Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People
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Hazardous chemicals - Safe Work Australia

Hazardous chemicals - Safe Work Australia | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it
This site contains materials supporting the WHS laws including; the model WHS Act, model WHS Regulations and model Codes of Practice. Analysis of data and research relating to work health and safety and workers’ compensation is available from this site.
Natasha Lewis 's insight:

This is an excellent resource for safety information on hazardous chemicals that Daniel is likely to have in his laboratory.  This is specific for Australia, and provides links to various legislation surrounding hazardous chemicals.  Very appropriate and a useful go to guide for Daniel and his staff.

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Your OH&S obligations | Occupational health & safety

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

This government website outlines the responsibilities of company managers in relation to OHS obligations.  This is a brief guideline to show what a manager is to ensure is fulfilled within the area he/she manages.  This would be useful for Daniel as he manages a laboratory full of employees as a generic guide to his OHS obligations.

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▶ Chemical Fume Hood Animation in English - YouTube

a laboratory safety project by Dartmouth College & The National Institute of Health "Chemical Fume Hood: How it Works to Protect You"
Natasha Lewis 's insight:

This video, while rather boring, gives very clear simple instructions on how to properly use a fume hood cupboard in the laboratory, to prevent exposure to toxic vapours or fumes from certain types of analysis.  This would be useful for Daniel in his workplace to provide new employees with video simulation of its operation that they can go back to in conjunction with written instructions.  Some people learn better through visualisation rather than just reading.  This video would benefit those types of learners.

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Daniel - The Laboratory Manager AND Knight in training for Quest 3

Daniel -  The Laboratory Manager AND Knight in training for Quest 3 | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it

 ANDDaniel is a Laboratory Manager for an Environmental Testing Lab.  He has been working in this field for more than 10 years, and is familiar with OHS practices.  His laboratory is involved in testing samples provided from many different locations, including sewerage and waste plants, waterways, farms among many more.  The laboratory environment presents many different OHS issues.

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

Daniel’s job as a Laboratory Manager in an Environmental lab involves working with some very hazardous chemicals, as well as toxic and hazardous materials that are to be tested for various substances and contaminants.  He is not only responsible for his own safety but also for the safety of those he manages.  Here are some of the hazards he encounters within his workplace:

*  Hazardous Chemicals – scientific laboratories are filled with harmful chemicals including acids, bases and agents, which are known carcinogenic such as Di-chloromethane (DCM).  Incidences that can occur are spills, burns, inhalation of poisonous vapours, flammable substances.  The laboratory has strict procedures for dealing with hazardous chemicals, they also have fume cupboards and exhaust extracter fans when dealing with potential vapour or dangerous fumes.  Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDA’s) are provided by manufacturers for every substance used in the lab, these are freely available to all staff and provide vital information on the substance. They have spill kits on hand in the event of a chemical spill, shower and eye wash station in the event of contact with skin or eyes.  Another problem the laboratory encounters is a lot of these chemicals are purchased in bulk quantities, which need to be transferred to smaller containers.  This creates risk to the individual should they drop the heavy containers or spill its contents. 

*  Computer/desk work – Although Daniel still at times is directly involved in testing duties, a majority of his role as manager is report writing and data entry.  This involves sitting at a computer for long periods of time.  Daniel reports he often goes home with neck and back pain as well as headaches at times from looking at the computer all day long.  This type of repetitive desk work puts strain on the back, neck and eyes, particularly if the desk zone has not been set up to suit the individual.  Making small changes such as desk and chair height, level of computer screen, size of computer screen can make a difference to the level of strain put on the body.  Implementing simple procedures such as employee’s must remove themselves from their desk every 2 hours and take a rest pause to walk, stretch and get some fresh air for example, could also improve this type of hazard.  Daniel could set himself an alarm to go off at 2 hour intervals to prompt him to get up and move around.  Employing a daily stretching routine before and after work would also be beneficial to the body.

*  Toxic Samples – not only does Daniel deal with hazardous chemicals, but toxic samples are also a common occurrence in the laboratory.  As an environmental lab, Daniel see’s samples from sewerage and waste facilities, soil samples that contain fertilizers and pesticides harmful to humans.  These have the potential to cause illness and infection to humans.  Daniel’s laboratory has strict handling protocols for all substances.  All samples are considered toxic until analysis can show what it actually contains.  All incidences of exposure are treated seriously, the clients providing the samples are obligated to inform the laboratory of what is potentially in the sample.  This means that in the event of exposure, staff can determine the correct course of action for treatment.  The use of PPE in the laboratory is mandatory for all staff, items such as lab coats, protective eye wear, gloves and at times facemasks.  Disposal of this type of substance is collected by independent companies, who incinerate the samples at temperatures of up to and over 1000 degrees.

 

     (Image by N. Lewis, 2014)

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Shane - The Bobcat Man

Shane - The Bobcat Man | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it

Shane is a local small business owner in the area of domestic earth moving.  He owns and operates bobcats, Kanga's and Dingo's.  He is the owner and sole operator of the machinery, relying only on the help of his wife for administrative duties, and occasionally a mate if his workload is high.  

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

Shane's job involves travelling to various sites everyday where the workplace will be unknown until he arrives.  This can lead to a multitude of hazards ranging from traffic, to unknown site hazards (underground structures).  The first hazard Shane thinks of immediately is:

*  Heavy Lifting - Working alone means that the lifting involved in his job is left to him alone.  He has heavy metal ramps which he unloads and reloads for every job (these are for the machinery to drive down off the truck).  He also has the attachments to his equipment which perform different functions.  Shane frequently experiences back and shoulder pain.  Things that could make Shane's work a little easier, would be to engage the help of a junior staff member if his business can afford it, look into the possibility of newer technology e.g ramps made from lighter but strong alloys, implement stretching and strengthening exercises to his daily routine and consult physiotherapists, massage therapists etc on a regular scheduled basis to aid in his body's recovery.

*  Road traffic - driving around town to different jobs is something Shane does everyday, he not only encounters various traffic hazards while on the road, he also often experiences issues with local traffic when he is on a job.  The unloading and reloading of his machines requires reversing down steep ramps directly onto the road, manoeuvring his machines in and out of driveways to accomplish his tasks.  This creates opportunity for traffic hazards particularly when visibility is an issue.  Shane reports that reversing his bobcat down the ramps is his most difficult task, not only is he concentrating on reversing perfectly straight down two narrow ramps, but he also has to be mindful of the cars that are driving past.  Strategies that Shane could implement include setting up traffic cones around the area he needs to use in order to prevent traffic getting too close.  And where possible, unloading his machines away from the road, e.g parking his truck on the land he intends on working, then moving the truck back to the road.

*  Underground structures - working in a different location everyday, means Shane is not likely to be familiar with the location of underground structures he has to be mindful of.  he relies a lot on information provided to him by the land owner, copies of site plans which show where piping runs if able to be provided to him.  He has knowledge of particular estates which give him guidance as to where structures are located.  Because he is working with heavy machinery, it is possible that if he dug too deep he may hit an underlying water pipe or underground electricity cable.  Shane admits a lot of his earthworks comprise of superficial removal and shaping of land in preparation for landscaping, though occasionally he is required to dig deeper trenches or holes.  In these cases, Shane refuses to commence work until he has examined site plans detailing the location of such structures.  Shane also has the availability of organisations such as 'Dial before You Dig' if the landowners are unable to provide much information.  He conducts a visual site inspection prior to commencing work to locate any water, sewerage and power mains on the land to prevent damage.  

 

     (Image by N. Lewis, 2014)

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Lab Explosion Shakes Stony Brook University - Nature World News

Lab Explosion Shakes Stony Brook University - Nature World News | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it
Nature World News
Lab Explosion Shakes Stony Brook University
Nature World News
The last lab explosion that resulted in severe injury occurred in 2010 at Texas Tech University.
Natasha Lewis 's insight:

An excellent reminder that despite safety precautions in a laboratory setting, there is still a chance for human error where accidents can happen when people are performing experiments or analysis when they are perhaps inexperienced.  This should serve to remind Daniel that not everyone in the laboratory will have equal levels of experience in all areas, and to ensure that everyone is well trained in their roles and the possible adverse consequences of certain chemical reactions.

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Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory Safety Video Program - www.safetyissimple.com - YouTube

MARCOM's "Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory" Video Program examines how gas cylinders "work", the hazards that are associated with them and...
Natasha Lewis 's insight:

Ideal simple and quick instructions on the appropriate way of storing compressed gas cylinders in a laboratory setting.  This will again be an easy to understand go to video guide for effectively training staff in the laboratory setting on safety measures surrounding gas storage.

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Chris - Exploration Geologist

Chris - Exploration Geologist | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it

This is Irish Chris.  Chris is an Exploration Geologist who works in the coal and coal seam gas industry.  Chris's work takes him to remote isolated areas of the world, working for weeks away at a time.  Chris has a young family who he has relocated to Africa at one point while he was working on a project there, however most of the time his family remain at home in Brisbane.

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

While Chris gets to work in some beautiful and different locations across Australia and the world, he does encounter a number of hazards in his job.  Thes include but are definitely not limited to the following:

*  Heat - most of the project Chris has worked on have been in central parts of Queensland and more recently in Africa.  These places are renowned for reaching very hot temperatures with varying degrees of humidity.  In Mozambique, Chris reports temperatures would often reach 48 degrees.  They are required to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect from sun and insects, this type of clothing, while beneficial, often makes it feel even hotter.  Often his workday would be in the sun, only with portable shade shelters such as that in the picture.  Working long hours in such hot conditions leads to fatigue, extreme sun exposure, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and dehydration.  It is not uncommon for Chris to drink 4+ litres of water a day.  Chris and many other workers in this field drink sports drinks in order to replenish lost electrolytes.  While in Africa, OHS for staff well being is not as strict as in Australia, so while Australian sites will have anti fatigue policies to deal with heat and exhaustion, Africa did not have any.  Education on how to deal with extreme heat is vital to those working in situations like Chris.  Companies should take more responsibility for their staff's well being if working overseas in less developed countries.  Supplying staff with electrolyte drinks (not just water), having stop work policies in events of extreme temperatures, having shorter rotations and adequate sun protection are all ways to lessen the hazard that working in hot environments cause.

*  Rough Terrain - In Chris's experience as an Exploration geologist, most of the locations he works in are untouched with no amenities.  The land itself is often desert like with uneven ground, and located long distances away from any towns.  Chris mentioned that several months ago, a colleague of his in Mozambique severely dislocated his ankle on uneven ground, this person has been off work since november 2013 and remains off work currently.  Problems incurred in situations such as these include, no medical facilities close by, poor standards in available health care of developing countries, and difficulty in evacuation of injured staff.  Strategies to lessen the impact of such hazard would be have medically trained staff available onsite, although this may not be economically viable for some companies,  provide first aid training to staff prior to working in the field, establish plans and protocols for the evacuation of staff for urgent medical treatment to a facility that has medical treatment on par to Australian standards.  

*  Fatigue - Not only does Chris experience fatigue by working in extreme temperatures, but also the length of hours he works over a particular number of weeks.  When working in Africa, his rotations were 4 weeks on with 6 x 12 hour days a week.  This type of intense laborious work leads to physical fatigue as well as mental fatigue from not having adequate down time to relax and socialise which is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle.  Chris describes his rotations as 4 weeks of work, sleep, eat and repeat.  He also mentioned that although they were entitled to one day off per week, if the project was running behind, it was a general expectation that people would work some or all of their day off in order to keep on schedule.  Chris did point out that Australian sites have stricter policies and this situation only occurred when working in less developed countries.  Suggestions such as shorter working days and shorter rotations with forced rest days would help improve fatigue in these workplaces.

 

     (Image by D. Cumper, 2013)

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Maree - The School Cleaner

Maree - The School Cleaner | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it

Maree is a cleaner in an inner city Primary school.  She has been working at this same school for 19yrs, and has no intentions of leaving.  She admits she doesn't get paid well, but she loves her job and loves seeing children grow up over the years.

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

Maree works split shifts, meaning she works 3 hours before school and comes back to work 3 hours after school.  Her role includes cleaning not only classrooms, but toilet facilities, staff areas, as well as outdoor areas.  Maree does not drive a car therefore all her commuting back and forth is done via public transport.  Some of the OHS issues Maree faces in her daily work environment include:

*  Water and chemical exposure – while water may not appear to be much of a hazard in a cleaning role, in order to do a lot of her job, she is required to use a lot of water.  This causes dry and cracked hands as well as increased risk of fungal nail infections, which Maree reports has had to deal with in this job.  Cleaning agents also attribute to the damage to her hands which if ignored can lead to infection due to broken skin.  In recent years, Maree has been provided with gloves and hand creams in her workplace to aid in the prevention of skin damage.  Maree reports that although this is useful in some instances, she finds sometimes gloves can worsen her risk of fungal infection due to the sweat collecting within the gloves.  She often goes without the gloves if she is using water and detergent only.  Chemicals such as bleaches, are useful in her job, but can cause skin and lung irritations.  Maree never uses these substances in their full strength, they are diluted with water and placed in smaller easy to use containers. 

*  Heavy Lifting – Maree is required to carry heavy items such as vacuum cleaners, rubbish bins, bulk chemical products just to name a few.  She finds she suffers from back and neck aches at times.  While it is unavoidable to complete these daily tasks there are some ways which her workplace could help her out.  Supplying back pack vacuums instead of the pull type she currently works with; providing a cleaning cart, many workplaces have these which carries all the cleaning products, rubbish and mops, currently Maree still carries individual items around because the school has been unable to provide a safe lockable storage area for such a cart to be kept away from children.

*  Children - possibly not immediately thought of as a hazard, children are young, energetic and often unpredictable.  Maree loves working with children around, however they pose various risks, some include trip and fall hazards when running around her and taking potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals when she is not looking.  Some strategies to improve these risks is again supplying a cleaning cart where all products can be safely stored in one spot which will be easier to supervise around children.  Prioritising duties that pose potential hazards such as mopping, to times when there is not likely to be any children around.  Children to be engaged in before and after school care activities to avoid them playing around Maree while she tries to work.

     (Image by Bloomberg Businessweek http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/06/0630_contract_workers/31.htm)

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Nikky - Registered Mental Health Nurse

Nikky - Registered Mental Health Nurse | Quests 2 & 3 - 5 Great People | Scoop.it

This is Nikky (and James).  Nikky is a mental health registered nurse working in an acute inpatient unit of a large public hospital.  Nikky has been a mental health nurse for nearly 20 years, and has worked in hospitals in New Zealand and Australia.  For the purpose of this ScoopIt, we will focus on 3 hazards which Nikky has identified as important to her in her workplace.

Natasha Lewis 's insight:

As a mental Health Nurse, Nikki faces hazards that are both common to the hospital setting, as well as those not typically seen in most work places.  Some of the OHS issues that Nikky voiced were common place in her ward include:

*  Aggression -   In Nikky's workplace, aggression comes in all forms ranging from verbal aggression to serious assault.  Often patients are brought to hospital on an involuntary status, and may be looked after in a secure (locked) ward with no way of leaving.  These factors including the QLD Health policy on no smoking in hospitals contribute to increases in frustration and anger amongst patients.  Some aggression is also due to the psychological processes of the patient at the time, paranoia, hallucinations and even depression can lead to aggressive behaviour.  Surprisingly, Nikky reports that some aggression is also seen in the relatives or friends of the patients.  The hospital provides procedures and protocols for dealing with aggressive behaviour.  They provide staff working in Mental Health with Occupational Violence Prevention training, access to Hospital security guards who can be called to the ward, Code Black procedure, and personal duress alarms which all staff are to wear.  With regard to aggression in this type of workplace, it is going to be near impossible to completely eliminate this risk.  The psychological status of people is something that is dynamic, and changes often in this environment.  The best approach to this situation is to provide the staff with adequate training and resources to deal with aggressive situations as they arise, as well as clear direction on what to do in the event of an aggressive attack.

*  Sun Exposure - Is something that is not commonly addressed in this environment, however it is an expectation that staff are to be in the courtyards to supervise the patients when they want to sit outside.  Nikky's ward has an unshaded courtyard which is surrounded by light concrete buildings causing a lot of glare and reflection of light.  This puts staff at risk of sun related cancers as well as potential eye damage.  The hospital provides the ward with sunscreen, but in such small quantities that the staff don't utilise it for themselves, choosing to offer it to the patents instead.  Solutions to this type of hazard could include ordering more sunscreen, creating a procedure for courtyard supervision which includes that staff are to utilise the hospital supply of sunscreen, erecting shading structures such as shade sails with seating areas, encouraging the use of hats and sunglasses to protect eyes from the effects of the sun.

*  Shift work - the nurses on Nikky's ward are expected to work all 3 shifts which are mornings, afternoons and night shift.  It is common for Nikky to have all 3 of these different shifts in a single run of shifts. For example, Nikky's week might consist of 2 mornings, 2 afternoons and 3 night shifts.  This type of rostering breeds fatigue and burnout.  The constant changing of shift types affects sleep and eating patterns, time spent with family and friends as well as the increased likelihood of mistakes on the job due to fatigue.  It is common for Nikky to be rostered afternoons then mornings repeatedly, this means she will finish work at 2130hrs, and have to be back at work by 0700hrs the next morning.  This problem could be improved by better rostering, such as rostering people on a week of mornings, then a week of afternoons, then a week of nights.  This would allow staff to maintain a routine over a working week as they will have the same shifts for the week.  Another strategy would be to ask the individual nurses what types of shifts they prefer and working out rosters by preferences.  Nikky advised a lot of staff don't cope well with night shifts, but at the same time there are those who only want to work nights.  Management currently do not allow staff to work set shifts, instead preferring all staff work all shift types.  

 

     (Image by N. Lewis, 2014)

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