OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health


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

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

Hope you enjoy the ride with us 🙂

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

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

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

RISK ASSESSMENT

  • Physical Hazards

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

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Image 1 illustrates physical hazards in the footpath for workers



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

 

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

  • Biological Hazards

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

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

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

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

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Image 5 illustrates a sanitizer dispenser 

 

 

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

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  • Chemicals Hazards

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

  • Ergonomic Hazards

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Image 9 depicts seating for indoor workers

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

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

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Image 10 depicts a spacious indoor work area

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Image 11  depicts insufficient seating for construction workers

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

  • Psychological Hazards

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

The OSH Act

  • Safety

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

  • Health

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

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

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Image 15  depicts a worker wearing an improper respirator mask

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

The employees inside the building were subjected to a variety of irritating sounds from work being conducted on the outside of the building. These sounds not only contributed to stress and loss of concentration in the workplace, but it can also cause hearing impairment depending on how high the level of sound is. The Act states, under Section 34, that ‘Every owner, occupier or employer shall take adequate steps to prevent hearing impairment caused by noise, and diseases caused by vibration, from occurring to persons in, or in the vicinity of, his industrial establishment…..’ This means that the employers have a duty to protect employees from the risk associated with excessive noise. In this case employees were placed at risk of hearing damage from the noise at work. Imagine working in a building where digging and pounding was going on right outside the door. This is what the employees were exposed to on a day-to-day basis.

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Image 16  depicts a sledgehammer that contributed to noise

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

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

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

At first glance the air conditioning system seen in Image 17 looks like a well-functioning system but it was said by the employees inside the building that it was prone to occasional break downs. Thus, employers did adhere to some extent the regulations stipulated in the Act under Section 36 which states ‘Every occupier of an industrial establishment that is not ventilated by a functioning air-conditioning system shall secure and maintain therein adequate and suitable ventilation by the circulation of fresh air.’

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

  • Welfare

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

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

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

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

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

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Image 20 depicts a worker eating on the site

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

 

  • Fire

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

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

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Image 23 portrays the main emergency exit in the building

 

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

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

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RECOMMENDATIONS

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Accident Free 🙂

CITATIONS

  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT 2004 AS AMENDED 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 


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HOLES in Safety and Health

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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


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“A Conversation on Safety. At the Tyre Shop.” An OSH Story

Conversation

Image 1: Informal Conversation, Source: Lee Ann Lee Chee Wilson DD: 17.10.2015

In Trinidad and Tobago we are often comfortable to wait on the “tyre repair man” to repair and or change your tyres. It is not really a ‘big deal’. It gives some of us some time to sit outdoors and engage in some ‘idle chit chat’, check our messages and emails, before we go on our merry way. On my last visit to a tyre shop in central Trinidad, I, had to do a tyre change of a flat tyre. I was asked to have a seat on a bench on the outside of my vehicle whilst the tyre repairman changed the tyre. While I waited, I took the opportunity to have an informal chat with two of the employees who were working outside.

One worker was noticeably clad in rubber slippers whilst he jacked up the vehicle. I looked at him and asked, “What about your personal protective equipment?”
“Wha is dat?” he replied.
“Safety equipment, steel toe boots, safety glasses, gloves?” I answered and smiled.
“Yea man we does get dat. We ha gloves an boots an everything.” The other responded, pointing at his feet that were sheathed in rubber gardening boots.
“Do you mind if I take some pictures of your equipment?” I asked.
“Go ahead nah.” was the response.
I took the photos, and then continued, “So, how often do you service your equipment?”
They both looked at each other.
“Three months”…
“Every year!”…
They both smiled. “You know nah, buh nobody does ever get damage here!” the first one exclaimed.

It was quite evident here that the workers at this shop were aware of wearing proper personal, protective equipment to prevent any physical hazards from happening. However, the behavioral attitudes of the employees, show that many unsafe workplace practices are still commonplace in our society.

Do you know that a moment of negligence can lead to us being damaged
or even lead to our death?

Take a moment to view this short video on risk assessment at a truck tyre shop by Michelin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxrruyGpMAA accessed18.10.2015

Physical hazards made simple

My group and I looked at this tyre shop, looking for evidence of awareness of OSH practices… or breaches. We found that most physical hazards present are mainly there because workers ‘simply’ created them. As seen in the photos below, working tools, unsecured and tangled hoses and even a tyre in the walkway presented many physical hazards.

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Images 2 and 3: DD:Physical/ Mechanical Hazards, Source: Lee Ann Lee Chee Wilson 17.10.2015

At this small establishment, equipment seemed to be lying everywhere. This negligence could be the cause of slips, trips, bumps and falls. Equipment was not put away leading to cluttered conditions in work/ shop floor area. Debris and moisture/ wet spots were also visible. Employees as well as members of the public could be injured by the sharp edges of cutting tools. Although a jack is used, the equipment seemed to be very poorly maintained and there was evidence of rust, we questioned its reliability and safety. Equipment such as these are likely to subject the user to crush and pinch injuries should they fail. Workers need to be correctly trained how to protect hands and arms, when placing the tyres on the mold.

Mechanical hazards identified

According to Texas State University, mechanical hazards refer to moving machinery that can cause injury or death. At this tyre shop there were many machines with movable parts making the potential for death, dismemberment or disfigurement very high. Especially if they are altered or are poorly maintained. We found instances where safety cages were removed from their machines (See image 4) . In one instance, there was a rotating wheel that inserts into a metal ring into truck tyres under pressure there no safety guards in place. If the machine is started and the ring is improperly inserted the ring could become disengaged from the tyre and because of the force exerted on the ring and tyre. This in turn can hit an employee or members of the public that are seated on the bench or standing nearby causing serious damage even death. It was also noted that jacks and other lifting equipment were poorly maintained. There were large accumulations of oil, grease and dust on them that could cause these equipment to malfunction causing crush damage or dismemberment .

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Image 4: Machine that has had its guard/cage removed & Image 5:Crush point hazard Source: Lee Ann Lee Chee Wilson 17.10.2015

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Image 6 Car Body Lift, Source: Lee Ann Lee Chee Wilson 17.10.2015 Continue reading