Volume controls should show decibel levels

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Six months ago Pamela Cowan wrote about iPods and policies.  Whilst driving this afternoon I turned down the volume on my car radio (Question Time in Parliament) and I wondered how much I had reduced the volume.  I could not tell as the radio simply has a scale of numbers.

Such a measurement is common.  We have heard of “cranking the amp up to eleven” but what does eleven mean in terms of decibels and, in the context of this blog, the risk of noise-induced hearing loss?

This is also particularly relevant in the discussion about earphones.  The safety warnings that relate to the potential long term damage are all expressed in exposures in decibels.  Yet the volume controls are shown as numbers, lines or a digital bar.  There is no mention of decibels.

Continue reading “Volume controls should show decibel levels”

New books – South African nursing and a Canadian perspective

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This week two new OHS books came across my desk unbidden.  Both are very good but have very different contexts and both were published by Baywood Publishing Company Inc.

“Who Is Nursing Them? It is Us.” “Neoliberalism, HIV/AIDS, and the Occupational Health and Safety of South African Public Sector Nurses” by Jennifer R Zelnick

Northern Exposure – A Canadian Perspective on Occupational Health and Environment by David Bennett

South Africa is an exotic foreign land to me.  I am aware of the basic political issues of the country for the last 30 years but, in terms of OHS, I know there have been some major mining incidents and that HIV/AIDS is a major occupational and social challenge.  Zelnick’s book illustrates clearly the difficulty of tackling a workplace risk that is also a hot, contentious public health and political issue. Continue reading “New books – South African nursing and a Canadian perspective”

NZ releases new guidelines on quad bike safety

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Any new OHS guidelines from regulators important to read and consider when implementing safety interventions.   New Zealand’s Department of Labour (DoL) has released new guidelines for the use of quad bikes in workplaces, predominantly, farms.

Quad bike manufacturers are strong advocates of “active riding” techniques as an important safety practice. The new guidelines support this position.

Regular readers will be aware that there are engineering controls for rollovers of quad bikes where “active riding” is an administrative control of rollovers. The engineering control is primarily a rollover protective structure (ROPS). The difference between the two control measures is significant as the engineering controls are considered to be a higher order, or more effective, control in the hierarchy of controls advocated by OHS regulators and professionals around the world.

The NZ DoL guidelines make reference to ROPS but only as a text box because the evidence on ROPS remains contentious. Continue reading “NZ releases new guidelines on quad bike safety”

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A new safety professional association for Australia

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It looks like the safety profession in Australia is to become lively with competition coming from a new starter.  SIWA Limited became a reality this week.  SIWA describes itself as :

“…a new professional association and Australia’s first truly National ‘Member’ Organisation dedicated to providing professional support for, and service to, persons and corporate entities engaged across the Australian Safety and Health industry.”

Those in the safety industry in Australia would perceive some “digs” at the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) in the quote above and this is not surprising as some the SIWA’s leadership comes from former SIA members in Western Australia.  However, safety professionals should embrace the chance for diversity and choice in their professional membership options. Continue reading “A new safety professional association for Australia”

The Asphyxiation of OHS

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Good OHS thinking and practice are being slowly asphyxiated.  By far most suggestions by workers, unions or good consultants for Health & Safety improvements are ‘choked’ by management naysayers and bureaucrats more in touch with their current minister’s moods than workplace reality.  Not choked immediately or blatantly.   In fact, that person may be patted on the back and encouraged to raise more OHS matters, “Yes, mate, good!  Tell us what else we’re doing wrong, very very helpful.  You just keep on telling us”……..  And slowly any significant discussion about OHS problems is suppressed and killed.

The majority of workers in Australia work in small workplaces where (typically) practical OHS programs are regarded by managers as a nuisance, a bit of ‘over-the-top’ nonsense that slows down productivity.  It’s regarded as an irritant of fashion that will pass, like the fashion-related, politically correct things to say. Continue reading “The Asphyxiation of OHS”