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Workplace Visit And Hazard Identification Instructions

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Question:

Discuss about the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation Compliance.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The workplace health and safety act outlines the regulations to be adhered to in workplaces to ensure the health and the safety of all people at work. All owners of businesses are tasked with the responsibilities of ensuring health and safety at the places of work. The OHS Act has set out standards code of practice in every industry to ensure all people involved from workers to clients are protected from work hazards. The Australian Government and different states governments has set a code of practice for the fitness industry that must be adhered to ensure the health and safety of staffs and every person consuming the services of the industry. The paper seeks to undertake an inspection of the Herons Fitness Centre (no real name) on the compliance of the Occupational health and safety legislation relevant to the fitness industry. The focus will be on how both the workers and the clients of the facility are protected from possible hazards. The paper will look at the potential Gravitational and physical hazards at the Centre. Additionally, from the assessment, the paper will recommend ways to control the associated risks.

Herons Fitness Centre

The Herons Fitness Centre is located at 180 Queen Street in Melbourne Victory next to Ports Starbuck and adjacent to St Michaels Park.  The facility has a total of 13 instructors; 8 males and 5 females. According to the owner of the Centre, there has being a few cases of reported mild physical injuries to the clients during workouts while none of the staff has ever suffered any physical harm.

 

Identification of Hazards 

A Fitness Centre is a social and recreational facility encompassing different exercises and sports used by various people in the society for workouts.  Fitness Centre services attract high number of people in Australia. Using a Fitness Centre means interacting with different work out machines and equipment set out in room. Hence, a Fitness Centre involves a lot of physical activities through weight lifting and aerobics aimed at improving the health or gaining physical strength.

In this assessment of the Herons Fitness Centre, I will discuss noise as a physical hazard to both the clients and the instructors. High level of noises is considered hazardous with potential harm to human beings. In the facility, there are a lot of instructions in loud voices from the instructors, loud sounds of moving machines and weights being dropped on the ground as well as loud music used during aerobics sessions happening concurrently with gym sessions.  Additionally, I will address the risk of injuries as a result of fall, trip or slip as a gravitational hazard. The likelihood of tripping, slipping or falling at the work place is also considered as a hazard. In the facility, some of the equipment are left on the ground after use posing the risk of tripping other people occupying the room and injure them.

Risk Assessment

Noise

The Herons Fitness Centre accommodates more than 50 people including the trainers in one session of different exercise.  The facility records an average of 200 users in a day. The busy environment of the facility increases the level of noise and, putting the users at a risk of injuries associated with noise. Constant exposure to high level of noise at the workplace puts one at a risk of hearing loss (Girard et al., 2014).  All the 200 daily users of the facility and the 13 trainers are at a risk of noise-induced hearing loss. In a study conducted to assess the impact of severe exposure to high level of noises. Yoon, Roh, Kim & Won (2016) note that almost 500 million people are at a risk of hearing loss problems as a result of exposure to severe noise.  The study pronounces the risk at which all the consumers of the Herons Fitness Centre are at; as a result too much noise in the facility. The noise from the equipment, trainers’ instructions and loud music during aerobics combine to generate severe noise that endangers the hearing problems of every occupant of the training room. 4000 cases of loss of hearing were reported in Australia in 2007/8 as a result of occupational noise (Safety Institute of Australia, 2012). About 16% of hearing problems for adults is as a result of exposure to hazardous noise (Safety Institute of Australia, 2012).Thus, the facility clients and instructors are at a high risk of developing hearing problems as a result of elevated levels of hazardous noise.  Safety Institute of Australia (2012) points out that, 13% of young Australians exposed to loud music in concerts, nightclubs and sporting activities experience the problem hearing loss. Noise destroys the hair cells in the ear which cannot be able to repair themselves resulting in a permanent hearing problem (Thurston, 2013). Thus, the damage of is severe and will keep on recurring if the hazard is not controlled.

 


Moreover, too much exposure to noise causes other health complications. Exposure to noise results to cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension and psychological disorders such as acute stress (Yoon, Roh, Kim & Won, 2016). The physical environment at the Herons generates too much noise due to the metal lifting activities, aerobic instructions and music putting all the users at constant risk of contracting hypertensions and noise-induced stress.  The impact of noise could be severe on the people. Noise stress causes heart diseases and could lead to death (Palma, Mattos, Almeida & Oliveira, 2009). The frequent visits to the facility by the users increase the chances of suffering from fatigue, cardiovascular and psychological disorders among other health problems.

Furthermore, noise hazard increases the possibility of occupational injuries at workplaces. Noise stress induces fatigue and lack of sleep that highly links to occupational injuries (Basner et al., 2014). Fatigue and sleeplessness combine to cause human errors and unsafe behaviors at work and are directly related to occupational injuries. In a study that was conducted to determine the impact of noise hazard at the workplace. Girard et al. (2014) note that there is a positive relationship between noise exposure and lack of concentration which increases occupational injuries. The impact of constant exposure to high level of noise at the workplaces is hazardous. Indoors physical education teachers exposed to high level of noise for a longer period showed symptoms of vertigo disorders, ringing in the ear, imbalance and clogging ears (Palma, Mattos, Almeida & Oliveira, 2009). Thus, the high level of hazardous noise at the Herons Fitness Centre will lead to the occupants having permanent hearing problems and contracting cardiovascular disorders.  Additionally, people at the Centre will be at a high risk of sustaining life time physical injuries emanating from lack of concentration due to noise.

Fall Trip or slip

The number of clients using the Herons Fitness Centre services overwhelms the staff by far. As a result, most of the equipment’s are not returned to the appropriate locations. The equipment are left laying on the floor and, thus pose a risk of tripping other facility users and trainers and could cause significant injuries such as fractures or concussions. 14.4% of all non-fatal occupational accidents at work results from slipping and falling due to equipment related factors (Chang, Leclercq, Lockhart & Haslam, 2016).  The environment at the Herons Centre has a lot of the materials on the floor that would trip either the trainer or the client. According to Haslam et al., (2005), building and civil engineering sector tops in the incidences and injuries as a result of falls, trips and slips. The building sites are characterized by unorganized construction materials and equipment on the ground increasing the risk of tripping and falling. Similarly, the Herons environment with the equipment on the floor increases the risk of the facility users to trip and fall.  The users leave the equipment on the floor after use with no one to return them to the respective racks as the trainers are all occupied with other groups. Environmental conditions are one of the major agencies of occupational injuries resulting from trip, slip, and fall (Safety Institute of Australia, 2012). The crowded environment at the Fitness Centre could accelerate the possibility of the users to trip or fall. Hence, the floor and the crowded nature of the training room put the users both the trainers and the clients at a precarious position. 

Moreover, trips, slips, and falls are contributed by the nature of the task undertaken. According to Haslam et al. (2005), the nature of the task and the context significantly contribute to occupational injury resulting from trips, slips, and falls. The Herons Fitness Centre accommodates people taking various exercises such metal lifting and aerobics. The clients taking aerobics are at a high risk of falling. A person walking at a fast pace or running is in a danger of slipping and falling (Di Pilla, 2016). The clients in the facility, undertaking aerobics exercise engage in fast movements exercise, jogging and quick change of directions putting them at risk of falling. The increase in walking speed demand more friction to enhance stability. Furthermore, the clients at the facility are at a risk of tripping and falling as a result of weight lifting. Chang, Leclercq, Lockhart & Haslam (2016) note that 30% of all occupational slip and falls result from carrying loads. Additionally, the incorrect use equipment’s can lead to slip and fall. The clients of the facility overwhelm the trainers resulting in some working out on their own.  The hazard of tripping, slipping and falling at the workplace can be severe. According to Bell et al. (2013), back injuries are one of the impacts of a trip, slip and fall and, keep the workers away from the workplace up to 10 days. Thus, the facility clients are at risk of suffering from back injuries, having fractures, concussions or lifetime injuries. The clients could be out of their jobs for days due to injuries and, this could have financial implications.

 

Recommendations

For controlling the noise hazard at the Herons Fitness Centre, I recommend the following;

  • The management of the facility should expand the Centre so that every activity is isolated and, reduce the level of noises generated. Separation of sources of noise reduces exposure to hazardous level (Yoon, Roh, Kim & Won, 2016). Hence, the management should separate aerobics from metal lifting and sporting activities.
  • The facility leadership should minimize the time for loud music during aerobics sessions and embrace low volume music. A machine producing low levels of noises used for a long time is hazardous (Basner et al., 2014). Hence, the management should not only reduce the volumes but minimize exposure time.
  • The Facility should replace the noisy machines at the facility and equipment with quieter ones. Gardner et al. (2014) note that eliminating the hazard by safe design demands removing the source of noise or substituting the components of the noise source. Hence, there is need to bring in quieter machines.
  • The manager of the Herons Fitness Center should introduce hearing protection for clients and staffs. Hearing protectors such as noise-cancelling earmuffs reduces the noise in noise hazardous environment (Sharma & Vig, 2014). Thus, the hearing protectors will reduce the dangerous noise and leave room for trainers to communicate with clients.

For controlling gravitational hazards

  • The facility management should provide adequate space for storing equipment’s that are not being used and create enough space for clients. Through elimination, the environment will be free of trips and slips minimize the risk of injuries from gravitational hazards (Nenonen, 2013). Hence, the manager should ensure clear floor surfaces.
  • The management should employ reminding signage to ensure clients return the equipment in appropriate racks. Through administrative control, the managers will create efficient housekeeping behaviors (Gorman, 2014). Thus, the clients will develop a habit of returning the equipments at the right place.
  • The Herons leadership should ensure more textured, clean floor and provide safety foot wares designed for the environment. Through engineering controls, prompting the safety wares will enhance the security and protection of clients (Bruijn, Meijer, Beek & Van Dieën, 2013). Therefore, the client will be more grounded during sessions.
 

Conclusion

The Herons Fitness Centre witnesses a high number of customers daily. However, the customers and the staffs are exposed to noise and trip, slip and fall hazards at the Centre. The equipment, trainers’ high voice instructions and high volume music during aerobics generate high level of noise. The noise put the occupants at a high risk of permanent hearing problems, cardiovascular and psychological disorders. Additionally, the facility users are at a risk of tripping and falling due to equipment displacement on the floor and the nature of the exercises. The clients and the staffs could sustain fractures, head injuries or permanent physical injuries due to the falls. Hence, the leadership should isolate activities to different rooms, minimize the music volume and exposure time to control noise hazard. Moreover, the management should put signage in the room reminding clients to return equipment in respective racks as well as providing space to store equipment to control trip, slip and fall hazard.

 

References

Basner, M., Babisch, W., Davis, A., Brink, M., Clark, C., Janssen, S., & Stansfeld, S. (2014). Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health. The Lancet, 383(9925), 1325-1332.

Bell, J. L., Collins, J. W., Tiesman, H. M., Ridenour, M., Konda, S., Wolf, L., & Evanoff, B. (2013). Slip, trip, and fall injuries among nursing care facility workers. Workplace health & safety, 61(4), 147-152.

Bruijn, S. M., Meijer, O. G., Beek, P. J., & Van Dieën, J. H. (2013). Assessing the stability of human locomotion: a review of current measures. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 10(83), 20120999.

Chang, W. R., Leclercq, S., Lockhart, T. E., & Haslam, R. (2016). State of science: occupational slips, trips and falls on the same level. Ergonomics, 59(7), 861-883.

Di Pilla, S. (2016). Slip, trip, and fall prevention: A practical handbook. CRC Press.

Gardner, D., Laird, I., Dickinson, P., Legg, S., McBride, D., & McLaren, S. (2014). Safety climate, attitudes to noise management and exposure to noise in small and medium sized workplaces in New Zealand. Small enterprise research, 21(2), 190-201.

Girard, S. A., Leroux, T., Courteau, M., Picard, M., Turcotte, F., & Richer, O. (2014). Occupational noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss are associated with work-related injuries leading to admission to hospital. Injury Prevention, injuryprev-2013.

Gorman, T., Dropkin, J., Kamen, J., Nimbalkar, S., Zuckerman, N., Lowe, T., ... & Freund, A. (2014). Controlling health hazards to hospital workers: A reference guide. NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, 23(1), 1-169.

Haslam, R. A., Hide, S. A., Gibb, A. G., Gyi, D. E., Pavitt, T., Atkinson, S., & Duff, A. R. (2005). Contributing factors in construction accidents. Applied ergonomics, 36(4), 401-415.

Nenonen, N. (2013). Analysing factors related to slipping, stumbling, and falling accidents at work: Application of data mining methods to Finnish occupational accidents and diseases statistics database. Applied ergonomics, 44(2), 215-224.

Palma, A., Mattos, U. A. D. O., Almeida, M. N. D., & Oliveira, G. E. M. C. D. (2009). Level of noise at the workplace environment among physical education teachers in indoor bike classes. Revista de saúde pública, 43(2), 345-351.

Safety Institute of Australia. (2012, March 13). Physical Hazards: Gravitational. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from https://www.ohsbok.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/27-Hazard-Gravitational.pdf?x71776

Safety Institute of Australia (2012, January 3). Physical Hazards: Noise & Vibration. Retrieved May 8, 2107 from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3381&context=hbspapers

Sharma, M. K., & Vig, R. (2014, March). Server noise: Health hazard and its reduction using active noise control. In Engineering and Computational Sciences (RAECS), 2014 Recent Advances in (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Thurston, F. E. (2013). The worker's ear: A history of noise?induced hearing loss. American journal of industrial medicine, 56(3), 367-377.

Yoon, J. H., Roh, J., Kim, C. N., & Won, J. U. (2016). The risk of occupational injury increased according to severity of noise exposure after controlling for occupational environment status in Korea. Noise and health, 18(85), 355.

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