My Friends OH&S
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Kathleen the Salsa Dancer

Kathleen the Salsa Dancer | My Friends OH&S | Scoop.it
Claire Withiel's insight:

Kathleen is a bubbly 25 year old nurse whose hobby is Salsa dancing. She does this 2 nights during the week for 2 hours. As with any dancing there are associated potential risks and hazards.

With Salsa dancing she dances with a partner who twirls her. Although she is never lifted off the floor, damaging of bones, ligaments and muscles is a very real issue. Kathleen has to stretch before and after every dance to ensure she does not strain her ankles or knees.

The floor is a tiled floor and Kathleen must wear high heels. This can lead to slipping which can cause severe physical harm.

Kathleen, being a nurse, is very aware of what can happen and she is thorough and careful to reduce the likelihood of any damage or falls.

She has had no issues to date but admits that she is just lucky and that "falling is just part of learning the dance".  This has given me a new found respect for dancers and the potential risks that can occur.

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Fulltime stay at home mum- Katelyn

Fulltime stay at home mum- Katelyn | My Friends OH&S | Scoop.it
Claire Withiel's insight:

Katelyn is a stay at home single parent and has a beautiful 1 year old daughter Izabell. Katelyns' daily routine includes driving baby Izzy to day group, washing all the clothes, cleaning the house, watching Izzy and preparing dinner for her parents.

While this may seem simple and 'stress-free' Katelyn juggles her hair dressing on the side too.

There are plenty of hazards and potential dangers at home especially in her home based salon not only her for but for Izzy too.

Loose cables to hairdryers, sharp scissors, bleach, hair dye, sharp edges and slippery floors all lead to potential hazards and health and safety issues. Katelyn driving can lead to potential risks on her behalf if she is tired, distracted or reckless driving.

It is interesting listing all of the potential OH&S issues in the home and car because it makes you more aware of how many potential risks there are in everyday life and the things that have been put in place to try and reduce them.

Being a mother and sole carer of a 1 year old poses new risks whereby Katelyn must ensure Izzy is safe and has the necessities of life at all times. Doing this alone makes mothers tired and fatigued and that alone can increase the chances or likelihood of issues/risks/hazards occuring.

Although  Katelyn is now aware of the entire list she is deeply happy and very much in love with baby Izzy.

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Dianne the Bar Worker

Dianne the Bar Worker | My Friends OH&S | Scoop.it
Claire Withiel's insight:

Dianne is a bar worker at a Melbourne CBD bar where she works 4 night shifts per week. These shifts are from 4pm to 2am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday nights each and every week.

Dianne lives in walking distance to the bar so she walks to and from work.

Risk and potential safety and OH&S issues that face Dianne can be broken down into two categories. The first one is the risk from the job itself such as being on her feet for lengthy periods of time affecting back and body, exposure to loud music, hazards from dropping bottles/glass, slipping on wet floors and handling dirty money which could cause bacterial infections if no cleaning/sanitizing procedure is followed.

The next category is the risk/hazard posed to Dianne solely by others. This covers drunk/drugged customers who could pose a potential threat with violence, verbal/emotional abuse, sexual abuse, throwing items at bar staff, spiking of drinks, exposure to illicit drug vapour as well as posing a significant and real danger to Dianne on her walk to and from the bar at night.

While Dianne is aware of the risks she is of the belief that enough procedure are in place to help reduce these issues while at work and she feels that the main threat can occur while she is walking home or to work.

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Mark the night time construction worker

Mark the night time construction worker | My Friends OH&S | Scoop.it
Claire Withiel's insight:

Mark is a night time construction worker monitoring construction sites in Melbourne. His responsibility to finishing things that can only be done during the night. His usual shift hours are 3 days a week from 7pm to 7am. These 12 hour shifts tire him out and he admits that he is very fatigued most days of the week.

The construction sites have long long lists of hazards and OH&S issues but also have well sign posted and documented ways to reduce likelihood of these occuring. Due to the severity of these hazards, most can lead to death, the construction companys' main focus is on the safety of their staff.

Upon discussing the risks Mark knew most of them and knew why and how to reduce these issues.

It became clear that his fatigue would or could have an affect on his work as being severly fatigued can reduce reaction time, concentration and can impair judgment and thinking.

I am very impressed with how his company handles OH&S issues and how well they educate their staff. The hidden epidemic however, I believe, is fatigue.

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Toni the Academic and Researcher

Toni the Academic and Researcher | My Friends OH&S | Scoop.it
Claire Withiel's insight:

Toni is studying her PhD of Neuropsychology at Monash University and is a paid full time academic and research in the field of Stroke and Brain Trauma. Her hours are full time and are from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

She spends most of her time in her office on a computer and researching previous papers as well as contacting the Epworth Hospital and searching through their data.

While this seems like a 'safe' job as I have learned, there is no such thing as a 'risk free' environment. Her risks and potential OH&S issues include RTI (repetitive strain injury) from typing, posture issue and ergonomics, eye issues and straining from exposure to computer screen for long period of times. General hazards relating to tripping over wires and lighting issues from flickering or under/over lit environment.

To counter these issues to help reduce the likelihood of anything occuring Toni takes regular breaks for her eyes as well as walking around the office to stretch out her muscles. She admits that the lighting is not adequate enough on dark days but is something that she has not considering mentioning to management until now.

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