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OSH Hazards in ‘Alice in Wonderland (2010)’

ALICE IN THE WONDERLAND (2010)

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IMAGE 1: ALICE IN WONDERLAND MOVIE POSTER

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

INTRODUCTION

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

HAZARDS DISCOVERED

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

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

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

  •  TRIP HAZARD

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GIF 1: *Alice running after the Rabbit*

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE TRIP HAZARDS:

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

 

  • FALL HAZARD

 

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GIF 2: *Alice falling into the Rabbit Hole*

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

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

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

 

  • CUT HAZARD

 

GIF 3 & 4: Alice being chased by the Bandersnatch

Source: https://makeagif.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE CUT HAZARD:

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

 

  • FIRE HAZARD

 

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GIF 5: The Jabberwock breathing fire

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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GIF 6: Alice Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE FIRE HAZARDS:

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

 

  • STRUCK HAZARD

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATION TO REDUCE STRUCK BY HAZARD:

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

 

  • CRUSH HAZARD

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GIF 9: Alice slicing Jabberwock’s head off

Source: tumblr_inline_n32mrbt6TX1rfkzoz.gif

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

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

 

RECOMMENDATION TO REDUCE CRUSH HAZARDS:

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

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS

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

 

  • BULLYING HAZARD

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

  • . FEAR HAZARD

GIF 11 & 12: The Queen Punishing her servant

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARDS :

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

 

ERGONOMIC HAZARDS

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

 

  • UNCOMFORTABLE FURNITURE

 

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IMAGE 3: The Queen’s Throne

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • POOR POSTURE

 

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GIF 13: The Queen and Alice ascending to The Throne

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

 

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IMAGE 4: The Queen and Alice

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • POORLY DESIGNED FURNITURE

 

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IMAGE 5: The Mad Hatter and Alice having tea

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE ERGONOMIC HAZARDS:

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

 

CHEMICAL HAZARD

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

 

  • HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • MERCURY HAZARD

 

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GIF 16: The Mad Hatter’s erratic behaviour

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • EXHAUST FUMES

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE EXHAUST FUMES EXPOSURE:

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

 

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

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

 

  • MOULD HAZARD

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

  • BACTERIA HAZARD

 

      

      GIF 19, 20 & 21: Alice Exploring Wonderland

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

 

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

Source:  https://www.tumblr.com/

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

 

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GIF 25: The Bandersnatch licking Alice’s infected wound

Source:  https://makeagif.com/

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS:

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

Alice In Wonderland Movie Review Summary

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

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

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

overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE END

 

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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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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.).

barbershop1

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

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

Proper, suitable, appropriate signage.

barbershop2

Barbershop: Image 2: Proper signs for customers

Appropriate, suitable lighting necessary for operation.

barbershop3

Barbershop: Image 3: Suitable lighting for operations

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

barbershop4

Barbershop Image 4: Using protective gloves while cleaning work space

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

Recommendations

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

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

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

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

References

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