OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

OSH Hazards in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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*spoiler warning*

Have you seen Kingsman: The Golden Circle as yet?! Do you think the 2017 sequel was better than Kingsman: The Secret Service in 2014? This installment follows Gary better know as ‘Eggsy’ and Merlin as they race to save the world’s drug users from the Golden Circle’s plot while avenging the deaths of all other Kingsman agents. They were assisted by the Statesmen who posed as a whiskey distillery in Kentucky. Now, occupational safety is not something that is readily associated with the job of a spy, far less a spy on a mission of vengeance.  However we, the Engineers of OSH, shall assess the occupational safety and health risks in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Kingsman ramps up the usual tropes of the spy movie genre creating a setting ripe with occupational hazards. The safety of the film for its inhabitants will be assessed with that in mind. The leading legislation for this analysis will be the Occupational Safety and Health Act of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter: The Act.) The Engineers of OSH would outline the following hazards that appeared in the movie: psychological, chemical, biological and physical.

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Image 1 (source: Giphy, Kingsman The Secret Service)

As you are reading this blog, imagine that you are watching the movie just like the first time 🙂

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARD
Can we be harmed mentally in a working environment?
According to the Oxford Handbook of Occupational Health, psychological or psychosocial hazard is stated as “any factor that may cause distress or any psychological harm.” These can include the content of the job, the culture of the workplace, relationships between and amongst persons and the role of work. It also includes the emotional stress that is brought upon an individual. The risks to psychological health at work may “arise from organisational or personal factors, with the major factors being poor design of work and jobs, poor communication and interpersonal relationships” as cited from the Australian Government, ComCare.

  • Emotional Stress

From the movie there was mental distress when ‘Eggsy’ accidently stepped on the landmine at the property of ‘Poppy’s Diner’, meant to kill any trespassers. This caused fear and shock amongst the agents (Eggsy, Harry and Merlin) while on their mission especially since they had their metal detector device with hopes of avoiding the landmines. Merlin however felt like he had to take lead and tricked Eggsy into getting off the landmine by freezing it with a ‘cold spray’ so he (Eggsy) could step off of it whilst Merlin put his foot on it before the ice finished melting. Merlin sacrificing himself for the team in order for them to carry out their mission triggered an emotional distress on Eggsy and Harry. The thought of them losing a kingsman member and friend was heartbreaking but they knew that hundreds of people would die if their mission was not completed. Merlin bravely started to sing, drawing poppy’s armed men closer to him for the contentedness of killing/blowing them up as he sacrificed his life.  

poppy.png

Image 2 : A view of ‘Poppy’s Diner’

Source : Kingsman : The Golden Circle Movie

Directed by : Matthew Vaughn

Violation: It is the employer’s duty to provide functional equipment for their employees to operate in their line of work in order to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively. However, in this case their metal detector did not detect the landmine that was stepped on causing obstruction of their planned  operation. Due to this an agent’s life had to be sacrificed not to forsake the mission.

Recommendation: The emotional aspect of the situation was handled well as the employees did not put their emotional issues above their job although they were hesitant at first.    

  • Personal factors

Personal factor was identified in the movie under the factor of work-life distress. Harry was shot in the left eye and suffered from amnesia. He was placed in a secured facility with the Statesmen who attempted to restore his memory. Harry was given materials that were familiar to him, one that he recalled years ago, that is, studying butterflies. In one of the scenes, it was noted that Harry was put under a lot of distress when Merlin and Ginger Ale filled his room with water.

henry

(Room where Harry was secluded. source: Cheatsheet.com)

VIOLATION: In a working environment, safety measures must be put into place when situations or problems arise. Kingsman was not aware of Harry’s whereabouts post accident and what had happened to him. Had it not been for the Statesmen, he may have been dead. Furthermore, it has caused work-life stress onto Harry since he was not aware that he had lost his memory and the conditions he had to bare with such as the filling the room with water to trigger his memory. It was also noted that nothing was done despite Harry’s claims of seeing butterflies. This is a clear indication of his psychological and emotional distress. It should be noted that the Occupational, Health and Safety Act of Trinidad and Tobago was enacted to facilitate factories and industrial estates, giving focus and only recognizing physical injuries. Previously, mental health was unaccounted for especially since it was considered to be difficult to measure it, to present as evidence in court. However, in the landmark case Barber v Somerset [2004] UKHL 13

Hale LJ, in her famous judgement ruled that work-related stress and mental illness at the workplace is in fact a form of injury that an employer can be accountable for. She laid down certain criterion in order to account for this. Thus in application to the movie of discussion, Harry complained about seeing butterflies on many occasions which was a clear mental/ psychological issue but nothing was done to render assistance such as providing counselling.

RECOMMENDATION: Statesmen should have used a different forms of regaining his memory such as contacting the Kingsmen or through therapy. Additionally, measures should be put into place for future accidents, be it memory loss or not. Kingsmen and Statesmen ought to be safe at all times.

  1. CHEMICAL HAZARDS

Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid or gas). Some chemicals are safer than others. Some workers are more sensitive to chemicals in which case even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems. This also includes flammable materials like gasoline, solvents, and explosive chemicals.

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(Explosion on Kingsman Property. source: Giphy, Kingsman the Golden Circle)

Throughout the film workers are repeatedly put at risk for dust and fume related hazards as they deal with explosives repeatedly with no sign of adequate equipment to mitigate these risks. According to section 24 (1) of the Act, employers must take all steps as reasonably practicable to mitigate these risks. Respiratory protection was the 4th most reported violation in the US in the last year. (https://www.chemicalprocessing.com/industrynews/2017/osha-reveals-top-10-violations-for-2017/) Statesmen clearly continues this trend.

 

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(Agent dealing with more dust. source: Giphy, Kingsman the Golden Circle)

According to the Act at section 10 (f), employers have a duty to ensure that their employees are not under the influence of intoxicants that may compromise their own safety or that of their colleagues. The Statesman enterprise may be in violation of this section as agent Tequila was known to use recreational drugs yet no sort of action was taken to curtail this or discipline him. This would lead to him falling victim to Poppy’s tainted drugs.

Moreover the Statesmen flagrantly consume alcohol. Even their director is shown as drinking with his subordinates prior to missions. Agents all have a flask of alcohol on them as part of their field equipment. In this high-risk spy occupation, lapse of judgement or dulled senses as a side effect of alcohol consumption may be fatal. While none of the agents in the film run into problems due to drinking, the risk is too high to ignore.

VIOLATION : The Statesman service therefore violates their duties to provide practicable respiratory equipment and safety equipment for dust. Further they violate their duty to provide competent staff and to ensure a safe system of working as they allow intoxicated field agents to work. Moreover the had approved Tequila as fit for field work, while being cognisant of his drug use.

RECOMMENDATION : The Statesman must provide safety equipment for their agents in relation to dust and inhalation risks. Taking into consideration the other gadgets they provide they should be easily able to create or buy the proper equipment.

Further they ought to remove agents from active duty where they are aware of drug use.
Finally they must alter the company’s policy on alcohol use, removing it totally from the work setting.

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(Equipment. source: Tenor)

3. BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS :

Biological hazards or biohazards refer to organisms or organic matter produced by organisms that are harmful to human health. These include parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and protein. Generally, there are three main routes in which micro-organisms may make entry into the body, that is, through the respiratory system, transmission through contact with body fluids of the infected or by contact with contaminated objects. Harmful effects are usually in the form of three types: infections, allergy and poisoning.
crystal meth

Image : Use of Crystal Methamphetamine

Source : Kingsman : The Golden Circle Movie

Directed by : Matthew Vaughn

  • Drug Use Causing Infection :

In her quest for popularity as she believed she was an extremely successful businesswoman but with no acknowledgment , Poppy the drug lord decided to create the ‘dancing disease’, which occurs in three stages before death. These include (1) the blue rash, (2) Mania, (3) Paralysis and finally, death. Throughout the movie, drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, opium, ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine were discussed as well as used, and due to Poppy’s lacing of the drugs with toxin causing the disease, it began to spread rapidly.

blue rash 1.jpg

Image 10 Stage 1 : The Blue Rash

Source : Kingsman : The Golden Circle Movie

Directed by : Matthew Vaughn

blue rash 2.jpg

Image 11 Stage 3 : Paralysis

Source : Kingsman : The Golden Circle Movie

Directed by : Matthew Vaughn

blue rash 3.jpg

Image 12 depicts Death. caused by disease.

Source : Kingsman : The Golden Circle Movie

Directed by : Matthew Vaughn

(2) Lacerations
Early on in the movie, scenes of dangerous driving, vehicular chases and collisions occurred which led to shattered windshields, and other sharp and dangerous objects being wielded. It can be noted that pieces of these materials wounded those involved. This has the potential to cause lacerations (cuts) to those closeby, particularly “Eggsy” who was behind the wheel of the damaged vehicle. Shards of glass can potentially cause injury scaling from small bruises to deep wounds. Any breakage of the skin surface allows openings for biological agents such as infections, toxins, bacteria and parasites, which if not treated efficiently and quickly can develop into severe wound infections. Any non sterile foreign objects which penetrate the skin contain micro-organisms or micro-bacteria which cannot be seen by the naked eye, and may not be acknowlegded until signs of infection are evident.

Violation:
The Statesman service violated the rights of their employees to provide a safe working experience. Considering the nature of the job, dangerous situations always arise, however, collisions which can cause injuries should be minimal, by taking proper precautions and providing the necessary training to ensure accidents are avoided.

3456532200000578-3597803-This_ain_t_your_average_taxi_The_Kingman_s_Hackney_Carriage_has_-a-40_1463613012302.jpg

(Kingsman driving. source: dailymail.co.uk)

Recommendation:
The use of proper protective wear to safeguard against any possible injuries that can be sustained in the event of vehicular collisions in such dangerous jobs should be used. Apart from this, efficient training to prevent vehicular collisions under any circumstances should be adapted, especially where injuries to closeby onlookers is a possibility. The knowledge and use of first aid items to adequately treat any possible injuries is a must, as prevention of the infection is better than treating it, after the fact.

(3) The constant exposure of chemicals around the human body:

At the lab in the snow there was a shootout between Poppy’s men and Kings-men were very severe. The guns fire with gunpowder and the mixture of chemicals in the gun power is very dangerous. Gunpowder is made up of sulphur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. When gunpowder comes into contact with skin, eyes and other body parts, it can be harmful. This may cause irritation to the skin and eyes, together with causing cancer and lung problems.

Additionally, in Kingsman there is a scene with the melting of gold. When gold is melted becomes very harmful for anyone. The reactions can be cancer, irritation of skin and breathing problems.

Violation:
Section 10.  (D) “To use correctly the personal protection clothing or devices provided for his use”

Section 23. (1) “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:
Use personal protective equipment anytime chemicals are used. Some equipment that can be used are; long safety-suit, dust-mask, welding glasses, protective footwear and gloves. The long safety-suit to protect the skin from being into contact with chemicals. A dust-mask to prevent breathing in too much chemicals and any harmful dust. The welding glasses would protect one’s eyes from any dust or any poisonous air. The protective footwear for any falling debris and anything heavy than can damage the feet. Gloves would be used to protect the hands from different temperatures, cuts and anything that any damage it. If persons use the safety equipment to protect it will decrease the amount of hazards that occurs.

  1. PHYSICAL HAZARDS

These are factors that are within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it.

  1. In this scene where Harry was shot in the eye, caused severe brain damage which resulted in him losing his memory. The shot to the head could have possibly led to death if he was not attended to immediately. This was followed by blurred vision,lapse of judgment and hallucination. This created a huge problem in the movie when Harry failed to respond to alerts by his colleagues which almost resulted in their demise.Physical damages that occur on work sites that are critical can lead to the companies being responsible for compensating them.

Violation:
Section 46 (1) of the act states that with the occurrence of an accident  on the industrial establishment which can cause death or critical injury, the Chief Inspector of the accident should be informed forthwith by  telephone, facsimile, email or other direct means and a written notice of the incident  should be written in the prescribed form  by the prescribed particulars within forty eight hours.  

Recommendations:
To ensure a safe work environment, the use of physical protective gears such as  hard helmets, steel tip boots and long jumpsuits. Workers should also be educated on how to properly operate, work around and take care of the equipment.

The Doughnut scene. In this scene, we see the doughnut being knocked off its hinges and rolling rapidly amongst Statesmen and the members of the golden circle which can cause a lot of injuries to them if it rolled onto them. It also had electrical circuits which could’ve easily touch them and electrocute them. The injuries that can occur are broken limbs, lacerations and permanent scarring (from electric shocks). Broken limbs or any sort of physical injuries can cause disruptions and delays in the tasks they may have to perform.

kingsman-the-golden-circle-teaser-a-giant-donut-falling-on-a_zpg2.640

(Fall hazard, Doughnut. source: IGN Africa)

Violation:
According to section 25A of the act, in  an industrial establishment; all machinery, transmission machinery, dangerous part of machinery shall be effectively safeguarded in accordance with section 25B 25C and 25D. Which states that all prime mover or moving parts should be securely fence in order to  safeguard those employed on the site and those who are not. The kingsmen was in violation of this section of the act since  the  area was not fence before knocking the big doughnut off the hinges causing it to almost crush them and members of  the golden circle.

Recommendation:
For the doughnut scene, proper precautions can be implemented where they should’ve strapped  down to prevent any one or other machinery  from being severely damaged or even death. Hence they can also barricade  the area to contain any falling  or rolling object which can also injure the general public if the objects do exit the area/site.

REFERENCES

Chemical Processing Staff,  “OSHA Reveals Top 10 Violations For 2017” Chemical Processing. Last modified September 27 2017. Accessed October 8 2017.
https://www.chemicalprocessing.com/industrynews/2017/osha-reveals-top-10-violations-for-2017/

Comcare, Australian Government. 2014. https://www.comcare.gov.au. April 2nd. Accessed October 7th, 2017. https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/psychosocial_hazards.

Julia Smedley, Finlay Dick, Steven Sadhra. 2013. https://books.google.tt/books. June. Accessed October 7th , 2017. https://books.google.tt/books?id=6Pc8N5pFwq0C&pg=PT116&dq=psychological+hazard+definition&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXsqbz997WAhWHORoKHdA-BTMQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=psychological%20hazard%20definition&f=false.

https://www.google.tt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi-4a7wgd_WAhWBLhoKHYIXBxcQFggvMAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.physiotherapyalberta.ca%2Fcourse_materials%2Fohs_module_6_handout.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0zdXqsFtMDSxUzzV0ityWH

Occupational Health and Safety Act of Trinidad and Tobago 2004 (Amended 2006) https://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/88.08.pdf

 

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