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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.




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.”







OSHA Bosses Analyse Occupational Health and Safety Issues in the Movie “The 33”

What’s this!!! Safety issues?? I’m all ears………..

The 33

Helmet worn by one of the 33 miners showing engraved Roman numbered carvings of the number of days they were trapped in the mine


What’s the movie about? Let’s see…….

The movie “The 33” starts off displaying a fact, “Every year 12,000 miners die in mining accidents around the world.”

The 33, staring Antonio Banderas as Miner Mario Sepulveda, is a movie based on a true event of the 2010 mining disaster that occurred in Chile where thirty tree (33) men were trapped inside the San Jose Mine for more than two months. The movie in a nutshell depicts the catastrophic fall of the San Jose Mine and the tremendous ordeal faced by the thirty three (33) men that were trapped inside. This event is believed the have occurred due to the negligence of the Mine owners who ignored the warnings of the failing stability of the mine.

The 33 Trailer

Throughout the movie there were obvious health and safety concerns:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazards

Let’s start with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn by the miners. At the beginning of the movie, the miners were seen wearing coveralls with reflective stripes, gloves, and eye protection while in the drilling process. However we noticed that while some wore the required footwear, some of the miners wore mere sneakers. This is of concern since sneakers cannot protect injury from occurring to the feet as a result of heavy falling objects in the mine, such as tonnes of gold. In addition, mine blasting and excessive noise generated by diesel-powered equipment can cause long lasting damage to the miner’s hearing. Earmuffs or earplugs were not always worn by the miners and this could have contributed to damaged ear drums or even hearing loss. Finally, the miners wore no dust masks or protective gear against the dust, taking into consideration the amount of floating dust in this type of environment. It was observed in the movie that when the miners were drilling for gold, there was a lot of dust and fine particles in the air. If dust masks were not used, over time the continuous inhalation of dust can cause the development of Miner’s Lung Disease or Sarcoidosis as mentioned in the movie. According to the OSH act of Trinidad and Tobago, all persons entering an area in an industrial organization 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. In order to mitigate the risk of injury from falling objects, contamination from the air and eardrum rupture, the mining company should take preventative care in ensuring that all miners wear the required protective gears at all time whilst on the job site; such as steel tipped boots, dusk masks and earplugs, in addition to the ones that are currently in use.


The 33 Miners in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Fall Hazard

  • The miners were transported to the mine via an open back truck. However, there were no straps or seat belts in place to prevent the miners from falling off the truck while in motion. This could have resulted in severe injury or death if someone had fallen off since the truck was moving at a relatively fast speed. The solution to this hazard would be to ensure all workers are seated safely on their seats and are strapped on to the seat to prevent them from falling off the truck. Also running a bar across the back of the truck where the miners could hold on to would have also provided added leverage to prevent them from slipping and falling.

Men being transported at the back of the truck


  • When the mountain finally gave in and the mine started to crumble there were two miners standing at the edge of a cliff and during the intense shaking, one of the miners fell off the cliff. There was no fencing blocking an individual from falling off the cliff. In this light, protective barriers should have been placed blocking off workers from any cliffs or dangerous areas in the mine. Signs should be placed notifying employees or visitors of dangerous/high risk or prohibited areas. On the topic of signage, even though there were signs indicating the ‘km’ on the way up, there were no signs such as “sharp corner”, “cautions” etc. The mine lacked proper hazard signage.

Example of signage that should have been used in the Cliff area


Emergency Exit Hazard

The passage way into the tunnel is the next area of concern. As the mineworkers were being driven into the job site, it was noted by one of the workers that there was only one way in and out of the mine. This would be a major issue when there is an emergency, especially in the case of this event where the only way in and out was where the heart of the mountain broke and fell, trapping the miners inside. A ladder leading to the top of the mountain inside the mine did not go all the way up as the ladders were not completed. The owners neglected their responsibility to provide an emergency exit for their workers because they refused to spend the money to complete the structure of the ladder all the way up to the top of the mountain. It is the duty of any organization to ensure that exit strategies are put in place in cases of an emergency, as such another convenient entry/exit into the mine to allow the workers multiple choices of exits when evacuating during an emergency should have been created. Multiple emergency exits prevent overcrowding in the case of an emergency as all workers would not be scampering to one exit. It is in situations like this that workers get injured as they can be trampled by others in a hurry to exit.


“The only way in……The only way out,” said one of the miners


Negligence of the owners could have lead to Crush Hazard

  • Let us capture the safety negligence of the dialogue taken from the movie below.

Mine Supervisor: I found this on level 3 (places piece of glass on the owners desk).   We put this in the mountain cracks so we’ll know when the mountain shifts. A health check should be done on the ramp.

Owner: The ramp has about 20 years to go

Mine Supervisor: It’s my job to keep these men safe

Owner: Your other job is to keep these men pulling out 250 tonnes a day

Mine Supervisor: There is only so much gold in the mountain

Owner dismisses the supervisor and the conversation has ended without a suitable safety solution. According to the OSH Act the supervisor should have refused to work, thus protecting his workers from a crush hazard. The Act states: “An employee may refuse to work or do particular work where he has sufficient reason to believe that there is serious and imminent danger to himself or unusual circumstances have arisen which are hazardous or injurious to his health or life.” The employer should have evacuated the mine and proper research/inspection of the mountain shifting should have been done before resuming work in the mine.


Men trying to determine how far below they are and how the can get out of the mine….Unaware that a sinking rock was positioned above their heads

• A scene at the end of the movie showed the men setting off an explosive in order to clear a pathway for the drills to pass through, so that the men can be reached. This was an obvious hazard to the men as they could have been injured in the process by falling rocks or even the mountain caving in on them. The explosives caused the mountain to shift resulting in the rock which weighed approximately 7000 tonnes above where they were located to start sinking. It was only a matter of time before the rock fell which would have caused death to all the men as the rock was described as two times the size of the Empire State Building sitting above their head. However, even though unsafe, the men saw this act as a life or death situation as it was the only way of getting out. As said by a miner, “We are all ready to get out of here, or die trying.”


Environmental Hazard

When the miners reached the job site, it was noted that the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit and as they entered their holding areas, the temperature rose to 94 degrees Fahrenheit. This could lead to having a variety of negative effects on the employees such as heat stress, hypoxia, burns and anoxia. Heat stress could result in the mineworkers experiencing heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, rash and fatigue. To minimize these effects, the mining company should have installed proper ventilation, such as fans, throughout the workplace to help workers deal with the intensive heat and provide climate cool protective clothing for their workers. Air quality sensors should be put in place in order to detect irregular levels of Carbon Monoxide and other potentially toxic fumes, vapour and gases.


In order to prevent heat strokes, the miners stripped themselves of their PPE


Lighting Ergonomics Hazard

For general tunnelling operations, a minimum illumination intensity of 5 foot-candles is required, although 10 foot-candles must be provided for shaft heading during drilling. The mine displayed no evidence of such, as the area was poorly lit which could have caused difficulty in the miners being able to see during the drilling process. In addition, there was lack of communication systems in the mine. There were no telephones and other signalling devices used, such as radios, were not fully operational. It is critical to the company to ensure that these devices are operational in the event of an unexpected incident or accident.


Miner making his way through the min with nothing but a mere headlamp….In the background no kind of alternate lighting is seen


 Health and Safety Kit Hazard

In the movie, after the mine collapsed, the men went looking for medical supplies to treat their wounds. However, all they found was an empty first aid kit. This is a direct breach of the OSH Act which states that fully equipped first-aid boxes or cupboards should be provided and maintained so as to be readily accessible during all working hours and that each first-aid box or cupboard shall be under the control of responsible persons who are trained in first-aid treatment and retested every three years and who shall always be readily available during the working hours of the factory. To add to the plight, none of the miners were trained to use the first aid treatment even if it was fully equipped. This is a hazard to the welfare of the workers.


Overcrowd Hazard

After the collapse, the workers decided that the safest place to be was the refuge. This is where they would wait until hopefully rescue teams will be sent to their aid. However, there were 33 men trapped in the mine and the refuge was built for 30. This hazard can cause problems with space to fit everyone and also the supplies in the room would have been designed for 30 men in ideal situations. The Osh act suggests that an industrial establishment shall not be so overcrowded as to cause risk of injury to the health of the persons employed therein and a notice specifying the number of persons who may, under the provisions of this section, be employed in that room should be posted. Given the circumstances, the miners were not given a choice but to all stay at the refuge. To eliminate the hazard of overcrowding the company should have made provisions to ensure that no more than thirty (30) men were on a job at the same time or make a larger refuge or a second refuge suitable to accommodate the amount of men.


Miner consoling another miner that everything is going to be OK….They will be home in their beds soon


Emergency Evacuation Plan and Procedures

When the mine collapsed, it was apparent that the men had no evacuation plan in place in the case of an emergency, as the men were seen scampering in all different directions. A muster point was absent. Periodic disaster evacuation drills and testing emergency communication and signalling system prepares workers on what to do if there’s an emergency, therefore the owners should have better prepared the men for evacuation in an emergency. The act spits out that all industries should have in place a suitable evacuation plan which the employees must be trained to follow protocols in case of an emergency. In addition, given the number of hours it took the rescue team to reach the site after the collapse it shows that the owners had no back up emergency plans for unforeseen emergencies such as this. As stated by the owner of the mine, “No protocols were put in place because he didn’t believe if something like that happened that anyone would survive.” The men were trapped in the mine from August 5th to October 13th, 69 days. It took the government’s intervention to get the men out of the mine. This was done using a capsule built that can fit a human. Under the circumstances the capsule was the only way to get the men out, however the men were 700 meters under, thus on the way up there were risks of the men losing oxygen, the shaft caving in or even getting stuck. To prevent loss of oxygen the rescue team could have provided oxygen masks for the miners. Another problem that occurred was the inability to communicate individually with the mine workers when they were in the capsule. This was evident in the movie when the rescue team lost communication via video feed with the first mine worker in the capsule. In order to avoid this problem they could have attached a microphone and/or ear piece to be used in the capable for speaking with each worker when they were in the process of coming up. By doing this, they would be able to guide the mine workers through the process and keep them calm since some of them suffered from various conditions such as heart diseases and kidney failure.

The “Pheonix” – Capsule used to transport the men out of the mine


Emergency Food and Water

In the movie, it was noted that assuming the men were alive there were only food and water to last three (3) days. As said by a miner upon the count of food remaining , there were only 18 cans of tuna left, that is 165 grams a can, 33 men, that’s 90 grams per man, one half (1/2) and a little more for the rest of their lives. The emergency food supply lacked the amount required to suit 33 men and there was only enough food to last them three (3) days. The owners should have ensured that there were proper supplies of food and proper drinking water to last at least months to be prepared for unforeseen emergencies such as this event.


The 33 men gathered around a table having the last of what’s left of the tuna


Anyone said: “Tuna Soup?” Man rationing one can of tuna a day


Psychological Hazard

The living conditions of the men for the two months trapped in the mine cause mental instability and hallucinations in some of the men. Stuck with only three (3) days food in a place described as being 100 degrees, like a tomb, the tragedy was a challenge to these men who made it out alive.


Miner on the left trying to comfort the miner on the right and prevent him from committing suicide



Mine managers and individual miners need to adhere strictly to operational safety procedures. Employers need to provide the right tools and training to every employee to protect life, health, and safety of the workforce, as well as to protect valuable worksites and assets.

Safety is an aspect that many individuals (Employees) do not pay particular attention towards, especially in the working physical environment. Workers are mainly concerned with completing tasks efficiently by doing so they completely disregard safety and risks involved. Educating the workforce about safety is very important however when it comes to the employees implementing the techniques, much more effort and initiative is needed.

This blog makes us all think of how many things we do wrongly in the eyes of safety and how many things we ignore but need to look out for in every environment that we are in. Remember “Safety First” Until next time….. OSHABOSSES

Wanna learn more about this event?????……. follow the link below

Article on the true event of The 33 Miners








OSH Hazards in ‘The Green Mile’ (1999)


(Click this link to see the movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki4haFrqSrw or see movie trailer attached at the end)


If you have not seen the movie “The Green Mile” be prepared to find out that it has nothing to do with a ‘mile’ that’s ‘green’ or anything close to ‘greenery’. In fact, it should have been called the ‘blue’ mile as it left Group A Plus (and probably everyone else who’s seen it) in tears. Between the blatant racism and the heartbreak of watching an innocent man die for a crime he didn’t commit, it was all in all, a truly gut wrenching film meant to give audiences the unmasked truth of that era. I guess life IS like a box of chocolates and you really NEVER know what you’re going to get. (Get it?)

Moving on from our emotions, the movie (based on a Stephen King novel) is set in the United States of America during the Great Depression in the year 1935 and follows the lives of several Prison Officers in charge of the Death Row inmates and tasked with the carrying out and supervision of Executions. Inmates at the Cold Mountain Correctional Facility call Death Row “The Green Mile” because of the dark green linoleum that tiles the floor. Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is the head guard on the Green Mile when a new inmate is brought into his custody: John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted of the rape and murder of two young girls. Despite his size and the fearsome crimes for which he’s serving time, Coffey seems to be a kind and well-mannered person who behaves more like an innocent child than a hardened criminal. Soon Edgecomb and two of his fellow guards, Howell (David Morse) and Stanton Barry Pepper), notice something odd about Coffey: he’s able to perform what seem to be miracles of healing leading them to wonder just what sort of person he could be, and if he could have committed the crimes with which he was charged.

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Now, while the plot of the movie in indeed enticing, it is hard to ignore the setting and backdrop of “The Green Mile.” The OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) training in us allowed our group to see past the simple dynamics of the movie and recognize the tremendous amount of workplace hazards existing within the context of the film. What do I mean? Well within the plot of the movie, the prison would be considered “the workplace” for the prison guards and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of Trinidad and Tobago 2004 as amended 2006, the working conditions which are portrayed in it were not up to standard and could result in danger to the characters present. (Yes, we do realize the movie is set in 1935 before any OSH Acts existed) Our Group A Plus, dissected “The Green Mile” and identified, summarized, analysed and explained these hazards, in the categories of Physical, Biological, Psychological, Ergonomic and Chemical using the Occupational Safety and Heath Act 2004 of Trinidad and Tobago.



Firstly, the most noticeable, almost obvious hazards are the physical, covert or directly observable ones. Before we get into the meat of this discussion, it is essential to explain what is meant by “physical hazards”. Simply put, physical hazards can be any factor within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. In short, it deals with external phenomena or events that can cause harm or injury to a person with or without contact. In the movie ‘The Green Mile’ we found there to be several physical hazards in the form of electrocution, fire, heat/ventilation, slip/trip/fall and hazardous manual task.

So let’s begin with the most recognizable physical hazard in the movie based on the executions via the electric chair; ELECTROCUTION.


Image 1: showing an electrocution about to take place in the Movie

Source: https://thebestpictureproject.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/the-green-mile/

1) Electrocution Hazard.

Hazard: Throughout the entire movie, from beginning to end, we see the use of the electric chair for execution purposes. All prisoners on Death Row are walked down “the green mile” and put to rest using the electric chair called “old rusty”. Now disregarding the hazard alarms going off because of the name they chose, the use of this method of elimination is indeed hazardous to the characters in the movie, mainly the prison officers  and the members of the civilian public. (There is an obvious risk to the prisoners but as they ARE being executed and are supposed to be hurt, it’s unnecessary to include them) During each electrocution, whether practice or real, there is a risk to the prison officers of being electrocuted. They do not wear proper personal protection equipment during usage or cleaning of the chair, nor do they properly train their personnel in the usage of the equipment (as seen when the officer did not properly carry out the steps resulting in an actual psychological hazard occurring). Furthermore, neither the prison officers nor the doctor used any Personal Protective Equipment when handling the body after the electrocutions were complete. Lastly, the risk of being electrocuted was increased by placing a bucket of water near to the electric chair as well as allowing the roof to leak a great amount of water during a live execution. Water is a conductor of electricity and had it come into contact with the chair, could have cause mass injury to the employees present and the members of the viewing public.

Violation: According to the Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act 2004, Part II Section 6, (2) the employer must provide and maintain systems of work that are reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health; arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of equipment, machinery, articles and substances; provide 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, eyes, 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; and the provisions of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety and health at work of his employees. According to Section 7 (1) persons not in his/her employee should not be exposed to any risk, and section 8 (4) an occupier shall ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that no unsafe structure exists in the industrial establishment that is likely to expose persons to risks to bodily injury. In the movie ‘The Green Mile’, the employer (who in this case would have been the government) did not adhere to any of these stipulations., as there was no proper PPE given to employees, inadequate instruction and training, and an unsafe structure, in that the roof of the execution room was leaking.

Recommendation for Improvement: The employer can prevent any electrocution hazards to his/her employee by providing them with proper personal protective equipment such as, in this case, rubber gloves, plastic buckets anything that does not conduct electricity. In this specific situation, the employer should have ensured that the building is secure enough to house executions and the leaks in the roof should have been repaired.

2) Fire.

Hazard: Next, the other most prominent workplace hazard seen in the movie is that of a fire hazard. It is a well-known fact that electricity can create electrical sparks, which can ignite flammable objects. Given, as mentioned, the use of an electric chair to carry out the executions in the prison, it can be logically deduced that there will also be the risk of a fire breaking out. In fact, there IS a scene where a fire does break out during the execution of a prisoner. Such a hazard could have resulted injury to the prison officers, the member of the public, the building and the electric chair itself.


Image 2: Showing the fire created by the electrocution of the prisoner.

Source: https://beckyedwards2015.wordpress.com/

Violation: The Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act 2004, section 27(1) indicate that doors provided for use of fire exists shall be left unlocked. In the scene where the prisoner catches fire and the public runs towards the exit doors, it is clear that the doors are locked and remain locked despite the clear need for evacuation. S27 (4) indicated that the emergency doors should have noticeable signs above them (which were obviously absent in the movie) and S27 (9) stated that the contents of the room be arranged for free passage to the doors in the event of an emergency. From the scene where Delacroix catches afire, and the public rush to the door, it is clear that this was not done given the number of overthrown chairs pushed out-of-the-way by the members of public to get to the doors. (See video of execution that caused fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH__GZ7Uq2U)

Recommendation for Improvement: Before stating what we believe would be a solution to this hazard it must be noted that in the movie, a fire hose is seen in the background of scenes taking place outside the execution room and a fire extinguisher was used to put out the fire caused by the wrongful usage of the electric chair when executing prisoner Delacroix. However, for more effective prevention of fire hazards we recommend that the emergency exits be clearly demarcated and left unlocked, that the contents of the room be arranged in such a manner that there is a clear pathway to the doors, that emergency fire drills be held regularly, and that the public be debriefed of emergency protocol before beginning the executions.

3) Ventilation/ Heat.

Hazard: Another hazard observed in ‘The Green Mile’ is the lack of proper ventilation within the prison. Many times the guards and the prisoners alike are seen sweating profusely as the enclosed areas are not equipped with windows or air vents or even an air conditioning system . Such a hazard can result in health risks such as heat stroke or fainting, which can then lead to more severe injuries with the brain or during a fall.

Violation: Part IV Section 36 of the Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act 2004 indicates that “Every occupier of an industrial establishment that is not ventilated by a functioning air-conditioning system shall secure and maintain therein adequate and suitable ventilation by the circulation of fresh air.” Given the large number of scenes where the prison officers were sweating profusely it is evident that this has not occurred.

Recommendation for Improvement: In order to fix this hazard, the employer should provide a central air conditioning unit or small windows that are tight barred to prevent prisoners from breaking out. They can also provide a supply of cool drinking water, a cool, well-ventilated area where workers can take rest breaks, opportunities for workers who are not used to working in hot conditions to acclimatise, for example job rotation and regular rest breaks and ensure light clothing is worn to allow free movement of air and sweat evaporation.

4) Slip/Trip/Fall.

Hazard: Slips occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the ground surface and trips occur when a person unexpectedly catches their foot 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. In the movie, the guards and prisoners are constantly at risk for slips, trips and falls as the floor unexpectedly had fluids such as urine, sweat and even rain water, as well as prisoners pulling ‘pranks’ to trip officers.


Gif 1: Showing the rain water leaking from the prison roof onto the floor

Source: http://www.giphy.com

Violation: While no visible slips/trips/falls took place in the movie, there was still a violation of the OSH Act of 2004 in that the employer failed to provide a safe structure for his/her employees. (Section 8(5) An occupier shall ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that no unsafe structure exists in the industrial establishment that is likely to expose persons to risks to bodily injury.)

Recommendation for Improvement: While slips/trips and falls are sometimes out of the control of the employer, to lessen the risk of this hazard perhaps the employer can replace prison floors with non-skid tiles, ensure that the working area is secure, without holes or cracks and provide his/her employees with proper Personal Protective Equipment, which in this case would be shoes with a strong under grip. Employees should watch for liquids on the walkways and be sure to clean them up or notify the cleaning crew immediately. They should always use a handrail when available and if they see objects on the floor in walkways be sure to pick them up and not just step over them.

5) Hazardous Manual Task.

Hazard: The most obvious risk in this movie, so obvious it should even go without saying, is found in the actual job description of the prison officers; to safe guard, look after and contain the prisoners. In doing their duty, the prison guards must physically restrain and control the prisoners and run the risk of being brutally attacked or seriously injured by same. This actually happened in the movie when a prisoner attacked and injured several officers in a fight for freedom.

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Gif 2: Showing an employee being physically attacked by a prisoner

Source: http://www.mediacircus.net/greenmile.html

Violation: The OSH Act of 2004 in Trinidad and Tobago stipulates that employers ensure that their employees are properly trained and given all instruction on how to properly and effectively carry out their duties. It is obvious that the prison guard Percy was untrained and incapable of properly carrying out the duties required of him in this high risk environment. (Section 6 (2) (d) of the OSH Act) (See video of Employee being physically attacked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEbeOREWz1k)

Recommendation for Improvement: The prevention of this type of physical hazard may be difficult in a working environment such as a prison ward, but to reduce the likelihood of such attacks happening, perhaps the equipment should be updated (tasers) or the prisoner officers being constantly trained to deal with these occurrences (self-defence courses). Another solution may even be to the increase the number of employees working at this station, so that the prisoners are outnumbered and less likely to attack.



Biological hazards, also known as biohazards are anything that is a threat to ones’ health whether it may be human or animal. These threats can include exposure to bacteria, pests, or any sort of any substances that will be harmful to a living organism (leading to respiratory infections, diseases, viruses or even death). Worldwide, it is estimated that around 320,000 workers die each year from communicable diseases caused by work related exposures to biological hazards. This shows that there is a severe need for occupational health and safety laws and practices to be taken seriously so that lives can be saved.

1) Animals: Rodents.

Hazard: We all know that pests have been a problem since the dawn of time. Rats, mice, insects etc. all destroy and wreak havoc on our homes. At the beginning of the movie, the guards are seen trying to catch a mouse that was roaming the halls of the prison. However, later on in the movie, the prison guards begin feeding  the mouse which allowed it to . As the movie progressed, one of the inmates was quite fond of this mouse and kept him as his own pet. Now, this would be referred to as a biological hazard since mice could carry harmful diseases to humans and others around them such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome collapsed and Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome collapsed to name a few.


Image 3: Prisoner holding a mouse without knowledge of it being contaminated.                       

 Source: Author photo taken from the green mile 1999 for illustration purposes.

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Gif 3: Showing the Wild Mouse found in the prison.

Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/the-green-mile-wyfD6tJM8728

Violations: The Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act states that every establishment shall be kept clean for all sanitary conveniences and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision initiating that effective means shall be provided maintenance and used to prevent the breeding of insects, rats, mice or other vermin.

Recommendations for Improvement: Prison guards should have taken necessary measures to get rid of the mouse in a sanitary way to prevent themselves and others from being infected with any disease. Also, they should not have allowed the inmate to be able to keep the mice in the cell with him. The employer must provide proper pest control equipment for them to use.

2) People: Bodily Fluids.

Hazards: In this movie several prisoners were executed. Though hard/painful to watch, we noticed that while performing this task, they were not safeguarded.  During the executions, neither the prison guards nor the spectators were given any proper protective wear to protect themselves from the bodily fluids before and after the death of the prisoners. Fluids such as urine, blood or even spit could have come into contact with the skin or other sensitive body parts causing irritation, rash or disease. They were also at a high risk of being contaminated from the lack of proper removal and disposal of the body after execution. Although the movie did not show exactly how they carried the body away after death, they did show that the doctor and the guards would touch the deceased without any PPE on. (See video of Prison Guard being spat on by prisoner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD4hkRzn4rs)

Violations: According to the Trinidad and Tobago OSH act, all persons entering an area in an establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear and hand or foot 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.

Recommendations for Improvements: The employers of the prison guards should provide suitable protective clothing and equipment of an approved standard for the benefit of their (the guards) well-being and health, and also those around them in the execution room. Proper instructions and training on the use of the equipment should be properly and readily available. Some of these should include face masks, goggles or even gloves for maximum protection. Perhaps the members of the public should not be in close proximity to the execution, maybe viewing from another room.

3) Environment: Unsanitary conditions.

Hazard: “Cleanliness is close to Godliness”- (at least that’s what my mother told me) In this film, the physical conditions of the prisons are horrendous.  At the beginning of the movie, one of the prison guards, Paul Edgecome, suffered from a urinary tract infection. This was most likely to be caused by the unsanitary conditions of the wash rooms in the prison. UTI’s can be caused from the bacteria known as E.coli which is found in faeces (yes poop) entering the urinary tract and the lack of proper sanitation of the toilets used by the employees could have led to him contracting this disease. Also notable is that the bars of the cells and the wires in the padding room were filled with rust. Interactions (and they were quite frequently touching the bars) with these by both prisoners and officers can subsequently lead to diseases such as tetanus.


Image 4: Showing prison filled with rust.

Source: Author photo taken from the green mile 1999 for illustration purposes.


Image 5: Showing prison floors dirty and unsanitary.

Source: Author photo taken from the green mile 1999 for illustration purposes.

Violations: According to the OSH Act 2004 of Trinidad and Tobago, in the health section, every workplace shall be kept clean and dirt shall be removed daily by suitable methods from the floors, benches, furniture and furnishings. It also indicates that the floors of every workplace should be kept clean and properly maintained. Additionally, it states that the occupier of every workplace should provide and maintain adequate, clean and easily accessible washing facilities that are provided with soap and suitable hand drying materials or devices.

Recommendations for Improvements: Proper cleaning supplies and disinfectants should be provided to the staff of the prison to clean their private wash rooms. Toilets in the prison cells should be cleaned regularly to protect the health of inmates as well. Also, these cleaning agents or chemicals should be stored in a room temperature safe place where they cannot be misused or be a threat to humans.



A psychological hazard is any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker.Sources of psychological hazards in “The Green Mile” are workplace violence and harassment in the form of working alone, working in high risk conditions and  workplace bullying, AND Personal Factors such as Depression, Anxiety and other mental illnesses (caused by physical illness or other stimuli), work/life conflict and traumatic events.

1) Working Alone.

Hazard: Where working alone is concerned, employees run a risk of being exposed to assaults from other employees or as in the movie, by the prisoners. Being assaulted by a co-worker (or in this case and in the case of all policing and prison jobs) can also lead to mental stress, depression as well as anxiety and fear of returning to work.

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Gif 4: Shows an employee experiencing pain while on the corridor of the prison and there is no one on around to assist him.

Source: https://giphy.com/search/the-green-mile

Violation: The Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act 2004 stipulates that the employer must provide a safe working environment for his employees and working alone in a death row prison block is unsafe practices and therefore a breach of the Act.

Recommendation for Improvement: In a situation like this management has to enforce ground rules to ensure the employee respects the prisoner and vice versa. Employers can also hire more personnel and/or change working schedules to ensure that no employee has to work or handle all prisoners alone.

2) Working in High Risk Conditions.

Hazard: Employees in this movie work in the execution section of the prison, which means they have to come into contact with high risk prisoners every day. In ‘The Green Mile” the prisoners to be executed are rapists and murderers and extremely volatile. The prison guards may experience psychological trauma, fear and anxiety in dealing with these prisoners, especially in the cases of being attacked, which happened in the movie.


Image 6: This picture shows where an employee (prison guard) is being assaulted by a prisoner.

Source: http://www.mediacircus.net/greenmile.html

Violation: According to the Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act systems of works should be safe and without health risks as far as reasonably practicable. This scene shows prison officer’s duties require them to be in close proximity to the prisoners and some of the prisoners suffer from serious mental illnesses and can cause physical and psychological harm to the employees as seen in the picture above.

Recommendation for Improvement: Employers with employees working in high risk situations, such as this one, should ensure that their staff is properly trained to handle occurrences such as unexpected attacks. Self-defense classes as well as updated equipment would be necessary.

3) Workplace Bullying.

Hazard: A major part of the plot of the movie involved one employee bullying the others as his family has political influence and has the power to fire prison officers. Such an occurrence in the workplace can lead to stress, demotivation, anger, depression and anxiety.

Violation: According to the Trinidad and Tobago OSH Act, employees acting on behalf of the employer shall not threaten, bully or dismiss another employee. In ‘The Green Mile’ the prison officer Percy is related to an important political figure who has the power to get persons fired, and he constantly uses this influence to threaten the other employees and get his way. He bullies the prisoners to his heart’s content without any repercussions because of this causing an avalanche of other hazards.

Recommendation for Improvement:  Proper mediation practices used by managers and supervisors as well as unbiased decision-making in the workplace. Therapy for those bullying and those bullied.

4) Mental Illness: Psychological Trauma, Anxiety, Depression.

Hazard: WATCHING this movie for group A Plus was psychologically traumatizing, so it goes without saying that the characters in the film would have suffered psychological trauma leading to anxiety and depression. For the employees, (the prison guards) the trauma could have stem from many occurrences throughout the movie, such as the horrendous nature of the crimes committed by the death row inmates, forming emotional bond with the prisoners and then executing them or executing and watching an innocent man be electrocuted to death. The latter in fact, did lead to depression as the character of Paul Edgecomb never got over the incident and, wept openly upon remembering it. Psychological trauma would have also occurred to members of the public when the execution of one of the prisoners went horribly wrong and they were forced to watch and smell him burn to crisp. Such psychological trauma can result in depression and anxiety.

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Gif 5: showing the “supposed” brutal rape and murder of two little girls.

Source: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheCorpseStopsHere

Violation: While the OSH Act 2004 of Trinidad and Tobago does not directly address psychological hazards such as trauma, these can still violate same in accordance with part II Section 6 (2) (f) which states “the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards amenities and arrangements for their welfare at work” which can be interpreted to include psychological welfare as well.

Recommendation for Improvement: Solutions for psychological hazards are difficult as the effects of the hazards are not always observable. However, in situations such as these, where psychological damage in imminent, an employer can provide his/her employees with allocated time to visit a therapist or paid mandatory visits to same.



An ergonomic hazard is a physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. Ergonomics itself is the study of how a workplace, the equipment used there and the work environment itself can best be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety and productivity. This is especially important in the workplace as people spend on average 8-12 hours in this designated space. In the movie ‘The Green Mile’, there are two main ergonomic hazards involving posture in the workstation and confined spaces.

1) Workstation.

Hazard: In the scene of Dean Stanton and Paul Edgecomb, cleaning the electric chair seemed a bit uncomfortable to the eyes, as Dean is clearly balancing his weight on his toes whilst trying to get into the crevice of the buckle, and Paul is slouching on a bench not suited for cleaning as his knees aren’t parallel to the ground only to be comforted by placing one foot on a higher angle to distribute his weight and try to be as comfortable. Thus, we can safely assume that there are no regards for cleaning conditions in this prison ward.


Image 7: Showing the positioning of two employees while cleaning the equipment.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/342132902916951255/

Violation: This is in breach of the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago as Section 6 (2) (c) requires that employers provide their employees with proper PPE as well as devices. In this case, the employer could have provided the employees with better cleaning equipment.

Recommendations for Improvement: Employees should be sure to always stretch before, during and after work to avoid strains and sprains that come from basic repetitive work movements. Wear proper footwear and be sure to use proper lifting techniques to avoid injuries. They should not attempt to lift items that are too heavy and should ask for help lifting or moving heavy and/or unstable loads.

2) Confined Spaces.

Hazard: Within the workplace, having employees stay in a confined area for too long can cause both muscular and psychological injury. In this movie, the officers have to spend most of their time in narrow hallways or in tiny cells or rooms (such as the padded room). This can cause strain on their muscles and their joints and may even result in a lack of oxygen or claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). (See video of employee being forced into an enclosed space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDmwztqUkMo)


Image 8:Showing the limited space inside the padded room

Source: © Warner Bros. http://sj.blacksteel.com/media/green-mile/

Violation: This hazard is in breach of the Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act Part IV Section 25(2), which indicates that an employee should not be required to enter a confined area limiting him/her to oxygen unless all requirements are fulfilled (he/she can easily get out, the mechanical equipment is safely stored, the space has been tested and certified to be hazard free and continues being so, where the space is purged and ventilated, all measure taken to ensure a safe atmosphere, where another employee with appropriate rescue equipment is stationed outside and can rescue other employee, where one employee is trained in artificial respiration.

Recommendations for Improvement: Ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that a worker does not enter a confined space until all the duties in relation to the confined space have been complied with, for example entry permit requirements. Also first aid and rescue procedures should be established and followed in the event of an emergency in the confined space.



Chemical hazards! What are they? Well they fall into a few different categories. They include mists, vapours, gases, dusts and fumes. Relating to The Green Mile, are there chemical hazards? The answer is most definitely! Chemical substances are toxic for the most part. They contribute to health hazards such as irritation, redness, sensitization and are in some cases carcinogenic. Chemical hazards tend to be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

1) Absorption: Chemicals from Cleaning Products.

Hazard: Handling cleaning products such as bleach, acid based chemicals and other bacteria cleaning detergents can be very harmful to the human body if not used in the correct manner and without the use of gloves, safety goggles, masks and boots in some cases. These chemicals can be dangerous if inhaled, touched and exposed to resulting in serious injury. There are an array of health problems associated with cleaning chemicals, such as wheezing, nosebleeds, asthma, skin and eye burns and rashes.


Image 9: Showing two employees cleaning the equipment without proper PPE.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/342132902916951255/

Violation: Section 23 (1) of  Occupational, Safety And Health Act, 2004  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 from air contaminant should be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of approved standard. To this regard, the act goes on to state that nobody should be allowed in such area unless they are wearing protective clothing or device. Section 24 (1) of  Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2004 states that dust, fumes or other impurities likely to be injurious or offensive to employees shall be brought to the employer and all practicable measures shall be taken to protect employees against inhalation of the dust or fumes or other impurities.

Recommendations for Improvement: The use of protective wear such as gloves, boots, goggles, aprons and masks. First aid kits should be available at all times. Flushing stations should be available. Proper training to employees is essential. For the use of chemicals and detergents used for cleaning, there must be a chemical safety data sheet and log list that will identify potential chemical risks and exposure for handling and use. There must also be a log for listing of use.

2) Inhalation: Dust.

Hazard: As the prisoners are on their way to a day of hard labour, the prison car speeds past raising a lot of dust from the dirt road. Our lungs are pretty good at filtering the air that we breathe in; the large particles are filtered out and removed via sneezing or having to blow your nose. But we can’t get away from the damage just yet. Constant exposure to dust poses a serious threat to humans. The dust can cause fibrosis, lung infections, asthma and severe congestion.

Violation: Section 32 of the Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2004 states that respiratory protection of an approved standard must be provided and maintained where necessary for use by all persons.

Recommendations for Improvement: Employer should provide their employees with proper personal protective equipment, which in this case should be face/dust masks. Employees should be encouraged to have regular check-ups. There was no ventilation for the fumes to escape. There needs to be a properly ventilated area which can allow for polluted air to escape.

THAT’S ALL FOLKS!!! I’ll leave y’all with this emotional gif from the most heartbreaking part of the movie. Great watch though. Check it out sometime! 🙂

giphy (9)

Movie Trailer: