OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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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

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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

barbicide

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.

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Barbershop: Image 2: Proper signs for customers

Appropriate, suitable lighting necessary for operation.

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Barbershop: Image 3: Suitable lighting for operations

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

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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.

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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/


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HOLES in Safety and Health

holes

In 1998 when Louis Sachar wrote the book “Holes” it was only in time that such an epic novel would be turned into a film filled with adventure, comedy and of course what is a movie without a touch of romance? In 2003, Walt Disney Productions brought the book to life filling our lives with laughter and of course leaving us a bit more knowledgeable as would be seen later in the blog. Stanley Yelnats, (whose title is actually his first name backwards!) is a misfortuned teen from a family where the males have been cursed for centuries as his ancestor broke a promise to a fortune teller Madam Zeroni. The plot is centered around him, his family struggles for a cure for smelly sneakers and the hilarious yet concerning path the curse paves for him. The movie begins with him being falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers (to which the family curse is blamed), he is then shipped of to a juvenile correction camp, Camp Green Lake for eighteen months where the real drama and comedy begins. The camp is situated on a dried up lake and is overseen by Louise Walker and her very strict assistant Mr. Sir. They gear the inmates with exactly two coveralls and a shovel to dig holes as a means of teaching them to build character. However, while the movie’s main purpose is to entertain, it is filled with obvious health and safety hazards which can be a serious call for concern and is addressed below.

  1. PHYSICAL HAZARDS-  

POTENTIAL HEAD INJURIES

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Stanley being hit by shoes

The great family curse that hovered over the minds of Stanley and his family for centuries led him to the belief that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a pair of stolen sneakers hit him on the head causing him to fall face down to the ground. While this is meant to be amusing, one cannot help but notice that this physical hazard can actually lead to severe injuries to the head which can cause memory loss, chronic migraine, internal head bleeding or cuts and bruises, none of which occurred.         

LACK OF PROPER PPE (PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT)

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Inadequate PPE being worn by the boys

 Very few of the guys had protective head gears, most were seen wearing caps, pieces of cloth tied on their heads and some not fully wearing their PPE because of the heat of the atmosphere. However, like coal mines, working in such conditions means that they are constantly exposed to dust in which bacteria can be found.  Also, most of these guys were young inmates and therefore they had no guidance on how to be cautious when digging the holes. The most precautions would be to look out for the lizards and rattlesnakes. However, it is remiss to say that the PPE, by just their boots and the orange coverall, which certainly represented the colour of a well sentenced prisoner and a pair of gloves that were stocked in the storage room was well enough. The boys lacked working equipment such as hard helmets and dust masks. Even though sand or dirt may seem soft in texture, there is the risk of the holes collapsing or caving in burying someone causing asphyxiation or injury to some part of their body. Therefore, hard helmets were certainly needed.

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Sam offering to fix… well everything

 Further along the movie, the issue with the lack of proper PPE comes up again. This time the viewers are given various flashbacks to link the situation at hand with the real history behind it and here we meet Mr Fixer, The Hopeless Romantic or as he is portrayed in the movie… plain ole Sam. Sam, as we all see has definitely fallen head over heels in love with the beautiful teacher Kate Barlow… so of course he jumps to the opportunity to rescue this damsel in distress by offering to fix the leaking roof of the school where she works. While he is all in it because of his heart desires, Sam forgets an important thing… protection. Of course we mean safety wear! He willingly climbs onto the roof in his shirt, dress pants and a hat… however, not a safety hat but a sun hat…

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Sam and Kate expressing their love

As the romance builds Kate encourages Sam to fix other things around the school not even advising him to put on a pair of gloves… Well if that is not true love what is? On a serious note however, little things like a helmet, coveralls, eye protection with the use of a goggles, dust mask and gloves makes a huge difference. Without them the risk of being injured multiplies significantly. The coverall would ensure some form of bodily protection, the gloves would prevent injuries to the hand, the dust mask would prevent the inhalation of dust as one is working, the goggles would protect the eyes from dust as they dig and the helmet would ensure protection of the head thus ensuring that any possible head injuries can be avoided. As skillful as Sam may be, the safety equipment still is a necessity.

EXPOSURE AND INHALATION OF EXCESSIVE DUST

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The impact of the dusty environment on the guys.

Yes, they were provided with gloves and coverall but can you imagine the amount of sand and dust that was getting into contact with their eyes, nose and also their ears? These only offered minimum protection.  There are so many hygienic issues where they are exposed to many types of dust related infections, rashes, skin sores and even the possibility of having breathing difficulties. The general environment being dusty, created by the sand which the inmates had to spend hours per day in is also unhealthy since it could develop respiratory diseases such as asthma. Not to mention, looking at Stanley,  you can see the amount of dust he had trapped on his skin and hair. This was really unhygienic and what made it even worse, was having limited showers which was based on their performance by digging holes and behavior. Seems tough huh? Not to mention, the water supply was really low, so they were lucky if they got a proper shower

UNSAFE AND UNSUITABLE RESTING AREAS

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Make-shift canvas tents where the boys slept

The resting location for the boys were mainly temporary makeshift tents out of canvas with improper ventilation as the windows are covered with nets. It was easy for the dust from the outside to enter into the tents of the boys this can lead to the formation of respiratory diseases and asthma by having to work in that environment and then to sleep inhaling all the dust blowing in. Can you imagine finishing a long day work then having to sleep in what looks like camp  set up for the World War?

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Stained mattress where Stanley slept

Not to mention the cool and clean cabin that the warden slept in compared to the boys. Not only are the tents very unsuitable, the beds themselves are dirty and stained! This can actually lead to the boys getting sick additionally, bed bugs might begin invading, which is actually a biological hazard and would be explained further down.

THE HOLES THAT WERE DUG WERE AN ACTUAL HAZARD

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Stanley driving Mr. Sir’s truck into the hole.

The holes are seen as a hazard since vehicles were passing there often. In one instance, Stanley stole the water truck and accidentally drove it into a hole. This hole had depth and could have caused injury to him such as his leg being pinned to the steering wheel or becoming trapped in the plunged vehicle. There was also the possibility of the water tank behind the truck crashing into the back screen of the vehicle. However, this is a Disney Channel movie, so there would be no major injury being shown but by using just your imagination and health and safety skills, it is easy to identify the hazards and the level of risk involved.

EXCESSIVE SUN AND HEAT EXPOSURE

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Warden requesting that the bottles be refilled

Throughout the camp, these guys were working in the humid temperatures with direct sun exposure which really posed a danger to their health. This can cause headaches, blackouts and worst case scenario skin cancer and skin irritations. The humid atmosphere left the guys dehydrated and having a short supply of water really did not help this case. When the guys finally found something valuable to the warden, only then were they treated to having their water bottles refilled on the same day… What a treat right? That was just for that day though…

Remember now, this land they worked on was miles and miles of dry desert land with no water source in any close range. In a particular scene when Zero and Stanley ran away from the camp, days went by without out them having anything to eat or drink. No water of course led to dehydration of Zero causing him to fall ill and vomit whatever was left in his stomach (ironically the peaches were his last ‘meal’ so maybe that may have had a little part to play in it!)

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Stanley carrying Zero on his back

This then led to Stanley having to carry him on his back. Yes Zero may be small…but Stanley also did not drink water or had anything to eat since the peaches incident. Therefore, in the heat and dehydration, it is only fair to say that Stanley can experience physical injury such as back and body pain as well as intense fatigue. This was also excess weight on his back and could have caused damage to his spine and put pressure on his legs as well.

DRINKING FROM A BROKEN JAR

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Stanley drinking from the broken glass jar

During a particular scene in the movie, one of the younger boys called Zero found a glass jar with preserved peaches which was actually years old… he proceeded to break the top of the glass jar and offered Stanley a drink of what he called ‘sploosh.’ This jar now not only contains sharp edges but there is also the possibility of fallen splinters within the jar of peaches. Nevertheless, because of his hunger, none of these hazards were of care to him. On top of which, they did not actually consider the danger of drinking or eating from the extremely dusty jar! They did not even consider the possibility that a jar of peaches that was there for so many years can do more harm than good. Guess satisfying a hunger ismore important than any potential hazards?

CUTS AND BRUISES

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Zero whacking Dr. Pedanski with a shovel

As the movie progressed, Zero becomes agitated by the ill-treatment and bullying he receives because they consider him to be ‘dumb’. When Stanley tries to defend Zero, Dr. Pedanski who isn’t even a real doctor at the camp, continues to mock him until Zero takes a shovel and whacks him across the face with it as seen above. This left him unconscious for a minute on the ground with an impression of cuts and bruises on his face.

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Cuts and Bruises (swollen eyes)

In addition, the picture above relates to a scene where they were trying to climb the mountain and Stanley slipped and Zero helped him up by using his shovel end which caused Zero to get damage and cause injury to his hand. As he held on to the metal part of the shovel, he had no gloves on for protection, therefore leading to his hands becoming cut and bruised. Of course, there was no way to possibly take care of this injury thus leading to Stanley unhygienically ripping a piece of cloth and tying it around the cut… this would definitely ensure that an infection would not occur, right? Another incident in which there were cuts was when Stanley now came unto the compound and had to dig his first hole. Upon doing this he finished work showing the other guys blisters on his hands and they casually responding how normal it was, those ‘Big- Fat- Blisters’. This alone shouts for the need of adequate safety gear as infections and sores are so easy to contract especially when working in such an unhygienic and unsafe environment.    

2. CHEMICAL HAZARDS –

CHEMICALS USED TO GET RID OF THE SMELL OF THE SHOES

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Stanley’s  father giving the mother a shoe to smell while she’s eating.

Exposure to chemicals in the workplace can cause acute or long-term detrimental health effects. In the beginning of the movie when the police entered Stanley’s home we saw dirty  shoes hanging from the kitchen and steam immersing from machines compressing them. The father was engaged in collecting old shoes from different persons  to invent a perfume to get rid of the smell from the shoes. Yes, you read that right, a perfume! The smell from the shoes can be very hazardous to the occupants living in the house since they came from smelly unsanitary shoes and may cause allergies and other nasal reactions. To make this perfume, he experimented with various chemicals and while he had on safety gear, he did all this in the kitchen! This is a dangerous hazard because it can be easy to get the chemicals mixed up with the food items and this is a serious health and safety issue. In addition to this, it was shown in the movie that the other renters were also complaining about the smell! Furthermore, the father did all his work using pots to soak the shoes… in the kitchen. That may be as unsanitary as it can get. He also hung the shoes on a line in the kitchen…

THE USE OF VENOMOUS NAIL POLISH

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Louise painting her nail with the snake venom in the polish

Further along in the movie the warden was using a nail polish which she said contained snake venom, a poisonous substance.  Louise proceeded to attack Mr Sir for disobeying her orders and scratched him with her nails which led to the snake venom burning the skin of Mr Sir’s face. Mr Sir could have suffered from numbness to the skin, blurred vision and he could have also developed difficulty breathing. As the movie continues his face was seen swollen and seemingly infected. Talk about venomous claws!

3.ERGONOMIC HAZARDS –

WORK POSITIONS

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Stanley sitting at the edge of the jole while Zero takes a break.

Ergonomic hazards occur when the type of work, body positions and working conditions put strain on your body. Ergonomic hazards were identified as Stanley and the other inmates developed bruises and constant strain from the use of the shovels considering that they dug hours, daily, with no proper protection of the hands, proper equipment for digging or even rest. As seen in the movie numerous times, the boys would be lying on the floor or sitting near the hole they were digging to rest. This could be a sign of them resisting the pain by taking rest on numerous occasions.

As some injuries were unidentified in the movie, one can say that with the strenuous work, constant movement of the body such as bending forward and continuous movement of the hands, as well as using the shovel daily for lengthy hours can cause injury to the body such as rotator cuff injuries and De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Rotator cuff injuries affect the shoulder more so, the muscles of the rotator cuff which help holds up the upper arms in the shoulder joint.  These muscles act on the bone, creating shoulder movement.  Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) can occur as these are a collection of injuries affecting tendons, tendon sheaths, muscles, nerves and joints. They cause persistent or recurring pains most commonly in the neck, shoulders, forearms, hands, wrists, elbows and lower limbs. These could be results of their everyday duties of digging holes without proper gear and protection, which most likely is what these boys endured at the time since they were not treating their injuries while engaging in strenuous activities.

4. BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

REPTILE HAZARD

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Barfbag willingly let the rattlesnake bite him

The dry deserted plot of lands where the boys had to dig holes were plagued by what was called yellow spotted lizards, rattlesnakes and other dangerous creatures.  These deadly reptiles posed a serious threat to the lives of the young boys as they are toxic.  As the movie continued, one of the boys, Lewis, also known as ‘Barfbag’ was bitten by a rattlesnake causing him excruciating pain.  One might ask, why did the boy pushed his foot towards the rattlesnake despite the associated risks?  Many will not understand the frustration that comes along with working under such poor and harsh conditions where health and safety is not a priority.  Additionally, in the absence of proper protective clothing, where the boys were seen without footwear posed the risk of developing bacterial infections from other parasites that can be found within the dust and cracks in the ground.

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Yellow spotted lizard baring its teeth just before attacking

The lizards can be seen all over, in the holes where the boys were digging, on their work apparel and even  in the dorms. What made it so threatening is that these were not the average garden lizards, but the yellow spotted lizard. One bite from this creature and it is sudden death.

                                                        

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Venomous scorpion on Stanley’s bed

As the movie goes on, a scorpion was found on Stanley’s bed and no surprise as that environment is actually perfect for them.  This scorpion carries a potent venom that contact with it could have led to Stanley being stung and we all know where his luck resides… luckily however he was able to get away unharmed.

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Zero and Stanley enjoying onions

Frustration, tiredness and hopelessness caused the boys to reach their breaking point as Zero insisted he was not going back to Camp Greenlake.  They decided to climb to the top of the mountain because of Stanley’s great grandfather’s predicaments to which they were so happy when they heard the running water at the top. However, the water was muddy but because of their desperation, it was the best thing at that moment to quench their thirst. They drank the water and ate raw onions dugged from the river bank. This is a potential hazard simply because they were not even sure what type of vegetable it was but just thought it was the sweetest onion they ever ate. This could have turned out to be poisonous and detrimental to their health. It would be really difficult to digest such amount of onions in real life, the producers hinted however that candy apples were used to create the image of an onion, rather cool. Also, muddy water is known to be associated with dysentery, an infection in the intestine resulting in severe diarrhea.

5. PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS –

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Bafbag putting himself in harms way to be killed by the snake rather than continuing to work

In this movie a lot of psychological hazards can be easily deciphered.. Having these young boys dig holes in an environment which can potentially lead to respiratory problems was one issue but the work itself was labour intensive. They had to work in harsh weather conditions with scorching climates in what is considered a desert like atmosphere, one of the characters known as ‘Barf bag’ looks at the almost empty water bottle and feels stress induced so much so that he actually goes up to a rattlesnake to be bitten and killed. This alone proves how stressful the work situation is that a young teenage boy willingly commits suicide just to get away from the stress. Therefore, this intensive work, the lack of water, the environment itself and the treatment of the boys places immense pressure on them, so much so that they can develop stress induced disorders, depression and many other psychological problems and even mental disorders.

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Stanley getting bullied by one of the boys

Ever since Stanley was detained in the camp, he was bullied by most of the boys there who referred to him as “fresh meat.”. On the first day he was beaten up and as the movie went on, we saw them taking away his food and they even took the artefact he found from digging which would have earned him a day off. The guys insisted that whatever he finds has to go to them and they took the credit for it. From a family of bad luck to being sent in such environment… talk about things going from bad to worst. Such treatment can potentially lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder or even lead to a person to contemplate suicide.

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Mr Sir injecting fear into the boys

Apart from the work stress and being bullied, not just Stanley but all the boys were instilled with fear from the warden and Mr Sir. In the beginning Stanley can be seen trembling when spoken to by Mr Sir and was greeted with stories about a slow and painful death if he was bitten by a yellow lizard. Ironically, when he found himself in a hole with Zero, covered with these lizards, they did not bite him! What a turn of luck right? However, actually being told these stories and especially the treatment by the warden and Mr Sir can have traumatic psychological impacts on the boys. They can develop severe stress disorders, mental health issues as well as self esteem issues.

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Stanley and Zero are covered by the extremely deadly and poisonous yellow stripped lizards with the lost treasure

Zero and Stanley decided to go back to the desert to dig one final hole in search of the same treasure that Warden Walker  had generations of young men dig.  Zero and Stanley found a treasure box, with a great surprised that Standley’s name was engraved on the box, a generational treasure from Standley’s fore parents.  In pursuit of Zero and Stanley, they were discovered with the treasures by the supervisors who demanded that the box be handed over.  It was at this point, the most scariest to the boys, the lizards crawled on the boy’s skin and covered them keeping them in the position for a long drawn out period, here the boys had to remain calm without motion to avoid being bitten.  This created psychological hazards, a great fear in the minds of the boys where there was a high risks of them being bitten and poisoned by the lizards all this while the Supervisors secretly wishing that they be bitten but with great astonishment that they were not.


CONCLUSION  

Mr. Sir: “You take a bad boy and make him dig holes all day long in the hot sun, it makes him a good boy! That’s our philosophy here at Camp Green Lake.” The movie entices persons with all expectations, very original and intriguing but unfortunately consisted of many hazards within the film where in reality, could have been avoided, prevented or dealt with in accordance to the situation and applicable laws and regulations instead of being poorly addressed and mainly ignored. Physical, chemical, biological, psychological and ergonomic hazards were evident throughout the movie.

In terms of physical there was a lack of proper protective equipment such as gloves, helmets, footwear and face masks to offer protection from the vast amount of dust that threaten the health and safety of the boys.  However, as seen in the movie, the warden and supervisors disregarded simple safety,  welfare and health requirements and regulations by allowing young persons to be subjected to such harsh and imminent conditions without adequate equipment for ensuring safety and health, and basic welfare requirement by providing clean and sufficient drinking water and even restrooms. Furthermore there were no provision of any medical equipment or emergency aids in the event something were to happen to one of the boys. The OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) part 7 section 39 – 45 b speaks in regards to the welfare of persons including drinking water, facilities first aid appliances and restrooms and lunchrooms to name a few. These recommendations and methods could have successfully prevented the occurrence of the physical hazards.

As for the biological hazards, to highlight the main hazard here, Camp Greenlake was filled with venomous rattlesnakes and yellow spotted lizards that threatened the safety and health of the boys. One single bite from either or could lead to the sudden death and it definitely showed that the nearest hospital was nowhere in sight. When ‘Barf Bag’ was bitten, he never returned, for he was replaced by Stanley. Not to mention that Dr. Pedanski was not even a real doctor. Therefore, it should be recommended and said that, the Camp needed a proper medical facility or someone professionally trained in the medical field.

With regards to the chemical hazards, these were seen where Stanley’s dad was using chemical products in his kitchen as well as the warden also made her own special nail polish consisting of rattlesnake venom which she then proceeded to injure Mr. Sir with it. These situations could have been prevented or avoided if proper action took place such as a separate room to conduct his experiments as well as proper health facilities again, such as a first aid kit, to ensure that Mr. Sir was treated. He should have been rushed to the hospital as he was poisoned but this could not be done. Proper inspection should have been done so that there would not have been those substances for such use on the compound.

According to the OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006), it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all his employees.  In the Act it further states that no young person shall work at a machine unless he has been fully instructed as to the dangers arising in connection with its operation and precautions observed. In addition to this the OSH Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006) under the duties of the employer speaks to the proper treatment of chemicals, its labelling and safe keeping and can be kept in mind to ensure the extinction of these hazards.

The psychological hazards mainly involved the bullying of Stanley, the impact of the work environment on the boys and the ill treatment of the boys by Mr Sir. These can severely affect the boy’s mental health and can lead to the development of stress disorders, mental disorders like bipolar, depression and even lead to the development of suicidal tendencies. As a kids movie it is meant to entertain however, once these psychological issues are brought to the forefront one cannot see past it. In order to deal with this, there could be team building exercises to bring the boys closer and even have counselor on the camp in event the boys or even the warden need counseling.

Ergonomic hazards were present as Stanley and the other inmates were bruised and received constant strain from the use of the shovels as they dug daily for hours with no proper protection of the hands, proper equipment for digging or even rest. In reality, what could have been recommended to avoid and prevent these hazards is if proper equipment and working gear was allocated such as gloves. Proper facilities such as resting grounds were needed so that they can get the adequate amount of rest needed instead of constantly being trapped in their holes and continuously engaging in strenuous labour intensive work without proper rest in between.

Therefore while the movie is meant to provide a belly full of laughs and tears of joy, as students of Occupational Safety and Health Management, the potential hazards are not to be taken lightly or overlooked. Upon presenting such recommendations, we can ensure that the majority of these hazards are eliminated and the level of risk involved is reduced.


References

Holes GIFs – Find & Share on GIPHY.” GIPHY. Accessed September 30, 2016. http://giphy.com/search/holes.

“Holes Movie Part 2.” YouTube. April 30, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRFCJCYT-sI.

“Holes Movie Part 3.” YouTube. April 30, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjwhQRlATYs.

“Holes Movie Part 8.wmv.” YouTube. April 30, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlnH8FkbfYs.

“Holes Part 1.” YouTube. April 30, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmM6YjrDauo.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Home. Accessed September 29, 2016. https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy10/sh-20839-10/circle_chart.pdf.


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10.0 Earthquake…Natural or Man-Made??

Topic: Occupational Health and Safety

Title: 10.0 Earthquake… Natural or Man-Made??

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Picture taken from 2014 USA Movie

Introduction

This blog was based on the movie ‘10.0 Earthquake’. We know that earthquakes are natural disasters of which we cannot control, but did you know that they can be man made as well!? In the energy industry, there is a term called fracking. The movie referenced was thus based on the concept of illegal fracking and how it caused numerous mini-earthquakes and finally one major earthquake measuring 10.0 of the Richter scale. Saving the day was essentially the synopsis of the film, but along with it came a plethora of health and safety issues which we identified to aware you, follow bloggers and viewers, about the dangers which plague the industry. 

Hydraulic Fracking

So what is fracking? According to Rinkesh kukreja the editor of Clean and Green Energy, Hydraulic Fracking is one of the more recent methods of natural gas and oil extraction. It involves drilling down deep into the Earth’s crust where there are deposits of shale gas and oil that the more usual methods of extraction have not usually been able to reach and injecting high pressured water into the rocks that contain the gas or oil. This water, mixed with sand and a special cocktail of chemicals, the ingredients of which fracking companies have not yet released to the public, causes the rocks to break.” CONFUSING?? My Apologies!. Try taking a look at the video below.download

      Video 1: Bang Goes the Theory – Series 6 – BBC

ERGONOMIC HAZARD:

Confined Spaces

CHEMICAL HAZARD:

Propane/Methane Gas

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Image 1: Jack and Co-worker in a Confined Space posed by Chemical Hazard

The scene above, showcases two hazards, the first hazard; ergonomic hazard which according to the Australian Government Comcare website is identified as a physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system, it includes repetitive/continuous action, manual handling, office, job or task design, uncomfortable workstation height and poor body positioning. Though we do not see some of these ergonomic hazards the scene above does show where Jack and the co-worker goes into a very dark confined plant space in search of what was causing the ongoing disturbance without doing a gas testing and atmosphere monitoring, they had to slowly walk towards their destination as they are not sure what objects are in their pathway making their job task very uncomfortable.

Also in this scene Jack and his co-worker complained of smelling methane while entering the underground of the plant, thereby presenting the second hazard; Chemical hazard which would have been toxic, corrupting their breathing passageway. Although Jack and his co-worker were wearing helmets while underground, they were not fully prepped with Personal Protective Equipment as they did not have the proper body attire and they did not walk with their supplied air respirators and were at risk therefore Jack and his co-worker should have proceeded into underground plant equipped with fully operating torch lights and full gas masks and air respirators so that they could have see clearer and also so they wouldn’t be breathing in the toxic methane. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, methane in high concentrations displaces the oxygen supply you need for breathing, especially in confined spaces. Decreased oxygen can cause suffocation and loss of consciousness and even asphyxiation.

Solution/Learning Tips: Employees on or before proceeding into the underground of the plant, must make sure to do a gas testing and atmosphere monitoring to know if it is safe to proceed down under if the test are cleared of danger, proceed down the plant while walking with a heavily lite torch light on person, as well as supplied air respirators and proper body attire to protect one self from minor unseen hazards.

ELECTRICAL HAZARD:

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Image 2: Jack using his cellphone within the plant grounds

In this scene above the actor uses his cellular device near the refinery plant. This may be dangerous as mobile phones are not intrinsically safe, meaning that they have the potential to produce a spark of such intensity that it could ignite a vapour air mix. Which is especially prominent in a refinery. Although there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove this it still should be avoided.

Solution/Learning Tips: Quickly move away from nearest plant and make the call, just to be safe.

PHYSICAL HAZARD:

Fall Hazard

Crush Hazard

Fire Hazard

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Image 3: Debris and roadways falling and sinking

There are two images displayed above, the first image depicts a falling risk posed by the workers in the plant, as can see debris is rapidly falling from the above ceiling. The other image shows both Gladstone and Emily escaping the road breakout as a result of the earthquake. These two images displays the disastrous effects that the fracking posed as a result of causing earthquakes.

Solution/Learning Tips: So to our fellow readers whenever there is a warning broadcast of earthquakes about to occur, persons must make sure to quickly execute their safety measures before, during an after the earthquake. Before the earthquake make sure you and your family are equipped with a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries at home, don’t leave heavy objects on shelves as they will fall during the earthquake, anchor restrict heavy furniture and appliances to the walls or floors, always learn the earthquake plans for school and at work, in case the earthquake is about to occur and you are not home and finally make your own family plan of meeting after the earthquake if your family is by some reason separated. During the Earthquake make sure to stay calm, if you’re indoors, stand against a wall near the center of the building, stand in a doorway, or crawl under heavy furniture and stay away from the windows. If you’re outside, stay outside, stay in the open away from power lines or anything that might fall and stay away from buildings. Proceed to the nearest muster point, and as seen in the second image above, if you’re in a car, stop the car and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops else you can be crushed by falling debris.

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Image 5: Fire Hazard

Coming closer to the end of the movie there is an explosion scene which is shown in the figure above. Explosions are classified as a fire hazard and are dangerous in many ways. Fire hazards can contain live flames, sparks, hot objects and chemicals that can potentially ignite or intensify a fire from becoming larger and uncontrolled which was scene when a small ground fire inflamed the helicopter and the skyscrapers. This is what occurs in the scene as a chemical explosion transpires. This explosion was most likely caused by a leak in gas lines of either propane or methane with a possible mixture of oxygen.

Solution/Learning Tips: The best approach to prevent fires and explosions is to substitute or minimise the use of flammable material. If that is not possible it is important to avoid effective sources of ignition. Fire protection methods can also be used as they are measures that are taken to prevent fires from becoming destructive and reduce the impact. It involves the implementation of safety planning practices and drills that includes individuals to be educated on fires, research and investigation, safety planning and training.

PRESSURE HAZARD:

 

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Image 4: Pressure Hazard in the underground of the plant

The above image at the end shows compressed gases bursting out of the pipes. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, all compressed gases are hazardous because of the high pressures inside the cylinders. Gas can be released deliberately by opening the cylinder valve, or as seen in the image above accidentally from a broken or leaking valve due to the massive movement or possibly from a safety device. Even at a relatively low pressure, gas can flow rapidly from an open or leaking cylinder. In the image you will see that Jack received a gush of gas to his face which may have damaged or injured him by causing Anoxia which is basically no oxygen available or Hypoxia; known as reduced oxygen and gases trapped in body cavities such as sinus passages
middle ear, lungs eyes and skin being burnt depending on pressure. There have been many cases in which damaged cylinders have become uncontrolled rockets or pinwheels and have caused severe injury and damage. This danger has happened when the cylinder valve broke and high pressure gases escaped out rapidly.

Solution/Learning Tips: Employees while trailing the underground of the plant must make sure to walk with well supplied air respirators and proper body attire to protect themselves from hazards and risks, so that if same thing was to happen to them, that happened to Jack, they would not be inured, but will be able to effectively move to the nearest safe pathway. This can be prevented if there is sufficient training & testing of personnel, periodic inspections, proper operating conditions, relieve pressure from system, keep hoses short, secure cylinders and isolate plants far away from residential or commercial areas.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARD:

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Image 6: Jack, Stephanie looking for their daughter Nicole, and finally finds her.

In the scene above, you will see family stress as Jack and Stephanie race to find their daughter Nicole and at the end finding her safely. Just imagine an earthquake is occurring and your loved ones are not with you, and you search everywhere to find them unharmed. Its not a nice thing to imagine I may say!. The worrying and stress can cause psychological hazard and risk to one self and the family. Questions such like; Is my family alive or dead? Are they injured? Are they safe? would be racing through their minds causing them to become panicked, stressed and may possibly cause heart stress.Psychological hazards are identified as any hazard that affects the mental well-being or mental health of the worker by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner” (Physiotherapy Alberta- n.d.)

Solution/Learning Tip: This may be a challenging to solution to give, but the best solution is to just think positive thoughts, pray and believe that you will return to your family member and never GIVE UP!

Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment:

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Image  6: Inadequate Evacuation Plan Causing Fatalities

 Jack and his co-worker could not have predicted that the metal pole would have fallen on the underground cover while they were proceeding out, but they became fearful when it closed because they were at risk from the broken gas lines and the steadily reduction in oxygen and they were not equipped with the supplied air respirators, they also could not have evacuated anywhere else because all the pathways behind them was too dangerous to even proceed.

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Image 7: Jack, his co-worker, Gladstone and Emily Outside plant grounds

These actors are at risk in this scene above as full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not worn while they are on the plant. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Therefore they should have the majority of these items if they are in the near vicinity of the plant.

Solution/Learning Tips:This shows us that something will always go wrong in the workplace that may be detrimental to our lives so employees and employers must take the necessary precautions to have safe systems of work in cases such as trapped in confined spaces, lack of equipment and evacuation plans and procedures. It also shows us that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must always be present and worn correctly, it goes a long way in preventing serious damage to your body.

Conclusion

While Earthquakes are natural disasters, there are opinions (eg John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network) that it can be caused by man and his lack of concern for his environment. Man is not just a threat to his environment and all the other creatures, but the greatest threat to himself. Had it not been for Organizational Safety and Health so many issues normally would go unnoticed. There were Physical Hazards, Chemical Hazards and Psychological Hazards the combination of which was leading to a National Disaster. It is clear that being ignorant to the safety and health issues that can occur does not mean they are not already present. There is an old local saying “what miss yuh, eh pass yuh”, that is to say, not because it has not happened yet does not mean it will not. The damage to our environment might not be realized in the near future but may eventually present itself.

Earthquake Catastrophe

Image 8: Taken from movie

References:

“10.0 Earthquake”, 15th October, 2014, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3488056/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Potential Health and Environmental Effects of Hydrofracking in the Williston Basin, Montana”, May 2005,

http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/hydrofracking_w.html

“Major treats from fracking-related air pollution”, 16th December, 2014, https://www.nrdc.org/media/2014/141216

“Worker exposure to silica during hydraulic fracturing”, June, 2012,   https://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html

“Keep Fracking away from T&T”, 29th November, 2013, http://www.trinidadexpress.com/letters/Keep-fracking-away-from-TT-233880651.html

http://www.livescience.com/32932-can-humans-cause-earthquakes.html

Canadian Centre Occupational Health and Safety:-https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/compressed/compress.html

https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/Prevention_of_fires_and_explosions

http://www.uh.edu/~jhansen/ITEC4350/GoetCh11.htm

United States Department of Labour; Occupational Health and Safety Administration