Fundamental Principle on Health and Safety

Question 1

Explain why personal protective clothing should be the last resort when it comes to protecting workers’ health and safety.
Answer:
It is the fundamental principle that PPE (Personal Protective Equipments) which includes clothing should be the last resort, as the health and safety of the employees must first be protected by measures of eliminating the workplace associated risks at the very source. The safety of the employees must be safeguarded by organizational or technical means, example, substituting of different hazardous chemicals or by providing a holistic protection on a mass basis, namely, provision of scaffolding instead of providing individual harnesses. Hence, the focus on safety and health of the workers should be at elimination of all risks from the very source of it. 
Collective and holistic measures of protection focusing on all the employees in a typical workplace must be the most important and high priority task over the use of protective measures which can be applied to individual employees. When such risk removal for all the employees, are not possible or not sufficient, then only PPE should be used to give individual protection for hazards which are unavoidable. 
PPE has its own limitations namely – it can be only applied and protects the person wearing it; it becomes ineffective if not worn properly or if fitting is not perfect; the theoretical protection levels are very rarely reached in practice; the PPE often restricts the wearer to some degree and the psychological aspect of wearing PPE is that the wearer feels she/ he is more protected than it actually is (HSA, 2018). 

Question 2

In your own words, define consultation, and outline when workers must be consulted on health and safety issues at the workplace.
Answer:
Consultation is the process by which an expert (in any specific subject) consults or provides guidance and discusses on a relevant topic to a group of individuals. It is the act of formal discussion and advice giving. 
Employers have a significant duty to consult with their own employees regarding the health and safety aspects of work. Employers often assigns Health and Safety Experts to conduct such consultation whereby every employee is aware about the risks at his workplace and a comprehensive idea about protection of his own and others’ health and safety aspects. 
Consultation is not a one way process but a two way discussion where one – must talk to each other about the health and safety matters, listen to employees’ concerns and raise one’s own concerns; seek and share the information and viewpoints; making decisions after gathering information and advising the employees about the consultation. 
Consultation on health and safety must be provided when;
-    risks and hazards can be accurately and holistically identified 
-    decisions have to be taken regarding eliminating or minimizing such risks and hazards 
-    decisions have to be taken about the sufficiency of the present facilities for employees’ wellbeing 
-    effective strategies of change have to be taken which may impact the safety and health of the workers
-    decisions have to be taken on different procedures of health and safety (SafeWork SA, 2018)

Question 3

An accident has occurred at your workplace, and a person has been injured. Provide at least three examples of the type of information that you would include in the accident report according to WHS legislation.
Answer:
As per WHS Legislation of Australia, the specific format is presented in Form 10 which consists of the Reports of incidents and injuries. 
The form consists of a number of detailing but primarily three types of information is required – 
-    Details about where the injury has occurred. This consists of detailing namely – activity in which the individual was engaged at the time of accident; exact site location; nature of injury; body location; treatment given; referral for further treatment and whether injury management is required or not. 
-    Secondly, information needs to be included about whether there has been witnesses to the incident and here, each of the witnesses needs to provide a detailed account on how such an accident and injury occurred 
-    Lastly, details and description of the incident needs to be included like – the time, date, location, damage to equipment/ property if any and a detailed description of the incident (Safework, 2018).

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Question 4

Nicola is a dental assistant in a small practice.  She sometimes forgets to remove her disposable gloves when she follows a client back into the reception area to organise the payment of their account. As her supervisor, you have seen this happen on a number of occasions. Do you believe this is an issue?  Explain your response.  How would you address this situation and follow up on it?
Answer:
Yes, I feel this is a significant issue and it is a health risk for the employees and patients working in the dental office. 
When Nicola puts on a pair of disposable gloves, she uses them to work on a patient and often has to touch the oral fluid and other liquid and chemicals/ medicines to assist the Dentist in treating such patients. When she forgets to open such gloves, and walks into the reception area to arrange for the payment, she is touching documents, pens, other equipments using those gloves only which can contaminate the documents and pens and other individuals with liquid and chemical present in the gloves. Therefore this is a significant issue. 
I would have a talk with Nicola and explain to her, how her forgetting to remove the disposable gloves can create probable health hazard. And would make her practice the act of opening the gloves before leaving the chamber. I would ask her to make a mental note of the need to open such gloves. 
I would observe Nicola’s activities and conduct periodic evaluation after every 7 days to check on her progress if any. With time, automatically Nicola would imbibe this in her system.

Question 5

You have been asked to research existing or potential physical hazards at your workplace and look at some strategies for implementing controls. Outline the processes that you would take to identify those hazards and, once identified, the types of risk controls that you might recommend.
Answer:
Dental assistants and dental employees can be exposed to a large number of hazards in conducting their functions. The degree and the type of exposure are directly dependent on the specific types of activities and the specific tasks. The main component of the health and the safety program is the identification and assessment of hazards and the determination of the appropriate controls. Systematic approach must be followed in hazard assessment. 
-  Listing up of all the work associated activities and tasks 
-  Identification of the potential physical, chemical, biological and psychological hazards associated with each of such activities and tasks performed 
-  Assessing the risks of the hazard and the probability of occurrence by considering the gravity of the outcome of exposure, and the probability of the occurrence of such               exposure and the frequency in which the task is conducted 
-  Identification of the controls which will reduce and eliminate the risks. A specific hierarchy of controls must be followed – namely, primarily engineering controls are to be             followed, then administrative controls namely – rules and training, and then PPE should be followed. 
-  Implementation of controls to be conducted for each hazards thus identified 
-  Communication of the hazards and assessment of such and required controls to be explained to all the workers who perform the tasks 
-  Evaluation of the controls to be conducted in periodic manner in order to ensure their efficiency (Work, 2018). 

Question 6

One of the clients at your dental practice becomes quite angry when he is handed his bill. The receptionist, Joni, does what she can to calm him down, but his aggressive behaviour has started to escalate. She walks from behind the reception desk to offer him a seat, but you can see that Joni is becoming quite scared, and you are concerned that the man may become physically violent. As the most senior member of staff you decide to step in and ask the man to leave immediately. He walks outside, but you can see he is still very angry and starting to kick cars in the car park, shouting obscenities. What procedures would you put into place in this situation? Once the situation was over, what risk controls would you ensure were put into place? Would there be any residual risk? Is there any information that you could share with Joni and others about safety precautions?
Answer:
Since, I can see he is angry and started to hit and kick cars in the parking lot, I would primarily make the security officials of the parking lot aware and then inform the Police Station immediately to take care of such situation as there is full chance the person concerned can damage others’ properties. 
The main risk control which are to be put in place, is arranging for security personnel outside the dental clinic to handle undesired behaviours like this. The angry patient could have done serious damage to the workplace, and when employees get scared it is not possible to tackle the person. Hence, arranging for security personnel has to be kept in place. 
However, residual risk still exists and the person can spread bad reputation of the clinic. Hence, the primary strategy is to show empathy, and take methods to make the person calm and cool. If that does not work, then the person can be sent for discussion of such matter with a senior official of the dental clinic. If that does not work out as well and the patient does not want to understand the scenario and he starts creating a scene, then he has to be sent out of the clinic through security personnel. 
Joni and others need to be made aware that after being empathetic and trying to calm the person down, if such fails, then an appointment can be made with the senior official in that case and also they should make the security personnel aware of a potential case. 

Bibliography

HSA. (2018). PPE. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from HEalth & Safety Authority: http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Personal_Protective_Equipment_-_PPE/PPE_-FAQs/Personal_Protective_Equipment_FAQ_Responses.html
SafeWork SA. (2018). Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co operation and Co ordination. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from Safework: https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=113708
Safework. (2018). WHS Form 10 - Incident and Injury Report. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from Safework NSW Gov AU: http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/52753/form-10-incident-and-injury-register.pdf
Work. (2018). Handbook of Occpuational Hazards and Control for Dental Workers . Retrieved March 14, 2018, from Work Alberta CA: https://work.alberta.ca/documents/OHS-WSA-handbook-dental-workers.pdf

 

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