OHS Perspectives
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Work Incident Reporting Guideline

Cara Aspel's insight:

Queensland Health's Work Incident Reporting Guidelines state that it is mandatory for workers to report incidents (including near misses and hazards) as soon as reasonably practicable. It is great to have a procedure but if it is not supported or implemented by the company then it proves no benefit.

 

I believe the safety culture of Queensland Health needs to be addressed or funding to implement controls to the high risk activities such as manual handling, fatigue and needlestick injuries need to be implemented. 

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Manual Tasks Involving the Handling of People

Cara Aspel's insight:

Meg mentioned in her interview that she often finds herself lifting patients off the floor and holding up ladies legs for hours during labour. Both activities place Meg's body in an awkward position and provide a high level of strain to her lower back. Megs risk of injury is also heighten when she is fatigued from long shifts or from not having any breaks (as previously discussed).

 

A code of practice was published by the Department of Justice and Attorney General in 2001 for manual tasks involving the handling of people. This code provides practical guidance for workers including how to identify risks, how to estimate the level of risk and how to implement control to prevent injury.

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The Effects of Fatigue and Sleepiness on Nurse Performance and Patient Safety - Patient Safety and Quality - NCBI Bookshelf

The Effects of Fatigue and Sleepiness on Nurse Performance and Patient Safety - Patient Safety and Quality - NCBI Bookshelf | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it
Cara Aspel's insight:

""Limited attention has been paid to the hours worked by nurses or the effects of these hours on patient safety"


When I first starting researching risk management for nurses it became apparent that majority of risk studies are associated with patient safety rather than of the nurses. 

 

Long shifts, back to back rosters, overtime, shortage of staff and lack of breaks are all contributing fatigue factors for nurses. Although Meg is designated a lunch break, patient treatment is a priority and she finds herself eating on the run or not taking a break at all.

 

In fact, this article highlights that a recent study revealed that nurses were only free of patient care or responsibilities during a lunch break, less than half of the shifts they work.

 

 

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Environmental Science

Environmental Science | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

What is more important, meeting the projects operational licence requirement (which enables the construction to continue) or stopping work when a situation is unsafe?

Cara Aspel's insight:

Daily Duties

 

As an environmental advisor I perform any environmental sampling for our projects including stormwater, groundwater, air, potable water and soil. We then analyse data from our sampling and provide reports to our clients.

 

Location of Job

 

I work in Gladstone but at times we are required to fly to remote mine sites including those in Mount Isa and Roma.

 

Main OHS Hazards

 

-        Working in the heat

-        Fatigue

-        Working in the wet (performing stormwater sampling while it is raining)

-        Walking on stable grounds (usually when it is raining also)

-        Snakes

-        Physically challenging work

 

Most Common Injury

 

Minor cuts and bruising. However there is a big potential for injuries during stormwater sampling as often we find ourselves walking down rocks and batters while it is raining.

 

Attitude to OHS from fellow workers

 

OHS is important and the staff is helpful however too slow in sorting out a solution for identified OHS risks. The company is liable to environmental fines if sampling is not undertaken, but then we have pressure from OHS in regards to ‘stop work policy’.

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Meg the Midwife

Meg the Midwife | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

Meg is a midwife at Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital. Meg absolutely loves her job but the downfall for working for Queensland health at this point is time is the lack of resources, which means overworking to pick up the slack. When a woman is in labour, Meg admits that personal safety goes out the window for her and she often finds herself in awkward positions for hours on end.

Cara Aspel's insight:

Brief explain your role and daily duties

 

-        Periodic antenatal checkups

-        Education sessions

-        Range of testing for high risk women

-        Customized growth charts for babies

-        Consulting and referring women to obstetric teams, dieticians, social workers etc.

-        Additional care for women are classified as high risk

-        Labour/intrapartum care for the women including support, assessing progress, continuous fetal monitoring and delivery of infants within a normal context

-        Assisting obstetrician for delivery of babies from high risk patients (forceps/vacuum extraction and Caesarean sections)

-        Continuous support and advocate for all woman

-        Participation in neonatal resuscitation and support through grief and loss for parents

-        Provide postpartum care and education for women including assessing and monitoring vital signs, blood loss, and assistance with breastfeeding.

-        Neonatal cares for both normal and high risk babies with consultation from pediatricians including routine baby care, administration of Vitamin K and Hep B immunisations, blood sugar monitoring, phototherapy etc.

-        Midwifery lead discharges for women who are low risk.

 

Location of Job

 

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. The only travel I do is community visits for postpartum and neonatal checkups in their homes approximately one week after delivery.

 

Main OHS Hazards

 

The hours of work are the main hazard for midwifes in my opinion. At times there is only 8 hours between each shift due to overtime worked the previous day. Many times we are understaffed which I believe is unsafe as we are so tired and overworked, mistakes can be easily made. Mistakes can include drug errors for patients (which would affect their safety as well) and stick injuries to ourselves from needles. At the end of shifts I find myself becoming slack when assisting patients to mobilise or during labour, and I end up holding myself in awkward positions which can lead to lower back strain.

 

Most Common Injury

 

The most common injury in the trade is lower back injuries from continuous strain of assisting patients but we have no formalized lift policies in place for the equipment we have (hoists, slide sheets and pat slides).

 

Attitude to OHS from fellow workers

 

The attitude is very positive towards OHS but is often forgotten in an emergency. I often find myself picking patients up off the floor in a panic or holding a woman’s legs up for hours on end to help her push the baby out. In these cases it is really difficult to be safe.

 

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Preventing Needle Stick Injuries - myVMC

Preventing Needle Stick Injuries - myVMC | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

NursesIntroduction Background How often do NSIs occur? What is currently being done to prevent NSIs? Proper needle use and disposal …

Cara Aspel's insight:

Meg mentioned that needlestick injuries are the most common injury for nurses as they use needles everyday. If Meg was pricked by a needle she may be at risk of contracting viruses or other blood-bourne diseases that can be detrimental to her health.

 

As per this article, needlestick injuries occur every two days in Australia. Virtual Medical Centre is Australia's leading source for trustworthy medical information for health professionals and believes that a technological approach such as using retractable needles should be taken in order to lower the risk of needlestick injuries.

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Health Professionals and Support Services - Fair Work Ombudsman Award 2010

Cara Aspel's insight:

The 'Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010' which was published by the Fair Work Ombudsman clearly states the following:


- Not more than 10 ordinary hours of work (exclusive of meal breaks) are to be worked in any one day;

- An employee who works in excess of five hours will be entitled to an unpaid meal break of not less than 30 minutes and not more than 60 minutes;

- Every employee will be entitled to a paid 10 minute tea break in each four hours worked at a time to be agreed between the employer and employee (tea breaks are counting as time worked).

 

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Lock Up Yours Dogs!

Lock Up Yours Dogs! | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

For those of you that live in Gladstone, Stevie is one of the lovely employees of Gladstone Regional Council that reads our water meters on a six monthly basis. I was luckily enough to catch Stevie before she resigned from Council to speak to her about safety in her role. Stevie is off to be a nurse.

Cara Aspel's insight:

Daily Duties

 

I conduct water meter readings in Gladstone and any administration work for the water and sewage department at Gladstone Regional Council.

 

Location of Job

 

I am based in the Calliope Office however for meter reading I am required to walk up and down the streets in Gladstone and surrounding suburbs.

 

Main OHS Hazards

 

-        Dogs that are not contained by owners while meter reading

-        Heat street 

-        Constantly bending down to meters

-        Spiders or other animals near meter

 

Most Common Injury

 

The most common injury for people in my position would be slips, trips and falls from walking on uneven ground.

 

Attitude to OHS from fellow workers

 

OHS is definitely recognised at Gladstone Regional Council but to be honest when I am conducting water meter readings I am really focused on the job and tend to forget.

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Learning and Development Officer

Learning and Development Officer | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

One of the biggest challenges OHS professionals face is keeping the safety culture alive in an office environment. When I first asked Lee (aka Mum) what were he biggest safety concerns she replied "there isn't many because I work in an office". 

Cara Aspel's insight:

Daily Duties

-        Coordinate mandatory job specific training

-        Technical and professional development training for 730 employees

 

Location of Job

 

I work in the office at Gladstone Ports Corporation in Gladstone.

 

Main OHS Hazards

 

Risks in my office include manual handling, tripping hazards from mats and chords, poorly designed desk and chairs (ergonomics), sitting for too long, chemical hazards such as airborne particles from photocopies toner, electrical hazards such as overloaded power points and of possibly air pollution from working at a coal terminal.

 

Most Common Injury

 

Upper back, neck and shoulder pain.

 

Attitude to OHS from fellow workers

 

Mainly for outside workers.

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Electrical Instrumentation

Electrical Instrumentation | OHS Perspectives | Scoop.it

Vaughn is an Electrical Instrumentation tradesman who is employed in the Maintenance Department for Santos. His work is located near Roma and all employees undertake extensive travel each fortnight to reach the site and then they work 10-hour days for 13 days straight. I believe fatigue would be the biggest contributing factor to safety of workers in this environment even though electricians work in a hazardous area. Let’s see what Vaughn says.

Cara Aspel's insight:

Brief explain your role and daily duties

 

My daily duties include performing ‘preventative maintenance’ on all electrical Instrumentation assets as well as responding to breakdowns and repairing items when they fail. This includes performing testing, isolations, services, calibrations and new installations.

 

Location of Job

 

Located 550km North-West of Brisbane in a remote part of the bush. Travel consists of a one-hour flight from Brisbane to Roma followed by a 3-hour bus ride to the company living facilities.

 

Main OHS Hazards

 

The most prominent hazard in my eyes is electricity. However, being a gas facility another major hazard is toxic atmospheric gases.

 

Most Common Injury

 

-        Injuries to our hands (cuts from sharp objects/tools)

-        Strains to our backs from poor ergonomic positions

-        Fatigue

 

Attitude to OHS from fellow workers

 

Safety is a daily part of our jobs and integral to the way we operate.

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