Thursday, May 28, 2009

Non-print equipment & services: Occupational health & safety

Electrical safety
Personal injury is generally due to electric shock or burns.

Electric shock
Electric shock occurs when a person becomes part of an electrical circuit and the current flows through their body. A person receives an electric shock by touching a live electrical cable, or by touching equipment which has become ‘live’ due to an electrical fault, lack of maintenance or a short circuit. A person may suffer irreparable damage to their body tissue. A fatal shock is called electrocution.

Electrical burns
Electrical burns are caused by the direct passage of electrical current through the body. A burn can also be caused by direct contact with a hot surface, such as a lamp.

While the surface of the skin may not show evidence of burning, electrical burns may affect deep tissue. Electrical burns are often slow to heal, and medical treatment should always be sought.

Using a first aid manual such as St. John ambulance’s Australian first aid, write down the first aid steps for managing electrical burns.

MayoClinic. Electrical burns: first aid

While helping someone with an electrical burn and waiting for medical help, follow these steps:
1. Look first. Don't touch. The person may still be in contact with the electrical source. Touching the person may pass the current through you.
2. Turn off the source of electricity if possible. If not, move the source away from both you and the injured person using a dry nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
3. Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If absent, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
4. Prevent shock. Lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and the legs elevated.
5. Cover the affected areas. If the person is breathing, cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don't use a blanket or towel. Loose fibers can stick to the burns.

Electrical fires
Electrical fires can be caused by overheating of electrical wiring or equipment. You need to know fire alarm and evacuation procedures.

Write down the fire alarm and evacuation procedures in your organization.

Know who the fire wardens are. Know how the alarm sounds. Know where to exit. Know where to evacuate to. Know what to check. Know what to take. Know who to notify.

First aid
Delay in the rescue and resuscitation of an electric shock victim may be fatal, so the first few minutes are vital. Contact expert help if readily available.

Using a first aid manual such as St. John ambulance’s Australian first aid, write down the plan of action for rescuing an electric shock or burn victim.

Remove person from danger. Don’t expose anyone else to hazard. Turn off power. Call for first aid. Check for and/or manage burns. Lie person down. Raise person’s legs. Turn on side. Check airway is clear and/or open. Begin resuscitation.

General safety precautions

  • Keep equipment in safe working order by regular inspections and a preventive maintenance program.
  • Disconnect broken appliances.
  • Keep equipment away from water and wet areas.
  • Always switch off equipment at the power point before pulling out the plug.
  • Don’t overload circuits and fuses by using too many pieces of equipment from one power point. Use a power board with individual switches instead of double adaptors.
  • Inspect plugs and electrical cables for damage. Have broken power points replaced by a licensed electrician.
  • Keep electrical cords off the floor to reduce damage to cords and risk of tripping.
  • Know the location of the main electrical supply or fuse box.
  • When replacing fuses and lamps use the correctly rated replacements.
  • Take care when replacing a lamp in a projector which has been recently used. The lamp may still be hot. Use a cloth or glove.
  • Use trolleys to move heavy or bulky equipment.
  • Use trolleys to raise equipment such as projectors to the correct height. Don’t balance equipment on piles of books.
  • When setting up rooms with equipment ensure that people can exit easily and quickly. Consider the positioning of equipment, screens and chairs.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers.
  • Know the location of fire escapes and emergency exits.
  • Use equipment correctly. Follow operational and safety instructions in the manual.

Complete the following table, listing possible occupational health & safety hazards and the precautions which can be taken. Precautions include safe work practices and hazard reduction procedures.

Hazard Precaution
Electric shock Good maintenance of electrical equipment
Safe work practices including dry work area,
not carrying out unauthorised procedures
Power off
Lifting/carrying/moving Correct lifting procedures
Safe work practices including dry work area,
not carrying out unauthorised procedures
Power off
Bright lightTurn equipment off when not in use
Avoid looking at operating light source
Burns (heat lamp)Let equipment cool down
Wear protective clothing
Power cords/cablesPlan equipment layout
Tape to floor
Good repair

General machine handling hints
Not only do you need to take care of yourself, you also need to protect the equipment you use.
· Follow operational and safety instructions in the manual.

  • Use equipment safely and only for its intended use.
  • Never force parts of equipment that do not fit or operate easily. However you may need to ‘gentle’ a part – e.g. releasing the Fresnel lens on an overhead projector.
  • Don’t drop or knock equipment.
  • Wrap power cords around the leg or handle of a table or trolley.
  • Do not use a machine unless all parts – e.g. cooling fan – are working properly, as you risk damaging the equipment or software.
  • Prevent heat buildup by allowing adequate air circulation – e.g. do not block ventilation slots by placing equipment on a soft surface or by operating it in an enclosed area, such as on a shelf.
  • Keep operating instructions in a secure area. If necessary, keep photocopies of operating instructions with equipment.
  • Read the manual.
  • Always test the equipment before use, and after performing any maintenance tasks – e.g. changing a lamp.
  • If you need to replace a lamp, do not touch the glass with bare hands. Use a cloth, glove or the plastic sleeve which comes with the lamp.
  • Power cords should be folded loosely and stored in the compartment if the machine has one. If power cords are separate they may be folded loosely and tied to the equipment.
  • Do not wrap power cords around equipment unless it is designed to do this (e.g. some overhead projectors).
  • Check that all components of a piece of equipment are kept together. Label equipment or case with a list of components and check on issuing and return of equipment.
  • Remove batteries from equipment when storing for any time, or if it is to be used routinely with mains (AC) power.
  • Make sure equipment is OFF when plugging AC cord into outlet.
  • TO disconnect any cord from a machine, grasp the plug (some plugs may need to be turned or pins compressed). Never pull the cord.

Revision quiz

Use the following questions to revise your understanding of occupational health and safety.

1. What are your responsibilities with respect to oh&S? Take care of yourself. Don’t put others at risk.
2. When does a person suffer electric shock?
Becomes part of the circuit and the current flows through the body. If they touch live cables. If they touch live faulty equipment. If equipment lacks maintenance.
3. How can you protect against electrical fires?
Prevent heat build up. Allow adequate air circulation. Maintain wiring and equipment.
4. What are some general safety precautions that you can take when working with electrical equipment?
Regularly check equipment. Keep equipment away from water. Don’t overload circuits/fuses. Keep cords off floors. Know fire extinguisher locations. Use equipment correctly.
5. What are some ways of keeping equipment in good order?
Use safely for intended purposes. Never force parts. Wrap cords around table legs. Don’t use equipment unless it works. Read the Manual. Fold power cords loosely and store in compartments.

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