Work and Safety at Work

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Humans at work

  • To account for the increasing amount of injuries in the workplace
  • To ensure the safety of every employee within NSW
  • To take preventative actions to ensure no one in the workplace is injured.

A hazard is anything which has the potential to harm life, physically, mentally and socially.

Key actions for a safe workplace:

– Spot the hazard

– Assess the risk

– Make the change.

Many of the workplace hazards are already identified as either, physical, chemical and biological.

Physical: Anything which has the potential to harm/cause injury physically. This may include heavy lifting, causing strains to your back.

Chemical: Corrosive fumes, chemical spills.

Biological: This may include, exposure to diseases like hepatitis and meningococcal.

The hazards in the workplace which have the potential to harm, or increase the risk of injury are:

– Biological

– Chemical

– Physical

Structure and function of the body:

– Back, causes of back pain may include, lifting heavy objects or RSI.

– Start of sport season, and the stretching of tendons, ligaments and muscles.

– Hand, used to operate the screw driver

Increased awareness of these injuries:

– In order to increase awareness in the workplace about back injuries, posters with instructions on them have been implemented.

– As a result of stretching, there has been a decreasing amount of sports injuries.

– In order to overcome repetitive strain injury in the hand, due to increased awareness from employees as well as employers, instructions have been issued to distinguish the way in which a screw driver should be used.

The back is used constantly when lifting heavy objects. However, recently this has impacted on safety practices because studies have shown that the back should not be used when lifting, the legs should be used. This has also impacted on workplace practices because of the OH&S act. The OH&S also outlines the fact that employers have duty of care over their employees, and the concept of using the legs should also be enforced in the workplace.

Respiration: respiration uses the reaction between oxygen and food to slowly convert stored energy into forms that cane be used by the cell for activities such as growth and development.

The internal lining of the human lungs provides a large moist surface area which allows exchange of the gases oxygen and carbon dioxide. This large surface area is provided by tiny air sacks called alveoli. Oxygen must diffuse through the cells in the alveoli walls and the walls of the capillary blood vessel before it can come into contact with the blood. Oxygen must dissolve in water before it can diffuse into blood cells. When the oxygen dissolves, it meets with a red pigment called hemoglobin, in the red blood cells, to be transported around the body. When this oxygenated blood moves around the body, the oxygen is released from the hemoglobin and diffuses into cells which have a lower concentration of oxyge

Special mechanisms protect the warm surfaces in our airways from invasions.

Mucous membranes: Line the naval passages, tracheas, bronchi and alveoli. The thick sticky mucous that is asserted can trap dusts and bacteria.

Cilia: Are tiny hairs that project from the cells lining in the airways and the respiratory system.

Disease: Asbestosis

Causes: Inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Effect on respiratory system: Alveoli become inflamed, and alveoli scarring occurs.

Symptoms: Some of the signs and symptoms of asbestosis include:

· Shortness of breath, initially only with exertion, but eventually even while resting

· Decreased tolerance for physical activity

· Coughing

· Chest pain

· Finger clubbing in some cases

Prevention: Reducing the level of exposure to asbestos is the best prevention against asbestosis.

Current direction for research: OH&S acts have addressed the issue, and it is now illegal to remove asbestos without professionals being present.

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