HAZARDS Essay Example

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    Other
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    Assignment
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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Table of Contents

3Introduction 1.

4Perspectives That Have Contributed to the Development of Occupational Health and Safety 2.

42.1 To establish and maintain a safe work environment

62.2 To maintain a well performing and motivated workforce

72.3 To prevent work related diseases and accidents

72.4 To maintain and promote the work ability of workers

8Accident Causation Models 3.

83.1 Comparison between Henrich Domino’s model and the Energy-damage accident causation models

83.2 Contrast between Henrich Domino’s model and the Energy-damage accident causation models

9Hazards in the Agriculture Industry 4.

9Lung, skin and cancerous diseases 4.1.

10Noise 4.2.

10Injuries from Use of Agricultural Machinery 4.3.

11Pesticides and other chemicals 4.4.

11Drowning 4.5.

11Codes of Practice for Addressing Agricultural Hazards 5.

12Conclusion 6.

13References

  1. Introduction

In the recent past, different hazards have been the talk of Australia. They include natural and workplace hazards that have far-reaching consequences and risks. Natural hazards range from floods, severe storms, tropical cyclones, bushfires, landslides, tsunamis to earthquakes. They pose a major risk top the Australian population. The principal motive in any analysis of the risks posed by these hazards is to alleviate the loss and agony caused by these natural hazards. The loss extends to buildings and infrastructure which are the vulnerable features to natural hazards. Natural hazards could also have a major impact on climate change.

The workplace hazards are the other type of hazards apart from the natural ones. These have been overlooked for a very long time yet they pose a significant risk to the Australian economy and even population. Workplace hazards are more generally the possible threats to the safety and healthy well being of people at work. Workplace hazards include hazardous chemicals like skin irritants, carcinogens or respiratory sensitizers (BLS, 2010). These have adverse effects on the workers’ health. Other workplace hazards include physical factors, adverse ergonomic conditions, allergens and other safety and psychosocial risks.

It is in view of these workplace hazards that the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) area in Australia was developed (Viner, 2001). This is a national agency that delivers vocational rehabilitation services to the citizens of Australia or residents who have an injury, disability or health conditions. Occupational Health and Safety also assists people in getting jobs or return to their previous jobs. OHS could also arrange for workers’ compensation.

In this report, the different perspectives that have contributed the Occupational Health and Safety in Australia to develop have been discussed. There have been different models that have been used too to explain how accidents are caused. A comparison and contrast is made in this report, between two such models; the Henrich Domino’s Model and the Energy-damage models.

In addition to that, five hazards in the agricultural industry have been identified in the report. It goes ahead to identify the codes of practice that can be used for addressing these hazards. Literature review has been used in the search and analysis of these results. It therefore calls for a concerted effort among workers, employers and the different state and federal governments to address occupational health and safety practices.

  1. Perspectives That Have Contributed to the Development of Occupational Health and Safety

The main motive behind the Occupational Health and Safety to be developed was to deliver vocational rehabilitation services to Australian citizens (Leveson, 2004). It was also meant for residents who have injuries, disabilities or health conditions and to assist people in getting jobs and return some to their previous jobs. However, there are four main perspectives that have contributed the Occupational Health and Safety to develop. They are listed and explained below:

    1. To establish and maintain a healthy and work environment

    2. To maintain a well performing and motivated workforce

    3. To prevent work-related diseases and accidents

    4. To maintain and promote the work ability of workers

2.1 To establish and maintain a safe work environment

A healthy and safe work environment goes a long way to ensure more productivity in any organization. The perspective that led the Occupational Health and Safety to be developed was in order to identify and assess the health risks in a workplace. Unhealthy and unsafe work environments are those characterized by the various workplace hazards that jeopardize the workers’ wellbeing (OSHA, 2014). These could be physiomechanical hazards, chemical, biological hazards and psychosocial hazards. From 1992 to 2006, the international Bureau of Labor Statistics based in the United States compiled information about work fatalities across the world. The results were compiled in the following graph.

HAZARDS

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov>

Physical hazards are more prevalent in industries such mining and construction. They are a common cause of injuries in most of these industries. Such physical hazards include falls. Falls are common accidents in transportation, healthcare and maintenance industries. They cause severe occupational injuries and other fatalities. Other physical and mechanical hazards may include dangerous machines. Machines with moving parts, sharp edges or hot surfaces could burn, cut or stab workers (HSA, 2014). Confined spaces, noise, excessive heat and electricity are the other mechanical hazards.

The other forms of unhealthy and unsafe work environments that OHS is to address are the ones characterized by biological and chemical hazards. There are various bacteria, viruses, fungi and blood-borne pathogens that may affect workers. These comprise the biological hazards. Chemical hazards may include petroleum, highly reactive chemicals, explosions and detonations, acids, fumes and fires. The psychosocial hazards comprise high emotional demands, poor work-life balance, aging workforce, feeling of job insecurity and precarious work contracts (HAS, 2014). The Occupational Health and Safety was therefore developed from the perspective of addressing such risks and hazards. This would be a requisite in putting up and ensuring the maintenance of a healthy and safe work environment.

2.2 To maintain a well performing and motivated workforce

A work environment that is healthy and safe definitely contributes majorly to a workforce that is motivated and well-performing. This is another perspective that led to the development of Occupational Health and Safety. Research indicates that when Occupational Health and Safety is well conducted, it can continually improve the systems and organization of any workforce (Hollnagel, 2010). When the health and safety of workers is prioritized, they will be motivated to run programs efficiently, take part in quality management and further continuous improvement. It is from this perspective that the Occupational Health and Safety was therefore developed.

2.3 To prevent work related diseases and accidents

Diseases and accidents form part of the outcomes of work hazards and risks. According to the International Bureau of Labor Statistics, 97.4% of workforce deaths result from diseases and injuries. Most of these deaths are of healthcare workers (Asbury, 2013). These are individuals who are exposed to many hazards that can affect their health and wellbeing in adverse ways. Long working hours, physically demanding tasks, changing shifts, violent activity and exposures to infectious diseases are examples of hazards that have these workers at really exposed to illnesses and injuries.

The Occupational Health and Safety therefore mandated itself, at the time of development, to endeavor in preventing these work related diseases and accidents. Part of this mandate was to establish and maintain a sick fund, accident insurance fund, and social insurance institutions.

2.4 To maintain and promote the work ability of workers

An injured or sick worker will definitely not be able to work. This means that the only way to ensure an able and productive workforce is by maintaining a healthy and safe work environment. This was an adopted perspective that led to the development of the Occupational Health and Safety for workers (Viner, 2001).

The Occupational Health and Safety is mandated to advice on organization and planning of work, workplaces’ design, substances and equipment used at work. It is also required to conduct a survey of workers’ health and how it is related to work. These, alongside adaptation of work to the worker would ensure an able and productive workforce.

  1. Accident Causation Models

In a concerted effort to unearth the accident causation mystery, authors have over the years come up with a whole array of conceptual models. These models are important in supporting accident investigations, to analyse an accident systematically in order to get comprehension of the causal factors (Viner, 2001). This way, effective actions to correct this can be determined and applied. The two accident causation models I have considered are the Henrich Domino’s model and the Energy-damage models.

3.1 Comparison between Henrich Domino’s model and the Energy-damage accident causation models

  1. Both the two models cite hazards as the main causes of accidents. Energy damage models cite the hazard as a source of potentially damaging energy on an accident. Mechanical and physical hazards are also part of the five factors put forward by Henrich (BLS, 2010) as relating to cause of accidents.

  2. Both the two models regard causes of accidents as links between several factors. Energy damage models regard accidents as a result of a link between an incident energy whose intensity at the point of contact with the recipient exceeds the damage threshold of the recipient and the recipient of the energy. Henrich also regards accidents as a link in the chain of circumstances called dominos which occur in a fixed or logical order.

3.2 Contrast between Henrich Domino’s model and the Energy-damage accident causation models

  1. The Energy-damage models are based on the supposition that damage or injury is a result of an incident energy whose intensity at the point of contact with the receiver of the energy exceeds the damage threshold of the receiver (Viner, 2001, p 42) while Henrich Domino’s models is based on the assumption that the occurrence of a preventable injury is the natural culmination of a series of events or circumstances, which inevitably occur in a fixed order with logic.

  2. The Energy-damage models cite only the hazard as a source of potentially damaging energy on an accident while Henrich Domino’s model cites five factors in relation to the cause of accidents. These are the social environment/ancestry,the person’s own doing, unsafe acts, mechanical and physical hazards.

  3. According to the Energy-damage models, accidents could be prevented by establishing an effective hazard control mechanism while according to Henrich Domino’s model, accidents could be prevented by removing one of the five factors and so interrupting the knock down effect.

  4. The Energy-damage models focus on physical or structural containment, obstacles, processes and procedures as the causes of most accidents while Henrich Domino’s model focuses on the human factors which he terms as “man-failures” (BLS, 2010), as the causes of most accidents.

  1. Hazards in the Agriculture Industry

    1. Lung, skin and cancerous diseases

Agricultural work is associated with a variety of health problems. Agricultural workers are at a high risk of contracting particular cancers, respiratory diseases and dermatological hazards (BLS, 2010). Studies have consistently shown that agricultural workers are at an increased risk of deaths due to diseases. The graph below shows the agricultural workers fatality rate in Australia in the period 1950-1989.

HAZARDS 1

Source: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research 2014 <http://www.aciar.gov.au>

There are very many noises in the agricultural sectors especially from the machines used e.g. tractors. This could cause noise-induced hearing losses. Research has shown that young farmers, 14-35 years of age are particular susceptible to this effect (ACIAR, 2014).

    1. Injuries from Use of Agricultural Machinery

The most common cause of serious agricultural injuries in Australia is tractor roll-overs, machinery and accidents related to motor-vehicles. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research revealed that of the total accidents reported during a period of one year, 30.5% were due to far machines and other 35.5 % due to hand tools (ACIAR, 2014).

    1. Pesticides and other chemicals

Pesticides and chemicals utilized while farming can be hazardous to workers’ health. Workers who are exposed to pesticides may experience illnesses or birth defects.

    1. Drowning

Agricultural workers could drown in wells and ponds while working on the farms. According to the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (2014), this accounted for about 35.3% of the total accidents reported in one year.

  1. Codes of Practice for Addressing Agricultural Hazards

The general Agricultural Code of Practice helps farmers to meet their duties under section six of the Safety, Health and Welfare Work Act 2005 (HSA, 2014). The Agricultural Code of Practice provides farmers the guidelines to manage safety and health on their farms in order to prevent ill health and injuries.

There is the code of noise management and hearing loss prevention at work. This code of practice applies to all manner of places where people work that are covered by the WHS Act and Regulations . The code also applyies in a jurisdiction where there is the potential for exposure to noise that can be a contributor to hearing loss. It has been developed in order to provide practical guidance to persons conducting farming on how noise can affect hearing, how to identify and evaluate exposure to noise and how to control health and safety risks arising from hazardous noise (Viner, 2001).

The code of managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the place of work has also been developed to provide practical guidance on health management and safety risks associated with hazardous chemicals for persons who use chemicals in farming (ILO, 2014). This code has been approved by the Commonwealth and other national regulators.

  1. Conclusion

In conclusion, Occupational Health and Safety goes a long way in ensuring workers operate in a healthy and safe work environment. It was formed from different perspectives but with the general interest of workers at heart. The safety at work practices should therefore be taken up to ensure a healthy and safe working nation.

References

Asbury, S. (2013). Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits: A Risk-Based Approach. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge

Austalian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) (2014). Retrieved on 27th April 2014 from http://www.aciar.gov.au

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2010). Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities. Retrieved on 27th April 2014 from http://www.bls.gov

Health and Safety Authority (HSA) (2014). Agricultural Code of Practice. Retrieved on 27th April 2014 from http://www.hsa.ie>home>publicationsandforms>publications

Hollnagel, E. (2010). FRAM Background. Retrieved on 27th April 2014 from http://www.ida.liu.se/neril/ETTR_M.hlm

International Labor Organization (ILO) (2014). Codes of Practice. Retrieved on 27th April 2014 from http://www.ilo.org>Booksandreports

Leveson, N. (2004). A New Accident Model for Engineering Safer Systems. Safety Science, 42, 237-270.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (2014). Facts about Hospital Workers’ Safety. Retrieved 27th April 2014 from http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/documents/1.2_Factbook_508.pdf

Viner, D. (2001). Accidents Analysis and Risk Control. Derek Viner Pty Ltd, Melbourne.