OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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Oops: The World Is At Risk

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INTRODUCTION
According to safeopedia, Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) refers to, “the laws, standards, and programs that are aimed at making the workplace better for workers, along with co-workers, family members, customers, and other stakeholders.” In businesses, nothing is more important than safety and health of fellow human beings especially since work plays a central role in people’s lives given most workers spend at least eight hours a day in the workplace, whether it is on a plantation, in an office, factory, and so on. Therefore, work environments should be safe and healthy, yet this is not the case for many workers. There are different types of hazards, such as, physical, chemical, ergonomics, psychological and biological. Each industry has to negotiate unique hazards, specific to its core activities. Occupational health and safety programs that should be of utmost interest to the organizations are scientific analysis of the risks at the workplace, working from heights, working near moving parts, working in chemical processing, occupational heat exposure, occupational noise exposure, injury and illness prevention programs, injury and illness record keeping and reporting requirements, and so on.
(SPOILER WARNING)
Mission: Impossible Fallout is an American action spy thriller film that was announced after the success of Mission Impossible Rogue Nation; it is the sixth installment in the Mission Impossible film series. It starts off at an IMF safehouse in Belfast, Ethan Hunt receives details of a mission to intercept the sale of three plutonium cores to members of the group, who are acquiring them for their latest client, fundamentalist John Lark how was working with the Apostles; the mission fails and results in the Apostles escaping with the plutonium. The team captures and interrogates a nuclear weapons expert, Nils Debruuk and tricks them into giving them the Apostles’ next move. At Ramstein Air Base, Erica Sloane Director of the CIA, instructs Special Activities operative August Walker to shadow Ethan. They jump into Paris where they infiltrate a fundraiser party where Lark is set to buy the cores from the Apostles, with the arms dealer known as the White Widow acting as a broker. Ethan and Walker track Lark to a bathroom where in the subsequent fight, Lark is killed by Ilsa Faust. To complete the mission, Ethan impersonates John Lark and meets the White Widow. Contract killers have been sent to kill Lark by the White Widow’s brother, he escapes but White Widow tasks Ethan with securing an asset; the price of securing the plutonium is the extraction of Solomon Lane from an armoured convoy moving through Paris. Ethan and his team attack the convoy and loyalties of the team are tested; Ilsa reveals that MI6 wants Lane dead. The mission to extract Lane is successful, whereupon White Widow instructs the team to deliver Lane, as well as Ilsa, to London. At the safehouse in London, Alan Hunley, Secretary of IMF, confronts Hunt about being Lark, which Ethan denies and incapacitates Hunley to continue the mission. After being asked to monitor Lane, Walker unwittingly reveals himself to be the real John Lark, in association with Lane. Sloane also notices and instructs a shadow CIA team to take Lane, Walker and Ethan’s team in. The CIA team is in fact infiltrated by the Apostles and Walker orders them to attack the IMF team. With the help of Benji, Luther and Ilsa, Ethan pursues Walker across the city’s rooftops, from St Paul’s Cathedral to Tate Modern, where Walker escapes to a medical camp in Kashmir with Lane, but not before threatening the life of Ethan’s estranged wife, Julia. In Kashmir, Benji and Faust reveal the two remaining nuclear weapons can be defused as long as the countdown is running, but as they are synchronised, if one is defused, the other will detonate. To bypass this, the fuse must also be pulled from the detonator before the countdown reaches zero, otherwise the weapon will detonate. At the medical camp, where the abundance of radiology equipment is being used to disguise the radioactive signature of the bombs, Walker has also engineered for Julia and her new husband, Patrick, to be onsite to raise the stakes for Ethan. Lane activates the weapons, giving the detonator to Walker. Ethan takes off in pursuit of Walker in a helicopter leaving Benji, Luther and Ilsa on the ground to find the weapons. Luther finds the first weapon and Benji finds the second weapon and gets into a fight with Lane nearly being killed before Ilsa rescues him and subdues Lane. Ethan and Walker engage in an aerial helicopter chase, the two then fight on a cliff edge, where Walker is eventually killed by a winch. With only one second to go, Ethan manages to remove the fuse, successfully aborting both detonations.

PHYSICAL HAZARD
A physical hazard is defined according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a factor within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. Therefore, as spies for the American government, Ethan and his team encounter many physical hazards whilst carrying out their duties. (Hardwood,2009)

SLIP AND FALL HAZARD
An instance of a slip hazard in this movie is within the bathroom fight between Ethan, Walker, John Lark and Ilsa, where Lark is shot by Ilsa, his blood pools onto the floor, creating a slippery surface upon which the remaining agents could slip upon whilst egressing from the room. If any agent stepped into that pool of blood, losing traction and their footing, they could have fallen onto their backs and hitting their coccyx or even their heads, whilst additionally being covered in a stranger’s blood. Appropriate warning signs should be placed so that individuals are aware of the hazard and avoid it.

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Figure 1. Agents standing around pool of blood.
Another instance of a slip and fall hazard is atop the Kashmir mountains where Ethan and Walker crashed their helicopters in Ethan’s attempt to retrieve the bomb controller. The mountain range was covered in snow, creating a slippery surface for both agents to move upon. This was especially dangerous with the erratic movements of both men who could have easily lost their footing and fallen onto the hard rock or even plummeted to their deaths over the cliffside.

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Figure 2. Ethan and Lane fighting atop the Kashmir Mountains
TEMPERATURE HAZARD
Late into the movie, the team reveals that Solomon Lane and Walker have planted two nuclear bombs at a village being treated for smallpox in Kashmir. After finding a way to disarm the bombs, the team arrives at the village dressed appropriately for the temperature in the village. However, as Ethan pursues Walker into the Kashmir mountain range, they fly higher into the mountains and are exposed to lower temperatures and lower air pressures. Low temperatures can cause symptoms such as drowsiness, confusion, shallow breathing and a lack of coordination. Ethan and Walker are both seen to be having these symptoms during their fight as they move unsteadily and have uneven breathing. If exposed to such low temperatures for extended periods of time without the proper clothing, as both agents were improperly protected from the elements, their heartbeats could slow down enough that not enough oxygenated blood is pushed to their extremities and they would lose motor functions. This is also an overlapping ergonomic hazard as this situation could have been avoided by wearing more robust clothing to suit the temperature and protect their bodies from rapid heat loss.

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Figure 3. Ethan wearing attire that does not match his environment
CUT HAZARD
Throughout the movie, many windows are broken by the hijinx and fights that Ethan and his team are involved in. These shards of glass, whether they be broken by a blunt object or a projectile are seen to be scattered in many sharp pieces strewn about the floor and other surfaces. These shards of glass, when in contact with any human skin or even clothing can cut through and damage a person’s body. This is especially dangerous in the bathroom fight scene where the mirrored glass is shattered in an enclosed area where many people are moving about. This is a risk to anyone in the immediate area.

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Figure 4. Breaking of glass during the fight
RADIATION HAZARD
Throughout the movie, radioactive Plutonium is seen to be carried around in a small black box. This is insufficient material to protect anyone from being exposed to the radioactive material . As such, in their pursuit of the Plutonium, Ethan and his team members come into contact with the Plutonium, openly, within the transport boxes and activated within the nuclear bomb structures. Radiation can have many negative effects on the human body such as nausea, headaches, vomiting and fatigue. If however, the body is exposed to a higher dosage of radiation, the blood cells within the body begin to die. This can only be remedied by blood transfusions and antibiotics, which can also fail in repairing the damage and lead to uncontrollable bleeding.

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Figure 5. Exposure to radioactive plutonium

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS
To begin, psychological hazards are any threat that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming an individual’s coping mechanisms and thus, impacting on the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner. In the movie, Mission Impossible – Fallout, psychological hazards were presented in various forms namely, death of a colleague, being shot at hence, in danger of death, mistrust, anger and agitation.

DEATH OF A COLLEAGUE – In an attempt to save Ethan Hunt from getting shot, IMF Secretary, Alan Hunley battled with Special Activities Division operative, August Walker. After this serious encounter, Alan was stabbed when Walker pierced his knife into Alan’s stomach. Benji Dunn alerted the others that Hunley was ‘down’ and quickly Ethan forgot about shooting and sprinted to meet the IMF Secretary as soon as possible. Upon arriving at Alan’s moribund body, Ethan ceased to think of Walker’s escape but Luther notifies him about this. In the scene, it was vivid that Ethan’s mindset was far from his mission as both Alan and Ethan’s eyes were fixed while Hunley placed his hand on Hunt’s heart before it slipped and fell to the ground. Hunt still stared at Alan’s dead body, trying to fight back his sorrow. Luther kept saying that Walker was escaping and eventually Ethan mustered his courage and went in search of August.

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Figure 6. Alan Hunley’s death
BEING SHOT AT/ IN DANGER OF DEATH – On numerous occasions, several characters were being shot at hence, in danger of death. One notable instance was when Ilsa Faust shot at Solomon Lane hitting him close to his ear. Ethan Hunt was also in danger of death since Ilsa was shooting from the side view of the car. Ethan experienced an adrenaline rush causing heightened senses and increased strength which was evident from his reckless driving. He was aware of the severity of Lane’s death and therefore, he had to drive expeditiously in order to achieve his objective. Additionally, both were at a higher risk of getting shot and possibly dying since they had a direct encounter with Ilsa’s gun. Ethan was forced to collide with Ilsa in order to escape their death. This was truly a nerve-racking ordeal.

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Figure 7. Ilsa shooting at Ethan and Solomon Lane

MISTRUST – This attribute was portrayed by August Walker who was supposed to assist Ethan secure the plutonium but instead he ‘turned his back’ on Ethan’s team. This lack of trust eventually lead to Alan Hunley’s death which was discussed earlier. Walker’s betrayal strengthened Ethan to succeed in his mission as he chased after him but was futile. After reaching within close proximity to Walker, the life of Hunt’s estranged wife was threatened. Therefore, this increased the pressure on him which was hazardous to his mental health and he had to work efficiently and effectively to deactivate the bombs.

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Figure 8. Walker’s mistrust and willingness to assassinate Ethan
ANGER – Ethan’s pretense anger intensified when the team captured nuclear weapons expert, Nils Debruuk and learnt that he built three portable nuclear weapons for the Apostles. Although Ethan was aware of his team’s plan to gather crucial information from Nils, he still expressed his rage by grinding his teeth, glaring eyes filled with fierceness and rushing furiously towards the nuclear weapons specialist before his colleague, Luther held him back. These actions definitely increased his anxiety and blood pressure thus, negatively impacting on his health.

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Figure 9. Ethan’s rage upon hearing Lark’s plans
AGITATION – At the beginning of the movie, Benji Dunn vividly conveyed his discomfort through one of his evident actions by rambling on and on and on! The first words to escape his mouth was, “It’s late” and he evidently expressed that he was harassed, worried and not to mention hysterical when he stated that he didn’t like the environment since it gave him the creeps. Another example is when he exclaimed, “It’s entirely possible to be relaxed and extremely uneasy at the same time,” which shows that he was indeed troubled. Additionally, he pretended to laughed when Ethan assured him that he wouldn’t let anything happen him. Eventually, the men arrived and Benji, Luther and Ethan failed to secure the plutonium. Therefore, it can be concluded that Benji’s agitation may have posed a threat to him since he could not cope well with the task at hand. Moreover, Ethan tried to keep Benji safe and with a gun pointed towards Luther’s head, Ethan decided to save Luther and ended up losing the plutonium.

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Figure 10. Benji’s apprehension at being used as bait
ERGONOMIC HAZARD
An ergonomic hazard is a physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. Ergonomic hazards include themes such as repetitive movement, manual handling, workplace/job/task design, uncomfortable workstation height and poor body positioning.(Comcare, 2014) Some ergonomic hazards identified in the movie Mission Impossible: Fallout was water at freezing temperature, improper halo jump suits and handling chemical explosives without equipment.

WATER AT FREEZING TEMPERATURE– In an attempt to free a terrorist named Lane from police custody, Ethan Hunt crashed a truck into the police convoy which resulted in the truck with the terrorist being thrown into a river in Paris where the water was freezing cold. The terrorist was both handcuffed and had chains to his feet and did not have a proper seating. This could have been hazardous to Lane since he was in an awkward position, being unable to move, while the entire truck was filling with water. Improper seating can cause injury to your back by giving your back aches in the short run and a hunch back in the long run. In addition, if the cuffs were too tight on Lane’s ankle and wrist, it could have stopped the circulation of blood. Furthermore, apart from drowning, due to the freezing temperature of the water; Lane could have suffered from hypothermia and eventually die. Hence the agents had to extract him as quickly as possible and also feed him oxygen in the process to prevent any severe or fatal injuries.

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Figure 11. Solomon Lane being trapped in the water

IMPROPER HALO JUMP SUITS– Both Ethan and Walker prepared themselves to jump out of an airplane at an altitude of 25000ft. However, just before they were about to jump, they noticed that they were flying through a storm. Ignoring this hazard, they both still jumped as it was part of their mission. Jumping at an altitude this high is very dangerous due to the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere. There halo jump suit could allow them to make a safe jump however, they didn’t account for it to have a storm. During the jump, lightning stuck Walker and the hose that connect his mask to his air tank became lose. Therefore, due to the lack of oxygen, Walker suffered from hypoxia and became unconscious falling to the ground at a high rate of speed. Ethan used all his strength to reach Walker in mid-air and share his oxygen with Walker while manually opening Walker’s parachute and ensuring that he landed safely. Ethan himself could have suffered from hypoxia during the process of sharing his oxygen. If it wasn’t for Ethan’s forceful exertion, the jump could have ended in fatality. Both Walker and Ethan could have avoided this hazard if they had aborted the mission when the noticed the storm. Moreover, they could have HAHO (high altitude high opening) jump suits rather than Halo since they are the most appropriate suits for conditions at high altitudes.

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Figure 12. Ethan wearing the HALO suit

HANDLING CHEMICAL EXPLOSIVES WITHOUT EQUIPMENT– Both Luther and Benji had to disarm two bombs that contained plutonium. Plutonium is a radioactive chemical element. They were not 100% certain that the bomb will be disarmed and they did not have the proper gears in that situation. As a matter of fact, all they had was a pair of pliers. This could have been an ergonomic hazard because there could have been a certain level of stress that could have been present because of the situation they were both in. This stress could have affected them both mentally and physically which could have resulted in them making a mistake. For instance, either Luther or Benji may have felt so pressured, that they mistakenly cut the wrong wire which could have triggered the bomb. Not only killing them but thousands of people in the village of Kashmir. They could avoid this hazard by wearing the proper protective equipment for example an ABS (Advanced Bomb Suit) and in order to combat the level of stress, Luther and Benji could have tried various relaxation techniques like deep breathing. (Safety Line Lone Worker, 2018)

BIOLOGICAL HAZARD

In the movie, ‘Mission Impossible – Fallout’ someone should have explained to Ethan and his IMF team of the various dangers they could have experienced because of biological hazards which they faced throughout the movie. To begin with “What exactly is a biological hazard?” This is any organisms or substances produced by these organisms such as parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, sewage and airborne pathogens that are harmful to humans and their health. They usually exist in environments that involve people operating in unsanitary conditions and should always be prepared to deal with them. Throughout the movie Ethan, Luther, Benji and Walker were exposed to different biological hazards including air borne pathogens, blood borne virus and body fluids as well as bacteria, mould and fungi.

BACTERIA, MOULD & FUNGI HAZARD
In the scene where Ethan is seen fleeing from armed assailants, he is left with no escape route when confronted by them and his only option is to jump into an underground sewer entry hole which happens to be close by to him. Luckily, Luther and Benji were on a small boat inside the sewer ways waiting for him. Although they taught their escape was successful, they all exposed themselves to pathogenic bacteria including mould and fungi. Microorganisms such as fecal coliforms, e coli and salmonella found in faeces and sewage water are harmful and can cause diseases like hepatitis A, salmonellosis and typhoid fever to name a few. Meanwhile the sewer canal walls were filled with mould and fungi along with hydrogen sulphide gas known as “sewer gas” which is present when waste material is broken down. Exposure to these can cause fatigue and irritability which Ethan experiences throughout the rest of the movie. Couple these symptoms with Ethan’s tiredness after escaping and it could have been detrimental towards him. So next time when planning a super cool escape plan, the crew should keep in mind these hazards.

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Figure 13. The team driving through a sewer

Recommendations to reduce bacteria, mould and fungi hazard.
To reduce this hazard various engineering controls can be used to eliminate the risk through physical means. The crew should have equipped themselves with proper personal protective equipment such as protective clothing, respiratory masks and gloves in such an environment. The IMF agency should have developed policies requiring its agents to always adhere to such protocols for protective gear in potential dangerous situations to reduce the risk of losing its employees. If unable to adhere to this, a simpler solution can be to always have a backup plan which in Ethan‘s crew case, was to develop an alternative route that is less risky. They could have chosen to take a car or bus which has lower exposure to bacteria hazards.

BLOOD BORNE VIRUSES AND BODILY FLUIDS HAZARD
Ethan and Walker throughout the movie are constantly getting into physical altercations with its rivals, from a billionaire who supposedly was John Lark to hundreds of armed men wanting him for bounty. However the most danger for Ethan, Walker and the crew which they experienced was exposure to unidentified blood and the lack of sanitation during the medical procedures. This exposure could have many risks associated with it like blood borne diseases. These BBV’s are viruses that people carry in their blood and can spread to other individuals through contact with the blood. During the movie, Ethan and Walker are inside a bathroom looking for the unknown Lark to prevent him from the important meeting involving the plutonium balls with the White Widow. However upon discovery and a brutal encounter both men were exposed to unidentified blood splatters.
In another scene, Solomon Lane is captured and injected in the neck prompting him into deep slumber. This procedure was done quickly with no proper sterilization of the medical equipment. It was later performed several times afterwards for inserting and deactivating tracking chips unto Solomon Lane with further lack of sterilization after each use. Both these incidents could have led to diseases such as hepatitis B, C and D. The HIV/AIDS virus could also have been contracted as Ethan and Walker’s exposed skin and blood from several punches and bruises were in contact with the unknown blood which could have been contaminated. Poor Ethan and Walker who after defeating Lark with great difficulty could have been potentially infected with one of these diseases.

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Figure 14. The pool of stranger’s blood
Recommendation for blood borne viruses and body fluid hazard
To help reduce this risk of contact, appropriate policies for measures regarding contact with unidentified blood and improper sanitation of medical equipment should be created and enforced. The use of clean, unused needles for each medical procedure and adequate PPE like face shields and gloves to protect hands during physical combat, can be practised throughout the agency and its many work environments. Along with various administrative controls through the use of immunization programs at the workplace to protect against viruses. In addition, agents can be equipped with proper training on safe practices when in contact with unknown blood as this helps to reduce the likelihood of contamination.

AIRBORNE PATHOGENS HAZARD
During the climax of the movie, Ethan and his crew travelled to a camp site where the deadly bombs containing the ever so dangerous plutonium balls were to be located and disarmed. What the team didn’t realize was that, they were present in a medical camp for smallpox patients. This type of exposure can cause air borne pathogens to be visible and affect those who are not equipped physically for such situations. Pathogenic microbes are discharged into the air from the infected persons which are extremely small and easily transferable to other individuals by simple means of coughing, sneezing and close contact with the infected. In the crew’s case neither Ethan, Luther, Benji nor Ilsa had any proper protective gear for themselves and was oblivious to the infected smallpox patients as their main concern was deactivating the bombs. However the smallpox disease is a highly contagious disease that is incurable and is a severe hazard to the health of the members which was overlooked.
Recommendation for Air borne pathogens hazard
To help reduce the spread of airborne pathogens especially in high levels of exposure, proper and regular practice of respiratory etiquette is necessary. This would involve the use of respiratory masks to prevent the spreading of germs through sneezing. The practice of hygienic etiquette like sanitizing hands and using protective gloves and coats with the infected persons helps with reduction of such diseases. This was clearly demonstrated by Julia during treatments and in contact with the infected persons. Now only if the agents of the IMF agency could copy and follow proper protocol like Julia did. In addition the IMF agency can take preventative measures via education of such diseases and its dangers. As well as by requiring vaccination programs for all its employees as this would protect them from such situations as Ethan and his crew clearly demonstrated at the medical camp.

CHEMICAL HAZARDS
A chemical hazard exists in the workplace where there is exposure to any toxic substance that can cause long term and short term detriments to a person’s health. In Mission Impossible: Fallout, Ethan Hunt is exposed to many chemical substances which could have harmed him.

SMOKE HAZARD
In the first instance, at the beginning of the movie, Ethan is given a mission directive hidden inside a small book. After the directive is given, the message self destructs, emitting smoke. This smoke, when inhaled by Ethan could have damaged his lungs due to its toxic nature. Smoke inhalation can cause asphyxiation and irritation that may cause respiratory distress. This can be very severe if exposed to over an extended period of time.

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Figure 15. Smoke emitted from the message giving device

TOXIC SUBSTANCE HAZARD

Another chemical hazard witnessed within this movie is the spraying of hot engine oil into Walker’s face. The engine oil in this instance is a hazard due to its toxic nature as it contains carcinogenic materials, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) with can disrupt cellular metabolic processes, which may lead to the formation of cancer.

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Figure 16. Hot engine oil being sprayed into Walker’s face

REFERENCES

“Ergonomic Hazards”. 2014. Comcare.Gov.Au.
https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/ergonomic_hazards

Hardwood, Susan. 2009. “Systems Of Safety For Materials Handling”. Osha.Gov. https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy10/sh-20839-10/circle_chart.pdf.

“Psychological Hazards And Controls For Rehabilitation Professionals”. 2011. Physiotherapyalberta.Ca.
https://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/course_materials/ohs_module_6_handout.pdf

“Workplace Hazards Series”. 2018. Safety Line Lone Worker. https://safetylineloneworker.com/blog/workplace-hazards-series-biological-hazards/

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MT. EVERISK?? – An analysis of the 2015 Everest movie based on the ill-fated 1996 expedition.

“Human beings aren’t built to function at a cruising altitude of a Boeing 747…Our bodies will be literally dying”.  The cautionary advice at the start of the movie Everest by Rob Hall, one of the lead guides and owner of the expedition company ‘Adventure Consultants’, was so significant as it aimed to psychologically prepare the expedition members to appreciate the reality of  Mt. Everest.

Based on a true story, the movie set out to capture the lives of the clients of the Adventure Consultant and Mountain Madness tour groups on May 10, 1996, that started their ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm struck the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. As they became challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams had to endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.

Let’s face it! Why would these individuals put their lives in such monumental danger? Why undergo forty days of mental, physical and psychological training in preparation of the climb to the summit?

Evidently, they all weighed the pros and cons of such an undertaking and when asked by Rob “Why climb Everest? ” most of them responded, “Because it’s there!” Sounds like a typical yet true risk seeker response doesn’t it?

To really find out how high is Mt. Everest and the hazards you can face whilst there, you can do like Rob and Fischer’s clients and can either pay US$40,000 to join an expedition and climb it or you can safely sit behind your computer and read our blog 🙂

Did you know…

Fact 1: Mt. Everest is the highest mountain above sea level, standing at 8,848 meters or 20,002 ft high. It also mentioned that, humans cannot survive for a long period of time at an elevation of above 8,000 meters, which is known as the “death zone” on Everest.  At sea level, our blood pressure is 98-99% saturated with oxygen and this decreases typically to 89-90% at 3000 meters and reaches as low as 40% on the summit of Everest.

Fact 2: Humans can survive four weeks without food and only days without water but can merely survive for minutes without oxygen?

So let us delve into the major causes of the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of four members of Rob’s team and one from Fischer’s team on those fateful days of May 10-11th 1996.


Physical Hazards: 

Elevation and Lack of Oxygen (Hypoxia)

One of the lead guides in the movie advised the team that “Getting up Everest is about oxygen and the lack of it”. Before watching this movie, we all probably had a fair idea that at extreme elevation, the oxygen in the atmosphere is significantly reduced. This is referred to as Hypoxia and it describes a deficiency or lack of an adequate amount of oxygen. In the movie, the climbers encountered severe weather conditions which possibly caused oxygen levels to decline by approximately 6% causing a 14% reduction of oxygen intake by their bodies. It is possible that the progressive effects of hypoxia could have affected the proper functioning of the climbers’ central nervous systems. At higher elevations and without the proper supply of oxygen apparatus, their bodies would have reacted to lack of oxygen by increasing blood flow to their brains causing severe swelling. Blood vessels would begin to leak resulting in High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

In this state, some of the climbers experienced disorientation, hallucinations and in some instances, loss of consciousness.  Case in point, Doug Hansen was portrayed gasping for oxygen as he reached the summit. It was also probable that he could have suffered from High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which occurs when there is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. This resulted in shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and bloody sputum.

The consumption of alcohol before climbing Everest was a big risk to everyone because of histotoxic hypoxia. Histotoxic hypoxia is the presence of alcohol in the blood which interferes with the normal use of oxygen by the tissues. The effects of alcohol at high altitude is much more pronounced than at sea level, because of the reduced pressure at high level and the reduced ability of haemoglobin to absorb oxygen. The effects of a drink are magnified 3 times over the effects of that same drink at sea level.

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Image 1: Displays the effects on Hypoxia.
From Everest 2015, Pls Stay Safe Jake Gyllenhaal Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/jason-clarke-everest-everestedit-7AvDmKeHHXXl6

 

Mitigation:

At extreme altitudes, the effects of hypoxia can be prevented or reduced by the utilization of supplementary oxygen via a readily accessible and available supply of oxygen. To gain full benefits from supplemental oxygen, it must be used in conjunction with a sensible acclimatization schedule. Although available to the climbers, some of them opted to not carry oxygen filled cylinders due to it being heavy to climb with and also it is costly.


Adverse/Serve Weather

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Image 2: Displays difficulties a climber faced due to the adverse weather.
From Everest 2015, Trailer Haunting Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/cinemablend-everest-bfHNdRMrKaBYQ

 

It is the most difficult factor to control that affected the ascent of the climbers to the summit. It is possible that had the climbers reached the summit earlier that day on May 10th, they may not have encountered the blizzard that took place that day which caused many climbers to die of exposure. The effects of the blizzard caused reduced visibility on the descent trail, increased frostbite (Beck, Scott, and Yasuko) and hypothermia in the oxygen-starved atmosphere at 8000m, It also wiped out the trails leading to camp four, covering the overhead fixed ropes with snow. The already weakened and hypoxic climbers, Andy, Doug, Beck, Scott were stranded near the summit and were unable to battle their way down through the whiteout.

Mitigation:

If the weather conditions are not conducive to climbing and the safety of the clients are at risk, the main advice would be to turn back. It is disappointing that their dreams may be unrealized but it is better than being dead through falls, exposure or returning home and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Access and Egress: Pathways/Routes

With reference to Part II, Section 6(2)(e) of the OSH Act 2004, Amended by. 3 of 2006 of Trinidad and Tobago : Gen Duties – …Safe means of access to and egress from workplace.

Having a safe place of work is essential. Moreover, access to and egress from that place of work must also be safe. We all have a responsibility to ensure the place of work and the access to and egress from that place is safe for ourselves and others who may be affected. This certainly wasn’t the case in Everest as throughout the climbers’ journey to the summit of Mt. Everest, a series of make-shift pathways/ bridges, ledges etc were evident and some of its terrains would have been roughly created by avalanches, obviously affecting the normal mapped route for the experienced guides. Even the rope and wooden ladders at times seem dangerous and would have resulted in possible fall hazards.

Ultimately, these make-shift and uneven snowy terrain posed a risk and as we saw in the movie,  it led to trips, slips and fall hazards.

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Image 3: Displays a trip hazard.
From Everest 2015, Jake Gyllenhaal My Edit Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/jake-gyllenhaal-my-edit-everest-mxwlqVR1Ml73O

 

Mitigation:

Always do your homework! It is important to find out all the details of the ascent and descent routes before the start of the expedition. Also, prior to reaching the summit after the climbers passed camp four, the two expeditions recognized that the rappel anchors and ropes were not present and the action was then taken to hurriedly prepare one. These actions if undertaken prior would likely prevent a large number of rescues.


Access and Egress: Fall Hazard 

Additional to this, throughout the movie it is evident that ‘other people’ and irrational behaviors are another source for hazard. The climbers traverse the mountain in close-net (connected) team, as such the actions of climber can affect the safety of others. For example, climbers can accidentally drop some gear or knock off block of snow which can compromise the safety of persons below. As seen in the movie, when moving along the along mountain one of climber accidentally slipped, in doing so, pulled down the other members within the team.  As such, it is important to watch out for other people, both for your own safety and theirs.

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Image 4: Displays the fall of one climber poses a threat to other climbers.
From Everest 2015, Youtube Film Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/movie-everest-2015-CaOAYBFwI5Y76


Emergency Egress/Obstructed Route: Overcrowding

The movie featured quite a complementary of climbers, that is, over thirty-three (33) climbers on that day attempting to climb Everest.  This created a bottleneck at the last hurdle before reaching the top. This got worse when upon nearing the summit, it was recognized that the Sherpas and guides did not place any safety lines which caused a wait of over one hour while the ropes were installed.

Overcrowding can lead to an increased risk of injuries as an obstructed emergency egress point, delay or in some cases prevent occupants from exiting safely. During an emergency, a quick and timely response is essential to save lives and property.

 

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Image 5: Displays other climber waiting their turn to cross the bridge.
From Everest 2015, Reel Opinions: Everest, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, http://keiichisreelopinions.blogspot.com/2015/09/

 


Emergency Evacuation Plan and Procedures

Before even considering to put someone life on a dangerous act, the course of the entire area should of been studied and examined to produce an evacuation system in the event of an emergency. Even if they had planned a system in which they would of been able to evacuate easily, a test drive should of taken place. From all indications, the team that climbed the mountain wasn’t given any muster points or evacuation plan in case of various emergencies. They should of had a clearly marked, well lit, unobstructed, safe and wide enough evacuation part with unlikely additional hazards in which they could have easily accessed. When the storm was approaching, the climbers (as a team), should of been able to move out in a safe place. There actions during the movie showcased a lack of a plan related to what to do or how to go about evacuating the mountain, for instance some of climbers laid there without moving, some opted to keep moving during the storm and the others either fell or skated down the mountain. Due to some of these choices, they suffered serious injuries and even death. In context of the OSH act (section 8:2), it stated that all industries must consist of a suitable evacuation plan in which each individual is trained to follow protocols in the event of an emergency. If the team had an evacuation plan/procedure, a lot of those deaths could’ve been prevented.

Due to the omission of the evacuation procedures the climbers suffered tremendously in the harsh cold weather which resulted in: limitation of oxygen, internal damages (hypoxia, nose bleeds, hypothermia, sight lost,short breath etc.) as well as external damages (frostbite, trench foot, bruises, broken bones etc).


Medical Arrangements:

According to Part II, Section 8(2)(b): I. Gen Duties – there must be a suitable and rapid means of obtaining first-aid help and transportation from the industrial establishment to a hospital for injured workers.

Prior to an emergency, it is the responsibility of the employer to make a suitable arrangement to transport any injured personnel to a receiving medical facility. Within the movie, When Beck Weathers made his way back to camp severely frostbitten, and in desperate need of medical help, Helen (the base camp manager) inform Beck’s wife that they have no means or transport to get him off the mountain to receive medical attention. This responsibility wrongfully fell upon his wife, who immediately contacted the American Embassy to mount a successful helicopter rescue.

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Image 6: Displays the rescue helicopter.
From Everest 2015, Amazing Helicopter scene on Everest, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqD3u9gNoww


Psychological Hazard: Abnormal Stress

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Image 7: Displays climbers using a makeshift bridge to get across a drop.
From Everest 2015, Jake Gyllenhaal Film Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/jake-gyllenhaal-jason-clarke-josh-brolin-bWHjQlXs4Eexa

We all know stress is bad for our health, this is multiplied tenfold when working in a stressful environment. So, can you imagine the stress level of being 20,002 ft. high?

Stress can directly impact our work performance and safety. According to Canadian Mental Health Association, 2018 “Workplace stress then is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands. In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress.” Within Everest, this manifested in two ways:

When Beck was attempting to cross the makeshift bridge, he suffered a panic attack when he almost fell and refused to move. As such, he was not mentally prepared and appeared scared to proceed across the bridge and got stuck on the ladder.

The other climber, Rob,  refused to come down or start moving because he was physically and possibly mentally tired to finish the climb down. Additionally, he was informed that the weather was preventing other climbers to aid in his rescue; stating “I’m cold but comfortable”.

According to Part II, Section 7(4): Gen Duties – An occupier shall ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that no unsafe structure exists in the industrial establishment that is likely to expose persons to risks to bodily injury. Although psychological hazard isn’t referenced directly, the act indicated that “bodily injury” includes injury to physical and mental health. As such, it is important to understand the links between stress and worker safety; because it affects the mental well-being of the worker by overwhelming the individual and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a safe manner.

Ethical Dilemma

When Beck almost fell the first time he tried crossing the rope and ladder bridge that hovered over a seemingly unending gorge, did he believe his life was less than the fulfillment of his personal ambition? A few of the climbers on their descent from the summit later met Beck laying there in the snow, suffering from exposure to high altitude and ultraviolet radiation blinded his eyes that he had surgery on. He never made the ascent to the summit and decided to descend and grew weaker as the storm progressed.

Other climbers passed him by but for Boukreev who later, in an effort to save himself from the effects of the second snowstorm, left Yasuka and Beck behind, to seek shelter in the makeshift tents on camp four until the storm passed.

The decision to leave Rob stranded alone on the mountain ledge for another night also prove to have had some psychological stress for the team back at the base camp and also those climbers who reached the safety of camp three. Both ethical and psychological in nature, the decision or inability to not return to assist Rob or even retrieve the bodies of the dead or dying people behind seem ruthless.


Proper Clothing and Functional Equipment

Have you ever fallen or had an injury due to not having the correct equipment? I think everyone has! because we do tasks hoping that no injury would befall us. What is not cool, is not having/wearing the required equipment when you hurt yourself and the pain is excruciating. You wish that you were wearing the proper gears that would have offered you some level of protection where if something was to occur the pain would be minimal.

Having the correct equipment allows the user to protect himself or herself from injuries associated with the task at hand. Section 23 (1) mandates that all persons entering an area in an industrial establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury shall be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard, it further mandates that no person shall be permitted to be in any such area unless he is wearing such protective clothing. Here it can be seen during the movie that none of the climbers were wearing helmets. This PPE would have protected them from hitting their head on a rock or hard surface and suffering a concussion if they were to slip and fall.

Additionally, some of the climbers choose to remove their gloves while they were waiting for others to cross the makeshift ladder bridge. Others removed the protective eyewear and so exposed their eyes to the blinding reflection of the snow. These acts or omissions clearly are in violation of the OSH Act.

Also when they were unable to open the bottle of oxygen. This occurred because they didn’t properly store the oxygen bottles along Everest and in time of need they won’t able to open the bottle of oxygen because it was frozen and wasn’t turning.

 

Mitigation:

You don’t want to have equipment failure due to inferior quality, because at that time there is no way that you can improvise, there is no ditching of equipment and there is no substitution. Therefore, having the correct equipment that is of the highest quality is the only safe option available. All employers in an industrial environment should be prepared to upgrade to the best personal protective equipment there is that can withstand the elements and rigors associated with employment and would reassure workers safety. Therefore each climber should have been mandated to have a modular glove system comprising of insulated layers for cold temperatures , hard shell / soft shell pants and jackets that are wind and waterproof (this would probably have protected them for a longer period in the freezing temperature), lightweight shatter resistant helmets and mountaineering boots with inner lining and also 100% UV goggles.

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From Everest 2015, Jake Gyllenhaal Everest Gif, accessed 12 October 18, 2018, https://giphy.com/gifs/jake-gyllenhaal-gyllenhaaledit-gif-WvRoZb3zCkYTu


Leader Negligence and Refusal to Work

The content of the movie, it displayed a high degree of irresponsible leadership which lead to the death of some climbers. According to the OSHA act. General Duties-6. (1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of all his employees.

The leader of the group (Rob), who is considered as the ‘manager’, was informed of the numerous challenges and dangerous acts that his team would be faced with should he proceed to climb the mountain. Such effects were hypoxia, irrational behaviours, swelling of the brain that can lead to death, lungs filling with fluid and he was also was given a statistic number of the people that didn’t make it back to camp site (19).

One of the major factors that he ignored was the weather. His response to report was: “The mountain makes its own weather forecast”. This clearly demonstrates the level of responsibility he displayed to his team.

Workers must be properly informed of hazards and adequately trained to carry out their tasks safely. To make progress in occupational safety and health within industries, workers and their representatives have to cooperate with employers and each other, for example by participating in and implementing preventive programs. Ali (2008) While many of the climbers were desirous of achieving their ultimate goal of reaching the summit, there were strict timelines that should have been observed. However, by facilitating the request of “Doug” and not wanting to disappoint him, the leader made a decision to take him up to the summit even though everyone else who had reached the summit was already descending for over two hours. This act contributed significantly to the disaster that followed because the leader disregarded his own training and experience.

In keeping with the guidelines of the OSH Act, some of the employees of Adventure Consultants upon learning of the impending weather conditions decided that they were not venturing any further up the mountain and returned to the base camp. Section 15 ( c ) of the OSH Act clearly states that an employee may refuse to work or do particular work where he has sufficient reason to believe that the physical conditions of the workplace or the part thereof where he works or is to work is likely to endanger himself. Therefore the conditions higher up on the mountain did pose a significant threat to the workplace and any worker exercising his refusal to work would have been justified in doing so.

In the initial stage, Rob attempted to cancel the expedition but was met with anger from Beck who informed him that he did not pay US$65,000 to turn back.


Conclusion

Ultimately, climbing Mount Everest is truly an epic feat that involves putting your limb, mental health and life in monumental danger. There were many potential hazards that the guides and clients were expected to face in their quest to reach the summit. As such, the complexity of undertaking such a task, presents an opportunity to identify and examine the OSH hazards parallel that exist within the movie.


References 

 


7 Comments

OSH Hazards in Godzilla (2014)

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Image 1: Godzilla. Source: http://gph.is/22Z1REz

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Image 2: King of the monsters, Godzilla. Source: http://gph.is/2axllfu

Yikes! Let’s hope he doesn’t have a case of halitosis. I mean, what could be scarier? They say Godzilla is the King of the Monsters who possesses immense physical strength. His signature weapon is its “atomic breath” that he generates from inside of his body. Hmm, that explains the halitosis. This beast of the sea, defender of human society and modern hero that sets out to make things right with the world might seem horrendous and terrifying but who could resist that face!? 👀 Nevermind that, let’s get to the matter at hand!

Joe Brody, a supervisor at the Janjira Nuclear Plant in Japan is discussing an issue with a fellow colleague. The issue? Frequent and consistent patterns of tremors that do not seem to be related to a recent earthquake. On their way to work, Joe advises his wife Sandra to go directly to the site of the reactor at the nuclear plant, a decision he would regret for the rest of his life. Unexpected tremors breach the reactor leaving Sandra and a team of technicians trapped while the plant collapses. Fifteen years later, Ford, Joe’s son, returns home from a tour as a U.S. Navy ordnance disposal officer. After spending some time with his family, he is summoned to Japan after his father had been detained for trespassing in the quarantined zone of the former Janjira plant. Joe is convinced that there is a cover up and persuades his son to accompany him to their old home to retrieve important data. After being detained again, Joe along with his son Ford are carried to the Project Monarch facility where a MUTO escapes in search of nuclear radiation and its mate. The U.S. Navy steps in with hopes of tracking, luring, and destroying the MUTOS but  Dr. Seriwaza is convinced that Godzilla is there to restore a balance in nature and that the creatures should fight among themselves. The admiral, William Stenz, instead uses a large amount of military firepower to kill Godzilla and his rivals. After numerous attempts, countless fatalities, widespread destruction and havoc, Godzilla proved to be a true hero by defeating both MUTOS.

The OSH Titans have been assigned the duty of dissecting Godzilla, highlighting the various OSH hazards, and providing measures to reduce or eliminate these hazards. Some of the hazards identified are chemical, biological, physical, and psychological.

CHEMICAL HAZARDS

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Image 3: Soldiers discovering remains on submarine carrying radioactive material left by MUTO. Source: http://gph.is/MrUmnm

1) Radiation Hazard

How dangerous is radiation? According to Dr. Ananya Mandal, “Exposure to radiation is safe in small amounts and when it is strictly controlled during a medical exam such as an X-ray.” However, long term exposure as well as exposure to a large amount of radiation in a short time can cause damage to biological systems and can lead to electrical and fire hazards. In Godzilla, the two MUTOS feed on nuclear radiation converting it to electromagnetic pulses. Dielectric heating is one effect of exposure to electromagnetic fields that can cause severe burns about the body (Mandal, 2014).

Intense radiation can also cause electric shock in humans and damage to electrical devices. The movie shows the effect that the radiation had on the power grids in Japan and parts of the United States but failed to show the effect it had on humans. In addition, high intensity electromagnetic radiation can also create sparks if an induced voltage is higher than the surrounding medium’s breakdown voltage. Inflammable substances are then at risk of catching fire on contact with a spark, potentially causing an explosion to occur (Mandal, 2014).

Violation: According to the OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago 2004 as amended 2006, it is the duty of an employer to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of every employee. In addition, the act states that an employer must provide and maintain safe systems of work which includes all materials used for work, all procedures required to execute their work, and the plant or facility. If we were to apply these principles to Godzilla it is clear that these guidelines were not met. 

Recommendations to reduce the radiation hazards:

  1. Destroy the organisms at an early stage of development.
  2. Alert the public and avoid deception. Areas should have been evacuated quicker which could have saved more lives.
  3. Lure the organisms to a deserted area and not to a highly populated region.
  4. “Fire” only when it is certain that there would be little to no loss of life. Reduce the risk as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

2) Dust hazard

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Image 4: Ford wakes up covered in dust after the attack and fire explosion.
Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

 After the disastrous attack, Ford wakes up and his nostrils, eyes, and mouth passageways are covered in dust. Did you know that the longer you breathe in dust, there is an increased risk to your health? 

Recommendation: The soldiers should have been equipped with masks to prevent the inhalation of harmful dust particles and to protect their eyes and mouths from dust contamination. 

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

Biological hazards are organic substances that pose a threat to human health and other living organisms. These threats can come in the form of bacteria, viruses, plants, birds, insects, and humans and can be considered to include biological vectors or transmitters of disease. Worldwide, it is estimated that around 320, 000 workers die each year from communicable diseases caused by work related exposures to biological hazards (Safe Work Australia, 2011). 

The miners were at risk of health complications due to:

1) Lack of protective clothing and equipment:

At the beginning of the movie, the miners that were working for the Universal Western Mining company were not provided with protective clothing and equipment. The workers had no gloves and breathing masks on while they were mining for Uranium Deposits. This is seen as a biological Hazard since the workers could have been infected from micro organisms and bacteria through inhalation, contact with the skin, and any cuts on their body if they received any. 

Lack of protective clothing and equipment is also seen in image 6 as Joe enters the plant.

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Image 5: Workers without protective equipment. Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

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Image 6: Joe and his associate without protective gear. Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

Violation: According to OSH act of Trinidad and Tobago, all persons entering an area in an industrial establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury, shall be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard and adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices, and no person shall be permitted to be in any such area unless he is wearing such protective clothing or device.

Recommendation: Employers must provide suitable protective clothing and equipment to employees of an approved standard as well as proper training and instructions on the use of it. A few examples of protective equipment that the miners should have worn are safety goggles, steel-toed boots, safety helmets, high visibility vests, and earplugs. In addition, Joe and his associate should have been provided with safety gear before entering the plant.

2) Trespassing quarantine zone

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Image 7: Sign indicating quarantine zone. Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

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Image 8: Joe and Lieutenant Ford entering the quarantine zone. Source: http://gph.is/1cMJPNL

Ford and Joe Brody decided to return to their old home to retrieve old disks that comprised of important information about the patterns of seismic activity in 1999. The entire area of which their home was once located is now a quarantine zone because of the accident of the reactors in the Janjira nuclear power plant. A quarantine zone is a state of isolation, used to separate and restrict the movement of persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease.

Recommendation: Joe and Lieutenant Ford should not have risked their lives by trespassing into the  quarantine zone as it could have posed a threat to their health. 

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

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Image 9: Joe’s wife and her team heading to level 5 of the Nuclear Reactor. Source: http://www.kickass.re/movies/godzilla-2014-720p-m40674.html

1) Knowing the dangers that seismic activity can cause to Nuclear Reactors, the chief engineer instructed a worker to assemble a team and proceed to level 5 to inspect if anything was wrong. Seismic activity is defined as the types, frequency, and size of earthquakes that happen over a period of time in a certain area. The Health and Safety of the five workers including Joe’s wife that went to level 5 were put at risk since the chief engineer knew that if a Nuclear Reactor erupted, it would cause the loss of life with or without wearing chemical protective suits.

Violation: The OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago 2004 as amended 2006 states that an Employer must provide information, instructions, training, and supervision to ensure the safety and Health of all employees.

Recommendation: What should the chief engineer have done? The Chief Engineer’s knowledge of the risks involved should not have sent the workers down to level 5 without gaining more information about the seismic activity.

2) Falling Hazards

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Image 10: MUTO causing destruction. Source: http://gph.is/2dPSWRp

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Image 11: Joe and the workers in danger from falling objects. Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

Upon realizing that the tremors were due to electromagnetic pulses and was the cause of the last major disaster in Japan, the decision to evacuate the area was taken and using electrical forces, the first M.U.T.O (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) was eradicated, or so they thought. Despite their efforts, the male Muto broke free at the nuclear plant escaping from Project Monarch facilities in Japan resulting in a disarray of heavy machinery, metal, and other objects being violently thrown around leading to many injuries and the death of Joe.

Recommendation: The death of Joe as well as other fallen soldiers could have been prevented if authorities made the right decision on behalf of their team to evacuate the entire plant upon learning of the news. More lives could have been saved if the entire area was quarantined and a strategical approach was taken.

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Image 12: Bus driver on the bridge trying to escape. Source: http://gph.is/2dPVwGY

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Image 13: Children confused and frightened in the bus. Source: http://gph.is/2eRd9Jj

Recommendation– All persons and vehicles should have been evacuated and the bridge should have been blocked off before the attack to prevent persons from becoming injured.  

3) Tsunami

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Image 14: Tsunami approaching at full speed. Source: http://gph.is/2ecErbi

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Image 15: People running for their lives as the tsunami approaches the streets of Honolulu, Hawaii. Source: http://gph.is/2eUgFlu

Godzilla entered Honolulu at full speed and fully submerged. His full mass is displaced in the water and driving it forward at an enormous speed (Lee, 2014). This causes mass hysteria on the beaches as people become aware that a tsunami is coming. Hundreds of people run for their lives, but the tsunami approaches and  the streets are quickly flooded. This caused a great loss of lives, destruction to buildings and objects, as well as a large power outage. We were on the edge of our seats for this scene as I am sure many of you would be as well! 

Recommendation: All persons should have been evacuated away from the beach and alerted to move to higher ground or inland and away from water immediately.   

Disaster preparedness, don’t risk it! Tsunami Awareness & Safety guide

4) Endangerment of civilians. 

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Image 16: Young boy attempting to open the door of the train as he is separated from his parents. Source: Author photo taken from Godzilla 2014 for illustration purposes.

Recommendation: The parents should have held the child’s hand which would have prevented the child from entering the train by himself and thereby ensuring his safety.

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Image 17: MUTO’s leg smashes on the ground which causes a major power outage. Source: http://gph.is/2eALde2

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Image 18: Muto destroying train and incurring injury to passengers. Source: http://gph.is/2eUdSZW

While boarding a train from Hawaii, Ford as well as other passengers are trapped in an electrical outage caused by the M.U.T.O. This resulted in the train coming to an abrupt stop on the tracks which caused passengers to be stranded since there were no means of escape. Moments later the train was powered again and moving. During this time, the harmful creature that was seen attacking the city, approached and destroyed the train track. Glass from the windows of the train became shattered and gunfire posed danger to the remaining passengers on the train.

Recommendation:  This havoc could have been prevented if passengers were banned from using any means of electrical transport until the situation was under control. The authorities should have never allowed individuals to board the train knowing the danger involved. Instead of keeping the situation quieted, the public should have been alerted of the possible dangers of utilizing the train track which may have resulted in less injuries and death.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS

Optimism faded, as the realization of what happened to Hawaii begins to settle in and disappointment, resentment, anger and frustration became evident (McMahon 2011). Confronted with the scenes of destruction and the deaths of loved ones, many survivors may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious psychological disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing life-threatening events as shown in Godzilla (ChildFund, 2013).

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Image 19: Firefighters and police officers seen assisting injured persons on the scene. Source: http://gph.is/2dMpIYD

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Image 20: A family reuniting after the traumatic event. Source: http://gph.is/2dPQ4Eh

Recommendations: Therapy or counselling would have helped those persons that experienced trauma from the disastrous events and make sense of their experiences and feelings, develop plans to stay safe, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and connect with other resources and support. For further information on psychological hazards, refer to our previous post. Raising awareness to psychological hazards

To conclude it can be observed how serious each hazard (chemical, biological, physical, and psychological) has been to the characters mentioned and the public in the movie. These hazards show how important it is to have safe practices in and around the workplace. Each hazard mentioned can be related to our private and public lives and we should therefore take proactive measures in safeguarding our surroundings for ourselves and others. In addition, one should not fail to encourage health and safety wherever they go and with whomever they meet. We as humans have a duty to treat our work environment with caution and respect for others as our work practices can affect the public in hazardous ways. It is important to understand your country’s OSH act, especially as an employee, so you know your rights and the power you have to stand against unsafe health and safety practices.

We would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Godzilla 2014 Trailer

References

Lee, Franklin. “Why Didn’t Godzilla Create a Huge Tsunami When He Entered San Francisco, Similar to the One That Hit Honolulu?” Quora. July 30, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2016.

https://www.quora.com/Why-didnt-Godzilla-create-a-huge-Tsunami-when-he-entered-San-Francisco-similar-to-the-one-that-hit-Honolulu

Mandal, Ananya, MD. “Radiation Hazards.” News-medical.net. October 30, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2016. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Radiation-Hazards.aspx

McMahon, Kathy. “The Psychology of Disaster.” Peak Oil Blues. March 16, 2011. Accessed October 21, 2016.

http://www.peakoilblues.org/blog/2011/03/16/the-psychology-of-disaster/

“National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance: Exposure to Biological Hazards and the Provision of Controls against Biological Hazards in Australian Workplaces.” Safe Work Australia. March 2011. Accessed October 24, 2016. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/571/NHEWS_BiologicalMaterials.pdf

“Posttraumatic Stress / Trauma.” GoodTherapy. Accessed October 21, 2016.

http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/ptsd

“Seismic Activity Dictionary Definition | Seismic Activity …” Accessed October 20, 2016. http://www.yourdictionary.com/seismic-activity

“Synopsis for Haeundae.” IMDb. Accessed October 21, 2016. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1153040/synopsis

“The Devastating Effects of Natural Disasters.” ChildFund. Accessed October 18, 2016.

https://www.childfund.org/the-devastating-impact-of-natural-disasters/?no_redirect=true


14 Comments

How dangerous is a ‘wash, cut and style’? Tips for hair stylists & clients.

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Image source: (Edwards, 2015)

 

Many people visit hair salons for a hairstyle, a haircut, hair treatment or a wash, but how many of us take time to observe the various health and safety hazards that are present at salons? Likewise, how many beauticians have considered the hazards that surround their workspaces? Many may even be guilty of inadvertently creating these hazards. Such hazards can range from failure to sterilize equipment which can result in bodily infections, to overloading electrical outlets which can place appliance users at risk for electric shock. In this blog, we examined five common hazards present at most local and international salons, namely chemical, physical, mechanical, ergonomic, electrical (which falls under the category of physical) and biological hazards; provided tips on how workers and employers can deal with these five hazards; and also provided tips on how clients can spot these hazards. The discussion will be centred on the risk management hierarchy of controls which refers to a sequence of various procedures which can be implemented to either eliminate or alleviate a hazard. Don’t worry, there’s no need to second guess your next hair salon appointment – provided that you bear these tips in mind, that is!

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Image source: (Matthew, 2016)

Tips For Hair Salon Workers & Employers

Tip #1: How to deal with harsh chemicals

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Hair dye being applied to a client’s hair. Image source: (“Family Health Team”, 2015)

Hair salons often offer a variety of services, such as bleaching, dying, relaxing, tinting, perming, straightening and smoothing. These services expose the employees to harsh chemicals on a daily basis. Such chemicals can enter the body via inhalation or skin absorption. According to a study published by the Journal of Occupational Medicine, out of 170 workers chosen from 56 hair salons across Palestine, 19% reported suffering from respiratory symptoms at some point during their employment (Nemer et al., 2013). The study attributed the symptoms to their constant exposure to chemicals in salons.  Also, in a French study by Weber, Nevala and Mantouvalou (2011), it was found that, while hairdressers represent about 1 % of the entire workforce in France, 20% of women affected by work-related asthma are hairdressers. The table below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the chemicals that are present in products often used in hair salons and the potential effects they have on the human body.  

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Table of a chemicals found in hair salons and their potential effects on human body.    Source: (Toxic Chemicals in Salon Products, 2016)

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Image source: (Paragon STL, n.d.)

Not only are these chemicals harmful if they enter the body, but they are also extremely flammable. For example, hairspray, one of the most common products in hair salons, contains a highly flammable agent called isopropyl alcohol. Hair mousse contains isobutane, propylene glycol and propane, both of which can cause a fire if either was to come into contact with an open flame.

So what should you do?

To determine the best measure a beautician should take to avoid the harmful effects of these chemicals, we can refer to the Hierarchy of Controls. If you are an employer or employee of a hair salon, you may choose to start at the top of the hierarchy. In doing so, you might want to eliminate the hazard by tailoring the services you offer do that you avoid any contact with harsh chemicals. On the other hand, this might not be economically feasible as limiting your services might result in loss of clients. If you were to move down the hierarchy, you might want to substitute the products you currently use for those without the harsh chemicals.

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Hair dye being prepared using disposable gloves. Image source: (Family Health Team, 2015)

If you find this difficult, you might want to isolate certain services in the salon to limit contact with the chemicals. For example, isolating hair dying and bleaching to an area away from the main floor of the salon. There is the option of engineering controls, such as ensuring proper ventilation of all areas of the salon. Administrative controls can also be of assistance, by developing and implementing policies and procedures for chemical handling, storage, usage and disposal. Ensuring that all staff members are well trained can also help to reduce the risk. And finally, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to salon workers, for example provision of aprons and disposable gloves for use when mixing or applying hair dye, bleaches and other chemicals.

 

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Image source: (Seton, 2016)

Tip #2: How to avoid slip and trip hazards

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), over 300,000 cases of days away from work due to slips, trips and falls were reported in 2014. Slips and trips can occur in numerous ways. Often, it’s due to lack of traction between our shoes and walking surfaces. For beauticians, an accumulation of shorn hair on the floor or residue from hair products and sprays can become a slip hazard while loose cords on the floor from electrical tools, such as flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons can become a trip hazard.

So what should be done?

Salon employees should therefore clean the floors frequently, disposing of shorn hair and cleaning any residues that may make the floors slippery. Employees should also wear non-skid shoes. Cords should be tied up or taped down to reduce the risk of injury due to trips. Employers should avoid flooring with glazed or shiny finishes as this may increase chances of slips. Skid-resistant floors, which will provide more friction, might be preferred.

Tip #3: How to deal with ergonomic hazards

There are a myriad of ergonomic hazards present in the average hair salon. Hairdressers are often on their feet for almost the entire day. Standing for such long periods can potentially expose hairdressers to muscle and spine complications such as muscle fatigue, muscle strain, varicose veins and back pain.

So what should be done?

In order to rectify this issue, a hairstylist should ensure that the client sits on an adjustable chair so that the client and hairstylist are at levelled height. Levine and Gelb (2003) suggests that, in order to reduce fatigue and maintain poise when working on a client’s hair, stylists should use what is commonly known as a ‘hair cutting stool’ as opposed to standing. The photos below are an illustration of the do’s and don’ts of this ergonomic hazard.

In order to further reduce the risk of injury, the owner of the salon should consider adding anti-fatigue mats to areas in the salon that are used for tasks that involve long hours standing, such as around the client’s chair and in the shampoo area. Workers should also pay attention to the shoes that they wear. The preferred option should be to wear shoes with proper arch support and cushioning (Salaptek, 2014). In addition to providing the necessary equipment, employers should take the time to educate their workers about proper posture and the importance of tools such a hair cutting stool and how they help to reduce pain, fatigue and risk of injury.

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Awkward grip of utensils. Image source: (Ergonomics Simplified, 2016)

According to a publication by the European Agency for Safety and Health, any awkward gripping of work utensils together with constant sharp and forceful movements may result in problems with the elbow, wrist and hand (EU-OSHA, 2014). Such problems include carpal tunnel syndrome and damage to nerves and tendons from the forearm to the wrist.  The Agency suggests use of utensils with a bended or adjustable grip as these can keep the wrists straight. Additionally, training and instructions on the proper use of these tools are essential.

Another ergonomic hazard in hair salons comes by their use of towels. After washing a client’s hair, a hairdresser might wrap a towel around the client’s head and neck to absorb dripping water from the wet hair. These towels are then dumped into a basket which will later be laundered. As the basket becomes filled with wet towels, the weight increases, and salon workers might be inclined to bend and lift it when the time arrives to launder. Such lifting of heavy items is an ergonomic hazard.

According to the OSHA Technical Manual, published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Unit of the United States Department of Labour, back injuries can develop as a result of a single traumatic event, or as a result of gradual microtrauma caused over a period of time (Occupational Safety, 1993). The slow progress of gradual microtrauma leads is too often ignored until it the symptoms become acute. This type of microtrauma is what would be most often seen in hair salons as a result of lifting or manual handling of heavy towel baskets, and indeed any heavy items in the shop.

Our recommendations?

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Commercial grade rolling laundry basket. Image source: (Whitmor, 2016)

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Elevated laundry basket. Image source: (World Marker, 2016)

In using the Hierarchy of Controls to reduce the risk of serious back injury to workers, the option to eliminate the ergonomic hazard by discarding the practice of using baskets might be difficult as this is conventional and cost-effective practice, but employers can substitute the basket with one that does not require constant lifting, such as one with wheels. Additionally, employers might want to rotate employees to perform this task. In addressing the issue of back injuries in relation to heavy lifting, we recommend elevating the basket.

Not all lifting of heavy objects is bad for our health. Salon employees should be instructed on how to properly lift heavy objects and avoid back injury. They should also be constantly reminded by relevant signage (pictured below). 

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Tip #4: How to deal with electrical hazards

It is common for a large hair dryer or even a hand held hairdryer to be placed near the salon’s sink. At a hair salon, water and electrical items can come into close range of each other. To avoid, shock, burn and electrocution, employers and employers can implement the techniques below.  

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Image source: (“Ground Fault Circuit”, 2011)

In using the Hierarchy of Controls, an employer might choose to remove the hazard. While this may solve the problem, it might be impractical as many techniques performed in a hair salon require electrical appliances. A better choice might be engineering controls by installing ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets to maintain electrical safety and to secure the outlets that are likely to come in contact with water. There is also the option to isolate the hazard by rearranging, separating areas for washing from areas for styling with electrical appliances.

However, everyone has a part to play in health and safety, therefore salon workers should regularly inspect electrical cords and appliances for fraying or wear and tear, and ensure that they are tagged after testing so that substandard devices can be replaced. Regular inspections by a qualified electrician are also recommended. On a separate but pertinent point, salons should be outfitted with sufficient electrical outlets in order to prevent existing outlets from being overloaded.

Concerned about overloading of extension sockets? Here’s a video on ‘How to avoid overloading…’

Video Source: (247 Home Rescue, 2015)

Tip #5: How to deal with biological hazards

Salon workers use few tools for multiple clients. It is essential to ensure that their tools are properly sanitized to reduce the presence of biological hazards which can affect the scalp, hair and skin of one client and spread to another. By virtue of the nature of the job, it might be difficult to completely eliminate this hazard. However, moving down the hierarchy of controls to a viable solution brings us to administrative controls.

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Proper hand washing procedure. Image source: (Pfuntuner, 2016)

 

 

Employees should be properly instructed and trained as to the importance and performance of sanitation practices and procedures. Cleaning of all equipment after use should be mandatory at the salon to avoid the spread of harmful pathogens and bacteria such as staphylococcus, scalp ringworm and parasites. Salon employees should also regularly wash their hands, with antibacterial soap, in an effort to reduce spreading of germs between clients and to themselves. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work suggests that, as a matter of routine, brushes, combs, scissors, razors and clippers etc., must be washed in hot soapy water and then immersed in disinfectant solution for 15-20 mins. One such disinfectants solution is barbicide which is a germicide, fungicide and virucide.

Tips For Hair Salon Clients

There are many hazards present in your average hair salon. We have mentioned above, a few serious hazards that are often overlooked by hair salon employees and employers. However, the hazards in a hair salon do not only affect the employees and employers, but they can also affect clients of the salon. If clients are not keeping a keen eye out they may not even notice hazards that may affect them until it is too late. If you are a client of a hair salon, then in an effort to prevent you from becoming a casualty of that salon, wish to provide you with tips on a few hazards that you should look out for on your next trip to the salon.

Tip #1: Look out for chemical hazards

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The air at a salon might be a chemical cocktail. Image source: (Oliver, 2013)

As the client, you should pay attention to what products are being used in your hair. It is your duty to ensure that the products used would not harm you in any way. You should also make sure that you are not allergic to any of the products by reading the labels of the products to have an understanding of their composition.

You should also take note of the use of any flammable products used in your hair (refer to the table above). If any such chemicals are used, you would need to make sure that you stay clear of any open flames until the chemical is cleansed from your hair.

Additionally, you should understand method of usage for any chemicals to be used on your hair in order to ensure that the hairdresser is using the product correctly. For example, it is important that the recommended time is not exceeded when having a perm or relaxer treatment in your hair as the product may cause damage to your hair and scalp or even burns and nerve damage. Further, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work emphasizes the importance of proper ventilation of the salon to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. Therefore, you should make sure that your salon is well ventilated.

Tip #2: Look out for slip & trip hazards

It is important to pay attention while walking within the salon to ensure that you avoid any slips and trips. Pay attention to the hair which may be left on the floor as this causes a slippery surface. If there are loose cords on the floor, be wary and try to avoid them. You may also bring these loose cords to the attention of your hairdresser, pointing out the trip hazard which can endanger the workers of the salon and fellow customers, so that the issue might be rectified.

Tip #3: Look for ergonomic hazards

Not only are the employers or employees susceptible to ergonomic hazards but so too are the hair salon’s clients. Clients may experience discomfort due to the inappropriate furniture used at the hair salon. You should make sure that the chairs used for washing your hair allows you to recline comfortably to the sink so as to not cause you to stretch your neck over the chair to meet the edge of the sink. Holding the latter position for the duration of your shampoo treatment could cause muscle strain and neck pain.

Tip #4: Look out for electrical hazards

In many salons hairdressers use a number of different electrical devices, mentioned above, such as flat irons, hair dryers and curling irons. While they may be blow drying your hair they may also have the flat iron and curling iron plugged in and preheating, so that they can quickly switch between tools. Sometimes, these various tools may be plugged into the same outlet. Overloading of electrical outlets is an electrical hazard, so be sure to check out the electrical outlets and power-strips making sure that they are not overloaded since this puts you at risk. Also look out for torn or worn out insulation on the cords of electrical devices. 

Be very vigilant about electrical hazards since these can lead to fires. Since hair stylists often use flammable chemicals on their client’s hair, your hair could very well be at risk for catching fire in the event a fire were to break out in a salon.

 

Tip #5: Look out for biological hazards

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Barbicide: a disinfectant solution; a germicide, fungicide and virucide. Image Source: (Renscene Ltd, 2016)

 

It is important that you check to see if salon tools are regularly sanitized. Ensure that the hair brushes, curlers, combs and other tools are cleaned and no excess hair is left behind from other clients. These tools can be cleaned by using barbicide or any other equal or better method. Ensure that stylists also wash their hands with antibacterial soap after dealing with another client before moving on to you.

In closing…

To sum things up, hairdressers and employers should be aware of the harsh chemicals found in common salon products and the effects they can have on the human body. Use measures such as substitution or changing administrative controls to reduce the risk of exposure. Try to avoid slip and trip hazards in the workplace by often cleaning your floor space. For better ergonomic practices, employ the method of using a hair cutting stool to sit while cutting hair and use appliances with adjustable grips to avoid awkward gripping on salon tools. Use rolling laundry basket to avoid frequent lifting of laundry baskets but if you must lift, then remember to bend your knees. You might want to invest in a GFCI outlet and avoid overloading of electrical outlets. Remember to practice proper hygiene and properly sanitize salon tools. If you are a client, be on the look out for the hazards discussed above. These are the chemical hazards, slip and trip hazards, ergonomic hazards, electrical hazards and biological hazards. Whether you are a hair salon worker, an employer or a client, we hope that these tips will help you to become more aware of the hazards that may be present in your salon and how you can mitigate these hazards and their associated risks by implementing the hierarchy of controls. With these tips in mind, your next haircut will be a cut above the rest! 
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References

247 Home Rescue. (2015, November 18). How to avoid overloading extension sockets – 24|7 Home Rescue YouTube video file. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwqNdmN2Zd8

Accuform. (2016). OSHA Notice Safety Sign: Avoid Contamination – Wash Your Hands. [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.accuform.com/safety-sign/notice-avoid-contamination-wash-your-hands-wgraphic-MRST804

Beauty and Its Beast: Unmasking the Impacts of Toxic Chemicals on Salon Workers. (2014). Women’s Voices For The Earth. Retrieved October 19, 2016 from: http://www.womensvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Beauty-and-Its-Beast-fact-sheet.pdf

Edwards, C. (2015). Haz waste in the workplace – salon [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.grundon.com/Blog/Hazardous-Waste-In-The-Workplace

Ergonomics Simplified. (2016) Hairdresser 5 [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.ergonomicssimplified.com/professions/hairdresser

EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work). (2014). Occupational health and safety in the hairdressing sector. Retrieved from: https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-publications/publications/literature_reviews/occupational-health-and-safety-in-the-hairdressing-sector

Family Health Team. (2015). Use Hair Dye? Watch for Red Flags With Salon or Box Color. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/01/use-hair-dye-watch-for-red-flags-whether-its-salon-or-box-color/

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): Prevention from Shock Hazards. (2011). SafeElectricity.org. Retrieved from: https://www.safeelectricity.org/information-center/library-of-articles/55-home-safety/317-ground-fault-circuit-interrupters-gfcis

Levine, K., and Gelb, A. (2003). A Survival Guide for Cosmetologists: Tips from the Trenches. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning

Matthew, S. (2016). Keeping construction workers safe around high-voltage assets. Entura. Retrieved from: http://www.entura.com.au/keeping-construction-workers-safe-around-high-voltage-assets/Madelin, C. (2015). Hairstylists Are More Likely To Have Alzheimer’s And Eczema, According To  Studies. The Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/27/hairstylists-are-more-lik_n_7451216.html

Melbourne Institute of Nails & Beauty. (2014, October 12). Occupational health and safety in a hairdressing salon – Lesson. YouTube video file. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBc4rIg0k3Q&noredirect=1

MySafteySign.com. (2016). Lifting Instruction Signs [Online Images]. Retrieved from: http://www.mysafetysign.com/lifting-instruction-signs

Nemer, M., P. Kristensen, K. Nijem, E. Bjertness, and M. Skogstad. 2013. “Respiratory function and chemical exposures among female hairdressers in Palestine.” Occupational Medicine 63, no. 1: 73. E-Journals, EBSCOhost (accessed October 20, 2016).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (1993). OSHA Technical Manual. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_vii/otm_vii_1.html#3

Oliver, Dana. (2013) HAIR-SALON-HAZARDS-570 [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/hair-salon-hazards-photos_n_3389688.html

Paragon STL. (n.d.). Highly Flammable Household Objects [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.paragonstl.com/highly-flammable-household-objects/

Pfuntner, A. (2011). 2311 Sanitation Fig 1 [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2011/proper-hand-washing-a-vital-food-safety-step/

Renscene Ltd. (2016). Barbicide 1 Litre Jar [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.hairproducts.co.uk/barbicide_1litrejar.php

RPM Therapy. (2016). Preferred and Non preferred Positions [Online Images]. Retrieved from: http://rpm-therapy.com/2012/hairdressers-salons-prevent-work-related-injuries/

Salaptek, L. (2014). Stand all day? 9 Ways You Can Reduce Leg, Foot and Back Pain. Modern Salon. Retrieved from: http://www.modernsalon.com/article/24830/stand-all-day-9-ways-you-can-reduce-leg-foot-and-back-pain

Seton.(2016). Be Aware of Slips, Trips & Falls Poster. [Online Image]. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/images/2S3ZwJ

Toxic Chemicals in Salon Products. (2016). Women’s Voices For The Earth. Retrieved October 19, 2016 from: http://www.womensvoices.org/avoid-toxic-chemicals/salon-products/toxic-chemicals-in-salon-products-workers

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015, November  19). NONFATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES REQUIRING DAYS AWAY FROM WORK, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh2.pdf

Weber, T., Nevala, A., and Mantouvalou., K. (2011) Final report.  Retrieved from: http://www.coiffure.eu/websites/anko_coiffure/files/2011%20June%20Final%20report%20Tina%20Weber%20H&S.pdf

Whitmor. (2016). Commercial Round Laundry Hamper [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://whitmor.com/laundry-garment/commercial-round-laundry-hamper.html

World Market. (2016) Ellie Rolling Laundry Cart [Online Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/ellie+rolling+laundry+cart.do?pftv=58DXVvubDr


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Safety analysis of self-employed persons and recommendations for improvements.

Risk Reduction Regime embarked on a risk analysis of various self-employed persons and made recommendations that were not emphasized in The OSH Act of T& T as amended (2006.) According to the act, “self-employed person” means an individual who works for gain or reward otherwise than under a contract of employment, whether or not he himself employs others. The law states:

“7(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment, who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their safety or health.

(2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons, not being his employees, who may be affected by his actions are not thereby exposed to risks to their safety or health.

(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer and every self- employed person, in the prescribed circumstances and in the prescribed manner, to give to persons, not being his employees, who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking, the prescribed information about such aspects of the way in which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their safety or health.” (OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT CHAPTER 88:08 Act 1 of 2004 Amended by 3 of 2006 2006)

Provisions under this section only give a generalized guideline to the self-employed persons to conduct his undertaking in such a way that would not bring harm to himself or anyone else in within his space of operations or affairs. However, it should be noted that, for self-employed persons, they themselves are the employees and thus provisions under the Act regarding duties and requirements for employees concerning safety, health, and welfare should apply to them.           

Another point to note is that workplaces and employers with less than five (5) employees are not required by law to have a physical safety policy available, and thus this means that the safety of the self-employed person lies on himself. This is then reflected when persons are going to apply for registration of their business, with the only requirements being forms of identification and a valid business name, and nothing of proof of assurance of safety in their conduct. An area of concern that should have more attention paid to it is that most self-employed persons and small businesses have young persons or untrained workers in their employment and most times no real care or due diligence is taken by their employers for their health, safety, or well being. This then leads to the speculation and assumption that self-employed persons are liable for their own safety, health, and welfare, which then should be reflected in their own conduct and culture.

What is a Risk Assessment?

An examination of what in the work place could “cause harm to persons, to enable to decide whether to take sufficient precautions to prevent harm. The aim of an assessment is to make sure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill.”(A Guide to Risk Assessment 2008)

There are five steps used to assess risks in the workplace:

  1. “Look for the hazards.
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done.
  4. Record your findings.
  5. Review your assessment and revise it if necessary” (A Guide to Risk Assessment 2008)

For the risk assessment the group looked at four self-employed persons and the analysis are as followed:

Wood Work Shop Analysis

Background of business and individual

Mr. Gow is a retired worker of the power industry of Trinidad and Tobago who has established a wood working business behind his house. The business is solely operated and not registered. Mr. Gow is highly trained in various safety procedures and use of personal protective equipment and has extensive knowledge on operating dangerous machinery.

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Woodwork: Image 1: Table with tools

   

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Woodwork: Image 2: Some protective gear

The above images shows various PPE used. Special gloves, face, eye and hearing protection as well as a head lamp is utilized. The image also shows a full body coverall to protect against flying wood chips, as well as thick rubber boots to protect the feet from any falling debris. The use of a powerful search light allows work to be done in well-lit areas. An important item that is also noted is a push stick. This is used to operate various saws and acts as an extended arm.

Mr. Gow has admitted in an interview that he practices very safe and careful working procedures and does not allow anyone to enter the workshop during work hours. He also states that he works in full PPE at all times.

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Woodwork: Image 3: Clutter at the workplace

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Woodwork: Image 4: Dangerous equipments used in daily operations

The images above show some of the materials and equipment that is interacted with on a daily basis. The woodworking machinery regulations states there must be a sufficient clear and unobstructed space at every woodworking machine

The below images shows the general workshop

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Woodwork: Image 5: The entire work space

The floor surrounding every woodworking machine shall be maintained in good and level condition, and as far as practicable, according to the woodwork machinery regulations. It was evident that Mr. Gow practice safe working conditions, from the risk assessment his work space contains many hazards.

Step 1

The ground contains many planks that may cause Mr. Gow to lose his footing. There are tools and electrical cords scattered around carelessly which may cause tripping. A vital breach of the OSH Act is the presence of saw dust on the ground which can cause individuals to slid

Step 2

Mr. Gow is the only candidate to be harmed since he lives with his wife, who doesn’t come into the workshop. Mr. Gow delivers all his products which means no customers enter the workshop.

Step 3

The main risk that exists is the risk of slipping or tripping due to the states of the walking area. Even though Mr. Gow wears shoes with grips he may still trip over a loose cord, tool or sawdust. He can damage himself slightly by falling onto the ground or suffer a major causality if he falls onto a machine that is currently in operation.

Recommendations

The main recommendation that can be put forward is to properly organize the walk way either by casting it with concrete so it can be flat or to level it with dirt and place metal gratings for added grip.

Doctor’s Office Analysis

A risk assessment was carried out at a doctor’s office.  The office services the small community of El Socorro and environs. Office days and time are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to 12pm. The office space consists of three room a waiting area the doctor’s office and a toilet facility occupying a combined space of 24’ x 28’. There is a total of two staff work in this office, a doctor and a receptionist. 

Hazards Identified:

Biological

A large percentage of the patients present themselves with communicable diseases that can be spread by air droplets from coughing and sneezing. These patients pose a risk to other patients as well as staff.

Physical

The center decor in the waiting room is a very low lying chandelier, 5 feet 7 inches of the ground which can cause injury if someone is taller than this. In the case of a fire, both doors, the entrance and emergency exit, are located on the same wall. One door is glass and the other is wooden which can easily be caught a fire. There exist three burglar proof windows which have no emergency openings. Documents such as company receipts for the year, for tax purposes, are kept in a brown envelope and an organizer.

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Doctor’s Office: Image 1: Chandelier that is a physical hazard

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Doctor’s Office: Image 2:Important documents stored near to area with no emergency exits

Health and Safety Practice on a day to day basis:

Staff are kept up-to-date with vaccines to prevent acquiring infections such as chicken pox and influenza.  Personal protective equipment such as gloves, mask and gowns must be used to protect doctor and staff when performing minor surgeries. All waiting room chairs are ergonomically design to prevent back pains. There is a ramp for patients on wheelchairs to ensure easy accessibility. Patients with mental disabilities can pose a hazard towards other patients and staff therefore they may be seen as soon as possible. Drug addicts can be a threat to staff as well as patients because of their addiction to narcotics and various other drugs. Therefore, dangerous drugs and antibiotics are kept locked away in a secure hidden safe in compliance with the dangerous drug act. Needles and other medical waste are placed in specialized containers for weekly pick up to send to the appropriate the facility to ensure proper disposal.

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Doctor’s Office: Image 3: Ergonomic hazard for patients

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Doctor’s Office: Image 4: Proper signage at the office

Recommendations

All important documents including receipts and company files should be kept in a fire proof safe. To avoid physical injury, a decor table should be placed under the chandelier so people can walk around it to avoid injuring their heads. Patients who have symptoms of the flu should be quickly identified and provided with a NI 95 face mask. The wooden door should be replaced with a fireproof door as well as moved to another wall. One burglar proof window should have an emergency opening and locks and keys that can be easy located when needed.

A Carpenter’s Analysis

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Carpenter: Image 1: The workplace for roofing works

Randy Jorai is a self-employed mason and roof builder in the community of South Oropouche. His jobs include building and renovations on homes and also doing roofs for pretty much and structure that demands one. The mason part of his job is done by himself whereas the roofing part is done with a small crew of about five persons. His businesses are not registered so the OSH act does not apply to him and his workers.

The most serious and life threatening hazards on his jobs are mechanical and falling hazards. On the mason side of his job objects such as saws can pose tears and cuts to the body if not handled correctly, if the equipment is faulty or if minimum or no safety equipment is used. When doing roofing the galvanize sheets being used are very sharp and can tear the skin quite easily. The risk of this happening is further increased when the sheets need to be transported to heights for installation. Ladders are used most of the times so the risk of not only falling arises but falling and cuts to the body are the risks they take doing this. Falling objects from heights is another falling hazard when working on top of houses, workers who are working below them are at risk of falling objects such as tools and materials.

Slip and fall along with stump and fall hazards were present according to Randy. “Sometimes when a little rain fall we still have to do the work on the roof” is what he told me and this presents a slip and fall hazard as most of the roofs they do are slanted so walking on it is more difficult. He also told me that an incident occurred where the oil they used to service some of their tools had leaked on to the roof when the galvanize sheets was put down and caused one of the worker to slip and fall. Fortunately, he was able to hold on to a beam and avoided falling off the house and escaped with just a few cuts.

More on the mason side of his job lifting hazards arise where there are heavy materials to be used on the jobsite. He does his masonry work by himself so there is no help for him to move materials and tools. Back injuries can occur as a result of lifting heavy objects with improper lifting techniques such as cement bags, steel beams and concrete blocks. These are materials Randy frequently uses because most of his work deals with mixing concrete and plastering walls. The dust from the cement bags and as a result of plastering walls can cause respiratory diseases if inhaled constantly and for long periods of time.

Randy gets his work by referrals from people who he did work for before and persons who know him. As his businesses are small and not registered it is not governed by the OSH act he does not have to abide by the laws of the act. Nobody is liable for when any injury occurs on the jobsite and in an interview with Randy he told me that his work sites are mostly houses and the people who he works for often do not have any tools, just materials for the job.  So therefore he and his crew are responsible for any injuries sustained due to misused or defective equipment. Also any safety equipment that may be needed for the job will have to be provided by them and according to him they barely use such equipment. He told me that they frequently take risks because they have no training in health and safety and also because doing things the way they do often lead to the job finishing quicker which is desirable because he is paid for the whole job and not by the day. This means that no matter how long he takes on a job his salary and that of his crew when working with him will be the same so time is a factor for him maximising profits. Refusal to work as seen in the OSH act is another benefit Randy and his crew does not have. If he or one of his workers is concerned about an unsafe working condition, they do not have the option to call OSHA and request and inspector and refuse to work with pay. Similarly, if any injury is sustained while working Randy or any of his co-workers will not get sick leave with pay. Randy actually sustained an injury where he was cut on this thumb by a grinder and was unable to work for two weeks and this resulted in him not being paid for two weeks.

Seeing as these two businesses do not fall under the OSH act Randy and his crew are responsible for their own safety. They can better do this by making sure all their tools and machinery are maintained and used properly with the necessary protective gear. Dust masks to be worn when working with cement or dusty areas can reduce the risk of contracting respiratory diseases.

Recommendations

Correct use of ladders when climbing (3 points on ladder at all times). Wearing slip resistant footwear on jobsites especially when climbing and walking on galvanize (to avoid slip and fall). Hard hats to be worn when working in areas where objects may fall. Keeping areas where workers are passing clear of objects that could lead to trip and fall. Avoiding working on roofs when galvanize is wet

Barber’s Shop Analysis

A self-employed barber residing in the Rio Claro area was visited and interviewed regarding the conduct of his daily business and his attitude towards his safety and the safety of others.

Throughout the interview it was noted that the person was twenty-seven (27) years old, possesses six (6) O’level subjects from Presentation College, San Fernando, and had been conducting his business on a small scale from an age of sixteen (16) with an average of six (6) hours of operation, until five (5) years ago when he decided to make it a full-time job. Health and safety did not become a priority until this became his full-time job, where it still was not first on his list.

First, a needs assessment was conducted to ascertain what was required to be able to conduct his business on a full-time scale with good capability and comfort as far as was affordable, practicable, and necessary; this refers to tools and other equipment necessary for operation. Secondly, care was given regarding his welfare and the welfare of others within his vicinity and area of operation; a clean environment, comfortable seating for his use as well as his customers, ventilation, and lighting. He then conducted a general risk assessment to the best of his knowledge and understanding which was mainly learned through experience, and came up with suitable, practicable, and more notably affordable solutions that were within his capability.

This was the mentality and culture of this self-employed person regarding his safety and wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of others, at the start of his business and operations even before thinking about registering his business. It was stated by him that his knowledge of his health, safety, and welfare was acquired through experience, suggestions, and recommendations, in lieu with his own morals, values, and respect for himself as well as others.

A dust bin solely for the disposing of hair can be seen (Welfare of others in his workplace.).

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Barbershop: Image 1: Trip hazard, cords are not properly secured

(He actually cleans his station and floor from floor after every person’s hair he cuts.)

Proper, suitable, appropriate signage.

barbershop2

Barbershop: Image 2: Proper signs for customers

Appropriate, suitable lighting necessary for operation.

barbershop3

Barbershop: Image 3: Suitable lighting for operations

Clean, organized workstation. PPE (latex gloves) suitable for operation can be seen as well.

barbershop4

Barbershop Image 4: Using protective gloves while cleaning work space

This then lead to the conclusion that without a board of directors and department of safety, legal guidelines and requirements, or even written safety policies, it is the duty of a person to his own safety, health, and welfare, which is a reflection of his knowledge, education, experience, morals, values, and culture, as well as others around him, coupled with the willingness to improve and learn.

Recommendations

Continuous monitoring of safety hazards that may cause harm to the barber and clients. Ensure electrical wires are properly secured to avoid trip and fire hazards. Ensure proper sanitation of equipment and disposal of hair and other waste. A dusk mask should be worn to prevent the inhalation of fine hair particles. There should be ten minutes interval of seating for every ten hour standing

Recommendations by Risk Assessment for the Health and Safety Board for Self Employed Persons

Based on the risk assessments conducted on these various self-employed persons, the group made some recommendations for consideration by the Health and Safety Board.

  • Have awareness raising programs.
  • Engage in outreach programs (exhibitions, lectures, workshops, promotion materials, advertisements etc.)
  • Consultation programs for all self-employed persons.
  • Safety Officers be assigned by districts to conduct routine checks on self – employed businesses to ensure they are adhering to certain safety precautions.
  • The safety act should be amended with more laws and emphasis towards self-employed persons.
  • A sub unit should be established for the monitoring of the Small and Micro enterprises and the functions can be clearly outlined in a clause in the act.

References

  1. A Guide to Risk Assessment. Version 2. Prod. The Occupational Safety and Health Authority and Agency of Trinidad and Tobago. August 2 . Accessed October 22, 2016.
  2. “OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT CHAPTER 88:08 Act 1 of 2004 Amended by 3 of 2006.” 88:08.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2016. http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/88.08.pdf


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OSH detectives investigates Pet detectives.

Ace Ventura:Pet Detectiveosh-detectivens

 

We all know the famous classic movie, Ace Ventura, featuring the hilarious actor, Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey plays as the main character, Pet Detective Ace who works within a police department. He is known throughout the movie for rescuing lost animals, saving them or returning pets to their owners. He portrays his goofy character on a mission to investigate and rescue the disappearance of the dolphin, Snowflake, a football team mascot. Although most are entertained by his comedic actions, this movie illustrates various hazards. This blog helps to highlight the different hazards seen throughout the movie, as we can encounter safety issues with our daily lives.

 

PHYSICAL HAZARD

Fall Hazards

Ace had to recuse a pigeon on a roof top; he followed this pigeon to the edge of the roof.ace_ventura_pet_detective_trying_to_catch_the_bird Ace had no protective gear and was oblivious to the fact that he was on the edge. Falling from this height can be fatal or lead to serious body injuries. Additionally, he was on the roof by himself in the event of a fall he would have been left without care for an extended period of time.

Solution: when climbing one should have a partner in case of emergencies, also when going on heights suitable safety wear should be worn.

Ace used a branch to avoid his landlord when entering his apartment. There was a pile of branches discarded on the floor near the stairs. He could have tripped on those branches and sustained a broken limb. One can plainly see how a simple habitual practice can result in accidents which can cause bodily harm.

Solution: any unwanted material should be disposed of properly this would avoid a pile up. Or simply, Pay your rent!

Ace was seen climbing up a water tank, which was wet. One would think he could have recognised the danger since the ladder was wet and slippery. Nevertheless, he proceededAce_Ventura_Pet_Detective_Shark_Scene_Part_1.gif to climb up the tank. Ace could have slipped and fallen from that heigh

t and could have been damaged or he could have snapped his neck.

Solution: when climbing on a ladder one should take precautions; if it is wet dry the ladder or postpone until another time when it is dry. Furthermore, railings can be installed so that climbers have additional safety and to lower the potential risk of a fall.

There was a scene in a club where a rock band was performing and some of the artist began ace_ventura_pet_detective_divestage diving[1]. The audiences were not fully aware of their surrounding and this could have resulted in a fall hazard to be imposed. The crowd divers could have fallen to the floor and broken their arms and legs. Members of the audience could have sustained injury from begin hit from the stage diver.

Solution: Club owners should have rules and restrictions such as no diving off the stage to protect its patrons.

During his investigation he visited the Finkle’s residence which was dilapidated and clutter in the house. This is a fall and trip hazard as people can visiting or who lives there can trip on the clutter on the clutter and fall through the floors. This can cause serious injuries to body such as broken limbs.

Solution: To avoid this, the house could be cleaned and renovated.

Fire Hazards:

When the customer opened the door he was seen smoking a cigarette. This could have ignited a fire in his apartment. This customer was not cognizant of his surrounding so this could have led to a mishap. Additionally, he lived in an apartment complex so in the event of a fire he could have been trapped and been killed. A fire could have spread to the adjacent apartments and several casualties could have occurred.

Solution: Safety regulations should be put in place where smoking is concerned especially where the public is at risk due to the smoker’s negligence.

Ace used rubbing alcohol to set his clothes on fire. This is a highly flammable chemical Ace_Ventura_grossed_out.gifand he set the fire indoors. This could have resulted in a fire within his apartment.

Solution: All chemicals should be used correctly, meaning that they are used for their intended purpose. Secondly a person should be cautious when handling any chemical substance and ensure that the read the handling instructions.

Noise Hazard:

During his investigation, Ace Ventura walked through the rock concert to meet his friend  for information, which displayed a

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sound levels effects on human beings.

noise hazard. Although Ace and his friend were not affected as they were in the basement, the patrons were. The concert was also in a small enclosed room, so the noise and vibrations were not able to escape.  This can lead to hearing impairment, loss of concentration and loss of coordination. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2004 as Amended in 2006 the sound level decibel (dBA) per day are for 4 hours it is 95 dBA and for 6 hours it is 92 dBA. A rock concert can go up to 130- 150 dBA (the sound of a jet engine). Can you imagine going to a jet engine noise concert?

Solutions: The concert could have been held in an open space to prevent the noise and vibration bouncing back at the patrons;

The volume could have been lowered.

 

CHEMICAL HAZARDS:

While Ace continues his journey in search for the missing ring he targeted one of the Ace_Ventura_Pet_Detective Chlorofoam.gifplayers believed to be a suspect.  He soaked a piece of cloth with a chemical believe to be chloroform[2] which is a harmful liquid he discarded the container on the field which presented a hazard to passers-by.   He then proceeded to press it against the player’s mouth and this induced unconsciousness.

Solution: Chloroform, is a hazardous chemical which has numerous effects on the body. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), chloroform affects the central nervous system, the liver and kidneys. It can also induce headaches, fatigue and lightheadedness. It can also cause sores if it contacts the skin.

Instead of using a dangerous chemical to incapacitate the person, Ace Ventura could have used the social approach whereby he engaged the person in conversation together with a handshake in order to identify if the ring was missing a diamond.

Another chemical hazard observed was during the bathroom scene where Ace Ventura ignited a fire using rubbing alcohol in a metal bin.   Rubbing alcohol, known as isopropyl alcohol, is highly flammable and can lead to a fire hazard it can also cause liver and kidney problems. Additionally Ace ignited this fire in a bathroom, there was not enough ventilation, prolong exposure to this gas can lead to death.

Solution: would you light a fire in an enclosed area? No. the proper thing to do was to set the fire outside using a suitable flammable substance.

To ventilate the entire room by opening the windows, allowing the noxious gas to escape.

 

 

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS:

In one scene, Ace is now about to open the door to his apartment, when, he was caught off
guard by his Landlord who wants the rent.   As they speak, the Landlord purposely coughs in Ace’s face. While this may have been disrespectful, it could have been a means to transfer a contagious disease such as Influenza which is caused by viruses via tiny droplets produced while coughing or sneezing. Because Ace was in contact with the cough by his Landlord, there is a greater risk of him getting the flu or any other contagious disease.

Solution: This could have been simply reduced if the Landlord did not cough on Ace, but to move away from him or cover his mouth while doing so.

As Ace is now in his apartment alone, we observe that he has many different animals Pet_Policy.gifliving there, from birds and monkeys to dogs and raccoons. They occupy different areas in the rooms, like the toilet, in the fridge, clothes hamper and inside food cans. Overcrowding of animals was noticed in his home. Yes this movie was for entertainment, but in a real world, who has squirrels living in canned food tins?  Animals are known to carry diseases. They can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus, Salmonella and faeces which can get into in his food items.

Solution: The risk of diseases and infections from these animals can be mitigated by carrying some animals to a sanctuary or shelter to help reduce animals in his home. The house animals, for instance the dogs and cats can be accommodated, since they may be less harmful. He can also have some of the wilder animals in cages to isolate them from the rest of his home.

Ace is seen chasing a bird on a building and fell into a pile of garbage. There are Ace_Ventura_Pet_Detective_Bird (1).gifpossibilities of rodents being present, cockroaches, Vermin and other microorganisms that may cause ailments or skin allergies from contact with foreign materials and organisms.

Solution: In this situation, it is best to avoid falling off the building into a garbage pile by not walking so close to the edge.  Also persons involved in the garbage disposal should ensure that the environment is clean and garbage is disposed of properly so as to not cause harm to the people nearby.

Ace visits the police office to gain assistance, in this scene we first observe a cockroach passing across the room and it was crushed by Sergeant Aguado.. Then upon having an argument with Sergeant Aguado he pushes him to the ground next to the crushed cockroach. There seemed to be an infestation of cockroach that can be harmful to the other employees by contaminating food and causing allergies.

Solution:  The employer should therefore make arrangements for an exterminator to ensure the environment is safe to work according to the Osh Act.

Later down, we see Ace is eating on a table that is surrounded by animals that are also eating from his plate. As mentioned earlier animals are known to carry diseases and can be dangerous. He is also seen lying down on his couch with a bird feeding from his bare stomach. Don’t you think this can be a bit harmful to Ace? He may get infected cuts or bruises.

Solution: There should be designated areas for these animals with proper containers for their food to reduce contamination. Don’t you think so?

The last biological hazard seen in this movie is the use of the plunger from Ace’sAce uses plunger.gif bathroom on his face. Like come on, who would really do this? The plunger is used in the toilet which contains many pathogens and substances that increases the risk of getting sick.

Solution:  Ace should have never used it in the manner which he did. Instead, if he felt as though his mouth was unclean, he can use an antiseptic mouthwash.

 

 

 

just-keep-reading

 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS:[3]

An enraged customer used a baseball bat to shatter the windshield of Ace’s car. This would ace_ventura_pet_detective_it_s_alive_car_scenehave induced a stressful environment. The falling glass fragments could have increased the anxiety as the person could have thought that they would be cut or that their eyes could have been damaged. This experience could have caused Ace to develop Post traumatic Stress Disorder, leaving him with long-term flashbacks of that event.

Solution: the customer may require anger management classes and Ace may require professional therapy.

Subsequently at the police station the officers humiliated Ace because of his profession. This could have lowered his self-esteem tremendously.  Ace could have felt the need to prove himself and this could have resulted in him working faster and taking more risks which could have caused accidents to occur.

Solution: Police officers need professional training of what is expected of them.

Sergeant Aguado at the police station created a stressful environment, whenever she walked in the officers would be seen scrambling and bracing themselves to be yelled at. Also Ace was using his rear end to address one of the officers; this officer proceeded to Ask You A Few Questions.gifpled with Ace to leave because he knew of the consequences when the Sergeant Aguado arrived. This scene shows how a stressful environment can disorient persons leading to anxiety and increase of errors.

Solution: Sergeant Aguado should be evaluated and recommendations made to her so that she can change her approach maybe she is unaware of the effects she has on her workers.

One two occasions the main character Ace had a gun place to his head. According to the I'm looking for Ray Finkle.gifarticle ‘ The Amazing Brain” this can elevate a person’s stress threshold cause in increase in heart rate and respiratory rate, the brain transmits signals to the adrenal glands causing the secretion of the hormone adrenaline. The hypothalamus also sends signals to the so that the stress hormone cortisol can be secreted.

 

 

ERGONOMIC HAZARDS:

One of the most clear-cut ergonomic hazards seen throughout the movie was Ace’s ace_ventura_pet_detective_drivingcontinuous habit of sticking his head out the window while driving, since his car windshield was shattered. This created an ergonomic hazard since the position of his head, along with limited motion, could have caused him to feel uncomfortable while driving. His position could have caused him to get shoulder aches, back aches, neck strain and injuries to his hand, since his hand mostly supported him in that posture.

Solution: A simple, effective solution to this would have been to replace the broken windshield so that his seating position would have been more suitable for his driving comfort. In doing this, parts of his body would not be exposed outside of the moving vehicle.

 

Also, one of the scenes showed Ace inside of a mailbox during his search for ace_ventura_pet_detective_searching_for_the_ring_full_sceneSnowflake. I mean really, why  would he go in a mailbox, of all places, to look for clues. After all, he is Ace Ventura!

Nevertheless, his posture, in order to fit into that confined space could have been dangerous to him. It could have caused severe cramps in his legs and hands, as well as, back aches. Additionally he could have also suffered from eye strain, since inside of the mailbox was dark and he had no sufficient source of lighting, except a lighter.

Subsequently, there was insufficient spacing and areas present where the rock concert took place. Audience was seen clustered, barley having leeway to move if they wanted. This may have caused some people to become claustrophobic or irritated at the fact that they could not move as they pleased. Also with limited movement, the audience is seen standing mainly in one spot, which could have additionally caused foot aches and back aches.

On the other hand, the audience was seen “bobbing” their heads to the beat of the rock Ace_Ventura_Pet_Detective_Rock_Scene.gifmusic. This vigorous movement could have caused head injuries by someone accidentally smashing their head against another. This may have resulted in head concussions, headaches. In addition, the continuous, highly energetic movement could have brought neck strain.

Solution: to this could have been: locating an avenue that has sufficient spacing to avoid clustering and crowding of persons. In that way, creating a secure, comfortable area for the audience to enjoy their concert.

Also seating accommodations should be available, and so, if there’s any person who wishes to sit, can do so. This will help prevent any sort of pressure on the feet which may help to reduce feet pain.

Lastly, audience should be made aware of the effects that such movements practiced and encouraged by rock bands are dangerous to them.

However, I have had some personal experiences, where some of my friends are very much addicted to this genre of music, “Heavy Metal Rock”. Some may even treat such music styles as their culture. In so saying, trying to convince them that their ways of expressivity can pose some sort of danger to them can be complicated. In other words, simply listing out solutions, as one above, may not majorly affect them. As OSH detectives of this movie, with respect to, the audience of the rock concert, we have to take into consideration the lifestyles of some and how compliant there are with certain aspects of safety. Everything that is taught may not be practiced. Hence, alternative and even more complex ideas and solutions may need to be given.

 

 

 

Foot Notes:

[1] to leap from the stage into the audience (as during a rock music performance)

[2] A colorless, volatile, sweet-smelling liquid used as a solvent and formerly as a general anaesthetic. (google 2016)

[3] include but aren’t limited to stress, violence and other workplace stressors.

 

References:

Ace Ventura Pet Detective. 1994. https://youtu.be/-nJvPhOrtac

Chloroform. 2016. Retrieved on 3rd October, 2016. https://www.google.tt/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what+is+chloroform

http://www.youramazingbrain.org/brainchanges/stressbrain.htm

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

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=51&tid=16

Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2004 as Amended in 2006 Schedule 2- PERMISSIBLE NOISE EXPOSURES pg 205

Rock concert noise level- http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

Sound level effects on human beings-
http://training.itcilo.it/actrav_cdrom2/en/osh/noise/noiseat.htm

http://makeagif.com/youtube-to-gif

spank-you

 

 


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RAISING AWARENESS TO PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS IN THE WORKPLACE

Physical hazards have been the focal point for research on occupational health and safety for years. However, only recently emphasis has been placed on psychological hazards. To begin, a psychological hazard is any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner. Psychological hazards in the workplace include violence/bullying, fatigue, technological change, substance abuse, and age related factors. This post is dedicated to raising awareness to psychological hazards in the workplace and implementing appropriate measures for controlling them.

FATIGUE IN THE WORKPLACE

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Image 1: Mental and physical exhaustion reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively. Source: Wellness Perth

Most often when you express to someone that you’re feeling fatigued, immediately their advice is, “Take a break” or “All you need is more rest.” Well, it’s much easier said than done. People need to realize that fatigue is more than just a feeling of drowsiness. It is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion which reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively (Safe work Australia, 2013). When a person is fatigued, they are more likely to fall asleep on the job which can adversely affect one’s ability to concentrate, communicate effectively, recognise risks, and make decisions. This results in increased errors and reduced productivity in the workplace. For this reason, fatigue is considered a major psychological hazard. It is important, therefore, that companies first identify all the factors which could contribute to and increase the risk of fatigue in the workplace. Such factors include long working hours, performing repetitious work, inadequate rest, harsh environmental concerns, and non-related work factors such as poor quality of sleep, family needs, and social life. Once the risks are identified, employers should then take appropriate action to assess them accordingly. In order to assess these risks, companies should perform risk assessments to decide which hazards need to be addressed and in what order. After the risks are assessed, companies should implement appropriate measures to control fatigue in the workplace. Risks should be minimized as low as reasonably practicable.

The following measures can be implemented by employers for controlling fatigue in the workplace:

  • Employers should first perform a risk assessment to identify the existing or potential hazards.

 risk

Image 1: Five steps to assessing risks in the workplace. Source: osha tt

  •  Introduce job rotation and break schedules/rosters to allow for rest and enough recovery time between work shifts for travelling, meal breaks, and socializing.
  •  Companies may provide a comfort room for employees to relax.
  •  Allow employees to work remotely or have flexible working hours.
  • Encourage employees to voice their opinions by reporting any concerns anonymously that they may have in relation to work fatigue.
  • Provide counselling for fatigue management on a one-to-one basis to their employees.
  • Install ventilation and mechanical cooling devices in hot, confined work environments.
  • Ensure the workplace and surroundings are well lit, safe and secure. A better environment will mean increased productivity.

By implementing such measures, employees will be less fatigued and more productive.

VIOLENCE/BULLYING

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Image 2:  An employee being harassed, bullied, and intimidated at the workplace by colleagues.

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults. Violence in the workplace is a psychological hazard because it is caused by fear and anxiety of the aggressor. Apart from implementing stiffer penalties for those who are violent in the workplace, employers can find the root cause of the violence by tackling the issue individually and offering support to those who may be victims or aggressors. In addition, employers can implement panic buttons, video surveillance, alarm systems, and escorts to and from the workplace to help deal with or eradicate violence in the workplace.

Bullying involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort (Fritz, 2016). The most common signs of bullying in the workplace include spreading malicious rumours, social exclusion and assigning unreasonable duties that are unfavorable to the employee (Oppermann, 2008).  It is therefore the duty of the employee to deal with the cases of bullying and the responsibility of the employee to report these instances. The employer can implement harsher penalties for bullies, foster improved communication skills and establish a policy of respect in the workplace in order to deal with bullying.

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

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Image 3: The advancement in technology contributes to greater productivity in the workplace, unfortunately it can also lead to “TechnoStress.” Source: rappler

We use technology to try to change the world around us to make our lives easier. In other words, technological advances show people a more efficient way to get things done and these processes often yield beneficial results. However, despite the benefits, technology can be considered a psychological hazard, better known as ‘Technostress’ which is one’s inability to cope or deal with technology in a healthy manner. When we perform multiple tasks simultaneously, our brains become overloaded. As such, we are unable to think clearly which can make us forgetful. This in turn affects our sleeping patterns as the stimulation from the overload keeps the brain working overtime. A few effective ways for preventing technostress in the workplace include taking regular tech breaks by listening to music, spending time in nature to calm the brain, completing one task at a time, and slowing down your pace. By doing this, you can become fully engaged in what you’re doing and the task can be done with greater ease.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

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Image 4: The abuse of harmful substances or illegal drugs can lead to Psychological Hazards at the workplace. 

Substance abuse before, during or after working hours can endanger the health and safety of employees as well as other co-workers. The abuse of these drugs whether legal or illegal can impair the proper functioning of someone psychologically. The inability for an employee to operate on a normal level increases the potential hazards that can be present at the workplace. The abuse of substances, both legal and illegal, can lead to psychological hazards. These include:

  • Alcohol – The abuse of beer for example can slow the reflexes of an employee if he/she is to respond or prevent a calamity from happening at the workplace.
  • Cannabis – The use of marijuana can impair a worker’s memory if he/she uses it before and/or during working hours. This memory impairment can cause the worker to forget how to use a machine, equipment, or perform a process properly. This can cause harm to the health and safety of the employee as well as others workers.
  • Hallucinogens – Phencyclidine (PCP) also known as Angel Dust, if ingested, injected, snorted or smoked by a worker before or during working hours can make him/her inattentive which can lead to fatal incidents or accidents in an industrial establishment.
  • Inhalants – From hydrocarbon inhalation, an employee working on an oil rig for example, can become dizzy which could result in the employee falling on or between a machine or equipment where he/she can be seriously injured.
  • Opiates – Employees under the influence of drugs such as Heroin for example, can contract Hepatitis B or C from injecting this drug into their body. The Hepatitis disease can spread to other employees by coming in contact with the infected person’s blood.
  • Stimulants – Cocaine, if used by employees, can cause over activity which can result in the improper use of machines and equipment which will endanger the health and safety of other workers.

Ways to prevent Substance Abuse  

  • Workers should be educated/counselled about the dangers of substance abuse.
  • Sanctions/penalties for persons abusing such substances on the premises
  • Periodic drug tests should be conducted.

AGE RELATED FACTORS

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Image 5: Both young and old employees at the workplace are at a higher risk of incurring injury upon themselves.

In the workforce, there are two primary categories of workers that require special attention when focusing on psychological hazards. These include  young individuals and elderly workers. These groups are especially sensitive in the workplace because they are at a higher risk of incurring injury upon themselves as well as onto other workers. So how can age become a psychological hazard?

Young Employees

In any organization, it is a blessing to have new, healthy, energetic and willing workers to join the company. However, there are also many issues that can arise due to a younger workforce. One major issue is lack of experience. Unlike older workers who may have been on the job for many years and know the “ropes”, these younger workers are now learning the various functions and with inexperience comes mistakes which can lead to major psychological issues such as depression and stress. Employers can therefore implement employee training and development programs which in turn will promote greater job satisfaction and performance. 

Elderly Employees

In most organizations, there are employees who have been present and loyal for years and with time, they are unaware that their increasing age has subjected them to various mental issues. This results in the inability to function and work as before. Firstly, their mental processes may decline which can result in slow decision making and the inability to understand directions, instructions, and demands of the company. Diseases also affect the ability of an elderly worker to display their best work in the organization and with age, many mental diseases become present. One such disease that is brought about by stress is “Sarcoidosis” which affects the nervous system including hearing loss, seizures, dementia or most commonly psychiatric disorders such as depression and dementia. Employers should therefore supervise employees to ensure that their work is carried out safely.

What measures have been put in place in Trinidad and Tobago to deal with psychological hazards?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Trinidad and Tobago (2004) as amended (2006) has outlined rules and regulations for the employer and employees to abide by. The act has made provisions for most hazards but failed to focus on the psychological hazards that plague the workplace. For this reason, further amendments to the act should include rules and regulations for psychological hazards in the workplace as it is just as important as other hazards. Furthermore, raising awareness to psychological hazards will improve health and safety issues as well as significantly reduce stress in the workplace. 

References

“Bullying at Work.” Bullying in the Workplace. Accessed October 01. 2016. http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Workplace_Health/Bullying_at_Work/

“Chapter 3: The Nature of Technology.” Chapter 3: The Nature of Technology. Accessed October 01, 2016. http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap3.htm?txtRef=https://www.google.tt/.

“Fatigue Prevention in the Workplace.” Safe Work Victoria. 2008. Accessed October 01, 2016. https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/9197/vwa_fatigue_handbook.pdf

Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. 6th ed. St. Louis, Missouri, 2016.

“Guide for Managing the Risk of Fatigue at Work.” Safe Work Australia. 2015. Accessed October 02, 2016. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/825/Managing-the-risk-of-fatigue.pdf

“Hepatitis C FAQs for the Public.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Accessed October 01, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm.

Oppermann, Steve. “Workplace Bullying: Psychological Violence?” Workplace Bullying Institute. Accessed October 02, 2008. http://www.workplacebullying.org/workplace-bullying-psychological-violence/

“OSH Answers Fact Sheets.” Government of Canada, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 2016. Accessed October 03, 2016. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/mentalhealth_risk.html

“Psychological Hazards and Controls for Rehabilitation Professionals.” November 7, 2011. Accessed September 29, 2016. https://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/course_materials/ohs_module_6_handout.pdf

Risk Assessment information: http://osha.gov.tt/Portals/0/Documents/a_guide_to_risk_assessment.pdf

“Workplace Violence.” United States Department of Labor. Accessed October 3, 2016. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/