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Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) CDC - Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention - Prevention - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic

Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) CDC - Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention - Prevention - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic | My professional friends |
Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Noise was definitely a hazard for Stephen,  a graduate mechanical engineer working within a mine. He said he was exposed to very loud sounds of trucks and large machinery roaring past.  He said the noise level was severe and believes there would be no way someone working in the mine for 10-20 years would not obtain hearing loss. Noise- induced hearing loss can often be reduced or eliminated by implementing an occupational hearing loss prevention plan. Firstly the company needs to identify hearing loss is a risk. With such loud machines and trucks noise is at hazardous levels in this workplace.


It is important to identify the levels of noise that people are exposed to. This can be done by monitoring the noise exposure levels. If the source of the noise cannot be eliminated, it must be reduced. To reduce noise levels within the workplace the following may be put in place:


  - Engineering considerations such as silencers on vehicles and also administrative control of how close workers need to be to the source of the sound


  - Using hearing protection such as ear plugs and ear muffs to reduce the noise heard


  - Educating drivers and workers on how to make the least noise whilst operating machinery


  - Monitoring and evaluating the motions put in place


To ensure the plan you have put in place is efficient. You must monitor the differences workers notice in noise levels and also measure noise exposure to observe changes.


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Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Prevention of Vehicle injuries

Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Prevention of Vehicle injuries | My professional friends |

Scraper Driver Injured in Collision with Haul Truck



A large rear dump truck collided with a scraper at a large surface mine. The scraper cabin was extensively damaged in the collision. Fortunately the scraper driver only sustained moderate injuries and the truck driver was uninjured.



The scraper entered the haul road on the blind side of the truck; The truck driver did not see the scraper enter the haul road.



All surface mines using similar equipment should: Review Risk Assessments and Safe Work Procedures for the operation of ancillary mobile equipment on haul roads where large dump trucks are operating; Review communication systems for ancillary mobile equipment; Inform the workforce through tool box and safety meetings the hazards associated with ancillary mobile equipment entering haul roads on the blind side of large dump trucks...

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

There are numerous large vehicles that circulate around the mine. Vehicles are a hazard as collisions, vibrations, noise and accidents become a risk. This article discusses an incident that occurred with a scraper driver and haul truck at a mine. The scraper entered the road on the blind side of the truck and the truck ran into the scraper. Mining vehicles are large and have the potential to cause fatalities. Drivers must always be aware of what is around them, fatigued drivers not only put themselves at risk but also other workers.


There are many ways to minimize the risk of vehicle involved incidents in mines, these include:

 Improving visibility

           -Reflection strips on side of road to show road boundaries 

          -Vehicles equipped with sufficient headlights/ lighting

          - Workers must wear reflective clothing at all times


          - Radio communication transmission between trucks so vehicle location can be updated

          - Signs and appropriate speed limits


          - Drivers should be given the opportunity to be able to say no I am too tired to drive at this stage. 

          - Stimulants such as tea, coffee, water and snacks should be available to workers when needed.  


In the case of an incident to reduce the damage to workers and people involved measures should be also taken:

          - Trained first aid officers

         - Vehicles should be equipped with airbags and safety features

         - Practice  drills should be carried out


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Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Prevention of Musculoskeletal disorder: A Pain in the neck

Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Prevention of Musculoskeletal disorder: A Pain in the neck | My professional friends |
A practical guide to preventing injuries on the mine site - from the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council WHAT IS A MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDER (MSD)?
Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Vibrations that Graduate Field Mechanical Engineers may face in the field can result in a Musculoskeletal disorder. Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is a term that is used to encompass a range of injuries and disorders including: sprains and strains, back injuries, bone injuries, nerve problems, soft tissue hernias and muscular and vascular disorders. MSD can occur in the mining industry either suddenly or over time. MSD may result suddenly by a single forceful action such as a trip or fall or by lifting a heavy object. Or they may develop over a longer period due to repetitive work such as the work of a mechanic or truck driver.


MSD can be caused by vibrations- hence being around large machinery such as the one Stephen is pictured with or driving such a machine daily. As well as vibration many different risks include awkward postures, manual handling, duration of tasks e.g. standing and walking all day, fatigue, falls, lips or trip and numerous others. The question asked to day is we know the risks how can we minimize  the risks and make working at the mines a safer environment. 


Working in a mine can include further risks of obtaining an MSD as the decline and state of the haul roads can be poor, uneven and wet. Also there is limited access underground and there can be poor visibility. On top of this there are also large vehicles and machines operating. 


Harmful vibration can come from engine vibrations, vehicle activity, rough road and poor work surface conditions. The vibrations felt by workers can be minimized by mining companies. This can be done by implementing the following:


  -Maintaining the roads and signing and marking where the roads are in poor condition before repairs


  -Vehicles should have good suspension so they don't bottom out and also access to good lighting


  - Workers must be trained well and have awareness of the harmful effects of vibrations


   -Speed limits to ensure vehicles travel at safe speeds around the mines


  - Vehicles must be maintained especially vehicle and seat suspensions


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Hungry Jacks Crew Member

Hungry Jacks Crew Member | My professional friends |

This is Joel Lenton, he works at Hungry Jacks and was happy to speak to me about some of the hazards in the workplace. 


Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:


Burns are really frequent when using the fryers and also can be caused by hot oil splashing. It is really important to be careful when working and to also be cautious of the extreme heat. Joel said that there is a fast-working pace when working in this environment. Hence, it is easy to put the chips in fryers and splash oil. He says he has obtained a few small burns but hasn't burnt himself seriously and doesn't know of anyone who has. Minor burns are common however. Ways to lessen this risk include slowing down the pace when near the fryers and concentrating on the task. 

Aggressive customers

Joel exclaimed that it is surprising how many people come into hungry jacks and scream and yell because their burger is taking too long or their chips are too hot. It is important to have good communication skills and be able to calm these people down to avoid a confrontation. It is also important that if this occurs to talk to a workmate about what happened. 

Slips and falls

As a result of the greasy environment the floor can get rather slippery.Hence, you must walk slowly and be careful and mop regularly. If you did slip you could spill hot oil or crash into metal surfaces or incredibly hot surfaces so it is possible for a severe injury to occur. Slipping is one of the worse problems and usually is the cause of the more major injuries. 


There are lots of metal surfaces as well as knifes and cooking appliances. It is important to use the sharp knifes and appliances carefully to ensure that you don't get cut. This risk will be reduced if the environment is kept clean and organised. Joel always trys to put sharp knifes on the bench so they are not in danger of slipping off.  

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Graduate mechanical engineer (field maintenance) OHS

Graduate mechanical engineer (field maintenance) OHS | My professional friends |

Stephen Brown worked as a graduate mechanical engineer (field maintenance) and got this great picture right next to this massive machine. 

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:


In this industry vehicles are a major hazard. Stephen believes they are the biggest one to look out for as you must be consistently aware of their position. There is a constant danger of being killed by being hit by a haul truck going past. Judging by the size of the vehicle behind him there is absolutely no doubt that fatalities may occur from being in the road of one of these vehicles. Although drivers of these vehicles are very cautious. This is a high risk as during the day vehicles are going all directions. 


Traveling to and from site is sometimes more dangerous than being here. It can be quite a long trip and tiring drive to the mine. Fatigue causes poor judgement and decreases the reaction time. Making it really dangerous for someone to be behind the wheel. Long days and long periods of travel between home and work made each day quite exhausting for Steve. 

Trip hazards

Stephen exclaims that there are poor working conditions in the pit as there is a lot of rocky ground that can cause joint injuries. It is really easy to roll an ankle and trip over. You've always got to be careful of where you step.


As a field maintenance officer he stated he has to deal with Hydrocarbons as well. Not as much as the people working as fitters on the site though. Hydrocarbons can be toxic and cause dizziness and headaches. Long term exposure can cause peripheral neuropathy which includes numbness in the feet. Hydrocarbon inhalation has also been linked to cancer. 

Geotechnical hazards

A general site hazard is geotechnical hazards including High wall and low wall slips. These are a critical hazard on this site. 

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Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Health Hazards of Mining and Quarrying

Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Health Hazards of Mining and Quarrying | My professional friends |
The principal airborne hazards in the mining industry include several types of particulates, naturally occurring gases, engine exhaust and some chemic...
Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Stephen exclaimed due to the mine, coal and machinery there are several existing airborne hazards. With large machines such as the one exhibited in his picture diesel engine exhaust is very common in the workplace. Diesel Engine exhaust in a mixture of gases, vapors and particulate matter. Hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide are associated with diesel exhaust. Along with these gases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are released with diesel exhaust. These gases are acute respiratory irritants and PAH are carcinogenic compounds. 


To reduce the risk of this hazard causing health concerns the following may be considered:


  - Reducing the the generation of diesel exhaust

            - Engine design using high-quality, clean, low-sulphur fuel

            - Filters to remove diesel matter from the exhaust steam

  - Concentration of dispersed diesel matter 

            - Adequate ventilation 

            - Restrictions on the use of diesel machinery


On top of the risks associated with diesel engine exhaust, diesel powered equipment may also increase the risk of a fire or explosion. In environments where there is concentrated dispersed diesel matter, workers should ensure they use masks to decrease the amount they inhale. 



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Graduate Field Mechanical Engineer (Stephen) Prevention of Slips, trips and falls - general information

Slipping, tripping or falling at the workplace can lead to serious injuries.  The employer has a duty of care to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace - all potential hazards must be identified, the associated risk assessed and then controls introduced to eliminate or reduce those risks as far as practicable.


There are many things that the employer could do to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls. A few examples are:

modify practices that cause spills and ensure spills are cleaned immediately. This means ensuring staff have enough time to do this.provide staff with appropriate footwear - e.g. low heel with good treadtreat floors to increase slip resistance - e.g. acid etching, grooving or coatingprovide adequate lighting and signageimprove storage at the workplaceremove tripping hazards like cords, etc by installing additional powerpoints or taping cords out of the way; etcminimise changes in floor levels - e.g. if levels must change, use a ramp rather than steps and provide handrailsprovide staff with a trolley or other mechanical aid to carry objects which may obscure their vision apply high visibility paint and edge strips to mark changes in floor levels provide adequate lighting and signage in stairwells and other hazard areas.

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Due to the uneven ground and geotechnical hazards, slips, trips and falls are a risk for graduate field mechanical engineers. To minimize the risk of injury in the field it is important to identify the causes and manage them. Stephen explained that the ground was uneven and rocky. As he worked outdoors for the majority of his work placement the terrain is unpredictable with weather drastically effecting the roads, making the roads muddy and unsafe with rain. Vehicles are always travelling around the mine; workers must maintain situation awareness at all times. As there are many distractions worker's are more at risk of tripping.


If a slip, trip or fall hazard can be removed this is the best way to eliminate the risk. E.g. Cords, buckets, protective equipment and other may be able to be simply moved to a safer location if on a pathway. Hence the hazard is removed. However, as it is in an uncontrolled environment these hazards may not be able to be foreseen. Other ways to minimize the risk of trips,slips and falls in the workplace include:


  -Ensuring all workers have appropriate footwear for the environment


  -Putting railings near steep edges


  -Signing hazards and making announcements so people are aware of it


  -Better lighting in areas such as stairwells and other places that have a higher risk for falls to occur


  -Better yet, try and avoid the construction of staircases where possible, ramps and handrails are a safer choice. 


  -Awareness, especially of hazards that will not be able to be removed such as the rocky uneven ground. Ensure to warn workers about the risk and also give them ways to minimize it such as stretches.


These are techniques that the company may be able to put in order to minimize the risk. There is no way to eliminate this risk as falls, slips and falls may be caused my personal reasons such as fatigue resulting in a fall or just awkward positioning of feet when walking. However, it is important to reduce the influencing factors as much as possible in order to reduce the amount of injuries that occur.  

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Music Teacher!

Music Teacher! | My professional friends |

This is Ross, he works as a Music teacher at a primary school. He is an awesome pianist!

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Hearing loss

Teaching music to children can be incredibly loud! Especially those kids wanting to learn the drums. Each day involves a lot of noise! It is important for small measures to be in place such as head phones  or earplugs to lessen the noise from loud instruments such as the drums in long sessions. Ross exclaims even though his job is almost guaranteed to cause hearing loss it is a small price to pay to do the thing he loves. Ross also takes the steps needed to minimize this risk. 


Ross works with many instruments and most of them are electrical. This causes risk to be involved with electrocution. Depending on the instruments he is teaching at the time depends on how high the risk is. He is always careful with plugging and unplugging instruments and does a quick check on the cords to ensure they are not laying in water or are damaged. As he must set up and pack up alot of instruments through the day he says that it is important that all cords for instruments must be tagged to say they have been annually checked when possible. 

Lifting heavy objects

You would be surprised with how heavy some of these instruments are! and Ross has to set them up in various different playing locations and for different students. Lots of bending over and lifting increases the risk of back injury or strain on other joints. Proper techniques need to be used otherwise you will be really sore at the end of the week. 

Paper cuts

It is a minor one, but it happens! To Ross and other instrumental players, turning pages and pages of music each day with dry fingers will cause the paper to cut you easily! 

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Vacations electrical engineer OHS

Vacations electrical engineer OHS | My professional friends |

Brodie Smith on the left is a graduate vacations electrical engineer. He was happy to speak to me about some of the risks he encountered in the workforce! 

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Trip hazards

Coal is all over the pathway, it would be easy to trip over it and cause an injury. As this is unavoidable as coal is always getting transported around the site. Workers must be cautious of it and move/ clear parts of the path that the coal is on. However, due to the large quantities and unavoidable nature of this hazard as the coal is constantly falling off trucks. It's more the workers responsibility to ensure they look before they step. 


Noise from machines can be incredibly loud! Excessive exposure to loud noises over a period of time will damage a person’s hearing. Brodie was saying he had to raise his voice to have a conversation with the person next to him. This indicates after a long period of time his hearing will be affected. He said to begin with he was getting headaches each day after work before he started getting use to it and then didn't notice it as much. 


Machines with moving parts cause a risk of laceration, amputation and crush injury. It is important to maintain a safe distance from operational equipment and always be alert of surroundings and what is going on. Some of the machines and vehicles are very large and pose a high risk to workers. Although chance of injury can be minimized by workers ensuring they have situation awareness at all times. 


Hemanshi Nimavat's curator insight, April 14, 2017 10:58 AM
My father is an Electrical Engineer, he has responsibilities of the people who is under him, especially the ones who is working at field, he needs to make sure they are safe and safety is maintained. If anything goes wrong at field then my father has to go there to check and make sure it is done correctly.
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Rifleman OHS issues

Rifleman OHS issues | My professional friends |

Alex May is a Rifleman in the Reserves of the Australian Army

Cassie Ann Fraser's insight:

Gun shots

Alex explained as a rifleman, there is risk of obtaining a gun shot wound at the shooting range, in practice routines and during deployment.  This could be from misfire of a weapon or a routine that hasn't gone to plan. This is a potentially lethal injury. As a rifleman Alex is always working with his weapon. Riflemen in the Reserves have to undergo intense training exercises. Hence, the risk of this occurring is minimal however still possible. 


if you find your self in the wrong location there is a chance of being bombed from training exercises or when overseas. Even with OHS training there is still a risk of this occurring. As an incident like this will almost be guaranteed to result in a serious injury or death, it is one Alex is always very cautious of and makes sure to be aware of the training routines taking place and their locations.

Snake bites

From training in long grasses and in the bush snakes can go unseen and it is possible for a snake bite to occur. Depending on the type of snake this can be fatal. It is important to be cautious as the grasses can be past/ up to your waist which makes you unable to see your feet. Alex is trained in First Aid and knows the appropriate first aid of a snake bite to be prepared if this does occur. 

Trip hazards

As a rifleman your workplace can be in many unfamiliar environments. It is important to keep aware and watch where you are walking. Especially in the outdoors environment where tree roots, rocks etc. can cause you to fall and injure yourselves.  Especially when carrying heavy equipment which will land on top of you and potentially cause a serious injury.


The physical demands of this job are very high, fatigue is common and can cause someone to have poor judgement and potentially hurt someone by misusing or not carefully operating equipment.  The Reserves have high fitness levels to meet and daily regimes are in place to meet such demands. 

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