OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


The Hazards of Flying

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

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

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

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

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M6+1’s first group feature looks at the impact of slips, trips and falls on our lives within the workplace and how we can make a difference.

International Labour Office (ILO) reminds us that every year around 337 million people are victims of workplace accidents; more than 2.3 million people die because of occupational injuries or work-related diseases around the world.  The statistics for industrial accidents and fatalities in Trinidad and Tobago has its own significance – 919 industrial accidents and 5 fatalities in 2011 alone. (see table 1)

Table 1

Reported Work Related Accidents in Trinidad and Tobago

Fiscal Year                                                       No. of Reported                                         No. of which were fatalities
(October to September)                                 Workplace Accidents                  

2010-2011                                                                            919                                                                         5

2009-2010                                                                            904                                                                         6

2008-2009                                                                            1114                                                                       15

(Source: osha.gov.tt: OSHA Accidents, 2011. Web. 23 September 2014.)

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe for all employees.  Likewise, employees have a responsibility to observe safe practices and not compromise safety measures in place.  Incidents and accidents occur either due to employees’ non-adherence to safety and health rules and guidelines or, employers’ failure to institute strict measures to ensure sound safety and health practices in the workplace.  The effects of such occurrences can be quite debilitating on lives.

To get into the right frame of mind, watch the following video on trips and falls in the workplace: Can’t Get No Traction Continue reading