OHS is in sports but by another name

After writing a recent article about the relevance of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws to sporting clubs, I attended a sports medicine seminar to access a different perspective on workplace safety.

2015-09-21 18.43.15Having never played sports outside the obligatory high school activities, which in my high school also included snooker?!, the world of locker rooms and team sports is foreign.  But earlier this week I learnt that where OHS professionals talk about productivity, sportspeople speak of performance, and where factories address line speed, sports physicians talk of load management.  I also learnt that professional sportspeople are exempt from workers’ compensation.

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Helmet debate misses the point of safe design

Workplace safety is rarely simple or easy.  It has become a standard recommendation in Australia recently for quad bike riders to wear helmets.  Quad bike manufacturers recommend the wearing of helmets and some OHS regulators are making it mandatory but this should not be the end of the safety discussion.  The Weekly Times newspaper on 21 September 2011 describes the current arguments occurring over the type of helmet to be worn.

It is common for workplaces to experience disputes or discussions over personal protective equipment (PPE).  These discussions are necessary to ensure that the best, the most suitable, PPE is used to control a hazard.  Sometimes safety eyewear can be heat-resistant sunglasses, sometimes this should be goggles.  Sometime head protection comes from a hard hat, sometime from a bump cap.  PPE should never generate new hazards when trying to control another.

The current discussion indicates has arisen over the wearing of motorcycle-style helmets while following a herd of dairy cows during an Australian summer.  Dairy farmers say that the wearing of helmets in these conditions is absurd and farmers will choose to ride quad bikes un-helmeted instead. Continue reading “Helmet debate misses the point of safe design”

Two workplace incidents – zookeeper and jockey

On 1 February 2010 a zookeeper at the Werribee Zoo was pinned for several minutes under a gate weighing around 200 kilograms.  The Metropolitan Ambulance Service reported that

“…the woman in her 20s was pinned under a gate weighing more than three hundred kilograms, for approximately three minutes.”

According to Paramedic Brett Parker,

“Thankfully a number of staff were nearby and three men managed to lift the gate off her body.  Incredibly when we arrived the woman was upright and talking, but she was in significant pain.  Given the potential for spinal injury we gave her pain relief medication before fitting her with a neck brace.” Continue reading “Two workplace incidents – zookeeper and jockey”