OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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Accident Free Analyzes the Implementation of OSH Practices in the SLDD Building at UWI, St. Augustine Campus

Hey, students of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine! Have you ever questioned the safety of your university? Have you ever wondered whether you are safe when going to the SLDD for assistance?  Well today is your lucky day! Accident Free is here to take you on a ride which will have bumps, but also smooth patches because we are investigating and highlighting all of the negatives as well as the positives in the SLDD building. Most students are unaware of the hazards in their school until they fall victim to it. Let’s learn about safety and health issues together because occupational safety and health matters.

Hope you enjoy the ride with us 🙂

Here is a brief introduction of The Student Life and Development Department (SLDD):

The building is a fairly new administrative division in the University of the West Indies. This Unit falls under the Office of the Deputy Principal and was started in 2006 as a part of the University’s commitment to providing equal opportunities to all students. The SLDD offers two main services which are: Providing Academic Support to students of the UWI St. Augustine campus at all levels of their academic career, and ensuring equal access (infrastructure/academic) to all students who enter the University system with a disability. Furthermore, 2016 has made it one decade since this department has been operational thus, our group decided to analyse the implementation of occupational safety and health practices both inside and outside the building of this unit.

A risk assessment was conducted where we identified the varying hazards that existed; namely physical, biological, chemical, ergonomic and psychological. Additionally, we investigated if necessary requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of T&T as amended 2006 were being met. These include safety, health, welfare and fire provisions of the Act. 

RISK ASSESSMENT

  • Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are the most common hazards around us and are more than likely present in most, if not all industrial establishments. Examples of this type of hazard include: constant loud noise, vibrations, heat stress and trip and fall.

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Image 1 illustrates physical hazards in the footpath for workers



The Employer has responsibilities to the employee that he must uphold according to the OSH Act. Image 1 depicts the crudely constructed bridge over an open trench that workers must traverse daily. Firstly, this bridge is not fastened to the ground but instead simply placed over the gap. This can shift and cause a serious fall to occur. Secondly, the open trench contains protruding metal rods that can cause serious damage to anyone that falls into them. These should be covered as soon as possible to limit the risk to persons. Finally, the bridge contains no hand rails. This means a person has no way of steadying themselves if they become unbalanced on the bridge.

 

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Image 2 illustrates worker wearing improper head gear and absence of eye wear

The OSH Act, as stipulated in Section 23 (1) gives clear guidelines about the use of proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when on a job site. These guidelines are present in law to prevent persons working on the site and those visiting, from being physically hurt in a myriad of ways. However, these PPEs can only be effective if they are used in their intended purpose. The pictures attached show that the employer has indeed provided his workers with PPE such as fluorescent vests, boots, gloves and eye-glasses but some workers were not using the PPE in an effective manner and thus, exposed themselves to physical hazards. Image 3 below shows that although the worker is wearing his vest, he is not wearing gloves to protect his hands from abrasions and cuts, neither is he wearing his eye wear properly exposing his eyes to damage from dust and flying debris. Image 2 shows a worker accurately using his gloves and vest however he was not wearing the correct headgear and thus was exposing his head to physical harm. Both images show that the workmen aren’t wearing any face masks to protect themselves against dust. Extended exposure to inhaled dust can cause sensitization of the respiratory membranes leading to asthma, allergies or bronchitis, (Johnson, 2016).

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Image 3 depicts the absence of head gear and gloves. The worker is also not wearing protective eye wear

RECOMMENDATIONS

Our investigations show that while OSH is being implemented at the job site there is still room for improvement. Proper implementation of the OSH principles would reduce the risk of job site injuries tremendously. A safety officer should be assigned to the site to ensure full compliance to the requirements of the Act at all times. For instance, ensuring that the workers wear their personal protective equipment where necessary.

  • Biological Hazards

Biological hazards are organic material that potentially have the ability to harm or kill living things such as human beings and other living organisms. Most firms look past this hazard leaving the public, their employees and themselves at risk.

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Image 4 shows a very clean eating area where the employees enjoy their meals

The assessment of the biological hazards within this firm was favourable, meaning the firm went beyond required measures to reduce possible risk. They provided a separate room for employees to warm or prepare their meals and a dining room where employees were able to sit and enjoy their meals.

Individually, these rooms are spacious, clean and well equipped with sanitizing material. Clean counter tops, the provision of hand washing liquid, access to a clean supply of running water are all examples of how the firm limits exposure to organic material that could possibly cause/spread diseases, viruses, infections and possibly even death.

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Image 5 illustrates a sanitizer dispenser 

 

 

This organization teaches its employees the importance of human hygiene. Each bathroom within the department is not only clean, but offers its users the luxury of utilizing sanitizing dispensers, strategically placed on doors of the bathroom, on the wall beside the sink and the utility room entrance reducing the possible risk of individuals being exposed or exposing others to bacteria that can be harmful to them.

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  • Chemicals Hazards

Chemicals hazards are injuries and or illnesses that can be caused by chemicals within an organization. Dish washing liquid, hand soap and all other cleaning solutions may seem to be harmless to the naked eye but when investigated closely, one can see that the misuse of any of these chemicals can lead to major reactions and cause major issues.

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Image 7 illustrates a sink area with dish washing liquids and lack of rubber dish washing gloves

The kitchen the company provided for its employees is clean and well equipped with cleaning solutions. Unfortunately, the firm failed to supply the suitable complementary material for employees to use with the cleaning supplies. The lack of rubber dish washing gloves exposes its users to the chemicals within the cleaning product. Persons can suffer hand burns, skin cancer and even allergic reactions from coming into contact with the material.

 

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Image 8  depicts cleaning supplies in a separate room known as the “Store Room”

 

Fortunately, the firm properly stored most of its strong cleaning chemicals and supplies in a room that was properly labelled. The storing of such hazardous material in a secured room limits human contact with such products and reduces the risk individuals within this firm could possibly have faced if these materials were not properly secured.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

There were little risks with respect to chemical hazards. Therefore, the management and staff of the SLDD should continue to safeguard themselves from this type of hazard by actively utilizing their store room. However, we recommend that they assess the toxicity of each cleaning material they use and ensure appropriate protective gear is provided for employee use such as rubber dish washing gloves.

 

  • Ergonomic Hazards

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Image 9 depicts seating for indoor workers

According to the University of Chicago’s study on Environmental Health & Safety, Ergonomic hazards refer to workplace conditions that pose the risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system of the worker. It was seen in the SLDD building that sufficient seating was provided for those who worked inside the building. However, some employees, when asked, complained of back pains due to the type of seating and the amount of time they were required to sit to do work.

Another thing that was noticed was that the University provided these employees in this department with a spacious work area, thus, ‘confined space’ was not something that they had to worry about.

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Image 10 depicts a spacious indoor work area

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Image 11  depicts insufficient seating for construction workers

Although adequate seating was provided for workers inside the building, it can’t be said that the same was provided for the construction workers outside the building. We see in Image 11 that there is limited seating available for the workers and that one of the two seats available, is actually being used as a stand for their water cooler. This perhaps would lead workers into sitting on the ground or wherever they find a spot which may cause strain to their backs, necks and other parts of their bodies.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The University should look into providing for the indoor staff, more ergonomically comfortable seats which would result in less strain to their backs and other body parts especially when they have to work for long hours. Another recommendation could be to provide more chairs for the construction workers which would prevent them from sitting on the ground or on any other inappropriate surface when taking a break or having lunch.

 

  • Psychological Hazards

During the period of construction, the workers of the Student Life and Development Department building were still required to work through all of the noise, the dust and also the inconvenience. Due to this, stress arose amongst the workers as they were very uncomfortable working under these conditions. The noise level was very distracting and it was extremely hard for them to concentrate on their required duties under these conditions. Workplace stress can lead to anxiety, aggression, poor decision making skills, absenteeism, and low productivity. Therefore, as small as it may seem, stress is a very important factor that organizations should avoid within their organizations as it affects it all around.

In addition to the noise level effects from the construction, we conducted brief interviews with members of the staff and they also complained about the workload as they are currently understaffed. Therefore, most days even without the noise level of the construction workers, they experienced some level of stress.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to avoid workplace stress happening again due to work done outside of the building, the manager should ensure that all of the employees are to be transferred into another building for the duration of any of the building’s construction. Moreover, giving the construction men their freedom to perform their duties and also the employees of the building would be in a peaceful environment until their building repairs are done.

 

The OSH Act

  • Safety

Safety is the condition of being protected from anything that could cause hazards, threats, and injury to someone. After taking a closer look at the OSH Act, the University of the West Indies was able to meet most of the requirements needed for the safety of its staff.

As it pertains to section IV number 32, Protective “clothing and devices”, the workers in the building met the standards required by the Act for a safe working environment to prevent any hazards. However, the workers outside of the building failed to meet the requirements. Some of the workers worked with no gloves as they continued to dig the drains. The wearing of gloves could aid in the prevention of cuts while lifting rough objects like bricks, and while interacting with objects with sharp protrusions like steel and wood.

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Image 12  portrays a worker wearing no safety gloves while dealing with electrical lines

 

Another safety issue is that these workers worked in close proximity to electrical lines. Some of the workers had on proper gloves but some did not have on appropriate electrical gear to work with electrical wires while digging the drain. This was another important safety issue. Additionally, the employer should provide proper work gears for all his workers and should also ensure that all workers wear it to prevent any accidents from happening.

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Image 13 shows a worker wearing no safety mask or protective eye wear to prevent dust 

 

 

 

In section VI “the Removal of Dust and Fumes”, both the workers inside the building and outside the building were forced to work in the dusty environment. Neither the workers inside nor outside had on proper working gear, such as ventilation/dust masks as they continued to work. The dust mask would have prevented the persons from inhaling the dust on a daily basis. This amount of dust inhaled is unsafe and could affect the workers in both the long term and the short term with diseases such as respiratory diseases.

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Image 14 shows a worker wearing no face mask to prevent the inhalation of dust nor gloves to protect his hands 

In Image 14 above, you could see the dirt dug by the workers on the sight. There were no nets or any other item used to cover the dirt. As a result of this, the dust could easily travel with the wind to the workers as well as staff and students who park in close proximity to the work site on a daily basis. It can also be seen that the worker in Image 14 above, is shoveling the dirt without a face mask or gloves on. This lack of personal protective equipment was the norm on the site.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We recommend that the employer  puts a system in place for example, hiring a safety officer, to ensure that the workers wear their protective gears at all times while they are working.

 

  • Health

The OSH Act states, under Section 32 of the Health Regulations that ‘Respiratory protection of an approved standard shall be provided and maintained, where necessary, for use by all persons in the industrial establishment.’ A respirator is a protective device that covers the nose and mouth or the entire face to guard the wearer against hazardous atmospheres. Employees require respirators to work in environments with insufficient oxygen or where harmful fogs, smokes, mists, fumes, gases, vapours, sprays or in this case, dusts are present.

Respirators protect workers against these health hazards which may cause cancer, lung impairment or even death. The Act requires employers to provide an effective respirator for use by all persons to protect against workplace hazards. Different hazards require different respirators, and employees are responsible for wearing the appropriate respirator.

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Image 15  depicts a worker wearing an improper respirator mask

Image 15 shows a construction worker without a respirator mask. Some were even seen, as in the same image, with their own personalized respirators which entailed covering their nose and mouths with a t-shirt. Having that type of respirator is equivalent to having a defective or damaged respirator which is almost as good as wearing no respirator at all.

The employees inside the building were subjected to a variety of irritating sounds from work being conducted on the outside of the building. These sounds not only contributed to stress and loss of concentration in the workplace, but it can also cause hearing impairment depending on how high the level of sound is. The Act states, under Section 34, 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…..’ This means that the employers have a duty to protect employees from the risk associated with excessive noise. In this case employees were placed at risk of hearing damage from the noise at work. Imagine working in a building where digging and pounding was going on right outside the door. This is what the employees were exposed to on a day-to-day basis.

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Image 16  depicts a sledgehammer that contributed to noise

Ventilation is another very important aspect when dealing with health and safety in the workplace. Proper ventilation provides clean air drawn from an external source outside of the workplace and circulated throughout the building. These sources include natural or fresh air or by a functioning air conditioning system, in which it dilutes and removes humid air and provides sufficient air movement to give a feeling of freshness without causing a draught.

In addition to proper ventilation, companies also need to ensure that their workplaces are maintained at an appropriate temperature. The weather to date can be very unpredictable. Some days there is heavy rain which leaves the place extremely cold and some days the weather is scorching hot. This can increase the level of carbon dioxide and decrease the level of oxygen which in turn can cause fatigue, headaches, sinus congestion, dizziness, shortness of breath and can affect the employee’s ability to concentrate. A proper working ventilation system is then needed to accommodate this.

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Image 17 portrays a proper ventilation system which is subject to occasional break downs

At first glance the air conditioning system seen in Image 17 looks like a well-functioning system but it was said by the employees inside the building that it was prone to occasional break downs. Thus, employers did adhere to some extent the regulations stipulated in the Act under Section 36 which states ‘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.’

RECOMMENDATIONS

Poor ventilation is a hazard. And like all hazards, it poses a risk to one’s health and safety and thus, must be eliminated or controlled. In cases such as this when the air conditioning system is not functioning properly, especially in extremely hot weather temperatures, installing fans in specific areas of the work room can be a solution to eliminate or minimize the effects of the heat.

 

  • Welfare

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Image 18 shows that there is  adequate,  clean and cool drinking water provided

In terms of the welfare provisions specified in the OSH Act, it was found that The University of the West Indies met some of the regulations identified. The Act states under S. 39 (1) that, “In every factory, effective arrangements shall be made to provide and maintain at suitable points conveniently situated for all persons employed therein, sufficient supply of cool, wholesome drinking water.”  It is clear that provisions were made for both employees working inside the building as well as the construction workers.

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Image 19 shows a very clean washroom area with accompanying soaps and suitable hand dryers

It was found that the University did in fact provide washing facilities in accordance with S.40 of the Act which states, “The occupier of every factory shall provide and maintain separately for men and women employed therein, adequate, clean and easily accessible washing facilities, which are provided with soap and suitable hand drying materials or devices and such other provisions as are prescribed.”

Additionally, to some extent, the University also complied with the provisions stated under S. 45 (1), “In every factory the occupier shall provide and maintain for the persons employed therein, adequate and suitable restrooms or lunchrooms and lunchrooms shall be convenient for the eating of meals and shall be provided with adequate lighting, ventilation and drinking water.”  This is so because only lunchroom and restroom facilities were made available to persons working inside the building and no facilities were made available to the construction workers. Therefore, the construction workers were forced to take lunch in the area where they work. This is extremely unsanitary and dangerous as the area could possible contain biological and chemical hazards.

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Image 20 depicts a worker eating on the site

It is also important to note that there were no First Aid appliances present within this building. This is in fact a direct violation of the Act under S. 43 (1) which states that, “In every factory, there shall be provided and maintained so as to be readily accessible during all working hours, such number of fully equipped first-aid boxes of cupboards as may be prescribed.” This presents a serious problem in the event that an accident occurs. Furthermore, as the building is also a construction site, first aid appliances are a necessity.

The University did, to some extent, adhere to the regulations stated under S.5 (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (Welfare) Regulations which states, “Where any employed persons have in the course of their employment reasonable opportunities for sitting without detriment to their work, there shall be provided and maintained for their use, suitable facilities for sitting sufficient to enable them to take advantage of those opportunities.”

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There was adequate seating for workers inside the building but not enough for the construction workers outside of the building as seen in the slideshow above. Of the two seats seen in the picture present outside the building, one of them acted as a stand for the workers’ water cooler. This is a clear indication that there was neither adequate nor suitable seating provided for these construction workers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In light of the findings, some obvious recommendations would be to have a first aid box which would aid in the prevention or worsening of any injuries. Additionally, the construction workers should be provided with better seating arrangements and should not be eating in the same place where they work. Perhaps a tent a decent distance away with a table and sufficient seating could be provided for the workmen to have lunch where it’s much cleaner and safer.

 

  • Fire

The industrial establishment in question properly implemented the fire provisions of the OSH Act with respect to means of escape in case of a fire and adequate fire fighting equipment. Even though the fire section which is part V of the Act does not apply to this industrial establishment, it is impressive that they still comply with its provisions which will mitigate all risks encountered as a result of a fire. There are many exits which indicate that the employees in the building are well prepared to escape a fire.

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Image 24 portrays a door in the kitchen area of the building as a means of exit in the case of a fire

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Image 23 portrays the main emergency exit in the building

 

Image 23 above shows that there is an exit in the main area of the building, which is the Emergency Exit and it is wide enough to accommodate all of the employees. Also, the emergency exit is clear of any obstructions which may slow down the escape process. Additionally, there is an exit in the kitchen area of the building, as shown in image 24 above.  It shall also be noted that the doors that are provided for use as fire exits are, while work is in progress left unlocked, and is secured in such a way as to be capable of being readily and quickly opened from the inside. It was reiterated by the Health and Safety Authority of the US that all workplaces must have clearly identified means of escape in the event of fire. These escape routes must be kept clear at all times to ensure that everyone can exit the workplace in the event of a fire or other emergency, (2016 Health & Safety Authority).

There are also ample fire extinguishers in the building. Therefore, members of staff are well equipped to protect themselves in the event of a blaze.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

We therefore recommend that all members of staff be well educated on how to use the fire extinguishers and that fire drills be practised every now and then, since an interview conducted with one member of staff, revealed that they never had a fire drill before. However, they are well protected to guard themselves against any arm from a fire and they should continue implementing and adhering to these safety and health laws.

Conclusively, it was clear that this department made it their legal and moral duty to implement key OSH practices to their unit. However, it was evident that aspects of the office can be improved to minimize risks as low as practically possible. We recommend that these paramount improvements be addressed immediately so that health and safety will no longer be compromised.

Always remember – “Precaution is better than cure”. ~Edward Coke

Sincerely,

Accident Free 🙂

CITATIONS

  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT 2004 AS AMENDED 2006

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3079/osha3079.html

http://www.takeonestep.org/Pages/yoursafety/safenotsorry/workplacehazards.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/asthma/asthmatic-bronchitis-symptoms-treatment

http://safety.uchicago.edu/tools/faqs/ergonomics.shtml

https://www.google.tt/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=safety+

http://www.workplacesafetyadvice.co.uk/ventilation-in-the-workplace.html

http://www.hsa.ie/eng/topics/fire/emergency_escape_and_fire_fighting/

 

 

 

You are all welcome to share your thoughts with us because only with feedback, we’ll know if we have educated you on safety and health issues.

 

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Accident Free Analyses OSH Issues in the Movie “Law Abiding Citizen (2009)”

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Accident Free chose the movie, Law Abiding Citizen (2009) because we felt it best showcased the different types of hazards, ranging from Physical to Ergonomic. It is a 2009 American crime-drama thriller film which was nominated for a Saturn Award as the best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film of the year. Just by looking at the cover photo you may notice familiar faces. Main characters in the movie, Clyde Shelton and Nick Rice are played by Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx respectively.

This movie in a nutshell is about a man, Clyde Shelton, whose family was brutally murdered but justice was not served to him because the state executed the wrong man. He then made it his mission to defeat the entire justice system, killing everyone who was involved in the case. Nick Rice, the prosecutor, had to stop him but Shelton, a criminal mastermind, was way ahead of him. From the onset, it was evident that Shelton was at a high risk because of the activities he was involved in and also because he was working alone with no accomplice.

The five main types of hazards will be examined in this blog along with pictures to better illustrate how these hazards pose several risks to the characters in the movie.

 

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

  • Let’s start with the Physical Hazards. From the very first scene of the movie, the main character can be seen soldering a device without wearing any protective gear for his hand or face. All solder fumes can cause occupational asthma and other health problems (leaded and lead-free) if used for long periods at a time. The best solder wire contains something called Rosin that helps the solder flow when hot. This causes asthma if you are over exposed and is irreversible. Therefore, this posed a great health threat to Mr. Clyde as lead can give rise to serious chronic health effects.  Exposure will primarily be through accidental ingestion from your skin, so gloves should be worn if directly handling solders (University of Cambridge).
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Clyde is soldering the device without protective hand gear

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Clyde soldering the device without proper face gear

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Clyde’s little daughter in the same room while he’s soldering the device

 

Furthermore, in that same scene his little daughter was there in the room with him and she was equally at risk of respiratory illness since she may be inhaling the solder fumes as her father worked. My recommendation is that he wears personal protective equipment such as gloves and mask when soldering to prevent inhalation and ingestion of toxic fumes that can cause detrimental physical harm. Also, he can move to an isolated area when engaging in such hazardous activities so that others would not be harmed.

(See link for more details:- http://safety.eng.cam.ac.uk/procedures/Soldering/soldering-safety)

The tunnel scene also invoked respiratory hazards as well as light hazards. In this scene both Rise and his partner were walking through the tunnel which was dug by Shelton. There is no ventilation underground therefore oxygen levels will be very low. The men weren’t wearing any oxygen masks for protection against the lack of oxygen, and because of this, they were at a high risk. More importantly, Shelton worked in that tunnel for long periods by himself without any oxygen mask. He is considered an, “at risk group” since he is working alone. If he were to collapse because of lack of oxygen, there wouldn’t be any one to call for help. My recommendation therefore is that fresh air be supplied to all underground work areas in sufficient amounts to prevent any dangerous or harmful accumulation of dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases. If natural ventilation does not provide the necessary air quality through sufficient air volume and airflow, the characters should have been provided with mechanical ventilation to ensure that working underground has at least 200 cubic feet (5.7m3) of fresh air per minute. I also recommend that the characters wear oxygen masks while working underground.

(Please see link for more details:- https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_3.html)

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Torch lights used in the tunnel – Light hazard

In addition to the lack of oxygen, the tunnel was also dark with no natural light. Therefore, this can be considered a light hazard. Yes, it can be argued that the men had torch lights and there were lights in the tunnel, but those lights were very dim and not appropriate. The men are at risk because they can come into contact with insects in the tunnel and would not be able to safeguard themselves because they won’t see the insect. I recommend that more persons accompany the men in the tunnel with the most amount of light possible which will mitigate the risks posed on them.

CHEMICAL HAZARDS

  • Our next area of concern dealt with Rupert Ames who underwent an extremely painful execution via lethal injection. This falls under Chemical Hazards. According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, a three drug protocol is to be utilized when performing this type of execution. This protocol uses a sedative, followed by pancuronium bromide for paralysis and potassium chloride to stop the heart. This method is supposed to be painless. However, this was not the case and can therefore be considered a chemical hazard. Mr. Ames’ agonizing death was a direct result of failure to meet OSH regulations. The chemicals were untested and incorrectly labelled. There were also no certified medical doctors present at the execution, which may have contributed to the Mr. Ames’ horrific death, as the persons administering the drugs would have been inexperienced.
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    Mr Ames’ painful execution

    In light of this, some measures that can be taken to counteract this problem is to double check and test equipment before performing the execution. Additionally, persons can store the chemicals in a securely locked room and restrict access to any unauthorized personnel. Furthermore, these chemicals should be properly labelled and have accompanying chemical safety data sheets.

    (Please see link for more:- http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/lethal-injection?did=1686&scid=64)

     

     

    PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS

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Clyde undergoing depression

  • Under the third hazard, Psychological Hazards, we see that Clyde Shelton is assaulted, stabbed and literally watched his life fall apart as two criminals invade his home, rape his wife, and kill both her and his daughter. There are obvious psychological hazards brought out by these events. Depression has many symptoms and effects and if left untreated, it can cause serious consequences for the individual and persons around them. Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit anger, frustration, and violent behaviour. Clyde became extremely violent and vengeful as we see throughout the movie his attempts to kill everyone involved in his case. He is also the perfect example of what can happen if one does not get the proper treatment. Treatment for depression includes the taking of antidepressants, going to therapy or a combination of both. He could have found the right treatment to help him cope with his stress.

(Please see link for more details:- http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/untreated-depression-effects#1)

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Sarah witnessing Ames’ death

 

Another aspect of psychological hazards is seen in the execution scene of Rupert Ames. In this scene, Rupert is strapped to a bed behind a glass window while the audience watches his execution. Some people may find it hard to cope with this type of stress. Witnesses can be traumatized from this which in turn leaves them with severe health problems. Sarah was asked to leave the execution room but one can clearly see how stressed she was by the accident in which she could have even been emotionally scarred. Stress can affect your health, cause anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder leaving one with headaches, insomnia or a lack of productivity at work. Some actions that could have been taken to manage her stress is to have prepared her before she witnessed the execution for all the possible outcomes involved in it.

After viewing such a scene, Sarah went back to work immediately. The more appropriate measure may have been for her to take time off and get plenty of sleep. She should have also been given the option of going to counselling to help manage or even prevent her from suffering the effects of stress.

(Please see link for more details:- https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987?pg=2)

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

  • Biological hazards are what we focused on next. In the scene where the police discovered the body of Darby chopped into several pieces, a biological hazard can be pointed out. Notice that the people investigating and taking pictures of the body are protected by face masks. The reason for this is because Darby’s body was decomposing as it was left there for days before they found it. Therefore, several different toxins would have been in the atmosphere. However, the police officer and the two lawyers were not wearing any masks to protect themselves from these various toxins being emitted from the dead body. In addition, we noticed the way the police officer behind the lawyer covered his mouth due to the scent and toxins in the air. There are major health risks from just being around dead bodies such as chronic infectious diseases which those killed may have been suffering from and which are spread by direct contact, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C, HIV, enteric intestinal pathogens, tuberculosis, cholera and others. These risks may have been avoided if they had just simply requested masks before they entered the crime scene.
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Lack of protective face masks for the other persons in the room

 

ERGONOMIC HAZARDS

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Prosecutor locked in uncomfortable holding containerERGONOMIC HAZARDS

  • The fifth and final hazard we examined was Ergonomic Hazards. In the movie there was a scene where Clyde Shelton locked Prosecutor Bill Reynolds in a coffin style container underground with limited oxygen. The little oxygen present was provided through oxygen tanks. Ergonomic Hazards are evident in this situation as Mr. Reynolds is incapacitated in this container in a seated position with no way of moving his limbs or body position. He is in this position for a number of hours which would certainly result in severe cramping and stress to his muscles and joints. Low temperatures are also evident which is a physical hazard. However, even though it was not the intent of Mr. Shelton to ensure Mr. Reynolds’ comfort in this situation, a larger container would have allowed Mr. Reynolds more room to stretch his limbs and move about more and a temperature regulator could have been provided for the cold climate.

(Please see link for more details:- http://safety.uchicago.edu/tools/faqs/ergonomics.shtml/)

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Small, confined room

 

We also saw ergonomic hazards in the scene where Mr. Shelton offered Mr. Rice a deal for him to be acquitted of all his charges. If the deal he wanted was not fulfilled, he had the intention to kill everyone in the justice system by 6:00 that evening because he considered them to be corrupted. When Mr Rice was unable to deliver Mr. Shelton’s request, he gathered everyone in a confined room for hours. The room was small and had obstructions that forced its inhabitants into uncomfortable positions.

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Exhausting seating arrangements

 

During that period, as seen in the photo, persons were exhausted sitting in one location for a long period of time because of the lack of space for individuals to move freely. This is an example of an ergonomic hazard. Mr. Rice could have provided a bigger room with proper floor space for persons to move as to prevent poor posture and fatigue.

 

After an extensive assessment of this movie, “Law Abiding Citizen (2009)”, there were many situations we picked up on that could have been handled better and maybe even avoided. This blog opens our eyes wider to many activities around us that we can be more careful when engaging in from our very homes to our schools, workplaces etc. It’s always the right time to be safe and healthy!

Always remember – “Precaution is better than cure”. ~Edward Coke

We recommend that you check out this movie yourselves and see if you can spot hazards that we may not have picked up on!

Sincerely: Accident Free

 

(Credits: Our featured image and opening image was taken from Google images and all other images attached were physically captured from the actual movie.)