OHS Quest II
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Scuba Diving and Sunscreen – Updated

Scuba Diving and Sunscreen – Updated | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
A few months ago I wrote about my search for the best sunscreen for scuba divers. I wondered if by slathering myself in sunscreen before every dive if I'd been (unintentionally) harming marine life. The original article received nearly half a million views and generated some great comments and suggestions …
Shona Richardson's insight:

Something that wasn't spoken about in the original quest was the risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer. When spearing, like diving, you can spend hours on the water with or without a wet suit. During this time there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of skin damage and potential cancer. this involves choosing times that avoid the strongest sun, covering up as much as possible and using sunscreen. When a diver goes into the ocean it is often near coral reefs. Any chemical that the diver brings into the water can cause damage to the environment that they love.

 

This article goes over the best types of sunscreen to be used for safety of both the diver and the environment. There are also some tips in there as to how to use sunscreen and still protect the environment. These include the ingredients to look for, and also how to use sunscreen so that it wont wash off into the water. 

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Diving with Sharks

Diving with Sharks | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
World's best selection of spearguns, wetsuits, spearfishing equipment & accessories. Great prices, a huge range & quick delivery Australia-wide.
Shona Richardson's insight:

Sharks are one of the most exciting dangers that you would face whilst spearing. This article is good as it goes over some basic ways to be safer sharing the water with these potentially dangerous animals. 

 

The first step when diving with sharks is to use common sense. They are wild animal and will act aggressively to protect themselves. Therefor you should not approach the sharks, poke the sharks, stab the sharks or even feed them. There is a rule of leave them alone and they will probably leave you alone. 

 

The second is always dive with a buddy. This is a good safety aspect all over with spearfishing, concerning sharks though it gives a second set of eyes to watch out for dangerous sharks and also keep an eye on them once they are spotted. Having a diving buddy also means that there is someone there to call for help and administer first aid if the worst does happen. 

 

The article does mention an electronic device that was created to deter sharks using electronic signals. This device works by interfering with the electronic signaling organs that a shark uses to hunt. It is meant to stop a shark from coming within six meters when diving. This does not seem to be a commonly used device though. This may be due to the fact that it has not been proven effective.

 

One way that divers could stay safe with sharks is to get out of the water once a large and dangerous shark is spotted. This technique was not mentioned in this article, but seems like an easy and straight forward way to keep safe, even though it would ruin the day spearing. Another reason this may not have been mentioned is the belief that; it is not the sharks you can see that you have to worry about, it is the one you do not see that is going to get you.

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Spear Safe

Spear Safe | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
SPEARSAFE is a national initiative to improve safety for Australian spearfishers. The initiative involves some of Australia’s top divers and attempts to bring together a cohesive view on safety issues involved with spearfishing.
Shona Richardson's insight:

This link is a great link to show all of the basic dangers involved in spear fishing. It also connects to other links that go further into depth with all of these risks and ways to minimise the risk when engaging in this activity. The main risks that are exampled are: blackout, boat/diver interaction, diver/diver interaction, marine creatures, rock hopping/shore diving, general health and fitness, competence and culture and equipment. 

 

The most important message that this site gives is always dive with a buddy, if something happens you need someone there to administer aid or call for help. This can minimise damage done and also save a life. They also talk about the one up one down system. This is where on person stays above the water to check that the other diver returns to the surface. This minimises any potential time from initial injury to when help is given, called for and/or recieved. 

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Lee Spearfishing

Lee Spearfishing | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
Shona Richardson's insight:

Lee is an enthusiastic spear fisherman that often embarks on full day expeditions that can either be just of shore or can be kilometers out to sea. This activity is the free diving (diving without an air tank) down to find large fish and shoot them with a spear that attached to a rope that is attached to a float on the top of the water. Once a fish is caught is is taken to the top of the water and either put in the boat or hung off a line and attached to the float hanging in the water until the diver is ready to exit the water. 

 

The first big risk that every spear fisherman has to face is the chance of shark attack. As there are distressed fish thrashing and bleeding in the water it attracts the attention of sharks, generally smaller reef sharks which can bite and cause injury; it can also call in much larger sharks as well. When asked about it the best defence against potential attacks, the response was training expertise and too always be aware of your surrounds. It is also important to choose places and times where visibility will allow for a large shark to be seen before they get too close. It is also a good idea to avoid places that are known for having a presence of Great Whites and Makos.   

 

The next big issue that Lee faces when spear fishing is the risk of drowning. This may be posed by currents that can drag a spear fisherman away from his boat or the shore which may lead to him being lost at sea and creates a great potential for drowning or injury due to exposure. The risk of drowning can also be due to pushing oneself beyond their limits and diving too deep for breath holding ability. The best way to combat this is experience. An experienced diver will know their limits and how far they can push themselves, it is also vital to be able to recognise the signs of black outs that can cause you to lose consciousness under water. In concerns of currrents it is important to know the topography of the area that you are diving so you can understand if there will be potential strong currents. The other big way to minimise risk is to always take a "buddy" with you that will understand when you are showing signs of being in trouble to help you out. Communication can be achieved underwater using hand signals.  

 

Another risk that Lee identified that was posed to him when spearing, especially when further out rather than off shore, was the risk of the boat sinking or malfunctioning out to sea. This had actually happened once when conditions went bad as they were coming back in and the hull of the boat broke and sank. It resulted in the party clinging to an Esky in the water with their life jackets on until they were picked up. This situation had the potential for a lot of injury and harm, as they had adhered by safety regulations they were found quickly and saved with barely any drama. The items they had to utilise in this circumstance was their EPERB, flares, radio and flotation devices which Lee always takes with him out on the water. Experience dealing with rough conditions and also checking conditions before leaving also help, although winds can pick up in open water and quickly change the conditions making it very rough. Other boats can also pose a risk to divers when they are in the water as they can accidentally run them over. There are safety regulations to minimise this risk. When a diver is in the water, they will have a float with a flag on the top, this lets other boats know to slow in the area, and there are penalties for not adhering to this. 

 

Other spear fisherman and the fish that are being caught also pose a risk to Lee when he is spear fishing. The fish can bite you, cut you or you can get caught in the rigging after shooting a fish causing you to be trapped under the water. Other spearers can pose the risk of accidentally shooting others and also there is a chance of getting caught in their rigging. The way to lower these risks is to make sure your "buddy" is well educated in safety protocols and can give assistance if you get in trouble, and will never point his gun at you, even in a playful manner. It is also important not to cross other peoples rigging lines as this can lead to problems. It is also a good idea to carry a dive knife in case you get caught and you can cut yourself free so you wont be held under the water. 

 

 

 The final risk is the distance that you can be away from medical help, especially out in open water. As a result it is important to carry a well stocked first aid kit and to know how to use it. The radio is also important so that you can radio in for assistance as it is needed and this way emergency crews can respond promptly.

 

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Bev Working at a Service Station

Bev Working at a Service Station | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
Shona Richardson's insight:

Bev works in a twenty four hour petrol station in a small town called Gin Gin on the Bruce High Way that caters to town people as well as truckies and travellers passing through. The first risk that is thought about in her work place is the fact that she is working with methane gas and petrol. Concerning this, the risks perceived were combustion of the chemicals, spills and poisoning by the chemicals. To counter these risks the work place the workers are educated about the chemicals they are dealing with, how to deal with spills and spill kits are supplied at the bowsers. To address the risk of combustion and explosion of the chemicals it is expected that the customer adhere to certain protocol when refueling. There are signs saying that the car should be turned off, not to use your phone whilst refuelling, that all pilot lights should be extinguished and jerry cans should be on the ground whilst refueling. If the workers see people disregarding these protocols they have to go to the customer and ask them to stop the risky behaviour. If this doesn't work there is an emergency stop button on the console inside of the shop. There has actually been an incident in the time of Bev's employment, there was a caravan re-gassing and didn't turn off the pilot light and an explosion resulted. The man with the caravan was injured and none of the workers were injured as they were far enough away from the explosion. 

 

 

The next big risk of working in this work place is the danger posed from working within traffic. Most of the time the employees are inside away from the traffic, but when they have to go out and dip the tanks and get readings for the day they are at risk. The precautionary steps taken when doing this is to put out traffic cones to stop traffic and also to wear high visibility vests. As the public cannot be absolutely trusted to do the right thing it is also important for the employees to be vigilant and keep an eye out for potentially dangerous traffic.

 

In this job there is also kitchen work which runs risks with working with sharp knives, hot plates and deep fryers. The workers are expected to behave responsibly and not take unessecarry risks with the potential objects of injury. It is also policy to wear long pants and enclosed shoes in case of dropped knives or hot oil spills. The business owners also tried to get the staff to wear long sleeved shirts whilst in the kitchen, it did not work as the setting was too hot and it was far too uncomfortable for the workers. As a result it was deemed that the risk of injury from the burns was not high enough for the workers to suffer through the heat and deemed it safe enough to wear short sleeves.

 

In this work place Bev also talked about the risk that was posed to the public from the service station. To minimise risks to patron it is made sure that there are no sharp edges on anything or objects lying around that may be tripping hazards. There is also the risk of injury by disease states through the consumption of food. This risk is minimised by enforcing and using protocol with food which includes the use of gloves, hand washing protocol and storage policies making sure it is kept in the correct fridge and the correct temperature and disposed of at the correct time.

 

The final risk that is posed to Bev at the service station is the risk from the public due to their twenty four hour working hours. As a result they are at a higher risk of hold up and a potential for violence from intoxicated people. As there had recently been a stint of robberies in the area the police station is now manned twenty four hours and the service station is now on the beat to be checked on. The workers are also able to use panic buttons and have to police on speed dial if the need help. This doesn't lower the risk of it happening but it does lower the potential risk for injury as a result.

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Safety report from incident where spearer was not using flags

Shona Richardson's insight:

This link is to an actual safety report after an incident with real life divers and their interaction with a boat. In this report a diver does not follow laws and protocol by not having a flag attatched to his float when he is diving. This law was created as boaties and divers are in the same environment and can potentially cause injury and damage. As the flag was not up the boat driver went directly over where the person was diving. when the diver needed to resurface he then moved straight into the prop of the boat causing lacerations and physical injury. Spearfishers also tend to wear caumoflaged wetsuits making them near invisible to fish and also boaties. This too played into the incident.

 

This incident could have been avoided if the basic safety protocol were adhered to with the use of the flag and the boat following the 50 m exclusion zone. Although this incident does accent the effectiveness of the buddy system as a friend saw this and was able to pull him aboard a boat and administer immediate first aid. This very well may have saved his life. 

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Spearfishing Medical | Adreno Spearfishing Supplies

Spearfishing Medical | Adreno Spearfishing Supplies | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
World's best selection of spearguns, wetsuits, spearfishing equipment & accessories. Great prices, a huge range & quick delivery Australia-wide.
Shona Richardson's insight:

Blackouts underwater are a big risk to free divers and spear fisherman. This can be due to a few different things. The first is shallow water black out. This is commonly cause during the ascent after a 10 m plus dive. As the diver reaches the shallower water pressure upon the body and most importantly the gases within the body lessens. This causes them to expand in the lungs and in the body and moving the oxygen from the blood to the lungs. This then can lead to decreased oxygen reaching the brain and cause a black out.

 

The second cause is hyperventilation. Divers breath quickly blowing off excess CO2 which control the centres of the brain that control breathing. This effectively lowers the urge to inhale and allows a diver to stay down longer. This works so well that in fact it takes such a long time for the need to breath because of the build up of CO2 that there is no longer enough oxygen to supply the brain by the time the urge kicks in. This can happen underwater with horrendous results.

 

This article goes over ways to avoid this from happening. This includes the use of a buddy system so that if you get in trouble there is some one there to give expired air resuscitation and also get the diver above the water so they can inhale.

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Michelle working in a Horse Gear shop

Michelle working in a Horse Gear shop | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
Shona Richardson's insight:

Michelle works in a horse gear store. Her duties there are customer service and stock control. There is the occasional heavy lifting with saddles and such, although these are items that are designed to be lifted by a single person over a horse, the main risk from this is if it is dropped on the foot. It is store policy for the workers to have enclosed shoes to stop injury; in the picture Michelle is not wearing enclosed shoes as her work ones were wet and she perceived the risk she was taking to be a safe one as it is unlikely that she will drop something on her foot if she is careful.

 

The biggest risk that worried Michelle in this work place was the threat of armed robberies. There had recently been a stint of armed hold ups in the area with the assailant targeting lone female shop attendants in small businesses. To counter this risk the employers started a new policy to have at least two people in the shop at all times and also had personal panic buttons activated for the employees. These policies made the work place feel safe enough for Michelle to be confident enough that the risk was minimised enough to make work safe again. This policy appears to have paid off as a shop two shops away was hit and they were missed. Once the robbers were apprehended the policy of two people being in the shop at all times was dropped as the perceived risk of being targeted for violence had dropped dramatically, although the personal panic button policy was kept as a "just in case" measure. 

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Don and Maverick

Don and Maverick | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
Shona Richardson's insight:

Don is a former stock man and has lived a life revolving around horse work whom now participates in the recreational activities of camp drafting and team penning. Camp drafting is the cutting of a beast and moving it through a course. Team penning is when two or three team members have to herd three beasts with a certain coloured collar on, into a pen and move the rest of the herd back away over a line.

 

When asked about the risks that are involved with camp drafting and team penning Don's first response was the risk of the horse falling. This can occur due to slippery or uneven ground, crossing over a beast too close behind and hitting the hind legs and small cattle can also duck under the belly of your horse which can effectively flip your horse. All of these situation pose a high risk for serious injury or death. The way to minimise this risk to a point where it is safe to engage in these activities is to always check the grounds before riding and make sure you ride to the conditions. It is also the responsibility of the organisers of the event to make sure their facility is safe and the grounds are even. To minimise the risk of the stock causing the horse to fall, in camp drafting there are penalties and you will be cracked off or disqualified if the beast moves into position where the rider is no longer in control and the beast can move into an unsafe position. There are no such rules in team penning, it may be because it is a newer sport or the nature of it may mean it is harder to watch all three riders and make sure it is safe. It is also important for the organisers to use beasts that are big enough for the competition.

 

 

 The next major threat posed to people participating in these events are the risk of malfunctioning and breaking equipment. The things that can happen are breaking the bridle (leads to loss of ability to control the horse), breaking girth (causing the saddle to come off the horse), getting hung up in the stirrup if coming off (causing the rider to be dragged behind the horse) and uncomfortable or ill used equipment for the horse (can lead to the horse playing up). The best way to lower this risk is to maintain and check your equipment every time you use it (including shoes if the horse is shod) and also double check the tack is on on correctly after saddling up by walking the horse around before mounting. To minimise risk of getting hung up in the stirrups for campdrafting it is compulsory (but optional in team penning) to have a saddle that the stirrups are on spring bars so they will slide off in the incidence of a rider being hung up and also the wearing of appropriate foot wear that can slide out of the stirrup so the foot shouldn't get caught. Safety stirrups with one side with an elastic band that will break in this scenario are also available but not compulsory. Helmets are also available to lessen damage that may be done to the head in the case of an accident. Helmets are compulsory until the age of eighteen, after that though helmets are optional and are worn at the competitors discretion many choose not to wear them. 

 

As is always the risk with sports that involve animals, there is a risk of the horse playing up and causing the rider to have  a fall and become injured.  Don's advice concerning this was to always respect your horse as they kick, buck, bite and strike. It is also important to recognise your own level of competence concerning horses and to ride a horse that is educated appropriately for your abilities. As horses often play up due to stimulants that scare or excite them, one of the best ways to avoid injury due to a playing up horse is to be aware of your surroundings. If you know when a horse is going to play up you can can take precautionary action to keep it under control and also to stay seated. 

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Amie Skiing

Amie Skiing | OHS Quest II | Scoop.it
Shona Richardson's insight:

Amie likes to practice recreational skiing in her spare time. She oftens goes with friends, her parents and her partner. When asked about the risks involved with her activity the first that she identified was coming in too fast at the bank on drop off. When asked what is done to reduce the possiblity of injury it was replied that it is important to have a boat that is being captained by an experienced driver that will not take you too close and also to be self aware when engaging in the activity and a need to be able to make a judgement on if you are far enough away/slow enough to do this safely.

 

The next major risk of injury that she perceives to threaten her during her recreation is the chance of being struck by other boats when she is in the water. She has to put her faith in the laws that dictate which direction you should be travelling in the boast and also the use of raising your hand while sitting in the water to increase your visibility so boats can avoid her. If every one follows the rules the risk is greatly lowered and penalties can be given to people for disregarding these rules to encourage them to obey.

 

Another major risk that was identified was the risk of objects in the water that can be shallowly submerged. This risk is elevated when water levels are low in the area that the skiing is occuring. Generally when the water is getting low in dams and such, the council will have someone identify potential risks and put a buoy over them to let people know to avoid them. Even with out the water being low there is still a risk. It is important for the skier to acknowledge this and be aware of their surroundings and they can hopefully maneuvre around objects if seen. 

 

 

All of these risks of injury also incur a risk of drowning. As a result laws dictate that an appropriate flotation vest be warn at all times when skiing. This is to stop a bad situation from becoming worse in the case of being injured to the point not being able to keep themselves afloat by removing this risk.

 

 The final issue we discussed was what would she do if injured in recreation time to minimise financial injury. If Amie was to be injured she has a couple of months of sick leave that she could take whilst she healed and got back to working health.

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