Occupational Health and Safety There Are Hazards

Occupational Health and Safety

There are hazards in most occupations. The importance lies in recognizing the hazard and how we ought to react and take care to minimize the hazard. Preventive measures ought to be inculcated in the workers and there must be care and rules to regulate the work that has health hazards. This is of paramount importance. We are concerned in this paper over the hazards of radiation and other related work hazards. (Brune; Edling, 1989, p. 167)

In hospitals the health hazards to workers come in many forms. Though we consider the effects of radiation and the use of thermal and other ions, we have to bear in mind that there are other pollution that occur in hospitals that also could be harmful. Though there is no radiation, noise for example and lighting is two areas that relates to the lighting levels and noise which affect health. Although noise does not constitute a part of the radiation hazard, noise hazards are present in hospitals with the noise above 85 decibel level. They occur at the central processing, electrical installations and in the laundry and cleaning mechanism. (Stellman, 1998, p. 7) Boiler rooms, laundry and kitchens are the source of excessive noise. There can be permanent hearing loss on constant exposure to noise over 80 decibels. Hot liquids and hot surfaces also are hazardous. (Occupational Hazards for Hospital Workers, 1995) the hazards and the working environment and stress related to the work including shifts which interfere with the biological clock can have disastrous consequences on the health of the workers and their performance. The excessive workload demand combined with the stress and the hazards and risk at hospitals can take a physical and psychological toll among health workers.

1. All lighting, non-ionising radiation and ionising radiation hazards that may be present in the workplace environment of a large general Hospital

The occupational hazards at the hospital are a broad spectrum that encompasses all activities at the hospital, health care, patient care, food, laboratory, and so on. Broadly we can classify these hazards into psycho social, biological, physical chemical and ergonomic hazards. Infections by bacteria and virus, contamination and risk that are inherent in handling body fluids of infected patients form the biological hazard. HIV, Hepatitis etc. can be spread to health workers from patients. Some other diseases that could be spread include Rubella, Pulmonary tuberculosis, Herpes simplex virus, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome --AIDS and many such communicable diseases. Health workers in hospitals are subject to hazards from chemicals like cleaning and sterilizing chemicals, disinfectants, detergents, solvents, anaesthetic chemicals, anti-cancer medicines, and reagents are around and cause illness. Added to those ergonomic disasters like slippery floors, sharp instruments, and explosive gases are ergonomic hazards. The most important and health affecting hazards emanate from the electric installations, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. (Occupational Hazards for Hospital Workers, 1995)

X-Ray, LASER therapy, nuclear therapy Magnetic resonance and more and more methods of diagnosis and treatment are creating hazards. (Brune; Edling, 1989, p. 167) X-ray, angiography, Fluoroscopy and electric equipments for example are ionizing radiation sources. High exposure to these types of radiation will cause genetic damage and reproduction issues. Fluoroscopy and X-Ray equipments scatter radiation while being used. (Occupational Hazards for Hospital Workers, 1995) Lasers, microwaves, and magnetic fields are the source of non-ionizing radiation. The Laser beams cause harm to the eye and skin. The personnel must be trained thoroughly in using these equipments. There must be appropriate eye wear, and non-reflective tools used in the hospitals. (Occupational Hazards for Hospital Workers, 1995)

Radiation - types and effects

Radioactivity is the result of an unstable atom emitting a particle to stabilize its structure. Ionizing radiation occurs where "high-energy particles or electromagnetic waves that have the ability to deposit enough energy to break chemical bonds and produce an ion pair. Ionization occurs when the process of energy transfer liberates an orbital electron from an atom or molecule producing this ion pair." (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006) Non-ionizing radiation is mostly from the electromagnetic spectrum other than x-rays like microwaves, Ultraviolet and infra red light, Laser, light, and other similar forms. (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006)

We may say that the effects of radiation will be in direct proportion to the quantity pertaining to the energy which is deposited and the destruction of the system as a consequence. A low level exposure may lead to a mild toxic state. On the other hand acute illness or even death may occur while handling high radioactive agents. Not only that the environment in the hospital is charged with danger from radiation, the modern days has brought with it the additional risk of terrorists diffusing such a chemical in the hospitals and the 'bomb' so released can cause additional risk to the already exposed staff and patients. (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006) patient who receives radiation that is directed in controlled doses like an X-Ray or CT scan gets irradiated on being exposed to the radiation. But in the case when the machine is switched off, the radiation also ceases. The patients are placed in the middle of a radiation path and therefore are not themselves carriers of radiation and are not at risk to themselves or others. Contamination occurs when a person's skin or clothes come into contact with the radioactive material and the radiation continues until the material is removed. Such persons may as well cause risk to themselves and others. The best policy is to prevent the entry of such materials into the human system. (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006)

Electro magnetic radiation is the important type of radiation which transports energy by both the energizing and non-energizing methods. (Brune; Edling, 1989, p. 170) Ionizing of the body causes damage to cells and breaks the DNA and the cell is damaged for ever in extreme cases. The human cells if exposed to low level radiation can "exhibit activation of a signalling cascade that leads to DNA fragmentation and rapid cell death." (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006) Initial symptoms and impacts are noted in bones, skin, and the gut. Kidneys and the liver could also be affected. This may lead to cancer. It also may cause Hodgkin disease, leukaemia, and breast cancer among other complications. Exposure to high heat emitting radiation may also cause burns, blisters, ulcers, erythemia, and desquamation. Common sickness symptoms that occur with the exposure will be fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and these symptoms are exhibited within fifteen minutes of the exposure. In twelve hours this can further escalate to blood pressure, fever, and diarrhoea. In cases where the radiation is severe, it can further develop into complications related to the blood or the intestine and the brain and heart. (Pae S; Dill; Mothershead, 2006)

Cardiology is a special area where the risk of radiation is high. There must be hierarchy of control established to see that proper handling of equipments is done. Monitoring of persons and systems for exposure to radiation is very essential for preventing hazards. The common problem that occurs with the interventional radiology and cardiology are in using the fluorography and fluoroscopy with the chance of the staff getting irradiated by the patients. The open couch X-ray systems used also poses a significant risk. Constant radiation over a same spot can lead to erythematic or dermal necrosis, which can occur when the level crosses 2 Gy to 20 Gy. (Hanson, 2004)

An authoritative study concluded that even power lines have electromagnetic radiation. In 2001 the study found that electromagnetic fields created by current causes childhood leukaemia. The study was done by the 'International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection -- ICNIRP'. The report says that there is no "chronic disease for which a causal relation to EMF can be regarded as established, but there is evidence for an approximate doubled risk of leukaemia in children exposed to high levels of EMF." (International Study gives an authoritative view on Health Risks from Electricity Power Lines, 2001)

2.Describe how you would assess the risk associated with each of these hazards (including any necessary surveys and measurements)

The effects of the radiation are hard to measure. One of the suggestions is to develop better radiation less technology. The development of a measuring and quantifying strategy revolves around creating a health chain and figuring out the appropriate points from where the analysis of the safety factors can begin. (Corvalan; Briggs; Zielhuis, 2000, p. 57) the science of environmental epidemiology has found the method called the HEADLAMP methodology. Routine monitoring of selected sources form the data with regard to this type of study. Data was also collected by survey. A health effect variable - like death associated with the use of the technology was identified and the method used the grouped data and established scientific knowledge to postulate a better safeguard or methods of use and prevention. It was also used to identify the risk and analyze the alternate options that exist to any given technology. (Corvalan; Briggs; Zielhuis, 2000, p. 103) This method was…