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Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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OSH Hazards in ‘Alice in Wonderland (2010)’

ALICE IN THE WONDERLAND (2010)

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IMAGE 1: ALICE IN WONDERLAND MOVIE POSTER

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/

INTRODUCTION

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

HAZARDS DISCOVERED

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

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

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

  •  TRIP HAZARD

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GIF 1: *Alice running after the Rabbit*

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE TRIP HAZARDS:

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

 

  • FALL HAZARD

 

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GIF 2: *Alice falling into the Rabbit Hole*

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/

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

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

 

  • CUT HAZARD

 

GIF 3 & 4: Alice being chased by the Bandersnatch

Source: https://makeagif.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE CUT HAZARD:

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

 

  • FIRE HAZARD

 

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GIF 5: The Jabberwock breathing fire

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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GIF 6: Alice Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE FIRE HAZARDS:

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

 

  • STRUCK HAZARD

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

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATION TO REDUCE STRUCK BY HAZARD:

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

 

  • CRUSH HAZARD

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GIF 9: Alice slicing Jabberwock’s head off

Source: tumblr_inline_n32mrbt6TX1rfkzoz.gif

A crush hazard exists when two objects move toward each other or when a moving object approaches a stationary one. In the movie, a crush hazard that is identified is when Alice  battles with the Jabberwock as seen in GIF 9.  Another crush hazard happened during the battle between the Red and White queen, the Jubjub bird was killed when its head was crushed by a giant boulder from a catapult without it noticing.
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IMAGE 2: Jubjub Bird’s head getting crushed

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/

 

RECOMMENDATION TO REDUCE CRUSH HAZARDS:

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

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS

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

 

  • BULLYING HAZARD

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

  • . FEAR HAZARD

GIF 11 & 12: The Queen Punishing her servant

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS :

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

 

ERGONOMIC HAZARDS

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

 

  • UNCOMFORTABLE FURNITURE

 

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IMAGE 3: The Queen’s Throne

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • POOR POSTURE

 

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GIF 13: The Queen and Alice ascending to The Throne

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

 

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IMAGE 4: The Queen and Alice

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • POORLY DESIGNED FURNITURE

 

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IMAGE 5: The Mad Hatter and Alice having tea

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE ERGONOMIC HAZARDS:

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

 

CHEMICAL HAZARD

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

 

  • HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • MERCURY HAZARD

 

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GIF 16: The Mad Hatter’s erratic behaviour

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • EXHAUST FUMES

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE EXHAUST FUMES EXPOSURE:

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

 

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

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

 

  • MOULD HAZARD

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • BACTERIA HAZARD

 

      

      GIF 19, 20 & 21: Alice Exploring Wonderland

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

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GIF 25: The Bandersnatch licking Alice’s infected wound

Source:  https://makeagif.com/

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS:

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

Alice In Wonderland Movie Review Summary

http://allreaders.com/movie-review-summary/alice-in-wonderland-2010-37581

http://www.oshc.org.hk/oshc_data/files/HotTopic/CB959E.pdf

https://www.slideshare.net/mcivers1979/biological-hazards-

overview

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

https://www.slideshare.net/mcivers1979/biological-hazards-overview

https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/chemical_hazards

http://full.chemwatch.net/galleria/LEGSREGS/40-5-3-5-65-3-SB-20060214

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardoustoxicsubstances/

https://safetylineloneworker.com/blog/workplace-hazards-series-ergonomics/

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THE END

 

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We’re back at it again…. but this time we investigated an Auto Garage in Curepe.

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Panoramic View of Auto Garage Located in Curepe. Source: Image captured from mobile device

 Hazards of an Auto Garage’s clutter.

Our group visited an auto garage, located  in Curepe, on Monday 17th October, 2016. The auto garage specializes in the restoration of damaged vehicles and also in the sale of used parts and auto maintenance. This auto garage was established 30 years ago and is still serving the public today. After gaining permission from the owner, our group took a tour of the garage to ascertain the potential hazards that may threaten the safety of workers and visitors. The Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Act of 2004 as amended in 2006 (OSH ACT 2006); Section 13A states,“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient annual assessment of— (a) the risks to the safety and health of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and (b) the risks to the safety and health of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the environmental impact of his undertaking”. After a discussion with the owner, he allowed us to investigate his premises for potential hazards which was the intent and rational for our visit. This auto garage employs six persons, the youngest being 22-years old and they all face the same type of occupational, and health and safety risks.  There were many exposures which we observed including:

  • Exposure to chemicals and vehicle exhaust
  • Exposure to biological material and asbestos
  • Injuries like sprain cuts and bruises
  • Fatalities from falling vehicular parts.
  • Awkward ,repetitive or prolonged periods of stationary posture during maintenance
  • Over-crowding in the auto garage.
  • Handling vehicle parts or heavy objects e.g. suspension component, batteries and brakes assembles

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

TRIP AND FALL HAZARDS

Upon our visit to the garage we encountered many trip and fall hazards. One of our group members actually tripped and almost fell. Although this was not the case, this mishap led us to the idea to videotape so that viewers would have better clarity (her trip happened for a reason). Nevertheless, discussed further are some of the trip and fall hazards that were present at the garage.

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Gif 1 demonstrating member tripping on engine hoist

Source: Video captured using mobile device and Gif 1 created using http://giphy.com/

On entrance to the garage there was an Engine Hoist. An engine hoist or engine

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Engine Hoist. Source: Image captured from mobile device

crane (better known as a cherry picker) is basically a repair tool that is used in garage workshops or workshops of similar nature, to install or remove motor vehicular engines, in small or crowded vehicle engine compartments. This tool was spotted as our first trip and fall hazard, the hazard one of our members literally experienced (refer to Gif 1). The Engine Crane was found to be where customers/clients would use as a walkway. Knowing the design of an engine hoist, the legs of this tool was left unfolded, leaving customers and workers vulnerable to injury. Another part of the tool, seen as a hook hanging from the top, could have easily pierced someone and this could have led to a cut or stick injury.

Solution: Engine Hoists are designed in such a way that its legs can be folded when it’s not in use. The practice of folding its legs when workers no longer use the tool should be adopted. The engine hoist should be folded and secured in an area where the customers and other persons are not likely to encounter such risks.

We also noticed several garbage piles throughout the garage. These garbage piles had pieces of wires, steel, glass and rubber. The contents of the garbage piles could have easily tripped someone, especially the wire and rubber refuse causing that person to fall. Furthermore, if a trip and fall incident were to occur, the person would be exposed to bruises and splinters from shattered glass perforating the skin.

Solution: In so saying, we highly commend their attempts for up keeping the cleanliness of the workplace, but, simply discarding these garbage piles to a main dumpster, would have been a better approach than leaving the garbage piles in the walkway. In addition to this, different containers could have been set into place to discard different types of materials used. For example, a container or bins for rubber refuse.

Moving into the “stockroom” of the garage, there was an ultimate high risk of trip and fall

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Walkway displaying vehicular parts. Source: Image captured from mobile device

hazards that workers could have been exposed to. Different motor parts, fuel hoses, engine parts, screws, bolts, just to mention a few were seen scattered along the pathway where the parts were being kept. This was noticed for every lane which stocked motor vehicular parts. When workers are sent to look for particular parts, because of its obstructed view, and cluttered pathways, they would be most susceptible to trip and fall incidents.

Solution: Parts should be packed away in such a manner that it would not be scattered on the pathway. If this cannot be done, parts should be packed neatly against the shelves, leaving a clear mid walkway for workers to use. Additionally, the organization of such parts should be emphasized to workers, and make it known to workers, the risk they are creating for themselves. Another solution may be to expand the storage space so that there is sufficient room to accommodate any loose, extra or new parts.

 

Additionally, there was poor lighting under the sheds and according to the OSH Act amended in 2006, Sec 33 (1), it states that, “ In every part of an establishment where employees are working or passing, there shall be provided and maintained sufficient and suitable lighting…..” As noted, this section of the Act was breached. The areas where car parts were being kept was dark . This could have caused any person who enters that area to fall, because of little objects present and not being able to see well, causing a person to trip and fall. Also, poor lighting could cause eye strain to workers who are in search for a particular part. Could you imagine having to look for a screw in that dark area, more so, where the area in search is clustered with different objects? Surely a phone’s flashlight won’t help!

Solution: The owner should provide sufficient lighting so that workers would not have difficulty finding a part when needed. This would prevent eye strains, as well as, someone falling because they cannot see where they are going.

SLIP AND FALL HAZARDS

 Unknown chemicals were noticed spilled in different areas of the garage. Workers,

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Chemical spills on the floor. Source: Image captured from mobile device

customers and clients could have been predisposed to slipping on these contents and falling. Furthermore, some of these contents could have contained substances that some persons could have had a sensitive/allergic reaction to. The effects of such may have been even more detrimental.

Solution: Clean up spills immediately after there is a chemical spillage. If this cannot be done immediately after, have appropriate signs/notices displayed to that effect. Also, if the spillage is as a result of pouring out chemicals from vehicles or other containers, there should be specific filter apparatus to assist, in order to prevent spillage of contents.

CRUSH HAZARDS

Crush hazards can cause injuries to ones limbs or other body parts, and in extreme situations cause amputations or even death. These injuries can be caused by having contact with moving equipment, machinery or parts and persons may be struck by an object or equipment that may fall/collapse.

Upon visiting the auto garage, there were many objects that can be seen as a crush hazard.

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Car Doors Hanging on metal hooks. Source: Image captured from mobile device

There were many car doors that were hanging from a metal hook in a specific area in the garage. Since this particular area in the garage was overcrowded with these doors and was closely packed together, there was a risk that while taking down one it may cause another to fall on a person and crush them. Persons may be pinned or caught under the door that fell. A door is very big and heavy, and could cause serious damage if it falls on someone, may cause amputations by the sharp edges or head injuries.

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Car  Grill hung from the ceiling on a metal hook. Source: Image captured from mobile device

In another area of the garage, a car grill was seen hanging from the roof. If this was not properly fastened it can fall on someone and cause injuries. Throughout the garage, car parts were seen packed onto shelves that were high as the roof. The aisles were narrow and offered a limited area for movement. Getting access to car parts at the highest points within this confined space seemed difficult and would be dangerous to all workers. Objects can fall from high points onto a worker’s head or body and can cause injury.

Solution:  The employer should ensure that the means by which the car doors are stored is safe enough for movement of workers while they are on the job. He should ensure that the doors are properly fastened and will not fall on his workers. The car parts on the shelves should be securely placed and not overstocked on the shelves. There should be no parts hanging down from the shelves that can easily fall and injure workers.

Also the workers should wear personal protective equipment such as steel-toed shoes for protection of the feet and hard hat for protection of the head. According to the OSH Act amended in 2006, in section 23(1) it speaks of persons in an establishment that are at risk of head, eye, ear, foot and hand injury should be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices.

Most importantly, workers should be trained on handling and proper storage of these car parts.

FIRE HAZARDS

According to Safeopedia.com, 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. Fire hazards also include all types of potential threats to fire prevention practices, firefighting, built-in fire safety systems and situations that restrict the escape of people from an affected building or area in the event of a fire.

 Class B Fires

These fires involve flammable liquids including oils, grease, tar, lacquers, flammable gases, oil-based paints, and some plastics. (F.I.E.L.D.S. Fire Protection Inc. 2011)

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No Smoking Sign. Source: Image captured from mobile device

At the garage, one potential fire hazard was the workers smoking cigarettes near oil spills while taking a break, even though there was a no smoking sign. There were many oils spills throughout the compound which could have easily caused a fire if a cigarette butt had been carelessly discarded on the floor.

Solution: Workers should not smoke on the compound. If the smokers need to smoke they can exit the compound, smoke and then return because the garage is located near the road.

Another hazard at the garage was the improper storage of flammable and hazardous

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Unsecured Propane Gas Cylinder. Source: Image captured from mobile device

materials and chemicals. A propane gas tank was seen standing unsecured behind some car parts exposed to the elements. If the compressed gas cylinder was knocked over, it could have exerted a tremendous force!

Solutions: Gas cylinders should be stored in the upright position and secured with an insulated chain or non-conductive belt. The area must be clearly identified, dry, well-ventilated, away from doorways, aisles, elevators, and stairs. With outside storage, place on a fireproof surface and enclose in a tamper-proof enclosure.

Subsequently, the hindrance to sight or to reach firefighting equipment, markings and alarm systems was another hazard. One fire extinguisher was in the office area under the desk and the other at the side of the freezer. When asked, “Do you have any fire extinguishers”, the owner replied, “Yeah yeah, it in the office. Everything check out and up to date”. The fire extinguisher however, had not been serviced since 10th September, 2012.

Source: Images captured from mobile device

Solutions: Fire extinguishers should be near the work area and easily accessible. Dry chemical, cartridge and cylinder operated fire extinguishers, with mild steel shells should be serviced every year. Employees should be trained to use fire extinguishers (refer to image below), and should know where the fire alarm is, and emergency evacuation and assembly procedures.

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Image showing how to use a fire extinguisher

Source: http://americleaninc.com/how-to-use-a-fire-extinguisher/

The last fire hazard was the absence of a fire detection and alarm system. The garage was loacted under a house. The people living upstairs would be unaware of any fires and in the event of a fire, rapid evacuation is key to survival!

Solution: Fire detection and automatic or semi-automatic fire alarm systems must be installed to prevent injury and to avoid serious damage to property.

CHEMICAL HAZARDS

Chemical hazards can pose harmful health effects and can lead to physical hazards as well. While exploring other hazards on the compound we came across numerous chemical hazards. These hazards identified may seem normal as it is an auto garage but they can still pose some threat to both the workers, passers-by and to the environment.

One of these hazards found… well …smelt was a pungent odour of old oil and other unidentified odours. Inhaling chemicals everyday can have drastic effects on all body systems. These effects can be either acute (shows up immediately or soon after exposure) or chronic (takes years to show up). On the floor, we noticed old oil spills, which were being decomposed by the sun, car parts with chemical residue, an open car bonnet and opened containers of unknown substances, these all contributed to the foul odours. According to The OSH Act amended in 2006, fumes and other impurities emitted from an establishment that are injurious or offensive to the employees, measures must be taken to protect the employees from inhalation.

Source: Images captured from mobile device

Solutions: Some of these odours cannot be avoided but can be reduced.Regular power washing of the area can be used to remove old oils from emitting fumes, re-covering containers or appropriately disposing of containers which are not in use or by purchasing an air cleaner to aid in purification of the air in the auto shops.

Another hazard spotted was chemicals laying around in soft drink, detergent, other bottles and some in their original containers. Although some of the bottles were labeled (not clearly), others were not and they were inappropriately stored. Some may have been corrosive and deteriorate the bottles exposing their contents. The OSH Act amended in 2006 states that chemicals must be clearly labeled, all labels should be legible and in good condition. Repair or replace damaged or missing labels. Chemicals that are not in the manufacturer’s original container must be labeled with the content indicating if it is hazardous to warn individuals in the work area. Not labeling these chemicals at all or properly especially if it is a commonly known drinking bottle can lead to accidental ingestion and we don’t think degreaser taste like soft drink.

Source: Images captured from mobile device

Solutions: Other than labeling containers appropriately, having a designated area for these chemicals with appropriate and adequate storage cabinets or shelves would help to avoid accidental ingestion or spillage. The usse of appropriate containers for transfer of chemicals would also avoid spillage.

ERGONOMIC HAZARDS

An ergonomic hazard can be defined as any work place conditions that can cause a potential risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system of an individual. According to the University of Chicago, Environment Health and Safety,  ergonomic hazards can be caused by repetition of specific movements, extremes of temperature, vibrations, forceful movement and unnatural postures to name a few. In the setting of, a mechanical workshop or garage, there can be an increased risk for ergonomic hazards due to the propping of workers to check the engine of the vehicle and performing work for extended periods of time.

At this garage, the workers can be seen carrying on an examination of a vehicle. As seen

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Workers seen bending over a vehicle. Source: Image captured from mobile device

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Workers checking vehicle. Source: Image captured from mobile device

in the image, these workers are bent over looking at the vehicle and this was done for a total of fifteen minutes. In this mechanical field, workers have high risk for acute musculoskeletal injures like tendon rupture or hernia cause by overexertion and poor posture for prolonged periods of time and carpal tunnel syndrome Additionally, workers can be susceptible to muscle sprains and strains due to improper lifting of objects. Individuals may not always know the proper method for lifting objects, or they may just resort to using short cuts and this can lead to injuries. Personal protective equipment, or PPE is designed to protect workers from serious work place injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical,  physical, electrical, mechanical or other work place hazards.  These  workers are seen here with no personal protective wear such as   coveralls, safety goggles or safety shoes while carrying out their duties.  The OSH Act amended in 2006, clearly states that it is the duty of an employer to supply his workers with adequate PPE at the work place.

Solution: Proper supportive wear should be worn by all workers such as back braces and

wrist bands during working hours. Heavy objects should be pushed instead of being dragged.

When lifting heavy objects:

  1. Keep a wide stance
  2. Squat down do not bend
  3. Maintain a good posture
  4. Slowly lift using your legs not you back
  5. Hold the object at belly button level
  6. When setting the object down ensure that you squat

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS

At this auto garage, customers are free to walk around but there are various car parts stacked along the path ways on heights. This can cause stress and anxiousness because these items are not secured and can fall and result in bodily harm. On the shelves, there are vehicular parts projecting onto the pathway, a customer who is not mindful can walk into these items. For me, now being aware of various potential hazards walking through this establishment, caused a lot of anxiety as I knew what could have happened if these objects were to fall, and this can happen to customers. The bathroom was located at the back of the business and the pathway had little lighting and was cluttered with car parts and this could be frustrating to some customers.

Source: Images captured from mobile device

Solutions:

  • Customers should be restricted from walking through this business or if is necessary for the customer to walk through, a worker should be there to direct the customers.
  • The pathway should be cleared of all debris and the bathroom should be relocated to the front of the business.

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

It was evident that this establishment was overcrowded and cluttered on entry. There were

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Stacked Tyres exposed to Environmental Elements. Source: Image captured from mobile device

stacked tyres exposed to environmental elements and several tyres that were not properly stored. These tyres may collect moisture and become the perfect environment for the breeding of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are known to be the carriers of Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Chikungunya and the Zika Virus, all of which are prominent in the society. All employees, visitors or customers and environs are at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and may become infected with any of the previously mentioned mosquito borne diseases.

Solutions: 

  • Tyres should be neatly stored and covered to prevent the collection of water. The area where the tyres are stored should be fumigated evry three months.
  • Employees should apply insect repellent to exposed sections of their body.
  • Visitors/Customers should have limited access to areas where mosquito infestation may be high.

Another area which posed potential biological hazards was the improper storage of large quantities of miscellaneous materials.  Improperly stored materials may create a habitat for rodents and roaches.  Roaches are known to be carriers of Salmonella and E. coli bacteria while rodents are responsible for Leptospirosis and Rat bite fever. Workers are at the greatest risk since these rodents and roaches may come into contact with foodstuff in the kitchen and, or lunch room.

Solutions:

  • This garage should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and unwanted objects should be discarded monthly.
  • A proper storage plan should be implemented and followed.
  • Items should be stored above the ground on metal or mesh shelves.
  • Routine fumigation and the setting up of rodent and roach traps throughout the facility, these should be installed and monitored by a professional pest control company.
  • All foodstuff should be stored in properly sealed containers and, or refrigerated.
  • All eating and drinking utensils should be washed before they are used.

 

HANDLING THE RISKS: 

Firstly the manager needs to recognize the risk in order to become aware of the potential hazards and concerns. The owner can adopt these steps to reduce the risk at his work place by incorporating the following recommendation:

  • Identify all the hazards in these categories; physical,chemical, biological, ergonomic and psychological and train workers on how to recognize and avoid  them.
  • Conduct annual risk assessments and/or in 6 months if there has been a significant change
  • Inspect tools and equipment regularly
  • Ask workers to report any hazards right away
  • Wear protective gloves and other protective equipment when working with solvents and other hazardous materials.
  • Clean up spills promptly.

In conclusion, there can be numerous hazards at any establishment and it was no different for this Auto Garage.  As mentioned before the employer plays a major role in ensuring the safety of his workers and the OSH Act list this as one of the duties of an employer. Once you have become sensitized to Health and Safety issues it becomes easier to identify them. Some readers may even be able to identify additional hazards that were not previously mentioned and that is excellent.

Here are some extra photos we took of the Auto Garage. Can you identify the hazards? Respond in the comments.

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Source: Images captured from mobile device

References