion. A situation like this could have easily been avoided if the exposed wire was connected to where it was supposed to be, before connecting the cables to the power source and also, wearing the required personal protective equipment i.e. shockproof clothing, boots and gloves as mentioned in the Occupational Safety and Health Act section 23 part VI quoted earlier with regards to protective clothing and devices.

     According to the OSH Act (Electricity) Regulations 10 “Where one of the main conductors of a system is bare and uninsulated”, such as a bare return of a concentric system, no switch, fuse, or circuit-breaker shall be placed in that conductor, or in any conductor connected thereto, and the said conductor shall be earthed.

     Nevertheless, switches, fuses, or circuit-breakers may be used to break the connection with the generators or transformers supplying the power; provided that in no case of bare conductor the connection of the conductor with earth is thereby broken. Also, Regulations 13 (Electricity) supports this situation stating “Every flexible wire for portable apparatus, for alternating currents or for pressures above 150 volts direct current, shall be connected to the system either by efficient permanent joints or connections, or by a properly constructed connector”.

     For instance, where a person handling portable apparatus with switches, for alternating current or pressures above 150 volts, would be liable to get shock through a conducting floor or conducting work or otherwise.



Chem 1Chem 2

Figure 8 & 9 – Balthazar Bratt attempt to steal diamond from soldiers.

       In identify OSH issues in the movie Despicable Me 3, chemical hazards were recognized. Balthazar Bratt, in his attempt to steal the diamond encountered resistance from military officers. Bratt made good his escape by throwing the rubix cube, which exploded and released dangerous colourful fumes and chemicals that caused the officers to become unconscious. The officers were not equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with such scenario. This dangerous chemical could cause medical issues such as lung disease or other respiratory problems. The use of gas masks should have been utilized to prevent such from happening.

    Based on the OSH Act regulation on Chemical Substances S6(c), which states, that the provision of adequate and suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard to employees who are in the course of employment are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury and the provision of adequate instructions are to use such protective clothing or devices.


erg      Figure 10 – Balthazar Bratt in his thinking chair making plans to take his revenge on Hollywood.

        Another important hazard identified is Ergonomic. This hazard addresses the environmental, organizational and human characteristics that have the potential to adversely affect health and safety in the workplace. The overall aim of ergonomics is to ensure that there is complete cohesion between a worker, their job role and their workstation.

     In reference to the movie, in the scene shown in figure 10, where Balthazar’s Bratt is planning his revenge against Hollywood. Bratt can be seen in all of excitement, hanging over his chair in an unorthodox position without any support for his back or neck. This position can cause spinal injury, neck spasm and possible damage to lower back. These can be remedied by proper posture when sitting and having more ergonomically designed chairs.



erg 2             Figure 11 – Dru and Gru passed through the air conditioning vents in order to get into Bratt’s house.

        A biological hazard found in the movie can be seen when Dru and Gru navigated through the air condition vent at Balthazar Bratt’ lair. Their motive was to recover the stolen diamond. However, while in the vent, they were exposed to moulds and bacteria from the moisture stains. These exposure can cause eye infection, psoriasis of the skin and also respiratory infections. To avoid such problems, an alternative route in the lair could have been chosen or they would have worn the proper mask to protect their faces, gloves to protect the hands and protective clothing could have also been used.

toilet         Figure 12- Minions use of toilet bowls and tank as part of their aircraft to escape from prison.

      No Workplace is exempted from Biological Hazards. They can appear and disappear due to a variety of factors, thus it is important for one to be prepared for them in the workplace. As we all may know, Biological Hazards are organisms or substances produced by an organism that may pose a threat to human health.  Anything that can cause harm to people, animals, or infectious plant materials can be considered a Biological Hazard. They exist in most workplaces that involve working around other people, unsanitary conditions, in labs, or in the environment.

    This move also portrayed some biological hazard. In figure 12, one of the minions can be seen in a toilet bowl which was used to build an aircraft to escape from prison, leaving the washroom. The minion wore no protective gear or clothing and was therefore exposed to e coli, molds and worms that may have been present in that toilet bowl that was actively being used in the prison. The minion should have carried the toilet bowl by lifting it from the outside instead of being inside the bowl to avoid being in contact with bacteria from feces and other excrement’s.



GattsFigure 13: Balthazar Bratt

     A psychological hazard can be deemed as a threat that affects the conceptual well-being or mental health of an individual by overpowering individual coping mechanisms and impacting the individual’s ability to work in an OSH free manner. Throughout the movie it can be seen that Balthazar Bratt suffers from psychological issues. It all began when his TV show was cancelled and Hollywood rejected him. He didn’t take this well and things got worse from there.  He started to believe that he was the actual character he played on TV and was determine to destroy Hollywood as revenge of them cancelling his TV show. He became delusional and lost all faith in the world. Bratt enjoyed causing havoc and bringing destruction in real life as he did in his TV show. Being in such denial that his show is no longer a hit caused him to become angry and bitter.



   Hazards can be found almost everywhere we go and the first step to accident prevention is recognition of the potential danger. Many of the things we do on a daily basis, and believe that are common and safe are actually dangerous and can cause serious harm even though we have been escaping tragedy for some time.

    In analyzing this movie “Despicable Me 3”, we actually pinpointed things that we would typically bypass in a movie and viewed it in a new light having been equipped with the right information in our Occupational Safety and Health Management class. Although the selected movie is an animated one we were still able to get the essence of how dangerous these acts can be in the real life whether it’s a physical hazard, chemical hazard, biological hazard or psychological hazard and the importance of Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE) in the attempt to prevent the occurrence of accidents. Even a fun, cartoon, animated movie can display the hazards and risk. The aim is to integrate occupational safety and health improvements while supporting innovation and fostering productivity in any environment.

      Our group, “Optimal Safety”, constructed this blog with the intent to reach out to those who take their safety for granted and urge them to take a stance and be more conscious of their actions as they not only impact on themselves, but others around them. Safety must not just be a policy in a workplace but a lifestyle for everyone wherever we go. We wish to thank everyone for taking the time to read our blog and we hope it was informative and the points were vividly discussed.


Some hazards that stood out from the movie can be captured here.

eyes                                       Photo 1

Photo 1 above, shows the Laser produced/ used by Bratt’s gigantic robot self-replica, to separate Hollywood from the other parts of the country, which could have caused severe damage or injury. “LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) produces an intense, highly directional beam of light.” This could have caused damage to tissue, eye and skin of the human body, especially as the people were not aware that this would have transpired.

jail                           Photo 2

Photo 2 shows a lifting hazard. While in prison the minions bullied the inmates into doing whatever they wanted and as such had these two in the picture lift the heavy weights while he pretended to be lifting them. The lifting of these heavy weight could cause harm through strain to these inmates.

soikes                            Photo 3

A Puncture Hazard can be observed in photo 3 above. If the adhesive or “sticky” function failed, both Gru and Dru would have fallen into the trap, designed by Bratt to kill or damage intruders through the spikes.



Comcare. “Physical hazards.” Comcare. Accessed October 02, 2017. https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/physical_hazards.

Despicable Me 3 Synopsis – Google Search. Accessed October 08, 2017. https://www.google.tt/search?q=despicable%2Bme%2B3%2Bsynopsis&rlz=1C1CHBF_enTT747TT747&oq=despicable%2Bme%2B3%2Bsyn&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0.9917j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8.

“Falls.” World Health Organization. Accessed October 05, 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs344/en/.

CSO, Kevin Nichol; CHRP CRSP. “Safety 101.” The Safety Triangle Explained. January 01, 1970. Accessed October 05, 2017. http://crsp-safety101.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-safety-triangle-explained.html.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006):


“Watch Despicable Me 3 Full Movie Free | 123Movies.” 123Movies | Watch Movies Online | Free Movies | 123Movies.co. January 01, 4537. Accessed September 28, 2017. https://123movies.co/movie/despicable-me-3-free108/.


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Deepwater Horizon

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Deepwater Horizon is a movie recreation of the real life event that happened on April 20th, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon is a semi submersible offshore oil rig located 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. This Oil rig was owned by Transoceans and leased by British Petroleum (BP). The movie gives an eye witness account of what transpired first hand on deck the Deepwater Horizon from a real life survivor, Mike Williams, who is portrayed as an everyday family man leaving his home to work as an engineer on the oil rig, not knowing what devastation awaits. When you think about this event, it goes down as the largest human disaster in U.S. history possessed on the environment, leaving thousands of animals dead, thousands of people infected in the area including those who worked to clean up oil spill, and also costing BP and America billions of dollars to clean up waste, and compensate employees and villagers.

However the movie does not include the aftermath and the total environmental disaster, it depicts the events on the actual blow out and explosion and how the employees on The Deepwater Horizon tried to save their lives and other co workers on the platform. This blog will provide an Occupational Safety and Health approach to the movie and point out the risk evoked during the incidents on April 20th, 2010.

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BP’s executives which consisted of Donald Vildrine, gave the order to drill even though there was sufficient evidence against operations due to repairs needed, and negative tests. This held BP accountable for the disaster. Vildrine tried cutting corners to operate the rig and commence operations under poor conditions. Due to his negligence 11 lives were lost on the rig and he was then charged with man slaughter.

Despite the devastating happenings on the Deep water Horizon the
offshore oil and gas industry is generally a safety conscious and well
audited one. (yeaaaa, no it really is…..)

Throughout the movie we noticed that control mechanisms were put
in place on the Deep water Horizon. Effective controls protect
employees from harm in various ways. Elimination/ substitution of
the threat, isolation, engineering, administration and personal
protective equipment all help employers to protect employees by
controlling hazards.

Personal Protective Equipment. (PPE)
PPE is the simplest and least effective form of eliminating hazards. It
is seen as a final barrier between the hazard and the worker.

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PPE is seen time and time again throughout this movie. Ear plugs, gloves, safety glasses and nomex flame resistant coveralls are all seen in abundance on the Horizon. These forms of controls are the least
effective, however in an inherently hazardous industry (like offshore
oil and gas) it is very difficult to eliminate hazards due to the generally unstable environment. When all other forms of controls are exhausted PPE like earplugs are made available to workers to prevent hearing loss.

Although nomex coveralls do not it bunninmake you invincible to fire, its flame resistant nature allows it to ignite at a much lower rate and also to stop burning at a much faster rate once the flame is removed!! Hence the coverall does not make the wearer invincible.

Administrative controls are used when hazards cannot be eliminated or substituted and are meant to supplement or replace Mechanical controls in the workplace. Some examples of administrative controls
are warning signs and regular maintenance of equipment.

Important to note is that some key forms of administrative controls
seem to be overlooked on the drilling vessel. The operators of the Rig were put under extreme psychological pressure by the client BP, to cut corners and deviate from standard practice and procedure. These established procedures are forms of administrative controls meant to ensure compliance and structure during operations. The crew decided to cut corners by throwing a blind eye to several tests that
could have prevented the tragedy that took place that night. Rules and regulations were not stringently followed due to commercial pressure and a behind schedule completion date of 43 days worth 50 million USD.



Results of a negative pressure test showing extremely high pressure
in the drill pipe which is a dangerous risk to overlook. LOOKS GOOD TO ME!

Engineering controls are strategies designed to protect workers
from hazardous conditions by placing a barrier between the worker
and the hazard or by removing a hazardous substance through
air ventilation. Engineering controls involve a physical change to the
hjjworkplace itself, rather than relying on workers’ behavior or requiring workers to wear something. A perfect example of an engineering control in the movie is seen in the drill room.

Because of the room’s proximity to the dangerous environment outside, it is integrated with some form of reinforced glass with mesh protection and is also sound proof to screen out ambient noises.


A Physical hazard can be defined as “Factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it” (Australian Government Comcare, 2016). Many physical hazards were noticed in the movie and the most prominent ones were chosen to
be highlighted. At the beginning of the movie you can clearly see that the appropriate l-4Q0CPPE was not properly used even by the person who is supposed to be in charge of safety on the platform.



This brings noise hazard into play as the loud noise from the helicopter which brought them to the platform can affect their hearing if correct practice is not taken to protect their ears. Noise hazard can be defined as high noise levels that can cause permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected by surgery or a hearing aid, this is according to Graphic Products – Solution for Safety & Visual Communication. This neglect of PPE is seen further in the movie when the star of the movie was walking to the control room, he did not have on any coverall, earbuds or proper footwear which is required for the environment he is working in.


The next physical hazard identified was mechanical hazard which can be created as aEamCxo result of either powered or manual (human) use of tools, equipment or machinery and plant. An example of a mechanical hazard is: contact and/or entanglement with unguarded moving parts on a machine (Safety Wise Advice Services, 2016). This can noticeably be seen in the scene when the employees were connecting pipes. The spinning mechanism of the machine can entrap workers and even entangle their coverall, specifically those who work in close proximity with the machinery.


Another physical hazard recognized was fall hazard, according to Safeopedia it can be defined as anything in a workplace that could cause accidental loss of balance or body support and result in falling. This was highlighted when a worker was speaking to the star of the movie, he was standing on a railing which was on a very high level and he was not secured to the railings which means that he could fall and get injured. We recommend that in the future the employee wears a safety harness and lanyard to secure their health and safety.

A slip hazard was showcased when employees of the Deepwater Horizon platform had to mop up mud which overflowed in excess of 5000 psi (pounds per square inch). A slip u3hPC3hazard can be caused as a result of too little friction or a lack of traction between the footwear and the floor surface (safeopedia). This was also displayed when the pipeline blew out and all the employees in the vicinity were covered with mud as well as the entire surroundings. It would be very hard to keep your footing on a surface when it is in such poor condition and this can lead to persons slipping and injuring themselves.


A pressure hazard was identified in the movie when the pipeline blew out. Pressure is defined as the force exerted against an opposing fluid or thrust distributed over a surface  (Hillsborough Community College, 2014). The complete rupture of the pipeline could cause whiplash from broken high-pressure pipe, tubing, or hose. This can cause a blast effect due to a sudden release of pressure. There can also be injuries from fragmentation which can impale and cause serious damage.

A fire hazard was present in the movie. Fire hazards include all types of live flames, causes of sparks, hot objects, and chemicals that are potential for ignition, or that can aggravate a fire to become large and uncontrolled, (Safeopedia). The MGS (Mud Gas Separator) removes only small amounts of gas en-trained in the mud. Once separated, the koZA3_gas is vented to the atmosphere at a safe location. When the crew diverted high flow to the MGS, the system was overwhelmed and this created a fire hazard. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the Deepwater Horizon were not designed to trip upon gas detection, manual activation was required. This was so as false gas-detection trips would interrupt the power supply to the thrusters which kept the rig in position. The hydrocarbon gas which was being expelled into the air and on the platform made its way into the HVAC system which was then carried to the engine room, causing at least one engine to over-speed, creating a potential source of ignition.


Struck-by hazards or crush hazards can be seen at the half way point of the movie all the way to the end.  A struck-by hazard refers to an accident in which a worker is hit and injured by an object, tool or equipment, (Safeopedia). After the blow out everything went haywire and there were a lot of projectiles flying around and a lot of debris which was falling that could harm persons on the rig. This can be depicted in the image below.









Any toxic chemicals, physical or biological agents in the environment that are due to natural occurrences or human activity can be considered environmental hazards as it may affect the health of those exposed to it.   

Environmental Hazard is not your typical work hazard. In fact due to state regulations and continuous inspection companies are forced to keep the environment a safe and secure place. With a major environmental disaster such as the Deepwater horizon spill there’s no way we’re forgetting the environment and the devastation to the environment.

Nearing the end of the movie, the entire Deepwater Horizon oil rig and its surrounding waters can be seen engulfed in flames and oil. A lack of safety checks for a cement job done to plug a large oil pipe resulted in a blowout, or uncontrolled mass release of natural oil and gas. This large scale release of crude oil into the environment is hazardous to not only the surroundings of the oil rig and its operators, but to large amounts of the earth’s environment and its inhabitants.

Surrounding  the rig is the earth’s atmosphere, which is being polluted at an alarming rate as the naturally occurring oil and gas blazes. This can cause depletion of the ozone hbh.giflayer and stimulate global warming. Additionally, such a large quantity of emissions is also hazardous to the environment as it decreases the quality of air significantly. The image to the right of the page shows the amount of smoke created due to the explosion. 


hhyyy.gifBelow the rig is the ocean and its ecosystems which are now under hazardous threat due to large amounts of fossil fuels being ejected into it. The surrounding ocean for miles is contaminated along with its inhabitants. This affects not only marine animals but humans and other land animals as well, for example, pelicans that feed on fish that can now be contaminated  and even poisoned after consuming. Species and ecosystems, in its entirety can be wiped out and even face extinction due to this hazardous spillage as seen in the aforementioned image. 

Recommendation: To prevent this problem, educational and engineering procedures can be put in place. For example, teaching staff about proper checks and the importance of them or having a large underwater tank and reroute pipes that can store and transport large quantities of oil and gas in the event of a blowout  are some ways in which such environmental hazards can be avoided.

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Hazardous chemicals in the workplace are substances, mixtures and materials that can be classified according to its health, physical and chemical risks and dangers. Health hazards include skin irritants, carcinogens or respiratory sensitisers that have an adverse effect on a worker’s health as a result of direct contact with or exposure to the chemical, usually through inhalation, skin contact or ingestion. (world health and safety regulations,2011).

The first of which is the direct contact with oil that the drillers dealt with daily.  Also, before the explosion, huge amounts of oil covered workers completely. tumblr_o7smpj3mEN1smfh9io1_500.gifThese fossil fuels contain toxic chemicals and can irritate the skin leading to diseases after prolonged exposure. In the image we can see how the employee’s skin is discolored due to some form of skin contamination.

Another chemical hazard observed was the pollution created that harms the environment. These chemicals spilled into the ocean and atmosphere will affect millions of wild life and humans living around the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana. Imagine filling up your gas at a petrol station and a little fuel touches your skin, if it isn’t rinsed off it irritates your skin and can eventually cause a rash. In one of the scenes, a bird loses all its senses and panics because it was covered in oil. Compare that little bit of oil that ends up on your skin to and your entire body covered in the oil like the bird.

The exposure to the smoke caused by the burning of the fossil fuel and other chemicals used on the oil rig is a major chemical hazard. These fumes affect the breathing and caused coughing by the workers. The smoke and fumes lead to health problems of rig workers, rescue personnel and clean-up crews. In the movie they have to fight through 5151the smoke and fire which will cause respiratory problems such as lung cancer, asthma or even bronchitis. This could of been reduced by wearing safety masks to reduce the toxins from entering the body. In the future, even though a respiratory mask is not needed on a day to day basis on a rig, they should have emergency masks in areas in case of emergency. In the image above we can see the volume of smoke surrounding the workers which is produced by the fire and will contaminate the air being inhaled by the rig workers. 

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An ergonomic hazard is a physical factor within the environment that harms the muscular skeletal system. To reduce such risk, ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace, to comfortably fit the needs of the worker. Poor work site design leads to fatigued, frustrated and damaged workers. Additionally, this leads to a painful and costly injury, lower productivity and poor product quality.

Job activities involving ergonomic risk include:

  • Awkward postures
  • Bending
  • Compression or contact stress
  • Forceful exertions
  • Insufficient rest breaks
  • Lifting
  • Lighting

The overall aim of ergonomics is to reduce injuries and accidents and make the job more efficient and easier to do. Ergonomics poses many benefits to both employer and employee, some of which include:

  • Reduces costs
  • Improves productivity
  • Improves quality
  • Improves employee engagement
  • Creates a better safety culture

Hazard 1: Workstation

The Deepwater Horizon rig housed 126 crew members. Taking into consideration the limited work station of the rig, the layout of a control room and drill shack is not always ideal. As illustrated in the photo below, we can see a limited work space with cramped desks, monitors, filing cabinets and narrow walk ways. Throughout the movie, workers of the control room are constantly on their feet, or their eyes are glued to monitor screens to check readings. This 24-hour job operation requires workers to always wear PPE since they regularly need to go to different control rooms, climb high towers and monitor different equipment to ensure the smooth running of the system.erg.png

Needless to say, drilling rigs are massive multi-story structures that house large equipment. It is often difficult to access plant and equipment, and control rooms or towers that are often located on the opposite end of the rig.  To get the job done, most times workers end up being the one who must compromise. With constant climbing of stairs, bending and lifting, these cycles are repetitive in nature. Awkward postures place excessive force on joints and overload the muscles and tendons around the effected joint, this further leads to fatigue.


  • Control Room poor working posture can be fixed by making sure equipment can be reached easily, either from sitting or standing.
  • The chair should be comfortable and supportive, in a range of postures. Since the person must lean forward a lot, it would be useful to have a good back support always. Chair arms should be short and height adjustable.
  • Implement rest or stretch breaks to provide an opportunity for increased circulation needed for recovery.

           Hazard 2: Floor Operations

Studies have shown that deck operations and maintenance are where most injuries occur. A key scene in the movie was the scene depicting the undertaking of the pressure test to determine the stability of the rig. We can see floor workers pacing back and forth performing the pressure test, the work station floor is completely wet and slippery with no visible caution signs in place.  Heavy rainfall and sea blasts are inevitable given the positioning of the drilling rig.giphyhihi.gif While this hazard may seem very minor to an everyday workstation, in this case it claimed the lives of 11 men. These men were last seen on the drill floor, the mud pump room, and the shaker house. All those areas were broadly exposed to the gaseous hydrocarbon flow erupting from the well through the MGS system vents. No protection system was built into these working areas of the rig to deflect the effects of explosion from those who were exposed. This scene also illustrates maintenance violations whereby, throughout the movie it makes mention of maintenance problems not being resolved. Communication is an invariable factor in the operations of the rig, however, phones were not working, equipment needed maintenance and plants gave inaccurate readings due to lack of maintenance.

Violation: This is in breach of the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago as Section IV (22)

(1) In every industrial establishment, no young person shall work at a machine to which this section applies, unless he has been fully instructed as to the dangers arising in connection with its operation, and the precautions to be observed, and

(a) has received sufficient training in work at the machine; or

(b) is under adequate supervision by a person who has special knowledge and experience in the operation of the machine.

(2) This section applies to such machines as may be prescribed, being machines which are of such a dangerous character that a young person ought not to work at them unless the requirements of subsection (1) are complied with.


  • Paint stripes to highlight hazards on floor.
  • Put up protection against weather (wind, rain, etc.).
  • Wear the necessary PPE and ensure proper fitting of PPE.
  • Use good handling techniques, and equipment e.g. trolleys, slings, to make the job more manageable.
  • Boots may be wet and greasy. Thus, it may be helpful to put non-slip tread on the rungs.
  • Ensure all equipment are regularly maintained and have the necessary repairs done.

             Hazard 3: Clear Emergency Plans


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Although the vessel had muster stations and emergency plans, crew members had never practiced safety drills without warning to simulate a real disaster. In one scene of the movie after the rig explosion, the muster point was unclear to many.  After an investigation was conducted, it can be seen that watch officers were not trained to respond to the conditions faced in this incident, emergency procedures did not equip the watch standers with immediate actions to minimize damage and loss of life,  the training routine did not include any full rig drills designed to develop and maintain crew proficiency in reacting to major incidents, and training of key personnel did not include realistic blowout scenarios or the handling of multiple concurrent failures.

Violation: This is in breach of the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago as Section V (26), (27), (28).

  1. (17) An employer shall take into consideration the results of the annual risk assessment carried out pursuant to section 13A in determining what is necessary to provide a means of escape in case of fire.
  2. Where in an industrial establishment more than twenty persons are employed in the same building above the ground floor, or where explosive or highly flammable materials are stocked or used in a building where persons are employed, effective steps shall be taken to ensure that all employed persons are familiar with the means of escape, their use and the routine to be followed in case of fire and a record of the number and frequency of evacuation drills shall be kept and presented, on demand, for inspection by the fire authority.
  3. In every industrial establishment there shall be provided, maintained and kept readily available for use appropriate fire equipment approved by the fire authority for fighting fire and the occupier shall ensure that a sufficient number of persons trained in using such equipment are available during the working hours and a record of the number of persons trained and the frequency of lectures and fire drills shall be kept and presented on demand, for inspection by the fire authority.


  • Industry should institute design improvements in systems, technology, training, and qualification to ensure that crew members are best prepared to cope with serious casualties.
  • Drilling rig contractors should require realistic and effective training in operations and emergency situations for key personnel before assignment to any rig.
  • Realistic simulators should be used to expose key operators to conditions of stress that are expected in major conflagrations, including heat and loss of visibility.

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Biological hazards refer to organisms or organic matters produced by these organisms that are harmful to human health. These include parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and protein. In general, there are three major routes of entry for these micro-organisms into our body, i.e. through the respiratory system, transmission through contact with body fluids of the infected or contact with contaminated objects (Biological Hazards- Prevention and Personal Protection)

Neglect of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – At the turning point of the movie where the mud was seeping through the drill pipe valve upon taking the pressure test, it is seen that Caleb Holloway is examining the pipe with his bare hands and upon inspection, discovered that is was oil. In previous operations in the movie however, he is seen to be wearing his PPE (gloves). The neglect of Caleb to keep his PPE on is seen as a biological hazard as the exposure of skin to hazardous agents can result in a variety of occupational diseases. The contact between the oil and his skin can lead to the oil being absorbed by his skin, with the chemical composition of the oil being a threat to his health. Where is his gloves? Wasn’t full PPE necessary?  

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Violation of OSH Act: According the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago under the section of Safety with regards to personal protective equipment, all persons entering an area in an industrial establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury, shall be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard and adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices, and no person shall be permitted to be in any such area unless he is wearing such protective clothing or device.

Recommendation: It is crucial to keep your PPE on at all times during the duration of any job to be in compliance of the act as well as to be safe and protected as well as minimize all hazards and potential hazards. To ensure that PPE is worn at all times, signs along with supervisors should be on site reinforcing the action of keeping on your PPE as well as sanctions for not doing so.

The Mixing of Blood and Fluids- After the disastrous blowout of oil and the explosion that followed, most of the workers suffered physical damage which resulted in various cuts and bruises. When most of the workers reached to an assembly point, Mike William took it upon himself to locate crew members who didn’t make it. It was through this venture that he found several colleagues bleeding intensely. In addition to his colleague, Mike was bleeding as well. In trying to help his colleague, Mike did not think about the biological hazard and being susceptible to obtain any type of infection.


In this Clip from the movie, the employee’s leg gets stuck and breaks. Mike pulls bone with his bare hands to get leg out of rubble. Skin to skin contamination may occur here. What a cringing scene though.

Recommendation: Although it may have been very unlikely to take care of himself in the situation given, Mike’s susceptibility to infection could have been reduced if Mike could have had medical attention in which his wounds were cleaned and covered with bandages.



A Psychological Hazard is defined as “any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner” (physiotherapyalberta.ca). Some Psychological Hazards in the movie “Deepwater Horizon” are Work Organizational Factors such as Workplace Violence (Conflict) and Personal Factors such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (depression, anxiety), Frustration and Fear. As seen in Deepwater Horizon, negative mental health impacts were most common in people whose work, family, or leisure life was impacted by the spill.


HAZARD: Conflict is the mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands. Workplace conflict, given its relationship to stress, can be equally dangerous to people’s physical and emotional health. In this image the conflict was the amount of resources that was being spent on the equipment, which was very low even though there was a need to repair and upgrade.  This compromised the life of employees. The suggestion was made to upgrade equipment to prevent the occurrence of any accidents, however, it was not done because of the focus on profitability of the management of BP. The BP executive and acting rig supervisor insisted on going ahead despite complaints of faulty equipment and unfinished checks.

RECOMMENDATION: Training employees to resolve conflicts. By developing conflict resolution skills employees and managers can resolve problems early and avoid major disruptions to their business. Dispute resolution workshops and training focuses on topics such as managing difficult behaviors, mediation practices, prevention of bullying and other techniques. Good communication skills are very important as it is less likely to enter into conflicts and are more likely to ensure agreements. This would also create efficiency in the workplace by saving time from having disputes and creating hostile environments.

ffff.gifHAZARD: Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault or other life-threatening events. In the movie Deepwater Horizon stress was a main factor to employees due to the loss of  co-workers. Eleven (11) of them were killed because of the explosion during the oil spill. It also caused some workers to no longer work in the oil industry such as Andrea Fleytas and also some to never go back to the sea again such as Mike Williams. It was a very real and had a long-lasting impact on individuals and communities.

RECOMMENDATION:  Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy should be offered to those with severe post-traumatic symptoms or with post-traumatic stress disorder after the traumatic event. Also support, guidance, and assistance from friends and family can help in recovering. Another way can be trying not to isolate oneself, trying to connect with people such as making new friends, reconnecting with old friends and participating in social activities. It is also advisable to prepare employees for such events because of the nature of the job and the risky environment they work in so that it would cushion or soothe the effect of any such event.

jjj.gifHAZARD: A critical incident can be defined as any event that has a stressful impact sufficient enough to overwhelm the usually effective coping skills of an individual. Frustration is the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. The stress of the situation caused anxiety to the offshore installation manager of Transocean. His reaction was one of frustration and disappointment towards BP executive as he sent him to safety because of their previous disagreement.

RECOMMENDATION: Anger is one way people tend to vent their frustration which can be directed towards either ourselves or towards the one causing it. Only when someone is thinking straight and being calm they would be able to address the problem that is causing the frustration.  Also accept and move on rather than stressing which can cause nervous breakdown and mental illness. Anger management programmes should be available to employees especially as the environment they work in is capable of contributing to such.       

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Doing this blog for The Deepwater Horizon was very intriguing just knowing that it was a real story and the events that occurred were very accurate. Cutting corners to save a few millions, by a billion dollar company costed them billions, 11 innocent lives and devastation to wildlife worldwide. This movie should be used to help oil companies improve their safety measures. PPE isn’t enough and better safety procedures in case of major disasters such as the one seen in the movie should be entailed on platforms.

           THANK YOU FOR READING!!!!


  1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140408-gulf-oil-spill-animals-anniversary-science-deepwater-horizon-
  2. science/https://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/water/2015/Gulf-Wildlife-In-the-Aftermath-of-the-Deepwater-Horizon-Disaster_Five-Years-and-
  3. https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/physical_hazards
  4. https://www.graphicproducts.com/articles/workplace-noise-hazards/
  5. https://www.safetyadvice.ie/news/2016/08/28/what-is-a-mechanical-hazard/
  6. https://www.safeopedia.com/definition/189/slips-trips-and-falls
  7. https://etshare.pbworks.com/f/Chapter%2017.pdf
  8. https://www.safeopedia.com/definition/739/fire-hazards Counting.pdfhttps://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2010-0115-0129-3138.pdf
  9. Liou, J. (2011, September 21). Training, hazard control key to better ergonomics. Retrieved October 03, 2017, from http://www.drillingcontractor.org/training-hazard-control-key-to-better-ergonomics-10633
  10. Read “Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Improving Offshore Drilling Safety” at NAP.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved October 03, 2017, from https://www.nap.edu/read/13273/chapter/7#85
  11. Workplace Ergonomics 101. (n.d.). Retrieved October 03, 2017, from http://ergo-plus.com/workplace-ergonomics/ 


    NOTE: All GIFs and images were created by the group and all copy rights reserved. ®



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When the threat of imminent death becomes a reality, survival mode sets in. This is the situation which was faced by the main character, Mike Williams, on an oil rig deep in the Gulf of Mexico. His desire to see his family alive again was his drive to do whatever it took to stay alive. Facing a myriad of health and safety violations, from hurling projectiles to an outbreak of fire on an exploding oil rig, Mike lived to tell the story. This was the plot which provided the subject matter for the thriller movie “Deepwater Horizon”.


Based on a true story, the account given in the movie Deepwater Horizon which occurred on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, revealed that London-based oil giant, British Petroleum (BP) was responsible for the oil spill. This resulted in them having to pay billions of dollars in fines. The movie opens with an audio excerpt of a court trial, recounting the events of the tragedy on board the Deepwater Horizon.  In a symbolic representation of what was to occur in the movie, the scene opens with the main character, Mike Williams’ daughter giving an account of what takes place on the oil rig where her father works, which climaxed with an explosion sending black soda from a can spiralling high into the air.

Fast forward to all the main characters being safely airlifted on to the oil rig; the plot begins to unfold when the numerous quality control shortcuts and safety breeches perpetuated by BP officials for the sake of profiteering were identified. In a twist of irony, Mr. Jimmy, the offshore installation manager, was given an award for the rig’s excellent safety record, in what seems like seconds before violent eruptions are set off on board the Deepwater Horizon. Thereafter, mayhem, chaos and catastrophe follow; culminating with the unfortunate death of eleven crew members.


From the movie, the hazards observed were classified into physical, psychological, chemical, biological and ergonomic. A discourse is advanced for each classification and insights to mitigate their effects are also stated.


Physical hazards are factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. This generalization covers the US OSH Act’s definition of a physical hazard as a chemical. Reference is made to the US Act since our local OSH Act of T&T (2004) was amended in 2006 and fails to define such hazard. Some examples of physical hazards are constant loud noise, radiation and exposure to elevated levels of pressure, amidst many others.

In one of the opening scenes of the movie, the first physical hazard encountered was excessive noise while crew members were approaching and disembarking from the helicopter. Some of the crew members were not wearing earplugs which may result in hearing loss, annoyance reaction and tinnitus to name a few. The character Mr. Jimmy was given a warning to retreat but was unable to receive the message because of the loud noise.

On the Deepwater Horizon oil rig there were lack of maintenance and testing. Many of the equipment needed to be repaired but the executives were trying to cut cost. A debate was ongoing which resulted in the approval to carry out the drilling job, a negative pressure test to be exact. However, the build-up of pressure which clogged the pipe with debris resulted in a massive blowout. This produced slip/trip, fall, crush and cut hazards arising in physical injuries as seen in Figure 1. Crew members were tossed like dirty laundry; covered in broken glass and had limbs caught and crushed by machinery and rubble. Most men were properly attired in personal protective equipment (PPE) which decreased the level of injury they experienced.

fig 1
Fig. 1 showing Mike and other workers with various injuries.

After the blowout the oil rig was engulfed in flames resulting in the death of several crew members and the injury of countless others. Many individuals were burned whilst others were exposed to choking hazards and gas inhalation. Though gloves were worn there was no respiratory protection available. The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) Part IV Section 32 states “respiratory protection of an approved standard shall be provided and maintained, where necessary, for use by all personal in the industrial establishment.”

fig 2
Fig. 2 showing the aftermath of the explosion.

Malfunctioning smoke detectors presented another hazard on the rig. It exposed the workers to harm from the smoke and fumes, which were present before, during and after the explosions which rocked the structure. The apparent absence of a prepared and familiar disaster response routine resulted in panic and confusion among the rig workers who stumbled about,  however, still finding their way to the lifeboats. The presence of oil slicks floating on the water also contributed towards burn hazards. Drowning was another hazard identified, as many of the crew had to evacuate on lifeboats. The falling debris from collapsing portions of the rig also presented a crush hazard. As stated earlier the majority of men on the rig wore gloves. However, while attempting to restore power and attempting to prevent the resulting spill, one of the crew members grasped a door wheel without gloves and experienced a significant burn. In this regard, burns were another hazard present. Especially when two persons had to climb the burning metal stairs to escape the engulfed rig.


A psychological hazard is “any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker, by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner.” In the Occupational Safety and Health Act (2004) as amended (2006), Part III, Section 15. (a) states, inter alia, that an employee can refuse to do work if he has reason to believe there is serious and imminent danger to himself or unusual circumstances have arisen which are hazardous or injurious to his health or life. This was the case on Deepwater Horizon when Mr. Jimmy refused to allow his crew to work pending the necessary safety tests; for he was aware of the possible dangers that existed from the cost cutting measures sanctioned by BP officials. In the movie, the failure of the safety mechanisms set off a series of explosions which led to serious harm, dismemberment and death of the crew on board. Seeing their colleagues drenched in blood from cuts and bruises from projectiles and falling metal catapulted the crew into emotional distress.

In Figure 3 Mike is trying to console Andrea after witnessing the catastrophic events on board the Deepwater Horizon where their colleagues were seriously injured. The stress of the explosion also caused another crew member to become disoriented and unaware of his surroundings, as he is seen in the movie asking if Mike was his brother and where he was, because his sense of direction got impaired. The psychological hazard was not limited to the crew on board, but was also experienced by the family, friends and loved ones of those on board the oil rig, who are seen frantically waiting on news of what had happened on the rig and whether their loved one had survived the ordeal.

fig 3
Fig. 3 showing Mike trying to console Andrea. 

Figure 4 shows the wife of Mike Williams as she tried to obtain information on what had happened on board the Deepwater Horizon. The uncertainty surrounding the events was enough to affect her coping mechanism and mental health. Other relatives were not as fortunate as she was, to see their loved one alive again. For example, there was a man who kept asking Mike if he had seen his son; when Mike answered no, the stress of the situation caused the man to snatch Mike, which was a means of venting his frustration. This event occurred in the lobby of the hotel where all family members of the crew had gathered to greet their relatives who had survived the ordeal. This reality would trigger the need for counselling to assist friends and relatives with the new found reality that their loved ones would not be returning from what should have been their routine twenty-one day shift offshore.

fig 4
Fig. 4 showing Mike’s wife desperate for information about the Deepwater Horizon. 

A work organizational factor such as work harassment is also a type of psychological hazard which can be noted at the workplace. In the movie, depicted by Figure 5 below there was a scene where the BP Executive/Night-time Rig Supervisor, Donald Vidrine, pressured Jason, Senior Toolpusher, to perform a negative pressure test at the kill line, even though the rig supervisor Mr. Jimmy disproved because it was not the usual protocol. Initially, Jason listened to his supervisor but after the BP Executive called him out for being scared, he went against Mr. Jimmy and listened to Donald to perform the kill line test which eventually lead to the devastation of the rig. In this instance, the pressure put on Jason led him to neglect any logical thought and he wanted to prove his manager wrong and in so doing, did as Donald demanded.

fig 5

Fig. 5 showing standoff between Mr. Jimmy and BP manager Donald.

According to Occupational Safety and Health and (OSH) legislation, all workplace hazards must be identified and assessed for their risk level. Many specific OSH codes applying to psychological hazards exist. Part 27 of the OSH Code identifies workplace violence and harassment as a hazard and sets forth employer responsibilities.


A hazardous chemical refers to a chemical which has properties with the potential to do harm to human or animal health, the environment, or capable of damaging properties and are combustibles. The term includes chemical dusts, vapours, smoke, fumes, mixtures, solvents, detergents, acids, alkalies, petroleum and paints etc.

In the movie, the drill crew floorhands who cleared the drilling mud were at a higher risk for these types of chemical hazards. Figure 6 below shows the initial explosion of drilling mud.

fig 6

Fig. 6 showing initial explosion after drilling mud and oil.

Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM); uranium, thorium and potassium are present in the earth’s crust and are usually left untouched. Exposure will usually occur in the drilling process as seen in the movie which affected the drill crew floorhands who cleared the drilling mud. Figure 7 below shows the drill crew floorhands in the movie trying to control and contain the spewing drilling mud.

fig 7

Fig. 7 showing drill crew floorhands trying to control and contain the spewing drilling mud.

After the initial explosion it was evident that there was natural gas escaping when Mike, who was the chief electronic technician and lead character, smelled the air. Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) usually identified by a “rotten egg” smell is colourless and highly flammable. In its lowest forms of exposure persons can have disturbed equilibrium, eye and skin irritation as portrayed by Mike when he was walking through the corridors of the rig looking for a way to escape.

Additionally, in the movie shortly after the explosion, a pelican, which is shown in Figure 8, flew into the pit where part of the crew including Andrea, the dynamic positioning operator, was watching the entire explosion. The appearance of the bird caused some shock and confusion among the crew members. The pelican flew around frantically and damaged some of the buttons on the equipment and control panel. From the movie it was evident that harm to animals was another effect of chemical hazards.

fig 8

Fig. 8 showing dead bird after being covered in oil.


A biological hazard is caused by biological waste such as medical waste, microorganisms, virus, bacteria etc. The biological hazards can affect both human and animal life and health in a variety of ways, which has the effect of altering DNA.

In Figure 9, there were drill crew floorhands working by mud pumps, when one of them noticed mud seeping out around the drill pump where they were standing. Mere seconds after this discovery an explosion occurred forcing a mixture of mud and oil into the air.

fig 9.png

Fig. 9  showing Caleb being covered in mud after the mud pump burst.

The composition of this mixture had been in the ocean for years and would have bacteria and some microorganisms in it. The only protection the workers had were hard hats, overalls and shoes. The workers should have been provided with face protection such as goggles and masks. The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006), Part IV, Section 23, speaks about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for employees. In this case more protective equipment should have been provided in the event of an accident such as that occurred. The equipment would have prevented mud from getting into the eyes and mouths of the workers. The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) also speaks about safeguards as it relates to the safeguarding of machinery. The employers should have ensured they protected the mud pump in such a way that it would never be able to release mud on workers. Better engineering was needed. There was also the fact that the workers obtained many cuts while trying to escape the oil rig. These cuts were left untreated throughout the entire ordeal. Open wounds can attract bacteria which can become infected. If these infections are not properly treated by a health practitioner you run the risk of further complications, as seen in Figure 10 when Mr. Jimmy got a swollen eye from projectiles. The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) places emphasis on certain body parts namely ear, eyes, leg and arm. As life would be severely altered if they are seriously damaged.

fig 10

Fig. 10 showing Mr. Jimmy’s swollen eyes after being hit with projectiles.

The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) under General Duties makes mention that an emergency plan shall include suitable and rapid means of first aid help and transportation from the industrial establishment to the hospital for injured help. There was no quick first aid help given to Mike or any injured person and there wasn’t enough transportation for all the injured. Emergency drills should have been done often so they would have better handled the situation and known how to treat injuries.


Ergonomic Hazards are physical factors within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. They include motions such as repetitive movement, manual handling, workplace/job/task design, uncomfortable workstations and poor body positioning.  Ergonomic issues throughout the movie can be associated with a wide range of concerns which also involves skilled performance and stress.

Figure 11 depicts a scene in the movie in which Caleb was required to pull a wheel in a circular, motion to lock off the pump.  This motion could place strain to his lower back as it involved a turning motion and poor feet balance during the process.  While he continues to turn the wheel, the ergonomic hazard in this regard could result in muscle spasm or even cervical discs injury.  Loss of muscle function, sensation and in extreme cases disrupted signal between the brain and body can also be the end result of this action.

fig 12

Fig. 11 showing Caleb turning the wheel on a valve.

Another ergonomic hazard identified is seen in Figure 12 in which Mike is seated repairing smoke detectors. The poor seating posture can result in loss of lordotic curve of the lumbar and cervical discs region. This manner of poor posture for extended periods of time may cause hip rotation to lose its outward curve and by extension negatively impact on his spinal cord.  The poor posture displayed can also cause him to suffer muscle tension thereby increasing the pressure on the intervertebral discs.  This uneven distribution of body weight can also occur while being seated without proper support for extended hours. The lumbar curve may flatten out in the seated posture also increasing pressure to the intervertebral discs.  It also may lead to nerve and spine injury and resulting in severe back pain as he sits without proper support.

fig 13

Fig. 12 showing Mike repairing smoke detectors. 

Based on the OSHA Act 2004 amended (2006), Section 15, inter alia, states that an employee may refuse to work or do particular work where he has sufficient reason to believe that (b) any machine, plant, device or thing he is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself or another employee. In the movie we see violations in the workstation area where the employees are required to function. The seating and standing positions were not designed to provide adequate support to the back, arm, neck area etc. These breaches could have led to serious injury while already performing tasks in an already high-risk environment.


It is obvious that throughout the movie, that the BP officials on-board were the ones responsible for the tragedy on the Deepwater Horizon. The crew under the supervision of Mr. Jimmy were adamant on meeting safety standards. However, BP executives’ only concern was that they were behind schedule and they needed to initiate drilling. Their greed and deliberate disregard of all the warning signs of potential danger resulted in the catastrophe on the oil rig, which in real life caused BP to dig deep into their coffers to pay fines. This movie serves to remind all employers, that they have a duty to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all employees, as well as to remind all employees that they have a right to refuse to work, if they feel their health or life is under threat.



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OSH Hazards in ‘Alice in Wonderland (2010)’




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Occupational Safety and Health (O.S.H.) is a multidisciplinary field that is concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of individuals engaged in any form of work or employment. In its broad scope, O.S.H. covers the social, physical and mental well-being of persons. The prime function of O.S.H. is to create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for employees, employers, customers and those that may be affected by the operations of the work environment, any violations of the O.S.H Act, the individual that violates the Act is liable to legal action being brought against them.


Alice in Wonderland! A tale that ignites the youthful imagination of a girl wanting more out of life. The movie surrounds nineteen-year-old Alice, daughter of British royalty, who longs to escape the dull and stuffy world she resides within. After she is proposed to by a dorky lord she has no interest in, she becomes distracted by a rabbit wearing a waistcoat. She follows him down a rabbit hole, and finds herself transported into a magical world, full of colours, fantasy and bizarre adventures. Here, she becomes vulnerable to peculiar creatures and exposed to new environments where danger lurks around the corner. In this fantasy-filled land, an evil Red Queen resides and a benevolent White Queen remains in hiding. There are creatures that have been waiting for Alice’s return, as a prophecy has stated that she is destined to kill the Red Queen’s most feared weapon, a giant called the Jabberwock. However, Alice has no recollection of being in Wonderland at all, so her confidence to carry out her destiny is hanging in the balance. When many of the creatures who greeted her are taken prisoner by the minions of the Red Queen, Alice feels compelled to wander about looking for help in retrieving them. She must find her way to the Red Queen’s Castle, locate the magical sword that can kill the Jabberwock, and accomplish the deed she was destined to carry out. On this journey, she happens to become susceptible to the dangers and hazards surrounding her.

Although the whole atmosphere of “Alice In Wonderland” movie is a fantasy adventure film that barely scales realistic events (profoundly disjointed from reality), Alice still had exposure to chemical, biological, physical, psychological and ergonomic hazards. “Safety First” has made the group decision to evaluate each individual hazard that was identified throughout the movie to further give recommendations on how these hazards can possibly be eliminated.   


 Throughout the film, Alice in Wonderland (2010), hazards such as; physical, psychological, ergonomic, biological and chemical hazards were discovered. Further into our blog, we’ll discuss in detail the specific hazards that fall under each category previously mentioned. This would be coupled with graphical representation of each hazard identified for further clarification.   


 In the most mundane day to day activities a person may be confronted with many different hazards that may cause serious bodily harm, one of the most common types of hazards that people are exposed too are physical hazards. A physical hazard is any environmental hazard that can cause bodily harm to an individual, examples of physical hazards include noise, heat, vibration, pressure, heights and fall hazards, it must be noted that physical hazards don’t necessarily need to make physical contact in order for an injury to occur. Alice in Wonderland’ in this movie the main protagonist Alice was confronted with many different types of physical hazards such as noise, heat, trip, fall, crush and many others, all hazards mentioned have the potential to inflict great damage to Alice.



GIF 1: *Alice running after the Rabbit*

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Here Alice is chasing after the Rabbit in the waistcoat through the forest. She appears to be clueless and unsure as to where the rabbit is leading her, which makes her vulnerable to what lies ahead such as changes in floor level and unstable ground surfaces. Due to these factors, Alice’s reckless and unsafe movement through the forest gives rise to the possibility of tripping hazards. Tripping can lead to a serious injury which is no fun at all! Luckily, she didn’t. However, prior to analysing this trip hazard, “Safety First” observed that the forest is filled with numerous trees, fallen branches, twigs and vines on the ground’s surface. If one isn’t too careful, tripping becomes a possibility. This automatically puts her in the category of being “at risk.” Also, her apparel could have put her at a higher risk. For instance, her dress could have caused her to get caught in the branches of the trees, and her shoes are not characteristic of “running shoes.” Potentially, Alice could have suffered from a trip, slip or fall resulting in her bruising herself, straining a muscle, spraining her ankle or breaking a bone. Thankfully, at this point no damage was done to Alice. However, her top priority should have been her safety!


Based on the nature of “Alice In Wonderland,” one cannot expect that there would be “No Running in Forest” signs plastered along the path that Alice took when chasing after the rabbit. However, this particular scene can still be used to represent ways that a tripping hazard can be avoided. Firstly, to reduce the potential hazards that lead to slips, trips and falls, the owner of the land where Alice was roaming, could pave a pathway leading in and out of the forest. This will eliminate the possibility of rocky surfaces that can cause a person to slip, trip or fall. Secondly, by having the pathway properly lit, this will increase visibility to persons moving along the pathway through the forest. Lastly, footwear also plays a big role in preventing a person from slips, trips and falls.





GIF 2: *Alice falling into the Rabbit Hole*

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We are confronted with hazards from the very beginning as we see  Alice, who after being overwhelmed by the idea of marrying a man she hardly knew, decided to follow what looked like a clothed rabbit. After chasing this rabbit she comes to a big rabbit hole and decides to lean in to get a better look and it is at this time that she falls face first into the hole. So Alice, in addition to chasing random creatures she encounters in a forest decides to endanger herself by leaning into a big hole in the ground (nice going Alice). Alice in this scene is violating the O.S.H. act of Trinidad and Tobago that states “It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the safety and health of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.”

In order to avoid accident or injury employers must ensure that proper safety barriers and precautions are present to not only warn employees of potential falling dangers but also prevent them from happening. Employees also have the responsibility to ensure that they practice good safety measures at all times. In this case, if Alice had avoided leaning over and looking into the rabbit hole that would have greatly minimized her chances of falling.




GIF 3 & 4: Alice being chased by the Bandersnatch

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In this clip, Alice is being chased by the Red Queen’s ferocious Bandersnatch pet. Initially, her survival instincts implore her to run and get out of the creature’s way into a safe direction. However, after running a couple yards, her fight-or-flight response shifts, and she courageously (or stupidly as some may think) decides to stand before the beast. At this point, Alice purposefully put herself in harm’s way. The Dormouse, seeing the error of her actions, runs up the back of the beast and proceeds to stab it in the eye causing it to act out and reach for its injured eye. From this, Alice obtains severe cuts from the creature’s claw on her forearm. Also, due to Alice not being dressed in the correct clothing, she put herself at a higher risk of obtaining scratches, scrapes, bruises and cuts on her body. I mean, running through Wonderland in a crowded forest wearing a silk halter dress? C’mon! Here, Alice is directly violating the O.S.H. Act of Trinidad and Tobago Chapter 88:08, Part IV (10) (1) (d) which clearly states, “It shall be the duty of every employee at work to use correctly the personal protection clothing or devices provided for his use.”


Alice should not have risk her life by standing in front of the Bandersnatch. To avoid being harmed by the creature she should have vacated to a safe zone out it’s way.





GIF 5: The Jabberwock breathing fire

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GIF 6: Alice Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

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In the movie, many fire hazards were also observed that not only made for wonderful cinematography but could have caused great physical harm. In the first instance when Alice foolishly falls down the rabbit hole we see that there are many lanterns on the walls of the hole. These lanterns run the risk of being broken by the falling debris and catching fire in the paper filled hole. Another significant fire hazard we see is when Alice fights the Jabberwocky (fire breathing creature) and is hit many times with the electric/fire attacks by the creature. This encounter poses a great fire risk as it exposes Alice to major burns.


To minimize the chances of burns employees should be provided with  protective gear by employers to ensure employees are adequately protected from injury .Any device that poses a fire hazard, such as covered lanterns, should be removed and replaced with lighting fixtures that do not pose a fire risk and employee should take the necessary steps to protect themselves from injury by ensuring they adhere to all fire safety protocols.



GIF 7 & 8: Mallymkun poking Alice’s foot and poking out the Bandersnatch’s eye

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A struck hazard refers to an accident in which a person is hit and injured by an object, tool or equipment. In the movie, Alice encountered a number of struck hazards. For instance, where Mallymkun, the Dormouse, poked Alice in her foot because she thought that is was the wrong Alice. Mallymkun also helped Alice escape from the Bandersnatch by poking out his eye with her sword. Another struck hazard is caused when Mallymkun and the March Hare were throwing objects blindly at people at the Hatter’s tea party. Also another struck hazard  is when the Red queen slapped the Knave of hearts for allowing Alice to escape and the last hazard is when the Hatter threw a dagger at the Knave of hearts causing an injury to his hand for trying to kill the Red queen.


In order to reduce struck hazards employees need to follow safety instructions and standard operating procedures. Hence, training of personnel that use the equipment and orientation with the workplace can help reduce the risk of injuries. Also strict supervision, monitoring, controlling, safety inspections and audits will help managers provide a safe environment for their employees. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) by the workers, such as clothing, headgear, and safety glasses is recommended to prevent serious injuries.



GIF 9: Alice slicing Jabberwock’s head off

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A crush hazard exists when two objects move toward each other or when a moving object approaches a stationary one. In the movie, a crush hazard that is identified is when Alice  battles with the Jabberwock as seen in GIF 9.  Another crush hazard happened during the battle between the Red and White queen, the Jubjub bird was killed when its head was crushed by a giant boulder from a catapult without it noticing.

IMAGE 2: Jubjub Bird’s head getting crushed

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To prevent hazards from happening, management must follow and keep up-to-date with OSHA regulations. Also all employees must follow safety instructions and standard operating procedures. Furthermore, to reduce risk of serious injuries all employees must be aware of their surroundings in the workplace to create a safe environment for themselves and others. In the workplace, employees should be encouraged to record all issues and hazards. Once something is documented, it is easier to identify and address.  Also marking all hazardous areas with the appropriate notices and signs helps to reduce any hazards.



Psychological hazards are defined as any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming  individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner. Psychological hazards are closely associated with physical health in particular, heart diseases. Some psychological factors that may contribute to one’s physical health includes stress from conflict job overload, hostility, boredom, depression, fear and bullying just to name a few.





GIF 10: The Queen Using A Pig’s Belly As A Footstool

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Bullying was also a major part of the story line. It is mainly exemplified in the various scenes with the Queen, as she controlled all her servants. As illustrated in G.I.F. 10, we can clearly see the Queen using a pig, one of her servants, as a footstool. A FOOTSTOOL!? How can one be so insensitive that they use a living creature as a footstool? Without a doubt this can be described as advantageous in its purest form. This not only portrays the wicked nature of the queen but it in turns violates the Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act Chpt 88:08, Part II 20A. (c) where it states that “no employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall intimidate a worker”. Isn’t it not intimidating to know that your employer can, at any point, call on you to be a footstool? It sure is! This in turn led to a fear hazard.


GIF 11 & 12: The Queen Punishing her servant

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As a result of the derogatory manner the queen treated her employees, they were extremely afraid of her. As seen in GIF 11 the frog is literally trembling as he did something displeasing to her. He ate her food! Upon her realizing that it was him, he started explaining himself but she was not interested in what he had to say. She immediately dismissed him. This can be seen in GIF 12. This is a clear violation of the Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act Chpt 88:08, Part II, 20A. (a) where it states “No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall dismiss or threaten to dismiss a worker”. It is clear that her servants do not have job security and are therefore fearful.


Without a doubt, both scenarios depict psychological hazards in the form of bullying and fear. This is therefore an unhealthy environment for the queen’s servants and should be addressed for their optimum comfort. Two ways in which this can be addressed is to 1. Instil proper meditation practices to be used by managers – in this case the queen. This can aid with what seem to be a serious anger issue and reduce her aggressive response to situations that are not pleasing to her. Another way this can be addressed is to implement proper training for both managers and employees – in this case the queen and her servants. This would ensure that the queen is more sensitized to her duty to her employees and hopefully treat them in a much better way. It would also inform the employees of their rights in the workplace and in turn they would know how to treat with their manager and enforce their rights without being dismissed and unfairly treated.



Ergonomic hazards are those physical factors of the environment that can cause harm to the musculoskeletal system. These hazards are caused by uncomfortable working stations, repetitive movements, poor body posture and vibrations, amongst other factors. These types of hazards aren’t always immediately obvious making it quite difficult to discern. However, injuries sustained from ergonomic hazards can be as little as a sore muscle or a long-term illness that can be detrimental to the body. The intensity of the injury depends on the length of time being exposed.





IMAGE 3: The Queen’s Throne

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Ahhhh we know what you’re thinking, such a royal site, must be furniture  for a queen and her pet, right? Because there’s no way  in hell another human can sit comfortably on that stool on that’s placed on the right side of ”her majesty’s” chair! Oh well, descend your eyes further down.





GIF 13: The Queen and Alice ascending to The Throne

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IMAGE 4: The Queen and Alice

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Yes, you’re seeing correctly, a young lady known as Alice is slouched over the stool. Hazard! hazard! Hazard! Alice causes harm to her musculoskeletal system. Firstly, her posture is poor and her knees are bent lower than usual, almost as though she has to stoop in order to sit. This may cause long term damage to Alice’s  spine. There is also a strong possibility that it can remain permanently bent.  Secondly, Alice can also suffer from sore muscles and poor circulation all due to the manner in which she sat. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act 2004 every employee has the right to ask their employer to correct dangerous conditions. In this case Alice is responsible for her own safety, she has the choice to either sit on the stool or remain standing. However, Alice  willingly sat on the stool without asking the queen, to take corrective actions. Such as providing better seating accommodations. Ohh well Alice, we do hope that  better decisions will be made next time.





IMAGE 5: The Mad Hatter and Alice having tea

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In this part of the movie it is shown that Alice, in her shrunken state, is sitting on a chair that is too big for her. The table is not at the height of her elbows so it would be very uncomfortable if she were to try and participate in their festivities. It is also shown that the back of the chair is not high enough to accommodate the support of her back, this can lead to sore muscles or even long-term illnesses. If the environment that the employee is working in daily is not up to par, it is up to the employers to eliminate the hazard. The employers can firstly identify them, then take the necessary measures to eliminate them whether using administrative or engineering controls. When Ergonomic Hazards are identified, it may be necessary to redesign aspects of a workspace or employee routine. Anything that could cause employees to experience long or short-term strain should be evaluated, and alterations to procedures and workspaces should be considered. If it’s determined that Ergonomic Hazards cannot be removed from a workplace, controls can help to reduce risks that are involved.


We recommend that engineers redesign workspaces in order to accommodate individuals that work in compromising positions. This in return would  reduce strain and improve employee’s body posture. Employers must ensure that all workspaces provide employees with  a full range of motion required to complete a task. Administrative controls reduce risk by changing work processes and activities in order to make them more safe, such as providing employees with break periods that help to reduce short-term strain.



A chemical hazard is a form of occupational hazard that is caused by the exposure of chemicals in the work environment. Exposure to these chemicals in the workplace can be detrimental. These chemical hazards poses a wide range of health and physical issues and therefore should not overlooked. Employees should wear proper PPE or ensure measures are in place to prevent these hazards.




GIF 14 & 15: Alice Consuming the “Drink Me” Potion

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In the above illustration, Alice is analyzing a substance labeled “drink me”. She has no idea what the substance contains because it is not properly labeled, but she proceeds anyway to follow the instructions to drink it as it seems like the only way forward or out of the room that is minute compared to her present size. How crazy does someone has to be to drink a substance they know nothing of? The substance was used to make her shrink which may have contained hazardous chemicals based on the ingredients. The possible side effects would have included poisoning, corroding, irritation, sensitizing, or even death. The likelihood of the risk seemed to be low whereas the severity could’ve been very high. Surprisingly, these substances were harmless.





GIF 16: The Mad Hatter’s erratic behaviour

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Mad Hatter’s erratic behaviour stems from a real life industrial hazard many years ago. Hatters worked in poorly ventilated rooms and were exposed to mercury that shape and convert fur into hats. Evidently, that is exactly where Mad Hatter got his name and character from, although he seems to be one of the not so mad hatters. The mercury poisoned Mad Hatter which showed through his very bright, red, hair and eyes. Although Mad Hatter did not possess many of the symptoms of being harmed by the mercury, some of the symptoms include irritability, excitability and erethism.





GIF 17: Absolem (The Blue Caterpillar) Blowing Smoke from his Hookah

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

In the above image we see the caterpillar blowing smoke into the atmosphere. It is no uncertainty the level of harm that can be caused by such act. Absolem (the caterpillar) blows a volume of smoke into Alice’s and others face while speaking with them. Inhaling smoke can cause a variety of health effects including respiratory problems, shortness of breath and worsen medical conditions. The likelihood of Alice falling ill is rather high since she is considered an at risk person because of her age.  The caterpillar’s careless actions would have been injurious to the health of the others. Although this scene is not based in a working environment, the OSH act section on the prohibition against smoking would have been violated since Absolem was in contact with other persons.


To reduce the level of risks posed by chemical hazards, there are a number of controls that can be implemented. These controls are located on a hierarchy ranging all the way from elimination to PPE. Some of these include, but are not limited to, a  proper ventilated area to protect others from the dangers of smoking, ensuring that all substances are clearly labeled and stored in a safe place, substituting harmful substances where possible and the use of protective wears where necessary, for example a face mask.



Biological hazards refers to organisms or matters produced by these organisms that can cause harm to a human’s health. For example, parasites, viruses, bacteria and fungi. Hazards of this nature are encountered in the environment and pose a significant threat. Commonly, these microorganisms can enter our body via three avenues. These avenues are; the respiratory system, transmission through contact with bodily fluids or physical contact with contaminated objects.





GIF 18: Alice in a room after falling down the Rabbit Hole

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

Here is Alice, confused and scared in some sort of room after falling down the “rabbit hole”. Subsequent to assessing the room, we came to the conclusion that the room is abandoned, dingy and more than likely to be harbouring mould. Consider heavy rains in the forest and a hole that leads to an underground room. Does a damp and mouldy environment come to mind? Sure does for us, Safety First folks. Exposure to damp and mouldy environments poses a risk to one’s health. Lengthy exposure to this environment could have caused throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or even skin irritation for Alice. What if someone who has mould allergies or even a chronic lung illness was exposed to a room of this state? The risk would’ve been much higher, as such, their reaction would’ve been extremely severe.





      GIF 19, 20 & 21: Alice Exploring Wonderland

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

As the name of the movie cleverly suggests, Alice wandering off in a bizarre land after falling into the “rabbit hole”. Roaming through this foreign land, as seen in the graphical representations above, she’s not equipped with any personal protective equipment and devices (PPE). Thus, Alice is exposed to the various micro-organisms that live in the plants and animals in Wonderland. These biological hazards can enter Alice’s body through inhalation, absorption, ingestion and even injection. In the scenes that are captured in the images above, Alice is at risk to inhaling the various organisms. Do you think we’re aware when we have inhaled a bacteria? Truth is, we’re likely not to be aware as there is no smell, taste or irritating effects. Moreover, Alice being a teenager, as mentioned before, is classified as an “at risk person”. Persons that fall under this classification are likely not to be very knowledgeable and experienced. Hence, they’re likely to be more at risk than others and ought to be supervised. It’s safe to say Alice is a walking risk hazard.


GIF 22 & 23: The Cheshire Cat and The March Hare enjoying tea in the middle of the forest.

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/



GIF 24: Mad Hatter walking on the table where they’re consuming foods in the forest.

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

In the GIFs above, we can see Alice’s new friends having a meal. In addition to consuming the foods in an open and highly prone to bacteria atmosphere, Mad Hatter thought it was wise to walk on the laden table of food. Is he mad? He has to be! Surely, after this scene, his name wasn’t to be questioned. Just think of all the bacteria that’s under his shoes. There is a high probability that his egotistical action caused some sort of contamination to the food on the table. Thus, exposing those whom he considered his friends to be at risk of ingesting bacteria. This threat definitely could’ve been prevented if Hatter would’ve just walked on the ground like a normal person, but I suppose it’s not in his nature to be normal. In fact, Mad Hatter can  be viewed as violating the OSH Act T&T Chpt. 88:08 Part I 10. (1) (a) where it states “It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the safety of him and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omission at work”. Though this scene doesn’t depict a work environment, we found that it would be useful to use the Act as a standard guide for behaviour in any situation.  



GIF 25: The Bandersnatch licking Alice’s infected wound

Source:  https://makeagif.com/

In GIF 25, the Bandersnatch, who Alice’s first encounter is in fact the reason why she has the cut on her arm, is now reconciling with her as he uses his tongue and saliva to discontinue the spreading of the infection. Prior to meeting up the beast again, Alice travelled throughout the lands neglecting to treat the cut. As one can imagine, the cut got infected. Generally, infected wounds are caused by bacteria that may emanate from the skin, other parts of the body or the external environment. In Alice’s case, this unfamiliar environment which constituted countless microorganisms gave rise to her infected wound. Being that Alice was continuously exposed to bacteria, if she had not met back up with the Bandersnatch, the bacteria would’ve spread and cause infections in other areas of her body. Who would’ve thought that the beast that caused Alice harm would’ve been the one to be her saviour?

There are four levels of biological hazards. Four? Yes, four! I know right. ☹ur bodies reacts differently to each level, it may be as minor as a stomach ache or severe as death. Scary huh? I mean, doesn’t it make you want to isolate yourself? Luckily, our team has done sufficient research and we are able to provide recommendations which can ensure your safety. For the sake of our readers, these recommendations extend beyond the scope of the movie.   


Firstly, engineering controls are what ought to be the first choice of protection in areas of operations. For example, ventilation systems or  a constructive seal that can create a negative pressure room. Secondly, administrative controls refers to work processes or procedures that minimize the risk of hazard as low as practicably possible. For example, training, regulating personal hygiene, limiting exposure time to hazard by rotating shifts. Finally, personal protective equipment is likely to be the option after both engineering and administrative controls and there is still a threat to the safety and health of an individual. PPE then becomes necessary. Some PPE may include, gloves, face mask or respirator, eyewear protection.



Health and safety on work sites and in everyday life is something that people must pay close attention too to avoid serious injury or harm. As seen in the movie  hazards can exist in every aspect of life as we do the most routine things. Many times we don’t realise just how dangerous many of the things we do are and in our blog post we sought to show how the simplest things can have great consequences without us even realising it. It is therefore our hope that this article not only gave you better insight into a very popular movie but showed you how mindful you must be of everything you do. So remember this is Alice, Alice follows random rabbits through the forest and neglects safety rules, don’t be like Alice, put Safety First.


Alice In Wonderland Movie Review Summary














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OSH Hazards in “Deepwater Horizon” (2016)


Just use your imagination with me for a few minutes, ready?

What if you were on THAT rig on April 20th, 2010? Yes I’m talking about the one in the picture above, the one that’s TOTALLY engulfed in flames, the one that numerous workers are aboard just patiently waiting for their release date so they can FINALLY head home to their wives, husbands, children or parents, the one that looks like survivors may be the last thing you’ll find on board.

Did your heartbeat fasten? Did you feel like you would have been scared to death, LITERALLY! Just picture it, the heat, the pungent smell of chemicals, the excessive smoke, the roaring of the fire and everyone around you is panicking, afraid that they may not escape alive.  I don’t know about you, but I for one would probably FREAK OUT knowing that my life is flashing right before my eyes!

Wait, I’m not finished playing with your imagination! Let’s take this from another point of view, what if your child, your significant other, or relative was on that rig and you’re at home looking at continuous updates and reports of this tragedy. What would you be thinking?

On April 20th this horrific blowout claimed the lives of 11 offshore workers, it separated loved ones from families. But don’t you think maybe, just maybe if they followed protocol more lives could’ve been saved? The movie Deepwater Horizon is based on a true story that occurred in 2010 regarding the explosion of an oil rig due to multiple technical failures and bad decisions. The movie focuses primarily on the ill-fated and malfunctioning blowout preventer, a device designed to seal fluids such as gas beneath it and prevent them from coming to the surface. There are many inaccuracies and OSH related incidents in “Deepwater Horizon.” Some were small: For example, Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician for Transocean, sped down a flight of stairs on the rig carrying his luggage without holding any handrails, which would be a clear violation of Transocean safety policy. Others were huge.

Did you watch the movie Deepwater Horizon? Well, if you did, you would’ve noticed there were a number of hazards evident in the movie. They can be categorized into Physical Hazards, Psychological, Chemical, Biological and Ergonomic hazards.

If you are interested in the movie, here’s a link to the trailer:

But for now, let’s jump right in….

Physical Hazards

Many physical factors breaching health and safety measures were observed in this movie. As the movie opens, we can see an inspection is about to be carried out on the blowout preventer (BOP). Bubbles were then seen emerging up from the concrete base. When James Harrell and his crew arrived on the Deepwater Horizon, a floating rig, they are surprised to learn that the Schlumberger team assigned to run the cement bond log test by conducting a pressure test, were sent home early by orders from the BP managers, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza. This is the first issue we saw emerging from the movie, the importance of workplace inspections.

Wouldn’t you automatically think, “Hmm that is not a great idea, you should definitely do the test”?

When you work offshore, safety is something you make top priority as there are a lot of risks and hazards involved. Workplace inspections help prevent accidents and incidents which allow for qualified persons to take corrective action in the event that something is wrong.

Harrell points out a hazard to the BP managers, that the cement is the only thing between them and a blowout, which is his way of telling them, “Guys this test is seriously important! We can’t just ignore it.” If the cement job is compromised, everything above it, that is, the rig and all persons on board go up with it. The risk involved seemed very high because, remember those bubbles we saw earlier? That does not look like a good sign!

Harrell eventually convinces Mr. Vidrine, one of the managers to carry out a negative pressure test. However the test only serves to weaken the cement and a pressure alert is heard from the computer system. However, nothing happened, no mud came out from the pipeline so it seemed fine.

But wait. Don’t breathe a sigh of relief, that’s not the end of it.

Remember when we mentioned the risk was high? Well, guess how high it was. The cement job eventually failed which resulted in a blowout that took the lives of six men, SIX MEN!

Gif illustrating first mud explosion
Source: http://gph.is/2y1U2Yn

During the blowout, the main hazard, debris, can be seen projecting in all directions, smashing into the office windows and the risk involved can be classed as high due to the fact that men were killed. Even though we can see a wire barrier to further prevent larger objects from passing through, it was no match for the amount of pressure that was being released. Mud and oil are blasting everywhere, there is chaos, which makes it hard for the men who were working closer to the pipes to evacuate as they could not see properly or run away from it due to the oily, muddy and slippery grounds.

Image 1 illustrating mud and oil creating a slippery environment

This goes to show the serious need to carry out the necessary/proper checks and tests so that you are able to operate in the safest possible working environment.

See guys, sometimes shortcuts can result in the most severe of outcomes. Sure they were thinking about the money and how much they could have saved by not running the test, but was it worth it? Imagine this is only the beginning of the disaster that is about to unfold. Prepare yourself emotionally. You’ve been warned.

Everything intensifies! A huge explosion erupts and no, not just the mud and oil, but a fiery explosion! You may not have even realized it, but your jaw just dropped during this scene. Mine sure did!

Usually, you would say, “It’s just a movie, whatever,” but no, this is based on true events, TRUE EVENTS! Some of the hazards presented in this part of the movie were everyday objects, such as the lights and doors. You usually wouldn’t worry about those but due to the intense pressure released from the second explosion, the risk involved was also very high. Mike and Harrell among others are badly injured when the pressure and blast caused the lights and glass on the rig to shatter and hurl everywhere and for the doors to burst open, one of which slammed into Mike.

Another physical hazard was the burning crane and the risk involved was very high as one man tried to “control” it. He gave his life to save the surviving crew by diverting the burning crane that would have fell on them. Can you imagine that? Knowing the risk involved but still taking it just to save others.

Gif showing crane crashing and killing the crew member who risked his life to save others
Source : http://gph.is/2gpB2cz

Mike and Andrea are the last two remaining on the rig. There are many hazards around them, which include, both on the rig and in the water; fire everywhere, gases in the air and falling debris all around them. They have two choices, stay on the rig or jump in the water. The risks involved in both scenarios, such as serious injury or death, are very high, but at this point, it seems to Mike like the better option is to take their chances and jump in the water. To his, hers and our relief, this was the better option as they both survived even though Mike is hit on the head by an object and has to keep dodging other projectile objects.

How can this be prevented?

As previously mentioned, where the health and safety of someone’s life is concerned, do not let money do the talking, don’t take the shortest and easiest way out. That could mean the survival or death of someone in extreme cases such as this one.

One safety issue occurred when the pressure gauge in the control room exceeded its recommended (safe) limit. Following that sign, the crew handled the matter nonchalantly not knowing the severity of the situation. Emergency evacuation procedures should have been followed immediately in areas where men were working close to the pipes and where the mud flows out.

Another part where they could have evacuated was when mud started coming out of the equipment, the men tried to control it when they should have immediately left and go to a safer part of the rig. Maybe if they evacuated at this point, the death toll could have been less.

Sometimes we don’t pay attention to simple safety hazards in our homes or workplace, or evaluate the worst case scenarios and try to take corrective action so that we may prevent them. This is one reason why we must respect and take seriously the OSH standards and follow protocol. If the BP managers had carried out the necessary tests and properly examined the cement structure, it could have saved many lives and prevented all the other hazards and risks that unfolded in the days after due to the oil spill it created. Also, trusting each other is important, if the engineer, that is the expert, said that the readings on the machine indicated that something was wrong, then he would most likely be right.

Psychological Hazards

After discussing all those physical hazards, can you imagine the psychological impact it had on these people both during and after the event? This isn’t something you forget about with time, oh no, this stays with you forever.

A psychological hazard is any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner. You would think the source of these psychological hazards starts after the pressure tests when the explosion happened, but no, as a matter of fact, this started almost as soon as they landed on the rig. This is because the first thing they learned as they arrived was that the Schlumberger workers were leaving without conducting the necessary tests. It immediately worries and stresses Harrell because something so important was simply called off by the managers without consulting him. This creates an environment of tension between him and the BP managers. This stress is also seen when Harrell decides to give the managers a piece of his mind and demand that operations on the rig will not continue unless the negative pressure test is done so he can be sure that it is safe to continue work. At this scene, we also see frustration displayed by Mike when he lists out all the equipment that is not functional which then makes his and the others jobs more complicated.

Can you imagine having to work with such arrogant persons? Always having to complain about something or not have your opinion be taken seriously? The constant stress and frustration is surely enough to have serious psychological implications.

636105960405775561-DWH-D20-06019-RImage 2 showing Harrell and crew members frustrated with BP managers while conducting the tests

Now, we’re going to talk about where the psychological hazards intensify, and I mean jaw-dropping and tearjerker moments! I’m sure at some points while watching this movie you were holding your head in shock or maybe even wiping away the tears.

After carrying out the tests, known to the audience but unknown to the actors at this point, the cement had been compromised and a massive blowout occurred. One of the BP managers decides to go outside where the pipes were which put him at the blowout scene along with other workers. Though the manager was okay and was being assisted by Caleb, one of the crew members, others were seriously hurt, some even died.

This manager walks out there being cocky thinking everything went smoothly, but to his dismay, it is worse than he could have imagined. Those who were aware of what was going on were now fearful of what would or could happen after this blowout and were beginning to panic.

Had I been on that rig, I would’ve already been on my way to get on a lifeboat and leave! Bye, not coming back, good luck to you, not taking any chances with my life.

If that initial blowout was not enough to freak you out, a series of malfunctions ignited the oil causing a massive fiery explosion which affected the majority of rig. Now everyone is aware of the situation and the only thing left to do is to evacuate the entire rig.

Fear, panic, nervousness and being scared to death are only a few ways to describe the emotional and psychological atmosphere on the Deepwater Horizon. Crew members had to witness the death of their co-workers in multiple scenes, which is something that may never leave their memories.

Nearing the end of the movie where everyone except Mike and Andrea have evacuated the rig, came a dilemma. Mike, who seemed to be the one thinking of the quickest escape decides that jumping in the water may be their only chance at survival. However Andrea suffers a panic attack as she does not want to die and says she will not jump off the rig. With no other option in mind, Mike pushes her off and jumps after her.

Gif illustrating Andrea being pushed off the rig
Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/3ohhwxmSJfmR9lRSi4

Wait, what? So you’re suffering from a panic attack and someone pushes you into the now fiery ocean. Sure at the end she survived and had it not been for that act she may have died, but in that moment, Andrea was probably thinking, this is it for me, the end.

They are both joined by the surviving crew members. You can see the sadness and distress of the crew from witnessing all that had just unfolded.

Even at the hotel, Mike is distraught. He falls onto the bathroom door, shattering it as he bursts out into tears. Family members are also distressed, they were concerned whether loved ones made it back. Most, if not all crews members may now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder/syndrome (PTSD/PTSS). According to Mayo Clinic, PTSD is “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.” Some of the crew members never worked on a rig again because the idea of such a thing recurring is just too much to handle emotionally.

Chemical Hazards

How did those hazards sound? What about chemical hazards? Oil rig + Fire + Offshore. What comes to mind? GAS & GASEOUS SUBSTANCES. Can you imagine? Does this even tickle your nasal passage?

Deepwater Horizon is a clear illustration of how the combination of carbon dioxide, highly dangerous chemical, combustion sources; including burning oil and natural gas, and the use of gasoline‐powered engines can lead to catastrophic danger.

Gif  illustrating fiery explosion
Source: http://gph.is/2gk3MDp

On the Deepwater Horizon platform there was serious concern about the potential health effects on workers from inhalation and skin exposure to crude oil, weathered oil, dispersants, solvents used to clean boats, and other chemicals. Did they wear any face masks? Nope.

Workers were not fully protected with the adequate PPE as Mike walked through the plant without any protective gear .They were exposed to health and safety risks at work. Look at the difference in the picture below, Mike is seen on the right side of the picture.

Image 3 illustrating lack off PPE worn by Mike

The workers on the platform were exposed to poisonous gas and chemicals . Imagine being exposed to harmful chemical on your skin while toxic gas and stifling smoke entering your respiratory system. Woozy? This is a bit traumatic to think about . There was a gas failure throughout the entire platform . A combination of gas, mud, and pressure lead to a cataclysmic mass advocate explosion and an over blast of flames throughout the entire platform. As the rig ignited and exploded it engulfed the platform causing damage to both the rig and ocean.

During the height of the explosion workers on the rig often were not clothed with gloves, eye protection, and respiratory protective equipment. With high-pressure methane gas expanding from the well it is essential to have the necessary safety gear to protect oneself.

The environment was also significantly affected as well. The ocean was engulfed in flames and oil emerged on the surface of the sea. Need a visual? Look at the picture below.

deepwater-horizon-oscar-effects-vfx-4-1200x675Image 4 showing ocean engulfed in flames as oil surfaces

The effects of the oil spill not only affected the workers on the Deepwater Horizon but was a catastrophic event experienced among aqua marine life. Oil spills frequently kill marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals and sea otters. Birds were covered with thick, black coating of oils which gave them difficulties to fly, causing them to endanger themselves by frequently colliding with objects.

Ergonomic Hazards

Thus far, we’ve looked at the physical, psychological and chemical hazards. What else comes to mind? Think about it; Oil rig, Metal, Iron, Pipes, Valves, Machinery, HEAVY EQUIPMENT and many others. Somewhere and somehow, one or more of these physicals factors can affect a person’s musculoskeletal system. Don’t fall asleep just yet, LET’S TALK ABOUT ERGONOMIC HAZARDS.

Some of the crewmen can be seen jointly trying to contain a piece of the equipment in the scene where the mug initially starts flowing over, and we both know that if it requires more than one person to contain it, it must be heavy.

Workmen operated in an environment where they would have suffered from poor posture issues as well as back and knee pains resulting from their job descriptions, noted by the lifting of heavy materials around the station. Some work cabins were also uncomfortable for employees because there was no air conditioning. This most likely lead to heat exhaustion. The chair seen in Mike’s cabin would cause him to have back pain due to the height of the back rest being to low, causing him to slouch (refer to picture below).

Image 5 illustrating Mike slouching over his desk


There is no going back! No rewinding the hands of time! The depiction of this movie, without a doubt, exhibits how ignorance over safety protocols can result in an episode of disaster. What’s “done is done”, however the pore-raising catastrophe from Deepwater Horizon would definitely make you aware of the importance to abiding by safety regulations and how it is effective in preventing tragedies such as this, an explosion of a massive oil rig. The memories and injuries remain as a constant lingering reminder of what could NOT have been, if only the CORRECT safety protocols were followed. Safety protocol should have taken precedence above all and this movie should serve as warning and catalyst for businesses, that safety is a priority.



Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling. (2014, June 06). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-131/

King, B.S., &Gibbins, J.D.(2011, August). Health Hazard Evaluation of Deepwater Horizon Response Workers. Retrived from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2010-0115-0129-3138.pdf

Psychological Hazards and Controls for Rehabilitation Professionals. (2011, November 7). Retrieved from https://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/course_materials/ohs_module_6_handout.pdf

The Failures that Caused the Gulf Oil Spill. (n.d.) Retrieved October 09, 2017, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19425-the-eight-failures-that-caused-the-gulf-oil-spill/




OSH Hazards in ‘Volcano’ (1997)



“What a horror for the people in the city of Los Angeles, the word VOLCANO explains it all!”


VOLCANO (1997)


The Disaster Of Mount Wilshire

  This disaster film stars Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, and Don Cheadle, set in downtown Los Angeles and based on one of the most dangerous natural disasters known to man, an earthquake which leads to a volcanic eruption and it’s horrendous and unlikely after effects.

   The directors and producers made an exceptional film in conceptualizing the idea and putting across this disaster beautifully on the big screen. The film was a success bringing in a massive $122.8 million dollars US in total box office.   

   However, in this film, there are high varieties of health and safety violations, observed especially where the rescuers’ and doctors’ health and safety are concerned. If this exact scenario was to occur in reality, most, if not all of these people, would be suffering from serious internal injuries or would not survive.


Physical Hazards

   At the start of the movie, it was mentioned who was in charge of the city where natural disasters were concerned. This is the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) headed by director “Mike Roark” played by Tommy Lee Jones. He made drastic and impromptu decisions.  

   In the first sequence of the film where Mike is cooking food for his daughter, he is not concerned about safety even though he is the head of safety for the city. He does not use a glove to hold the hot frying pan which resulted in him being burnt while placing it down halfway on the countertop causing it to off balance and fall to the ground. This is evidence of a physical hazard since the pan could have fallen on his foot and cause serious injuries as he was not wearing any protective footwear. His house also seemed to be quite cluttered with objects on the ground that could be potential trip hazards and objects on shelves that could fall on him.

1Image 1: Mike held the hot frying pan without the use of gloves.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   At minute 6 of the film, the managers of the construction site are using a loader bucket as a table for their things. While it is in line with their height to benefit good posture, it is not a smart choice for a table because it is too small and if an earthquake was to occur then, everything would fall on them resulting in injury. Also if the loader were to shift from any movement, they would be crushed.

   Another extremely dangerous hazard was having men in an underground tunnel while the men that were supposed to be their anchor on top were far away and distracted. This is a job of high risk as there is only one point of regress. This proved to be a disaster especially when a gas explosion and massive heat wave struck the men inside. There was no quick way to escape and as a result, all but one died instantly. This is a physical hazard observed as he scratched his way up to the surface to get help, he was not wearing a hard hat or face shield which resulted in his face being severely burned.

2Image 2: Construction worker emerging from the underground tunnel with his face burnt.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   When Dr. Amy and Rachel ventured into the same underground tunnel, they used the correct heat-resistant protective equipment since they had an idea what they were getting into. However, they could be classified as ‘lone workers’ since no one else was aware that they were going in. Another hazard was when ‘Rachel’ kneeled down over the crack in the concrete. This was extremely dangerous as anything could emerge especially knowing what happened the day before with the team of workers. It so happened that she fell in the crack and was gone forever as it expanded exponentially, due to another earthquake and steam cloud arising from beneath them.

   With the volcano forming underground, ashes and smoke filled the atmosphere. This is a serious health physical hazard, relating to breathing. Most, if not all the civilians on the ground weren’t wearing dust masks to limit the amount of ash they inhaled. Another display of putting material things before human life was the preservation of the museum artifacts and paintings. Men were loading these into a truck while the roads were covered in ash and as the lava inched closer and hey had no form of personal protective equipment and devices (PPE). They are risking their lives, not only from the ash without the masks, but standing in one position as huge flaming rocks fall from the sky. Not only the reporters but as the ash filled the air with buildings and houses being burnt. The residents firstly tried to save their belongings instead of just leaving, therefore putting themselves in more danger. As they escaped, they just stood up in the streets watching the town get destroyed instead of taking shelter elsewhere. From a human perspective, they are just doing what is expected since they had to watch their life’s work be closer to them.

   The volcanic eruption also brought with it many noise hazards. Manhole covers flew into the air as high-pressure steam came shooting out of it. Projectiles came crashing down, burning trees and buildings also crashed down adding to the noise. Helicopters hovered above and in addition to all of this, was the general noise caused by persons screaming in fear, trying to escape. Emergency vehicles pulling up to the scene also added to the noise as sirens blared in addition to the other loud machinery. A news reporter even said it was so loud he couldn’t hear himself speak. No one in the movie however, was seen wearing any hearing protection.


3Image 3: Many trips hazards are seen from the equipment used for Dr. Amy to address the earthquake issues.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   Tangled cords and clutter can lead to a trip and fall leading to an injury. The electrical extension cords as seen in the image above were carelessly placed and tangled in a frequently used walkway. This is extremely dangerous since employees and customers or in this case members of the press and guest speakers could trip and injure themselves on a cord. If they don’t end up injured, their trip could pull a computer, monitor, cameras, and mics or other expensive pieces of equipment off a desk or disconnect and damage equipment. In the vicinity, anyone can trip and fall and injure themselves or even having the machinery fall unto them causing even more damages. It would be recommended to route the cords and cables so that they are not a tripping hazard to anyone, never do this by hiding them under rugs or other similar floor coverings.


4Image 4: Excessive steam is being shot out of a crack in the underground tunnel.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   In this particular scene of the movie, the investigation is being done to identify where the steam seen in the image above is coming from. Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. Air temperature, work rate, humidity and work clothing are all factors which can cause heat stress. Heat stress can affect individuals in different ways and some people are more susceptible to it than others. Typical symptoms of heat stress are muscle cramps, heat rash, severe thirst, fainting, heat stroke, etc. This is a severe disorder and can result in death if not detected at an early stage (Health and Safety Executive, 2013a).


5Image 5: Mike entering worksite without proper safety gear.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   Lack of Proper Personal Equipment (P.P.E) – in the image above, Mike has entered the worksite having inadequate and unsuitable clothing and gear, for example, he lacked proper safety eye-wear, headgear, for example, hard hats. This leaves him vulnerable to all hazards found at the worksite, most distinctively, physical hazards.


Ergonomic Hazards

6Image 6: Mike risked his own safety by using a jackhammer to help place the explosives in the ground without using the proper personal protective equipment.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   Another time Mike risked his own safety to save his city was when he picked up a jackhammer to help place the explosives in the ground. He did not have on any gloves or steel-toe boots and he did not even acquire the correct stance. He just picked it up and started hammering away to get the job done during the earthquake. This was not very wise but it was required at that time to get the job done quickly as it was mere minutes before the lava would reach them.


7Image 7: Citizens tried lifting concrete barriers to set aside on another creating a wall to stop the flow of lava.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997). 

   Lifting hazards are mainly caused by improper lifting, posture and ergonomics, as seen in the image above the firefighters are inappropriately lifting the material. As a result of this, it can lead to back injuries such as compressed spinal flow, straining the lower back, stress on muscles, discs, and vertebrae. However, it is recommended to think before lifting/handling, adopt a stable position, get a good hold, start in a good posture, don’t flex the back any further while lifting, avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, keep the load close to the waist, keep the head up when handling, move smoothly, don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed and put down, then adjust. (Health and Safety Executive, 2012).


Electrical Hazards

   In the first hospital scene at St. Vincent Hospital, where the doctors were operating on a gunshot wounded patient, the first earthquake occurred. As everything was shaking and vibrating, in order to save the patient’s life, the doctor risked her life and placed her hand over the outlet to prevent the machine from coming unplugged. This is a physical hazard as electrical problems could have occurred and is never a safe practice but she acted impulsively (Health and Safety Executive, 2013b).


8Image 8: Doctor placed her hand over the outlet to prevent the machine from coming unplugged.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).


Fire Hazards

   The overloaded power strip in Mike’s house is an example of not only an electrical hazard but also a fire hazard.

   Another display of hazards was when the helicopters were flying dangerously low over the erupting magma to get the perfect shot so that they can depict the seriousness and tragedy of the moment and also help minimize the eruption by expelling water. All while the lava flowed through the streets heading towards houses and the heroic efforts of the OEM team, firefighters, and police fighting to stop its flow.


9Image 9: Helicopters used to help minimize the eruption but is too close to the eruption.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

  When Mike and Amy rushed to get the man out of the lava’s way, the risk was high, but as the seconds went by, the risk went up as they were being dangled from a fire truck ladder in order to be saved from the blazing lava swamp under them. Anticipation built as the hose on the ladder from the fire truck began to burn due to the intense heat, only decreasing their chance of making it out alive. However, they made it over the lava safely.


Biological Hazards

   The underground tunnel contained biological hazards as it was infested with rats which may carry parasites and diseases that are harmful to humans and can cause Leptospirosis. (How To Deter Mice And Rats From Your Home, 2017).

10Image 10: Rodents living in an underground tunnel.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

  It is well known that pests have been a problem since the dawn of time. Rats, mice, insects etc. all destroy and wreak havoc on our homes. This would be referred to as a biological hazard since mice could carry harmful diseases to humans and others around them such as Leptospirosis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome to name a few.

   Some recommendations can be necessary measures to get rid of the mouse in work areas is a way to prevent themselves and others from being infected with any disease. These assessments were supposed to be done before work commencement on the worksite to ensure the safety of workers.


11Image 11: Individuals covered in ashes due to the volcanic eruption.

Source: Image from the movie (Volcano, 1997).

   This particular scene occurred at the end of the movie whereby upon using explosives to bring down a building, it resulted in a massive amount of dust and ashes. Thus, this can be a biological hazard since due to the accumulation of dust, it can create an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

  This will result in respiratory problems such as wheezing, bronchitis, and conjunctivitis as well as eyes problems which include itchy eyes. In addition, long-term issues that can result in lung impairment due to the particles from the ashes.



  • “How To Deter Mice And Rats From Your Home | Ketchup: The Essential Ingredient For Your Home | Homeserve”. 2017. Ketchup.Homeserve.Com.

http://ketchup.homeserve.com/handy-hints/kitchen/how-to-deter-mice-and-rats-from-your-home/ .

  • Health and Safety Executive. 2013a. “Heat Stress In The Workplace”.


  • Health and Safety Executive. 2013b. “Electricity At Work.”


  • Health and Safety Executive. 2012. “Manual Handling At Work.”