Day-to-day OHS of friends
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Bachelor in distress

This 2007 survey paper by Youthsafe highlights the key issues surrounding young workers (apprentices and trainees) in the construction industry and recommendations on how to address these. 

Nic Charkow's insight:

One of the highest demographics of youth injury within the workplace are those who work within the construction trades. Their relative inexperience (compared to their supervisors and colleagues who may have been working for 20 years plus) puts them at a higher risk of injury in an already high risk environment. Other than pay and treatment issues, this report highlights the safety issues of young apprentices, namely their work colleagues getting them to do the dirty and potentially dirty work. Also, they are often left to their own devices, which can prove dangerous. 55% of those surveyed found safety to be a paramount issue in fact, and the pressure of their superiors often forced them to individually neglect full safety, as one respondent quoted

“People talk a lot about safety but at the end of the day it all goes back to price.”

 

Conclusion made by the report regarding safety include

 

-A higher availability of PPE

-A shift in culture from financial-based practices to safety-orientated

-More direct supervision

 

If these measures are made, a safer working environment can be created for young apprentices within construction trades.

  

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Bachelor in Distress

This handbook provided by Worksafe Victoria highlights the key issues surrounding fatigue, including its causes, it effects and how to prevent and manage fatigue.

Nic Charkow's insight:

We all know while we're trying to complete an assignment at 3am or sit in on an important meeting right after lunch, it can be extremely difficult to maintain concentration. Now imagine this scenario, but in 35 degree plus temperatures and in a cramped roof cavity for example. The risk of fatigue increases significantly. Combine this with the use of heavy, potentially dangerous power tools and it is a recipe for disaster.

 

Ways to minimise the risks of fatigue include:

-Liaison between the employee and employer regarding shifts and timetabling

-Frequent consultation regarding external factors which may be negotiating the ability to sleep

-Provision of cooling devices to provide adequate environmental protection to avoid fatigue.

-Regular breaks for food, water and socialising

-Getting regular sleep

 

These measures must be combined in order to achieve effective fatigue management and prevention within the workplace.

 

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My Bachelor in Distress: Ben, apprentice carpenter

My Bachelor in Distress: Ben, apprentice carpenter | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This fun, interactive program for Worksafe Vic allows you to select an occupation and find out its most common injuries and how to prevent them.  This section is on injuries from working in the carpentry trade.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Working with powertools (and handtools) with a combination of sharp, acute and heavy blunt objects are a recipe for a disaster when it comes to workplace injuries. Shockingly, over 20% of all carpentry workplace issues occur in the hand area, mainly due to that they are the most used body part when it comes to tools. 

Injuries that are common include nail-gun misfires (see gruesome x-ray image above) and cutting timber.

 

Recommendations to prevent the likelihood of these injuries occurring include...

 

-The use of light, comfortable tools

-Treating nail-guns like a weapon (which they are) and use utmost care and diligence when handling and using one.

-Ensure  all safety measurements on the saw are functioning correctly

-Ensure nails are nailed in fully and correctly

 

Although purchasing and maintaining safe and ergonomic tools may be expensive, it will save a lot in legal bills if something goes wrong. All of these recommendations are simple to implement and can prevent serious injury and/or death.

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Coppo: Surf Lifesaver

Coppo: Surf Lifesaver | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

My mate Coppo is a Surf Lifesaver. He is an extremely passionate surf lifesaver, dedicating himself to the organisation in both operational volunteer patrolling and through competing at branch and state level. He averages approximately 150 hours per season and is a role model for lifesavers both young and old.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Being a lifesaver myself, I am also aware of the constant hazards that a surf lifesaver goes through on a regular basis. These include but are not limited to.

Fatigue: During the hectic summer season, patrol shifts last 6 hours. Combine this with heat and it is a recipe for disaster. Unless you are properly rested the night before a patrol (and not hungover etc) you will find yourself at high risk of fatigue.

 

Sunburn/Heatstroke: Although shade is provided for lifesavers on duty, there is still a very high chance of getting sunburn and heatstroke. This could mean going out to investigate a submerged object without a rash shirt on or sitting on hot white sand. There is also the risk of looking at the water and developing eye damage if not wearing correct UV-proof sunglasses.

 

Drowning: Lifesavers must train consistently both during the season and in the off season in order to maintain and/or increase their fitness. That said, if a freakishly rogue wave hits Coppo while he is on a board for example, he could knock himself out and risk drowning.

Stress and emotional trauma: Being involved in a dramatic rescue can be a psychological risk to a lifesaver. It may put them off that patrol shift and potentially lifesaving all together. Also, the grief that one would go through when having to deal with a deceased patient can be traumatic for some individuals.

 

Injury and Disease: Stray rubbish on the beach can pose a hazard to those working there. For example, a shard of glass may only cause an injury, but a syringe may transmit a disease. Other injuries may arise from other activities such as board paddling and crewing the IRB.

 

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Zak: Recreational Pilot

Zak: Recreational Pilot | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This is my friend Zak, who like me, is a recreational student pilot. Also like me, he flies and learns with the Australian Air Force Cadets. He is working up to his Private Pilots License so he can be flight qualified Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. He flies Piper PA-38 Tomahawks out of RAAF Base Amberley.

 

There are many safety risks involved with learning how to fly but I will only go over a few in my insight.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Structural Failure: If an aircraft isn't properly de-iced or checked over prior to take-off, the airframe will either lose its aerodynamic abilities or break-up. There is also the possibility of incorrect loading and ballasting which could put the aircraft in grave danger.

 

Communications Failure: If the communication systems of the aircraft fail, the pilot may not know of any approaching dangers, such as dangerous weather or the possibility of a mid-air collision. Luckily there are back ups for radio failure.

 

Weather: Being a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) equipped aircraft, there is great danger involved if the aircraft accidentally strays into poor weather or clouds.

 

Finally, Stress: Flying an aircraft by yourself having only a few hours experience is a stressful experience, if he lets the stress get to him and panics, there can be any number of grave dangers to himself and the aircraft.

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Bachelor in distress

Bachelor in distress | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This interactive page highlights where noise occurs, what levels are dangerous, how to prevent it and the risks associated with not addressing the problem.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Most of us know the less than pleasant feeling of waking up after a concert the night before with that faint ringing in our ears. No we may experience that once in a while. But imagine if you were subjected to that noise for eight hours a day 5 days a week, we'd go deaf very quickly. That can happen to you if you're using power tools constantly all day or hearing the clashing of timber. The exposure standard of no more than 140 decibels and a prolonged exposure of 85 decibels per eight hours. For example, an angle grinder (which isn't used for carpentry, but still a power tool) produces sounds of 120Db, making it potentially dangerous. Harms associated with exposure to noise include hearing loss, whether minor or complete as well as tinnitus, which is that ringing in the ears sensation.

Ways to prevent these harms occurring include.

 

1. Eliminate (get rid of cause of noise)

2. Substitute (provide quieter equipment)

3. Administrate (devise smarter ways to go about task)

4. Protect (provide hearing protection.

 

As can be seen, there is an order in which to go about noise management. Hearing protection is a last resort. If there is no other way of removing the noise, hearing protection is used. It cannot be used as a first case scenario. If this order is adhered to, the risk of getting hearing damage from the workplace can reduce significantly. 

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Bachelor in distress

Bachelor in distress | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This lengthy article from the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists the dangers associated with dust inhalation and how to prevent them.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Dust inhalation, particularly that of sawdust while working in the carpentry industry is a significant health risk to those involved. Not only are there  minor health implications associated with inhalation such as asthma-like symptoms, but certain timbers have carcinogenic properties which can ultimately prove fatal.

 

WHO recommends the following for minimising the risk of dust inhalation.
Firstly, site managers etc, need to ensure their worksites are properly ventilated to allow dust to not gather. If proper ventilation isn't available, the dust needs to be extracted from the area somehow..

 

Secondly, workers need to ensure they have correct RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment, such as correct masks and avoid prolonged exposure.

 

By using these methods, the risk of illness from dust inhalation can be significantly reduced.

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Joe: Runner

Joe: Runner | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

Seen here about to cross the finish line in the 2014 Mooloolaba Traithlon is my workmate Joe. He is a serious runner, running two half marathons weekly. He regularly runs 10km (like this race) in 40 minutes or less which makes him quite an elite athlete.
As anyone who as watched a marathon before, the activity of running is hazardous.

Nic Charkow's insight:

These are some of the hazards faced by Joe on his runs.

 

Fatigue: Running vast distances, especially in the heat, may lead Joe to exhaustion. Muscular fatigue is another part of this, so he must pace himself in order to mitigate this risk. Dehydration also falls under this category.

 

Traffic: Sometimes, when he is running in locations where footpaths are not provided, he must share the road with vehicles and bicycles. He must be careful not to veer into any traffic and do his best to stay as far over in the shoulder as possible.

Injury: There is always the possibility of rolling and ankle or another muscular or skeletal injury while running. Another hazard that is of a high possibility is joint strain and arthritis in places such as the ankle, knee and hip. This can be avoided according to Joe by running on soft surfaces such as grass or sand in oppose to concrete and/or by running on a treadmill, which absorbs the shock.

 

Illness: Although this ties into fatigue, the possibility of having an asthma attack (if one is asthmatic) increases while undertaking arduous physical activity, especially over prolonged periods. Long distance running can also eat away at muscle, according to fitness trainer Greg Brookes, who also said that those who regularly run long distances start to store fat in larger quantities, whether or not it will be used.

 

Hart-Davis, A 2010, 'Running the risk: It can cause cellulite, heart attacks and joint strain - Is it time to stop jogging?',

Daily Mail, 27 July, viewed 20 March 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1297579/Running-risk-It-cause-cellulite-heart-attacks-joint-strain--time-stop-jogging.html

 

  
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Ben: Apprentice Carpenter

Ben: Apprentice Carpenter | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This is my good mate Ben. He is an apprentice chippy who wants to go into furniture once he is fully qualified. Being an apprentice, he has a lot of highly experienced instructors teaching him and overlooking the safety and health of those apprentices. He also helps his dad renovate their home and build adjacent rental properties.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Working in a trade environment, Ben is subjected to multiple hazards to his health and safety. Here are some of these hazards

 

Injury: Working with power tools, at heights and with timber (splinters etc), Ben is at constant risk of injury. The hazard possessed by each risk is different. For example, a splinter in his thumb is only a minor first aid injury, but a nail from a nail-gun into his head is life-threatening.

 

Illness/Disease: Unless an adequate filtration apparatus is being used, the health risks of inhaling dust can be very dangerous. Illnesses that can arise include allergies and asthma, which could prove life threatening. Although it is far less frequent these days, asbestos is still in some buildings and improper handling techniques can lead to horrible diseases and death.

 

Fatigue: Working with hot tools and in hot conditions may leave Ben open for fatigue. If proper hydration is not managed also, there could be dire consequences.

 

Noise: The constant noise of power tools buzzing and of materials crashing may leave Ben with permanent hearing damage. 

 

Finally, Inexperience: Being only a first year apprentice, Ben is new to this environment and thus is at a much higher risk of any of these hazards occurring  than to a more experienced carpenter. Unless he is properly supervised and instructed by appropriately qualified and experienced instructors, these hazards are much more likely to occur.

 

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Jake: Bassist

Jake: Bassist | Day-to-day OHS of friends | Scoop.it

This is my mate Jake, who is the bassist for an up-and-coming band called 'Hobo Magic', a psychedelic hard rock/heavy metal band from the Sunshine Coast. Although thus far, playing music is only a recreation and hobby, he hopes to make it his career very soon.

Although it looks tame safety wise, this activity does have its fair share of health and safety dangers.

Nic Charkow's insight:

Other than the health impacts of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, there are other less obvious safety implications of this activity.

 

The first of these is the implications of the electrical equipment a band uses. With wires, chords and amps laying all over the stage, the present a very apparent trip/fall risk. Tripping over a wire may not only lead to bodily injury but also property damage.
The second risk with electrical risk is fires. This becomes excessively dangerous when they play at small, dark and cramped venues where finding a fire exit may be difficult or obstructed.

Another safety implication is of noise levels. Having been to their gigs many times, I know first hand that my ears are ringing for at least 12 hours after. One can only imagine the long-term damage caused from playing regular gigs. He prevents this by wearing earplugs while performing to dampen out some of the noise.

 

A third and final health and safety issue is of the audience. I have been to a gig of theirs once before, and witnessed an audience member try and pour a drink down another band members mouth. Although this may seem harmless, who knows whether that drink has been spiked or not or whether that audience member isn't carrying a contagious disease.

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