OHS Quest of a Paramedic student. Love the life you live!
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Paramedics at risk in one of the most dangerous jobs

Paramedics at risk in one of the most dangerous jobs | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
Paramedics have one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia with new research revealing an average of one paramedic dies on the job every two years.The research, published in the Medical Journ.
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Chenae Mitchell's curator insight, March 22, 4:01 AM

Only starting my study this year, I'm still unsure whether I'd like to pursue my future career as an accident forensic student or start a new career path into paramedics. 

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Quest 3 - The New Disturbing Danger Associated with Becoming a Paramedic in NSW.

Quest 3 - The New Disturbing Danger Associated with Becoming a Paramedic in NSW. | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
It's hard to believe that one of the great threats involved in becoming a paramedic in NSW would come from the patients they are treating...
Kim Wood's insight:

The media has begun to pick up on the fact that emergency service workers, especially Paramedics who are purely there to provide help to a patient are becoming the victims of violent assaults.  Who would have thought that one of the greatest risks comes from treating your patient.  The article suggests as many as 35 attacks have been reported in NSW alone this year, how many go unreported or are happening across the nation?  Research also shows that assaults leave 10 paramedics seriously injured every year.  Researchers, who studied Safe Work Australia data from 2000-2010, the risk of serious injury among Australian paramedics was more than seven times higher than the national average.  This is appalling and frightening data.  What can be done to help protect Paramedics like Arkin so as they are able to complete their job safely?

 

One of the basic and first things taught to Paramedics is to assess for “danger”; danger to themselves, their partner, bystanders and then finally the patient.  Whilst this protocol is useful in a number of situations, Paramedics can find themselves in unpredictable situations, fueled by drugs and alcohol, mental illness or extreme emotions.  How do you predict danger in every job circumstance?  Paramedics are advised to call for Police back up if they ever require assistance, but sometime this back up can take a while to arrive.  There are no specific policies or procedures in place to guide Paramedics as to what is an unsafe situation, but the service relies on professional judgment and instinct to inform their decisions.  Do our Paramedics need to have some engineering or substitution involved to reduce the risk assault?  Should Paramedics be armed, not necessarily with a firearm, but maybe something less lethal such as capsicum spray?  Some Paramedics receive self-defense classes, but is there ongoing training and further skill development provided?  Paramedics have the right to feel safe at work as does every other worker in their own industry.  These people are purely trying to do their job and help the community remain in good health. 

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Quest 3 - Safe Driving

Kim Wood's insight:

Paramedics have one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia with new research revealing an average of one paramedic dies on the job every two years.  The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, also shows 30 paramedics are seriously injured every two years in transportation accidents.

 

How then do Paramedics such as Arkin find the balance between responding “without delay” to an emergency as stipulated in their job description and driving safely?  Driver safety marketing campaigns over the years have drummed into us the fact that every kilometre faster you drive you are increasing the risk of accident.  Paramedics are increasingly being monitored and statistics recorded for their response time to emergency situations.  As a society we also expect that the Ambulance will be at our door in a matter of minutes.  Are we not adding to the ever-increasing demand for Paramedics to drive faster and arrive on scene swifty, do we ever consider the risk we are asking these everyday people to take?  Is saving our life more important than risking theirs?

 

WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission produced guidelines specifically to help reduce death and injuries resulting from work related driving accidents.  I have found that many of the guidelines published to help inform safer practices for driving are targeted at everyday drivers.  There is very little literature on driving risks associated with emergency service workers.  Under Section 21 of the OHS Act, an employer has a duty or responsibility to provide and maintain so far as is reasonably practicable a safe and healthy working environment for its employees.  According to this publication, applied to work related driving safety this would include:

• information about safety features of vehicles and instruction on how to use them

• knowledge about the causes and effects of fatigue

• information about the safe use of the vehicle

• information about safe maintenance of the vehicle.

When I read through the identified risks and associated preferred solutions, I can see how the QAS has established OHS guidelines for driving.  The service has strict policies relating to vehicle checks, safe driving induction programs and strict maintenance schedules.

 

I think the information on driver fatigue, distraction, and adverse conditions is informative and could provide valid information to be considered by Paramedics who spend a large proportion of the day driving.  I believe creating and promoting a drive safe working environment is a good step forward in finding the balance between safe driving and responding without delay to those who require emergency assistance.

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Paramedic Risk Management

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Ashley Borich's curator insight, April 22, 2015 11:01 PM

Paramedics work in a unique environment full of risk and uncertainties. The way in which a paramedic manages the risk will ultimately determine how successful they will be at achieving their pre-hospital care objectives. It is important as a paramedic to understand risk as a matter of: likelihood of an event and consequence of an event. The likelihood of an event refers to how probable an event is of occurring, for example; given correct lifting techniques the likelihood of Jenna as a paramedic injuring her back while lifting a patient is considered low; however, if the policy is to lift every single patient, her exposure to this risk dramatically increases.

This article highlights an in-depth analysis of paramedic risk management and associated processes. Effective and appropriate application of risk management guidelines in a paramedic’s career will result in the following benefits:

 

* Improved understanding of potential risks

* Provide a safer and more cost effective service

* Greater confidence in the institution from both internal and external stakeholders

* Reduction in injuries at work and their associated costs

 

After reading and applying principles and concepts from this article, Jenna and other paramedics will be able to appropriately manage OHS issues in their environment. This article discusses the importance of establishing the context, identifying the risk, analyzing the risk, evaluating the risk, treating the risk, while highlighting the importance of monitoring and reviewing incidences. Risk is unavoidable, and risk management is a dynamic process. Therefore, continual efforts in risk management which have been highlighted throughout this article are the only measures to ensure that the goals and objectives of an organization are achieved.

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Quest 2 - Wine Maker

Quest 2 - Wine Maker | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it

John has worked in the wine making industry for a short amount of time.  New to this role there has been lots to learn about the process of fermenting wine, the production of this delicious nectar and the safety systems in place to ensure the safety of the employees and the general public who partake in the consumption of this product.  The winery is situated 40mins south of metropolitan Adelaide in the beautiful wine making region of McLaren Vale. 

Kim Wood's insight:

Creating delicious wine has come a long way from squishing grapes between our toes, this sophisticated procedure now has a number of unique risks:

 

Fermenting grapes give off CO2, which can be harmful to humans.  In order for the process of wine making to continue staff wear calibrated monitoring devices as a control mechanism when working in the open fermenters. As a standard procedure, this process involves three staff. There is always an observer present when tending the open fermenters. Competency training is undertaken to ensure the skill and knowledge is evident when tending the open fermenters.

 

Working at heights is a risk in the winery as the stainless steel vats that hold the wine during processing are approximately 10M high.  The only way to access these is to use the system of catwalks suspended high on the vats. Only trained staff can undertake the duties associated with the vats..

 

Confined space duties – To clean and maintain the vats and tanks, staff are required to enter these confined spaces. Staff who have obtained their confined space certificate    wear safety harnesses (these are verified as suitable for use by external parties) as part of their PPE. Always an observer hangs onto the rope attached to the harness of the staff member inside the vat.

 

Hazardous chemicals such as ammonia and sulphur dioxide are used in preserving and completing the wine making process.  As sulphur dioxide is a colourless allergen that staff are educated on during their induction process. The ammonia plant maintains optimum oxygen of the wine in vats and tanks.  If there is a leak from this an alarm sounds and the maintenance manager has a breathing apparatus with oxygen connected and turns off ammonia if required. Annual mock evacuations are conducted and records maintained to ensure staff are familiar with evacuation processes. Wind socks are erected on the central building to show the direction of the wind,

 

The hazardous chemical controls put in place at the winery could be useful if I found myself faced with needing to attend patients when chemicals are present.  Having knowledge of use of a breathing apparatus and considering environmental factors such as which way the wind is blowing could be useful information.

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Quest 2 - Outdoor Educator

Quest 2 - Outdoor Educator | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it

James has been an lover of the outdoors all his life.  This passion has led him to follow his heart and become an Outdoor Education teacher.  What is it that makes Outdoor Education different from any other subject at school?  Outdoor education is to most people school camp, a place for fun and exploring the great outdoors, to James Outdoor Education is a developing social and emotional competence through experiential learning.  It is providing opportunities for students to try new things, to work together, to fail and safely experience what nature has to offer.  Students participate in activities such as cooking, canoeing, bike riding, bushwalking and high ropes to name a few.

 

Kim Wood's insight:

The mind boggles at all the risks that start to emerge when thinking about the activities that James runs.  One of the most powerful tools in Outdoor Education is perceived risk versus actual risk.  What is perceived to be a high risk activity to the untrained eye (student) in actual fact has many safety factors built into it.  Highly trained and skilled educators facilitate students through these activities and at the end of their experience take the time to debrief and pull apart what happened and what it means to them.

 

Daily James has to manage the risks involved in taking students into the outdoors.  His risk management is of the highest possible level with hundreds of different systems to reduce the risk of injury or illness.  These can be categorised into three areas environment, people and equipment.

 

Environmental factors can have a high impact on the programme and its participants.  The most common risk encountered is the sun, the chance of students and staff being burnt from the sun as they spend much of their day outdoors is extremely high.  Staff are provided with hats, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts and encouraged to seek shade wherever possible with them group.   Lightning storms, high winds, hail, rough terrain, remoteness, dehydration, hypothermia, falling trees, snake bites, ticks, poisonous plants... the list of environmental factors can go on.  As eliminating going outdoors defeats the entire purpose and uniqueness of the experience these risks are managed through a rigorous set of standard operating procedures and risk management documents.

 

Equipment used in the outdoors is highly specialised and requires a sound management system to ensure it’s failure is not a risk in itself.  The risk of injury differs with the use of various pieces of equipment.  For example if a harness was to fail 10 metres off the ground the result would be much more catastrophic than if a backpack strap breaks whilst walking.  Breakages, incorrect choice of gear, maintenance failure, breakages and improper use are all hazardous to the safety of the students.  The  most dangerous thing using equipment in James’ eyes is transporting students to camp in the bus, whilst the bus itself is not dangerous it is the notion of being on the roads with the impact of other drives that is the most concerning and difficult to manage.

 

Students themselves present a number of risks: previous medical conditions such as allergic reactions, possibility of sprains and strains or fractures, psychological damage, fatigue, exhaustion, misplaced person, drowning, exclusion.  The fact that these students are usually in that phase of life where they are experimenting and don’t often think about the consequences, having a water-tight set of management tools to manage the risks they present is essential in ensuring their safety.  More and more there are students presenting with life-threatening allergies who are wanting to participate in camp like everyone else.  The other major increase that James has seen over the last 15 years in Education is the number of students presenting to camp suffering mental illness.  In an environment where personal growth comes from challenge and pushing their comfort zone, staff are required to continually develop their psychological support skills in order to keep these students safe. 

A high level of complex risk management allows these students to be able to experience new height and expand their experience in a generation that has been labelled the “cotton-wool” generation.  Outdoor Education is allowing student the chance to grow and develop in a world that is often scary and unapproachable.

 

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Quest 2 - Paramedic

Quest 2 - Paramedic | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it

Arkin has been a Paramedic for the Queensland Ambulance Service based at Gympie station for the last 3 years.  Prior to this she was a first responder out at Kenilworth, serving the local community's needs.  Emergency medicine has not always been Arkin's dream job as she dabbled in photography and graphic design for many years.  It was the unpredictable nature and sense of adventure that initially lead Arkin to make the career change.

 

Each day see's Arkin responding all over the Gympie and surrounding regions to numerous 000 calls.  Whether it is a little old lady who has fallen down or an unconscious patient at the local boat ramp, Paramedics find themselves facing a wide variety of work conditions and settings.

Kim Wood's insight:

A Paramedic has limited information as to what each job entails, "code 1 breathing difficulty" doesn't offer much insight into the potential hazards and risks a Paramedic is about to walk into.  Their workplace may be the side of a busy highway, in someone’s bedroom or in the middle of a drunken fight.  They could be alone at a scene or in the middle of unpredictable chaos.  Paramedics face ever changing and dynamic hazards that require on the spot assessment and decision making.

 

            Whilst performing their job to assist someone in need, not only do Paramedics need to ensure the safety of their patient, they need to carefully consider their own physical safety so as not to become the next patient. Whether it be arriving at a road traffic crash where there are countless environmental and physical dangers such as broken glass and live power lines or attending to a HIV patient where the risk of contracting an infectious disease is increased, Paramedics manage different risks at each job.  I could list hundreds of risks associated with working as a Paramedic contaminated blood, driving at high speed, exposure to chemical, the list could go on but below follows the most stand out risks for these most trusted professionals.

 

            A physically demanding job; hopping in and out of their vehicle, loading patients on and off stretchers, lifting and loading patients into the ambulance exposes Paramedics to a number of potential physical hazards.  Manual handling training and correct lifting techniques is a key ingredient in reducing the number of lower back and musculoskeletal injuries suffered by Paramedics yearly.  I would not have considered that back injuries and muscle strains are the highest resulting injury suffered on the job by Paramedics.  I would have thought the risk of injury by things such as needles would have been higher than back injuries.  Is this directly related to the general size of our population?  Whilst we cannot control the weight of the patient, nor can we eliminate the risk of lifting by leaving them on the bedroom floor, can technology play a part in reducing the amount of lifting required by Paramedics and assist them to safely load their patient for transport?

 

            Unfortunately there is rising number of incidences of violence against Paramedics being recorded across the nation.  Does this correlate with the rising number of mental health call outs received by 000 operators?  Whilst Paramedics are provided with PPE such as gloves and glasses to protect both patient and Paramedic against the spread of communicable diseases and bacteria, what do you do when there is someone threatening you with a knife?  Physical and verbal abuse  against Paramedics is not a hazard I had considered.  Although Police are always available to provide assistance, when the Paramedics are first on the scene how do they decide what is safe to them and their partner to enter into?  What is a safe house to enter? When do you call for police back up?

 

            When discussing risk management and OHS, psychological hazards are not often high on the list of commonly considered risks.  A rising number of more than 20% of all Paramedics suffer from mental illness.  Whether this is directly related to the horrific jobs they attend all to frequently or other psychological stresses, the well-being of these everyday heroes is at risk. The QAS encourages staff to talk about their concerns with their colleagues and provides counseling support should the employee request it.  All too often though Paramedics go home to their families carrying the burden of their day, affecting their loved ones and home lives.  What more can we do to reduce the impact of psychological risks for our Paramedics?

 

            An already stressed workforce working long hours and requiring a high level of decision making under pressure, Paramedics have clear clinical guidelines and protocols to guide them through the seas of uncertainty.  Whilst their clinical judgment is relied upon for many decisions regarding the health of their patient, there is vast training and constant professional development to ensure Paramedics are delivering the best possible health care for you.  Continuing to ensure the safety of Paramedics, who in turn ensure the safety of their patients, reduces the ever-increasing impact on hospitals and the struggling health system.  The safety of one affects the safety of many. 

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Leading Adventure Expert says Outdoor Learning is essential to student development and education | QA Education | Educational Magazine | Head Teacher Magazine

Leading Adventure Expert says Outdoor Learning is essential to student development and education | QA Education | Educational Magazine | Head Teacher Magazine | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
It’s imperative that all teachers, parents and children understand the importance of Outdoor Education. Learning through and in the outdoors is a vital part of any student’s education and general life experience.
Kim Wood's insight:

The outdoors classroom, teaching at it's best.  Nothing like authentic feedback and flexible thinking to open the eyes of those who walk out the door and into the world.

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Health and Safety information - Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Health and Safety information - Workplace Health and Safety Queensland | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
Kim Wood's insight:

Back…!! Ouch! As a smaller female in the service I have struggled at times to lift some of our patients.  I feel the pressure to be able to do my job the same as my male counterparts, but when you're trying to lift a 120kg person onto a stretcher there is no discounting the fact that you have to put your back into it.  I can only predict the amount of back injuries to increase as patients become heavier in our jobs.  Maybe the future sees all of our trucks fitted with heavy lifting mobile equipment, hopefully advancements ion technology can reduce the physical strain on our Paramedics.

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Rod bitten by deadly snake, grabs beer and hopes for the best

Rod bitten by deadly snake, grabs beer and hopes for the best | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
IF YOU think you’re about to die, you might as well grab a cold one before you go. (A poisonous snake bite is awful http://t.co/2h0VlIPZyI but does Qld also use generic anti-v or only type specific?
Kim Wood's insight:

Well done Rod, only in Australia would a "bloke" remain so calm and "crack a goldie" after they have been bitten by a brown snake.  I wonder if the QAS will change their clinical practice guidelines to include administering XXXX gold to reduce hysteria and panic, before transporting to hospital for anti-venom.  Poor fell for having a reaction to the anti-venom too.  I wonder if they serve "goldies" in the intensive care unit?  Speedy recovery to you Rod

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Leak sparks concern over Victorian paramedics' mental health problems, drug abuse

Leak sparks concern over Victorian paramedics' mental health problems, drug abuse | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
About one in five paramedics has reported suffering from stress, depression or anxiety.
Kim Wood's insight:

Mental health related issues are on the rise in our general population. Whilst there is still a large stigma associated with mental health there are many more organisations and media presence who are encouraging people to speak up about their struggles.  I understand the added dimension that a Paramedic deals with in their daily work life and am sure that the ambulance services are working hard to provide support to those who need it.  It is one of my concerns moving forward into this field, but am comforted by the collegiality and support I have experienced so far in my short stint on road.  Mental health is becoming a major part of OHS, it is no longer just the physical safety of those around us but their emotional needs that must be cared for.

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Public Accessible Automated External Defibrillators

March 13, 2014 | Filed under: General, St John Ambulance & Rescue Service Facilities. St John have supported a number of life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) which are designed to be used by members of the public and ...
Kim Wood's insight:

What a fantastic initiative, I wonder what the statistical breakdown will be of lives saved due to the easy access of AED's ? Well done St John for further providing first aid to those who are in need.  I hope the public see the benefit of these devices and use them appropriately.  I just wonder with the influence of TV if there will be incidents oblate night shenanigans where people on their way home from the pub decide to shock each other.  They will really need an ambulance then when they shock their heart out of a sinus rhythm.  I wonder what Standard Operating Procedures accompany the device, or monitoring system?

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TheBariatricJourneyAustraliaAmbulanceCaseStudy_2009_PDF.pdf

Kim Wood's insight:
Innovative design thinking from people who care about the safety and welfare of other people, both in their workplace and the greater community. I believe Brisbane has a bariatric truck now, but it doesn't often get outside Metro Brisbane. Hopefully the Sunshine Coast will receive one soon.
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Quest 3 - Paramedic Fatigue management

Kim Wood's insight:

Paramedics work various shift configurations including day, afternoon and night shifts and rotating rosters, all of which interfere with consistency and quality of sleep.  This disruption of sleep can lead to a state of fatigue, Fatigue is described in this study as a state of tiredness, effecting both mind and body; where an individual is unable to

function at their normal level of abilities. Companies have a responsibility and duty to their workers to ensure adequate fatigue management principles are in place to reduce the associated risks for Paramedics like Arkin. If I was in need of a Paramedic, I would want them to be well rested and thinking clearly during my treatment. 

 

Fatigue can affect alertness, vigilance, concentration, judgment, mood, work productivity and performance.  As Paramedics are required to perform clinical skills, administer drugs and operate vehicles in often stressful and potentially life saving scenarios, their management is crucial.  If suffering fatigue  errors in judgment or lapses in concentration could end up having fatal consequences

 

It was interesting to see that 92% of Paramedics that reported fatigue in the last six months attributed this to late/ no meal breaks; night shift and sleep difficulties.  A factor that I have considered that was raised in this study was what responsibility does the employer have for employees who are fatigued driving home after their shift.  Whilst your own bed can seem like the best place to be, the drive from work home can be a risky one.  What measures are in place for such scenarios?  I know of similar instances where people working out on long shifts in the mines have been injured after leaving work to make the drive home.  Who has the moral vs. legal obligation here?

 

The Ambulance services of Australia Strict administrative management strategies are in place to ensure that Paramedics do not return to work within a 10 hours period.  The downfall of this is that it is assumed that during this time the Paramedics are resting so they come to work alert and ready for the next job.    This study suggests a number of administrative measures to monitor, restrict and identify fatigue in the workplace.  I especially agree with the point that staff are trained in recognizing fatigue related behaviours and are then empowered to look after their colleagues health and wellbeing.

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Quest 3 - Workplace safety - infection control

Quest 3 - Workplace safety - infection control | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
Infection control in the workplace begins by assuming that everyone is potentially infectious. Basic techniques include regular hand washing and keeping the workplace clean. Every workplace should have an appropriate first aid kit, with at least one staff member trained in first aid. Equipment such as gloves, gowns, eye goggles and face shields should be provided if necessary.
Kim Wood's insight:

Infection Control is one of those topics that many people in the workplace do not see eye to eye on and have differing opinions and levels of knowledge about what is safe.  I think this article highlights some of the basic protections that Paramedics should be taking in their day-to-day interactions with patients.  The article highlights infection control in the workplace aims to prevent pathogens being passed from one person to another and that the foundation of good infection control is to assume that everyone is potentially infectious.

 

Whilst there is an expectation that certain PPE is essential for every Paramedic to wear at ever job, compliance with this is rare.  PPE is one of the most common ways introduced to manage risks in the workplace and in many scenarios a very simple and effective measure.  The only PPE I have seen consistently by Paramedics is their gloves and high visibility vests when working on the roads.  Not only is infection control important to stop the Paramedic becoming ill, but there is a duty of care to the next patient that is loaded onto the stretcher to ensure no propagation of infectious pathogens.

 

The simple reminders in this article spell out clearly the major occurrences and circumstances when infection control is vital.  Paramedics are required to deal with body fluid spills, infectious waste and sharp contaminated objects as daily routine.  I think at times Paramedics are lax with infection control as they work in unclean environments continuously and repeatedly are at risk of infection, but the simple steps outlined in this article can significantly reduce the risk of pathogens spreading to the next patient or even home to the Paramedics family.  It doesn’t take much to wash your hands, wear gloves and eye protection and clean your equipment between jobs.  Ultimately the worker is responsible for ensuring that they are operating safely within the guidelines set down by their governing body.

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Quest 3 - Paramedic Manual Handling Risks in Australia

Kim Wood's insight:

Most commonly reported Paramedic injuries are musculoskeletal and of these 37% are back -related injuries.  A common cause of these back injuries can be attributed to work related manual handling tasks.  Being smaller in size than many of her other QAS colleagues and patients, Arkin has to be especially responsive to safe manual handling techniques.  This article highlights the fact that very little research and subsequent OHS guidelines in existence for paramedics when they are working with the ever growing number of overweight and bariatric patients.

 

According to this report the Australian Government reported in 2004-05 41% of adult males and 25% of females in Australia were classified as overweight (BMI of between 25 and 30) and 18% of males and 17% of females were classified as obese (BMI over 30).  With so many people placing their bodies under extreme stress due to their weight, the likelihood of Paramedics attending bariatric patients is increasing.  Paramedics are then challenged to treat these patients and transport them to further medical help.  This currently requires Paramedics to manually move patients, exposing both the patient and Paramedic to injury.

 

When looking at the focus group results for ambulance workers these guidelines, Paramedics identified that they often work in uncontrolled environments such a homes where access and egress of a patient increases the complexity of the situation.  A bariatric patient further compounds these challenges and increasing the risk of injury to both paramedics and the patient.  The research suggested that all sectors involved in the bariatric patient journey find that most equipment is inadequate to transport bariatric patients to further definitive care.   The South Australian, New South Wales and Melbourne Ambulance services currently have dedicated and equipped bariatric transport vehicles, but access and availability to these resources are limited.  Not only are vehicle capacities limited, but also equipment such stretchers have limited load carrying capacity. Whilst specially designed stretchers are being introduced, factors of terrain, access and dwelling access will always be unknown and require Paramedics to be enlist risk management techniques on the go.  As we can never eliminate patient weight (unless you’re living in the Micelle Bridges dream world) ambulance designers may need to consider new loading systems and positioning of stretchers to reduce the manual handling risks for Paramedics.

 

Currently there are very few policies and procedures that address the movement of bariatric patients.  The Paramedic on scene has to rely on their clinical judgment and decision making to engage further resources to assist in lifting and transporting overweight patients. Ambulance governing services play a vital role in educating staff about the implementation, provision of equipment and resources such as safe lifting programs.  Together with education, engineering advancements and administrative policies, safe manual handling techniques can be established.

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Quest 2 - Baker

Quest 2 - Baker | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it

Sue had been working in the baking industry as a food technician for the past 10 years.  Her day to day role is to manage the stringent food and safety standard applied to bakeries in South Australia.  Her role not only ensures the quality of the product deliver to the Riveria bakery customers, but that the product is safe to eat.  Whether it be the fermentation process, the production phase or the safe transport of the product, Sue keeps a close eye on the working standards and food safety to ensure there is no cross contamination and the likelihood of this is reduced

Kim Wood's insight:

Working in a factory brings many hazards with equipment, added to this is the fact that this factory produces a product for consumption so hygiene and cleanliness of the equipment, staff, working space is highly important.  If the strict food safety regulations are not met then to potential to cause harm is significantly increased by the number of customers consuming the product.  Sue’s primary role is to ensure the products are safe for human consumption and do not pose a health hazard to the public.

 

Hazardous equipment used to make baked goods includes ovens, dough mixers, cold rooms and knives.  This equipment poses its own risks of pinch points, trip hazards, slippery floors and excessive noise.  There is the risk of burns on ovens and excessive exposure to heat during the baking process.

 

Yet again manual handling is a significant risk with the movement often large or awkward products from one place to the next.

 

With the requirement of a high level of cleanliness to avoid the risk of bacteria growing, there are lots of chemicals used to ensure the hygienic nature of all the machines and surrounding surfaces.  These chemicals all come with different levels of risk, whether they be caustic to touch, an irritant if inhaled or poisonous if ingested, there are stringent procedures and information sheets provided to ensure the safety of those who come into contact with these products.

 

Some of the hazards I had not considered was the long working hours of people standing on these factory lines in awkward positions for many hours at a time.  The mere static position and repetitive nature of their job can cause injury.   

 

I also had not considered that the water supply to the factory can have significant impact on the safe consumption of the product.  Water is a vital ingredient not only for making bread, but the existence of human life!  If the water supply to the factory is contaminated both the employees with be ill, but the machinery contaminated during cleaning and then cross contaminating the product and causing wide-spread effect of customers eating contaminated bread.

 

A new risk that I had not heard of before was occupational asthma, where employees experience irritation of the airways due to flour dust and other particles in the air.  This is managed with personal protective equipment such as dust masks and extraction fans in the rooms.

 

The bakery has a stringent personal hygiene policy.  The requirements set out in the Employer’s ‘Personal Hygiene Policy’ are designed to meet Hygiene Standards and Good Manufacturing Practices appropriate to a Food Manufacturing establishment and to ensure compliance with Australian Federal and State Health Regulations.  

 

It is comforting to know the number of strict regulations placed on food manufacturing companies, there is potential to cause harm to a large number of the population if they are not followed correctly.  The auditing process keeps these companies in line and ensures the safety of the public and employees is upheld.

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Quest 2 - Freight Train Driver

Quest 2 - Freight Train Driver | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it

As a young boy Marcus has always dreamed that one day he would be a train driver.  Far from the happy days of watching Thomas the Tank Engine, Marcus now lives the life world of a freight train driver.  He is part of a round the clock team of professionals who deliver goods across the nation via the extensive national rail network.  Whether it be a bumper grain season or uranium from the SA’s mid-north, trains over 1kilometre long and weighing over a 1000tons can be hurtling along their tracks with their destination in mind.  But how hard can it be to drive a train, it just follows the rails, well there are many complex scenarios that can unfold and require a large number of occupational health and safety considerations.

Kim Wood's insight:

As most, dare I say it all workplaces, train drivers must deal with common slip, trip and fall hazards from uneven work surfaces and the fact that job exists on transporting goods from one point to another.  Some of the other common hazards that are mirrored in many workplaces include:

- Plant Machinery - crush and pinch points

- Manual handling

- Environmental factors such as sun, extreme heat & cold, bushfires, floods and high winds.

 

Some of the more unique factors to train driving include

- Transport and use of dangerous goods including sulfuric acid, cyanide & ammonia hydroxide.

 - Potential fire hazards associated with Diesel powered trains, transporting explosives and other highly flammable goods including grain dust which until I asked these question I had no idea of the potential fire hazard it can cause.  Grain dust is a highly flammable substance which has a low flash point and does not necessary require an ignition source.  Not only can the grain dust be flammable but it also causes severe breathing difficulties if inhaled during the loading of rail carts for transport.

- Electrical shock - upwards from 600Volts 1000Amps is required to run the train engine, that’s more than twice the voltage out of your standard home 240V socket.

- Compressed Air – Vital in the functioning of brakes, but a potential hazard if a compressed line breaks

- Psychological hazard when unfortunately people choose trains as an option for committing suicide.  I can not even start to think through what is must be like to know you have just run someone over in your train, whether you see them or not, some train take more than a kilometer to stop (even with their emergency brakes engaged) there is no chance of avoiding the incident.  There is significant psychological support available to driver who witness this tragedy all too often.

- Isolation is not a hazard that I had considered before.  There are two different prongs relating to isolation I suspect; isolation from your family and friends as you spend days aboard a train crossing the country with only a small crew to support and entertain you and then there is the fact that at some stages whilst you are passing through some towns there is a degree of isolation from all communication networks and a sense of real remote working conditions.

- Fatigue – Synonymous with shift work is the notion of fatigue, that

cloudy head space that occurs post night shift.  No matter how much of a night person you believe yourself to be there is some innate drive to sleep in the early hours of a morning.  When your job demands you to be awake during these hours we as humans are able to override this instinct and complete our task, but this does not occur without impact on our bodies.  It is due to the nature of this post night shift fogginess that employers and governments have put strict stimulations of the sleep requirements between shifts for train drivers.  With a 1000 tons traveling at up to 80 km/h, these men and women are required to be alert and prepared for changing signals and track conditions, otherwise the result can be catastrophic.  A strict fatigue management system is in place to ensure the health and safety of both the company employees and the public.

 

Train drivers make a significant contribution to the community in delivering goods across the country, dealing with a wide range of hazards across a number of differing landscapes.

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5 Lessons I have learned from being a Paramedic, applies to everyone though!

5 Lessons I have learned from being a Paramedic, applies to everyone though! | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
I have been a Paramedic for 23 years, and in that time I have learned quite a few things about life, medicine, and people in general. Here are my top 5 lessons I have learned.
Kim Wood's insight:

5 valuable lessons to take along the journey…Be humble, be kind, be open and honest.

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Paramedic Registration and CPD | Paramedics Australasia

Paramedic Registration and CPD | Paramedics Australasia | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
Kim Wood's insight:

Whilst the wait continues for our profession to be recognised as such and the doors for interstate transfers remain closed, we remain hopeful.  The professional development journey that is now being discussed is a vital piece to the puzzle, allowing for a well considered set of accreditation guidelines that ensures the safety of the public is in the hands of well trained, highly educated and current professionals.

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Why lack of sleep is bad for your health

Why lack of sleep is bad for your health | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
Find out how lack of sleep can raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, mental health problems, infertility and more.
Kim Wood's insight:

With research pointing its finger at sleep deprivation as a health risk, will this impact the way Paramedics are rostered on?  Can a 12 hour night shift be detrimental to your health?  Can you prevent this harm from occurring in the workplace?  Is it an acceptable risk?  I know from personal experience after a busy night shift the drive home and the following hours are extremely foggy.  Do we have a duty of care to  consider the longer lasting effects of fatigue?  Does the QAS have appropriate fatigue management policies?

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Pin by Bonnie on EMS EMT and Paramedic Stuff | Pinterest

Pin by Bonnie on EMS  EMT and Paramedic Stuff | Pinterest | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
A Paramedic's Story: Life, Death, and Everything in Between | See more about paramedics and books.
Kim Wood's insight:

A new read for post exam excitement.

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Gadgets to Boost Bike Safety

Gadgets to Boost Bike Safety | OHS Quest of a Paramedic student.  Love the life you live! | Scoop.it
An air-bag scarf that turns into a helmet on impact, a bike horn that mimics a car horn and other marvels of modern cycling.
Kim Wood's insight:

What will they think of next?  Technology and innovative design coming together to provide safer commutes for those who are choosing to reduce their impact on the earth.  I can see great use in these designs, reducing the risk of serious injury due to a fall.  Having had many a personal experiences with car, bikes and falls these advancements and gadgets could take the ride to work to a whole new level.

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Indigenous health care overlooked - NITV News

The Indigenous communities major primary health care organisations are frustrated at a lack of focus on Indigenous health care in this election campaign. But...
Kim Wood's insight:

Come on Australia, lets "Close the Gap" with our indigenous health care.  We're failing our indigenous brothers and sisters in so many ways, lets see if we can't provide better health care to those who are need it most.  I wonder what a "rural" placement to an indigenous community as a paramedic student would look like.  I can see a perfect synergy between my education training and Paramedic knowledge to develop education health programs for remote indigenous communities.  

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