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94. Education and Training Services

Chapter Editor: Michael McCann


Table of Contents

Tables and Figures

E. Gelpi
 
Michael McCann
 
Gary Gibson
 
Susan Magor
 
Ted Rickard
 
Steven D. Stellman and Joshua E. Muscat
 
Susan Magor

Tables 

Click a link below to view table in article context.

1. Diseases affecting day-care workers & teachers
2. Hazards & precautions for particular classes
3. Summary of hazards in colleges & universities

Figures

Point to a thumbnail to see figure caption, click to see figure in article context.

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Monday, 21 March 2011 14:50

General Profile

Written by

Adapted from 3rd edition, “Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety”.

The scope of the teaching profession extends from the nursery school to the postgraduate institution. Teaching involves not only academic instruction but also scientific, artistic and technical training, in laboratories, art studios and workshops, and physical training on sports grounds and in gymnasia and swimming pools. In most countries almost everyone comes at some time under the influence of the profession, and the teachers themselves have backgrounds as diverse as the subjects taught. Many senior members of the profession also have administrative and managerial duties.

In addition, the development of policies and activities to promote life-long education necessitates a reassessment of the conventional concept of teachers within traditional establishments (schools, universities). Members of the teaching profession carry out their tasks using formal and informal educational methods, in basic and continuous training, in educational establishments and institutions as well as outside them.

Apart from pupils of school age and university students, new kinds of students and trainees are coming forward in ever-increasing numbers in a great many countries: young jobseekers, women wishing to return to the employment market, retired persons, migrant workers, the handicapped, community groups and so on. In particular, we find categories of persons who were formerly excluded from normal educational establishments: illiterates and the handicapped.

There is nothing new in the variety of apprenticeship facilities available, and private self-education has always existed; life-long education has always existed in one form or another. There is, however, one new factor: the growing development of formal life-long educational facilities in places not originally intended as places of education and through new means—for example, in factories, offices and leisure facilities and through associations, mass communication media and assisted self-education. This growth and spread of educational activities has resulted in an increasing number of persons engaged in teaching on a professional or voluntary basis.

Many types of activity falling within the field of education may overlap: teachers, instructors, lecturers, promoters and organizers of educational projects, educational and vocational guidance workers, career advisers, adult education specialists and administrators.

Regarding the membership of the teaching profession as represented in employment markets, one finds that in most countries they make up one of the most significant categories of the salaried workforce.

Recently, the importance of teachers’ trade unions has increased continuously, keeping pace with the ever-increasing number of teachers. The flexibility of their working hours has enabled teachers to play a significant role in the political life of many countries.

A new type of educator - those who are not exactly teachers in the previously held conception of the term - can now be found in many systems, where the school has become a centre for permanent or life-long educational facilities. These are professionals from various sectors, including handicrafts experts, artists and so on, who contribute permanently or occasionally to these educational activities.

Educational establishments are opening their doors to diverse groups and categories, turning more and more towards external and extramural activities. Two major tendencies can be observed in this connection: on the one hand, relations have been established with the industrial workforce, with industrial plants and processes; and on the other, a growing relation has been established with community development, and there is increasing interaction between institutional education and community education projects.

Universities and colleges endeavour to renew teachers’ initial training through refresher training. Apart from specifically pedagogical aspects and disciplines, they provide for educational sociology, economy and anthropology. A trend still facing many obstacles is to have future teachers acquire experience by doing training periods in community settings, in workplaces or in various educational and cultural establishments. The national service, which has become general in certain countries, is a useful experience in the field for future teachers.

The immense investments in communication and information are auspicious for different types of individual or collective self-teaching. The relation between self-teaching and teaching is an emerging problem. The change-over from the autodidactic training of those who had not attended school to the permanent self-teaching of young people and adults has not always been correctly appreciated by educational institutions.

These new educational policies and activities give rise to various problems such as hazards and their prevention. Permanent education, which is not limited to school experience, turns various places, such as the community, the workplace, the laboratory and the environment, into training premises. The teachers should be assisted in these activities, and insurance coverage should be provided. In order to prevent hazards, efforts should be made to adapt the various premises for educational activities. There are several instances where schools have been adapted to become open centres for the entire population and have been equipped so as to be not only educational institutions but also places for creative and productive activities and for meetings.

The relationship of teachers and instructors with these various periods in the lives of trainees and students, such as leisure time, working time, family life and the duration of apprenticeships, also requires a considerable effort as regards information, research and adaptation.

Relations between teachers and students’ families are also on the increase; sometimes members of families occasionally attend lectures or classes at the school. Dissimilarities between family models and educational models necessitate a great effort from teachers to reach mutual understanding from the psychological, sociological and anthropological standpoint. Family models influence the behaviour pattern of some students, who can experience sharp contradictions between family training and behavioural models and norms prevailing in the school.

However great the variety, all teaching has certain common characteristics: the teacher not only instructs in specific knowledge or skills but also seeks to convey a way of thought; he or she has to prepare the pupil for the next stage of development and stimulate the pupil’s interest and participation in the process of learning.

 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 14:59

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Written by

Elementary and secondary schools employ many different types of personnel, including teachers, teachers’ aides, administrators, clerical personnel, maintenance personnel, cafeteria personnel, nurses and many others required to keep a school functioning. In general, school personnel face all the potential hazards found in normal indoor and office environments, including indoor air pollution, poor lighting, inadequate heating or cooling, use of office machines, slips and falls, ergonomics problems from poorly designed office furniture and fire hazards. Precautions are the standard ones developed for this type of indoor environment, although building and fire codes usually have specific requirements for schools because of the large number of children present. Other general concerns found in schools include asbestos (especially among custodial and maintenance workers), chipping lead paint, pesticides and herbicides, radon and electromagnetic fields (especially for schools built near high-voltage transmission power lines). Eye and respiratory complaints related to the painting of rooms and the tarring of school roofs while the building is occupied are also a common problem. Painting and tarring should be done when the building is not occupied.

Basic academic duties required of all teachers include: lesson preparation, which can include the development of learning strategies, copying of lecture notes and the making of visual aids such as illustrations, graphs and the like; lecturing, which requires presenting information in an organized fashion that arouses the attention and concentration of students, and can involve the use of blackboards, film projectors, overhead projectors and computers; writing, giving and grading examinations; and individual counselling of students. Most of this instruction takes place in classrooms. In addition, teachers with specialities in science, arts, vocational education, physical education and other areas will conduct much of their teaching in facilities such as laboratories, art studios, theatres, gymnasiums and the like. Teachers may also take students on class trips outside the school to locations such as museums and zoos.

Teachers also have special duties, which can include supervision of students in hallways and the cafeteria; attending meetings with administrators, parents and others; organization and supervision of after-school leisure and other activities; and other administrative duties. In addition, teachers attend conferences and other educational events in order to keep current with their field and advance their career.

There are specific hazards facing all teachers. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, measles and chicken pox can easily spread throughout a school. Vaccinations (both of students and teachers), tuberculosis testing and other standard public health measures are essential (see table 1). Overcrowded classrooms, classroom noise, overloaded schedules, inadequate facilities, career advancement questions, job security and general lack of control over working conditions contribute to major stress problems, absenteeism and burnout in teachers. Solutions include both institutional changes to improve working conditions and stress reduction programmes where possible. A growing problem, especially in urban environments, is violence against teachers by students and, sometimes, intruders. In the United States, many secondary-level students, especially in urban schools, carry weapons, including guns. In schools where violence is a problem, organized violence-prevention programmes are essential. Teachers’ aides face many of the same hazards.

Table 1Infectious diseases affecting day-care workers and teachers.

 Disease

 Where found

 Mode of  transmission

 Comments

 Amoebiasis

 Especially  tropics and  subtropics

 Water and food  contaminated  with infected faeces

 Use good food and water sanitation.

 Chicken pox

 Worldwide

 Generally person-  to-person direct  contact, but also  possible by  airborne respiratory  droplets

 Chicken pox is more serious in adults than  children; risk of birth defects; reportable  disease in most countries.

 Cytomegalovirus  (CMV)

 Worldwide

 Airborne  respiratory  droplets; contact  with urine, saliva or  blood

 Highly contagious; risk of birth defects.

 Erythema  infectiosum  (Parvovirus-B-  19)

 Worldwide

 Direct person-to-  person contact or  airborne  respiratory droplets

 Mildly contagious; risk to foetus during  pregnancy.

 Gastroenteritis,  bacterial  (Salmonella,  Shigella,  Campylobacter)

 Worldwide

 Person-to-person  transmission, food  or water via faecal-  oral route

 Use good food and water sanitation;  require strict handwashing procedures;  reportable disease in most countries.

 Gastroenteritis,  viral  (Rotaviruses)

 Worldwide

 Person-to-person  transmission, food  or water via faecal-  oral route; also by  inhalation of dust  containing virus

 Use good food and water sanitation.

 German  measles (rubella)

 Worldwide

 Airborne  respiratory  droplets; direct  contact with  infected people

 Risk of birth defects; all children and  employees should be vaccinated;  reportable disease in most countries.

 Giardiasis  (intestinal  parasite)

 Worldwide,  but especially  tropics  and  subtropics

 Contaminated food  and water; also  possible by person-  to-person  transmission

 Use good food and water sanitation;  reportable disease in most countries.

 Hepatitis A virus

 Worldwide,  but especially

 Mediterranean  areas and  developing  countries

 Faecal-oral  transmission,  especially  contaminated food  and water; also  possible by direct  person-to-person  contact

 Risk of spontaneous abortions and  stillbirths; use good food  and water  sanitation; reportable disease in most  countries.

 Hepatitis B virus

 Worldwide,  especially  Asia and  Africa

 Sexual contact,  contact of broken  skin or mucous  membranes with  blood or other body  fluids

 Higher incidence in institutionalized  children (e.g., developmentally disabled);  vaccination recommended in high-risk  situations; use universal precautions for  all exposures to blood and other body  fluids; reportable disease in most  countries.

 Herpes Simplex  Type I and II

 Worldwide

 Contact with mucous  membranes

 extremely contagious; common in adults  and age group 10 to 20 years.

 Human Immune  Deficiency Virus  (HIV) infection

 Worldwide

 Sexual contact,  contact of broken  skin or mucous  membranes with  blood or other body  fluids

 Leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency  Syndrome (AIDS); use universal  precautions for all exposures to blood and  body fluids (e.g., nosebleeds); anonymous  reporting of disease required in most  countries.

 Infectious  mononucleosis  Epstein-Barr  virus)

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets; direct  contact with saliva

 Especially common in age group 10 to 20  years.

 Influenza

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets

 Highly contagious; high-risk individuals  should get immunization shots.

 Measles

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets

 Highly contagious, but for adults mostly a  risk to non-immunized individuals working  with unvaccinated children; reportable  disease in most countries.

 Meningococcus  meningitis  bacterial)

 Mostly tropical  Africa and  Brazil

 Airborne respiratory  droplets, especially close contact

 Reportable disease in most countries.

 Mumps

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets and contact  with saliva

 Highly contagious; exclude infected  children; may cause infertility in adults;  outbreaks reportable in some countries.

 Mycoplasma  infections

 Worldwide

 Airborne  transmission after  close contact

 A major cause of primary atypical  pneumonia; mainly affects children aged 5  to 15 years.

 Pertussis  (whooping  cough)

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets

 Not as severe in adults; all children under  7 years should be immunized.

 Scabies

 Worldwide

 Direct skin-to-skin  contact

 Infectious skin disease caused by mites

 Streptococcus  infections

 Worldwide

 Direct person-to-person contact

 Strep throat, scarlet fever and community-acquired pneumonia are examples of  infections.

 Tuberculosis  (respiratory)

 Worldwide

 Airborne respiratory  droplets

 Highly infectious; tuberculosis screening  should be conducted for all day care  workers; a reportable disease in most  countries.

 

Teachers in specialized classes can have additional occupational hazards, including chemical exposures, machinery hazards, accidents, electrical hazards, excessive noise levels, radiation and fire, depending on the particular classroom. Figure 1 shows an industrial arts metal shop in a high school, and figure 2 shows a high school science lab with fume hoods and an emergency shower. Table 2 summarizes special precautions, particularly substitution of safer materials, for use in schools. Information on standard precautions can be found in the chapters relevant to the process (e.g., Entertainment and the arts and Safe handling of chemicals).

Figure 1. Industrial arts metal shop in a high school.

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Michael McCann

Figure 2. High school science laboratory with fume hoods and an emergency shower.

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Michael McCann

Table 2.  Hazards and precautions for particular classes.

 Class

 Activity/Subject

 Hazards

 Precautions

 Elementary Classes

  Science

 Animal  handling

 

 

 Plants

 

 Chemicals

 

 

 Equipment

 

 Bites and scratches, zoonoses,  parasites

 

 Allergies, poisonous plants

 

 Skin and eye problems, toxic  reactions, allergies

 

Electrical hazards, safety hazards

Allow only live, healthy animals. Handle animals with heavy gloves. Avoid animals which can carry disease-transmitting insects and parasites.

Avoid plants which are known to be poisonous or cause allergic reaction.

Avoid using toxic chemicals with children. Wear proper personal protective equipment when doing teacher demonstrations with toxic chemicals.

Follow standard electrical safety procedures. Ensure all equipment is properly guarded. Store all equipment, tools, etc., properly.

 Art

 Painting and  drawing

 

 Photography

 

 Textile and  fibre arts

 

 Printmaking

 

 

 

 Woodworking

 

 

 

 Ceramics

 

Pigments, solvents

 

Photochemicals

 

 

Dyes

 

Acids, solvents

 

Cutting tools

 

Tools

 

Glues

 

Silica, toxic metals, heat,

kiln fumes

Use only non-toxic art materials. Avoid solvents, acids, alkalis, spray cans, chemical dyes, etc.

Use only children’s paints. Do not use pastels, dry pigments.

Do not do photo processing. Send out film for developing or use Polaroid cameras or blueprint paper and sunlight.

Avoid synthetic dyes; use natural dyes such as onion skins, tea, spinach, etc.

Use water-based block printing inks.

Use linoleum cuts instead of woodcuts.

Use soft woods and hand tools only.

Use water-based glues.

Use wet clay only, and wet mop.

Paint pottery rather than using ceramic glazes. Do not fire kiln inside classroom.

 

Secondary Classes

Chemistry

 General

 

 

 

 

 

 Organic  chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Inorganic  chemistry

 

 Analytical  chemistry

 

 Storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solvents

 

 

 

Peroxides and explosives

 

 

Acids and bases

 

Hydrogen sulphide

 

Incompatibilities

 

 

Flammability

All school laboratories should have the following: laboratory hood if toxic, volatile chemicals are used; eyewash fountains; emergency showers (if concentrated acids, bases or other corrosive chemicals are present); first aid kits; proper fire extinguishers; protective goggles, gloves and lab coats; proper disposal receptacles and procedures; spill control kit. Avoid carcinogens, mutagens and highly toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, cadmium, chlorine gas, etc.

 

Use only in laboratory hood.

Use least toxic solvents.

Do semi-micro- or microscale experiments.

 

Do not use explosives or chemicals such as ether, which can form explosive peroxides.

 

Avoid concentrated acids and bases when possible.

 

Do not use hydrogen sulphide. Use substitutes.

 

Avoid alphabetical storage, which can place incompatible chemicals in close proximity. Store chemicals by compatible groups.

 

Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved flammable-storage cabinets.

 Biology

 Dissection

 

 

 Anaesthetizing  insects

 

 Drawing of  blood

 

 Microscopy

 

 Culturing  bacteria

Formaldehyde

 

 

Ether, cyanide

 

HIV, Hepatitis B

 

Stains

 

Pathogens

Do not dissect specimens preserved in formaldehyde. Use smaller, freeze-dried animals, training films and videotapes, etc.

 

Use ethyl alcohol for anaesthetization of insects. Refrigerate insects for counting.

 

Avoid if possible. Use sterile lancets for blood typing under close supervision.

 

Avoid skin contact with iodine and gentian violet.

 

Use sterile technique with all bacteria, assuming there could be contamination by pathogenic bacteria.

 Physical  sciences

 Radioisotopes

 

 

 Electricity  and  magnetism

 

 Lasers

Ionizing radiation

 

 

Electrical hazards

 

 

Eye and skin damage,

electrical hazards

Use radioisotopes only in “exempt” quantities not requiring a license. Only trained teachers should use these. Develop a radiation safety programme.

 

Follow standard electrical safety procedures.

 

 

Use only low-power (Class I) lasers. Never look directly into a laser beam or pass the beam across face or body. Lasers should have a key lock.

 Earth  sciences

 Geology

 

 Water  pollution

 

 

 Atmosphere

 

 

 Volcanoes

 

 Solar  observation

Flying chips

 

Infection, toxic chemicals

 

 

Mercury manometers

 

 

Ammonium dichromate

 

Infrared radiation

Crush rocks in canvas bag to prevent flying chips. Wear protective goggles.

 

Do not take sewage samples because of infection risk. Avoid hazardous chemicals in field testing of water pollution.

 

Use oil or water manometers. If mercury manometers are used for demonstration, have mercury spill control kit.

 

Do not use ammonium dichromate and magnesium to simulate volcanoes.

 

Never view sun directly with eyes or through lenses.

 Art and  Industrial  Arts

 All

 

 

 Painting and  drawing

 

 

 Photography

 

 

 Textile and  fibre arts

General

 

 

Pigments, solvents

 

 

Photochemicals, acids,

sulphur dioxide

 

Dyes, dyeing assistants,

wax fumes

Avoid most dangerous chemicals and processes. Have proper ventilation. See also precautions under Chemistry

 

Avoid lead and cadmium pigments. Avoid oil paints unless cleanup is done with vegetable oil. Use spray fixatives outside.

 

Avoid colour processing and toning. Have dilution ventilation for darkroom. Have eyewash fountain. Use water instead of acetic acid for stop bath.

 

Use aqueous liquid dyes or mix dyes in glove box. Avoid dichromate mordants.

Do not use solvents to remove wax in batik. Have ventilation if ironing out wax.

 

 Papermaking

 

 

 

 Printmaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Woodworking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ceramics

 

 

 

 Sculpture

 

 

 

 

 Jewelry

 

Alkali, beaters

 

 

 

Solvents

 

 

 

Acids, potassium chlorate

 

 

 

Dichromates

 

 

Woods and wood dust

 

 

 

Machinery and tools

 

Noise

 

Glues

 

 

Paints and finishes

 

 

Lead, silica, toxic metals, kiln fumes

 

 

Silica, plastics resins, dust

 

 

 

 

Soldering fumes, acids

Do not boil lye. Use rotten or mulched plant materials, or recycle paper and cardboard. Use large blender instead of more dangerous industrial beaters to prepare paper pulp.

Use water-based instead of solvent-based silk screen inks. Clean intaglio press beds nd inking slabs with vegetable oil and dishwashing liquid instead of solvents.

Use cut paper stencils instead of lacquer stencils for silk screen printing.

 

Use ferric chloride to etch copper plates instead of Dutch mordant or nitric acid on zinc plates. If using nitric acid etching, have emergency shower and eyewash fountain and local exhaust ventilation.

 

Use diazo instead of dichromate photoemulsions. Use citric acid fountain solutions in lithography to replace dichromates.

 

Have dust collection system for woodworking machines. Avoid irritating and allergenic hardwoods, preserved woods (e.g., chromated copper arsenate treated).Clean up wood dust to remove fire hazards.

 

Have machine guards. Have key locks and panic button.

 

Reduce noise levels or wear hearing protectors.

 

Use water-based glues when possible. Avoid formaldehyde/resorcinol glues, solvent-based glues.

 

Use water-based paints and finishes. Use shellac based on ethyl alcohol rather than methyl alcohol.

 

Purchase wet clay. Do not use lead glazes. Buy prepared glazes rather than mixing dry glazes. Spray glazes only in spray booth. Fire kiln outside or have local exhaust ventilation. Wear infrared goggles when looking into hot kiln.

 

Use only hand tools for stone sculpture to reduce dust levels. Do not use sandstone, granite or soapstone, which might contain silica or asbestos. Do not use highly toxic polyester, epoxy or polyurethane resins. Have ventilation if heating plastics to remove decomposition products. Wet mop or vacuum dusts.

Avoid cadmium silver solders and fluoride fluxes. Use sodium hydrogen sulphate rather than sulphuric acid for pickling. Have local exhaust ventilation.

 

 Enameling

 

 

 Lost wax  casting

 

 

 

 Stained glass

 

 

 Welding

 

 

 

 Commercial  art

Lead, burns, infrared

radiation

 

Metal fumes, silica,

infrared radiation, heat

 

 

Lead, acid fluxes

 

 

Metal fumes, ozone, nitrogen

dioxide, electrical and fire

hazards

 

Solvents, photochemicals,

video display terminals

Use only lead-free enamels. Ventilate enameling kiln. Have heat-protective gloves and clothing, and infrared goggles.

 

Use 50/50 30-mesh sand/plaster instead of cristobalite investments. Have local exhaust ventilation for wax burnout kiln and casting operation. Wear heat-protective clothing and gloves.

 

Use copper foil technique rather than lead came. Use lead- and antimony-free solders. Avoid lead glass paints. Use acid- and rosin-free soldering fluxes.

 

Do not weld metals coated with zinc, lead paints, or alloys with hazardous metals (nickel, chromium, etc.). Weld only metals of known composition.

 

 

Use double-sided tape instead of rubber cement. Use heptane-based, not hexane rubber cements. Have spray booths for air brushing. Use water-based or alcohol-based permanent markers instead of xylene types.

See Photography section for photoprocesses.

Have proper ergonomic chairs, lighting, etc., for computers.

 Performing  Arts

 Theatre

 

 

 

 

 Dance

 

 

 

 Music

Solvents, paints, welding

fumes, isocyanates, safety,

fire

 

 

Acute injuries

Repetitive strain injuries

 

 

Musculoskeletal injuries

(e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)

 

Noise

 

 

 

Vocal strain

Use water-based paints and dyes. Do not use polyurethane spray foams.

Separate welding from other areas. Have safe rigging procedures. Avoid pyrotechnics, firearms, fog and smoke, and other hazardous special effects.

Fireproof all stage scenery. Mark all trap doors, pits and elevations.

 

Have a proper dance floor. Avoid full schedules after period of inactivity. Assure proper warm-up before and cool-down after dance activity. Allow sufficient recovery time after injuries.

 

Use proper sized instruments. Have adequate instrument supports. Allow sufficient recovery time after injuries.

 

Keep sound levels at acceptable levels. Wear musician’s ear plugs if needed.

Position speakers to minimize noise levels. Use sound-absorbing materials on walls.

Assure adequate warm-up. Provide proper vocal training and conditioning.

 Automotive  Mechanics

 Brake drums

 

 Degreasing

 

 Car motors

 

 Welding

 

 Painting

Asbestos

 

Solvents

 

Carbon monoxide

 

 

 

Solvents, pigments

Do not clean brake drums unless approved equipment is used.

 

Use water-based detergents. Use parts cleaner

 

Have tailpipe exhaust.

 

See above.

 

Spray paint only in spray booth, or outdoors with respiratory protection.

 

 Home  Economics

 Food and  nutrition

Electrical hazards

 

Knives and other sharp utensils

 

Fire and burns

 

 

Cleaning products

Follow standard electrical safety rules.

 

Always cut away from body. Keep knives sharpened.

 

 

Have stove hoods with grease filters that exhaust to outside. Wear protective gloves with hot objects.

 

Wear goggles, gloves and apron with acidic or basic cleaning products.

 

Teachers in special education programmes can sometimes be at greater risk. Examples of hazards include violence from emotionally disturbed students and transmission of infections such as hepatitis A, B and C from institutionalized, developmentally disabled students (Clemens et al. 1992).

 


Preschool Programmes 

Child-care, which involves the physical care and often education of young children, takes many forms in different parts of the world. In many countries where extended families are common, grandparents and other female relatives care for young children when the mother has to work. In countries where the nuclear family and/or single parents predominate and the mother is working, the care of healthy children below school age often occurs in private or public day-care centres or nursery schools outside the home. In many countries - for example, Sweden - these child-care facilities are operated by municipalities. In the United States, most child-care facilities are private, although they are usually regulated by local health departments. An exception is the Head Start Program for preschool children, which is funded by the government. 

Staffing of child-care facilities usually depends on the number of children involved and the nature of the facility. For small numbers of children (usually less than 12), the child-care facility might be a home where the children include the preschool children of the caregiver. The staff can include one or more qualified adult assistants to meet staff-to-child ratio requirements. Larger, more formal child-care facilities include day-care centres and nursery schools. The staff members for these are usually required to have more education and can include a qualified director, trained teachers, nursing staff under the supervision of a physician, kitchen staff (nutrition specialists, food service managers and cooks) and other personnel, such as transportation staff and maintenance staff. The premises of the day-care centre should have such amenities as an outdoor play area, cloakroom, reception area, indoor classroom and play area, kitchen, sanitary facilities, administrative rooms, laundry room and so on.

Staff duties include supervision of children in all their activities, changing diapers of infants, emotional nurturing of the children, teaching, food preparation and service, recognition of signs of illness and/or safety hazards and many other functions. 

Day-care workers face many of the same hazards found in normal indoor environments, including indoor air pollution, poor lighting, inadequate temperature control, slips and falls and fire hazards. (See the article “Elementary and Secondary Schools”.) Stress (often resulting in burnout) and infections, however, are the major hazards for day-care workers. The lifting and carrying of children and exposure to possibly hazardous art supplies are other hazards.

Stress

Causes of stress in day-care workers include: high responsibility for the welfare of children without adequate pay and recognition; a perception of being unskilled even though many day-care workers have above-average education; image problems due to highly publicized incidents of day-care workers mistreating and abusing children, which have resulted in innocent day-care workers being fingerprinted and treated as potential criminals; and poor working conditions. The latter include low staff-to-child ratios, continual noise, lack of adequate time and facilities for meals and breaks separate from the children and inadequate mechanisms for parent-worker interaction, which can result in unnecessary and possibly unfair pressure and criticism from parents. 

Preventive measures to reduce stress in day-care workers include: higher wages and better benefits; higher staff-to-child ratios to allow job rotation, rest breaks, sick leave and better performance, with resulting increase in job satisfaction; establishing formal mechanisms for parent-worker communications and cooperation (possibly including a parent-workers health and safety committee); and improved working conditions, such as adult-size chairs, regular “quiet” times, a separate workers’ break area and so on.

Infections

Infectious diseases, such as diarrhoeal diseases, streptococcal and meningococcal infections, rubella, cytomegalovirus and respiratory infections, are major occupational hazards of day-care workers (see table 1). A study of day-care workers in Belgium found an increased risk of hepatitis A (Abdo and Chriske 1990). Up to 30% of the 25,000 cases of hepatitis A reported annually in the United States have been linked to day-care centres. Some organisms causing diarrhoeal diseases, such as Giardia lamblia, which causes giardiasis, are extremely infectious. Outbreaks can occur in day-care centres serving affluent populations as well as those serving poor areas (Polis et al. 1986). Some infections - for example, German measles and cytomegalovirus - can be especially hazardous for pregnant women, or women planning to have children, because of the risk of birth defects caused by the virus.

Sick children can spread diseases, as can children who have no overt symptoms but are carrying an illness. The most common routes of exposure are faecal-oral and respiratory. Young children usually have poor personal hygiene habits. Hand-to-mouth and toy-to-mouth contact are common. Handling contaminated toys and food is one type of entry route. Some organisms can live on inanimate objects for extended periods ranging from hours to weeks. Food can also be a vector if the food handler has contaminated hands or is ill. Inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets due to sneezing and coughing without protection such as tissues can result in transmission of infections. Such air-borne aerosols can remain suspended in the air for hours.

Day care employees working with children under the age of three years, especially if the children are not toilet-trained, are at greatest risk, particularly when changing and handling soiled diapers which are contaminated by disease-bearing organisms.

Precautions include: convenient facilities for handwashing; regular handwashing by children and staff members; changing diapers in designated areas which are regularly disinfected; disposal of soiled diapers in closed, plastic-lined receptacles which are emptied frequently; separating food preparation areas from other areas; frequent washing of toys, play areas, blankets and other items that could become contaminated; good ventilation; adequate staff-to-child ratios to allow proper implementation of a hygiene programme; a policy of excluding, isolating or restricting sick children, depending on the illness; and adequate sick-leave policies to allow sick day-care workers to stay home.

Adapted from Women’s Occupational Health Resource Center 1987


 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 15:19

Vocational Training and Apprenticeships

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The teaching of trades through the apprenticeship system dates at least as far back as the Roman Empire, and continues to this day in classic trades such as shoemaking, carpentry, stone masonry and so forth. Apprenticeships can be informal, where a person desiring to learn a trade finds a skilled employer willing to teach him or her in exchange for work. However, most apprenticeships are more formal and involve a written contract between the employer and the apprentice, who is bound to serve the employer for a given time in return for training. These formal apprenticeship programmes usually have standard rules regarding qualifications for completing the apprenticeship that are set by an institution such as a trade union, guild or employer organization. In some countries, trade unions and employer organizations run the apprenticeship programme directly; these programmes usually involve a combination of structured on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

In today’s technological world, however, there is a growing need for skilled labour in many areas, such as laboratory technicians, mechanics, machinists, cosmetologists, cooks, service trades and many more. The learning of these skilled trades usually takes place in vocational programmes in schools, vocational institutes, polytechnics, colleges with two-year programmes and similar institutions. These sometimes include internships in actual work settings.

Both the teachers and the students in these vocational programmes face occupational hazards from the chemicals, machinery, physical agents and other hazards associated with the particular trade or industry. In many vocational programmes, students are learning their skills using old machinery donated by industry. These machines often are not equipped with modern safety features such as proper machine guards, fast-acting brakes, noise-control measures and so forth. The teachers themselves often have not had adequate training in the hazards of the trade and appropriate precautions. Often, the schools do not have adequate ventilation and other precautions.

Apprentices often face high-risk situations because they are assigned the dirtiest and most hazardous tasks. Often they are used as a source of cheap labour. In these situations, it is even more likely that the apprentice’s employers have not had adequate training in the hazards and precautions of their trade. Informal apprenticeships are usually not regulated, and there is often no recourse for apprentices facing such exploitation or hazards.

Another common problem with both apprenticeship programmes and vocational training is age. Apprenticeship entry age is generally between 16 and 18 year of age. Vocational training can begin at elementary school. Studies have shown that young workers (aged 15 to 19 years) account for a disproportionate percentage of lost-time injury claims. In Ontario, Canada, for the year 1994, the largest proportion of injured young workers were employed in the service industry.

These statistics indicate that students entering these programmes may not understand the importance of health and safety training. Students also can have different attention spans and comprehension levels than adults, and this should be reflected in their training. Finally, extra attention is needed in sectors such as service industries, where health and safety has generally not received the attention found in other industries.

In any apprenticeship or vocational programme, there should be built-in safety and health training programmes, including hazard communication. The teachers or employers should be properly trained in the hazards and precautions, both to protect themselves and to teach the students properly. The work or training setting should have adequate precautions.

 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 15:21

Colleges and Universities

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The large number and wide variety of operations and hazardous materials involved in teaching, research and support service activities present a challenge to health and safety management in colleges and universities. The very nature of research implies risk: challenging the limits of current knowledge and technology. Many research activities in science, engineering and medicine require sophisticated and expensive facilities, technology and equipment which may not be readily available or have yet to be developed. Research activities within existing facilities may also evolve and change without the facilities being modified to contain them safely. Many of the most hazardous activities are performed infrequently, periodically or on an experimental basis. Hazardous materials used in teaching and research often include some of the most dangerous substances and hazards with unavailable or poorly documented safety and toxicity data. These are commonly used in relatively small quantities under less than ideal conditions by poorly trained personnel. Health and safety hazards are not always easily recognized or readily acknowledged by highly educated academics with specialized fields of expertise who may have a poor regard for legislative or administrative controls when these are perceived to limit academic freedom.

Academic freedom is a sacred principle, fiercely guarded by academics, some of whom may be experts in their disciplines. Any legislative or institutional constraints which are perceived as encroaching on this principle will be fought and may even be disregarded. Methods for the identification and control of health and safety hazards associated with teaching and research activities cannot be readily imposed. Academics need to be persuaded that health and safety policies support and enhance the primary mission rather than confine it. Policies, where they exist, tend to protect the academic mission and the rights of individuals, rather than to conform with external regulations and standards. Liability and accountability issues affecting teachers and researchers directly may have more effect than rules.

Most health and safety legislation, standards and guidance criteria are developed for industry with large quantities of relatively few chemicals, well documented hazards, established procedures and a stable workforce within a well defined management system. The academic environment differs from industry in almost every aspect. In some jurisdictions academic institutions may even be exempt from health and safety legislation.

Academic institutions are generally hierarchical in their management systems, with academics at the top followed by non-academic professionals, technicians and support staff. Graduate students are often employed on a part-time basis to perform a variety of teaching and research functions. Academics are appointed to senior management positions for specific terms with little management experience or training. Frequent turn-over may result in a lack of continuity. Within this system, senior researchers, even within large institutions, are granted relative autonomy to manage their affairs. They are usually in control of their own budgets, facility design, purchasing, organization of work and hiring of personnel. Hazards may be overlooked or go unrecognized.

It is common practice for researchers in academic institutions to employ graduate students as research assistants in a master/apprentice relationship. These individuals are not always protected under health and safety laws. Even if covered by legislation, they are frequently reluctant to exercise their rights or to voice safety concerns to their supervisors who may also be responsible for evaluating their academic performance. Long hours under great pressure, overnight and weekend work with minimal supervision and skeleton support services are routine. Cost saving and energy conservation efforts may even reduce essential services such as security and ventilation during nights and weekends. Though students are not usually protected by health and safety legislation, due diligence requires that they are treated with the same level of care as is provided for employees.

Potential Hazards

The range of hazards can be extremely broad depending upon the size and nature of the institution, the type of academic programmes offered and the nature of research activities (see table 1). Small colleges offering only liberal arts programmes may have relatively few hazards while comprehensive universities with schools of medicine, engineering and fine arts and extensive research programmes may have a complete range, including some very serious hazards, such as toxic chemicals, biohazards, reproductive hazards, ionizing and non-ionizing radiations and various other physical agents.

Table 1.  Summary of hazards in colleges and universities.

Type of hazard

Sources

Locations/activities

Toxic chemicals

(carcinogens, teratogens, caustics, heavy metals, asbestos, silica)

Lab chemicals, solvents, degreasers, glues, art supplies, manometers, thermometers, photochemicals, dyes, hazardous waste

Laboratories, art studios, workshops, health care facilities, maintenance operations, machine shops, theatres, darkrooms, engineering, hockey arenas

Flammables and explosives

Lab chemicals, cleaning agents, solvents, fuels

Laboratories, maintenance operations, workshops, art studios, construction sites

Pesticides

Fumigation, rodent and pest control, disinfectants

Housekeeping, groundskeeping, greenhouse, agriculture

Biological agents

Animal handling, cell and tissue cultures, blood and body fluids, diagnostic specimens, contaminated sharps, solid waste

Animal care facilities, health care, housekeeping, laboratories

Non-ionizing radiation

Lasers, microwaves, magnets, electronics, ultraviolet light

Laboratories, electrical operations, health care facilities, workshops, technical operations

Ionizing radiation

Radioisotopes, gas chromatography, x-rays, calibration, reactors, neutron generators, waste management

Laboratories, medical facilities, engineering

Ergonomics

Materials handling, office work, computers

Libraries, offices, maintenance operations, movers, truck drivers, food services

Heat/cold

Outdoor work, overexertion

Groundskeeping, public safety, maintenance, field work, agriculture and forestry

Noise

Machinery, boilers and pressure vessels, computers, construction and maintenance, ventilation systems

Boiler rooms, print shops, maintenance and grounds, construction operations, computer rooms, labs, machine shops, art studios

Violence

Internal community, external community, domestic disputes, civil disobedience

Classrooms, places of assembly, accounts, stores, food service, personnel department, security operations

Electrical

Electrical equipment, construction and maintenance operations, amateur wiring jobs, special events

Laboratories, workshops, maintenance shops, construction sites, electronic shops, residences, theatre, special events

Compressed gases

Laboratory equipment and operations, welding operations, coolants, ice-making equipment, construction

Laboratories, metal shops, construction sites, machine shops, hockey arenas

Machine hazards

Materials handling, robots, maintenance and construction work

Printing shops, maintenance and grounds operations, engineering, science and technical laboratories, machine shops

Sharp objects

Broken glass, cutting instruments, needles, lab vessels, test tubes

Housekeeping, laboratories, health care, art studios, workshops

 

Maintenance and groundskeeping, hazardous materials handling, machine and motor vehicle operations and office work are common to most institutions and comprise hazards which are covered elsewhere in this Encyclopaedia.

Workplace violence is an emerging issue of particular concern for teaching staff, front-line personnel, money handlers and security personnel.

Large institutions may be compared to small towns where a population lives and works. Issues of personal and community safety interface with occupational health and safety concerns.

Control of Hazards

Hazard identification through the usual processes of inspection and incident and injury investigation need to be preceded by careful review of proposed programmes and facilities prior to the start up of activities. The occupational and environmental risk aspects of new research projects and academic programmes should be taken into consideration in the earliest stages of the planning process. Researchers may not be aware of legislative requirements or safety standards applicable to their operations. For many projects, researchers and safety professionals need to work together to develop the safety procedures as the research proceeds and new hazards emerge.

Ideally the safety culture is incorporated into the academic mission - for example, through inclusion of relevant health and safety information into course curricula and laboratory and procedure manuals for students as well as specific health and safety information and training for employees. Hazard communication, training and supervision are critical.

In laboratories, art studios and workshops, general ventilation control needs to be augmented by local exhaust ventilation. Containment of biohazards and isolation or shielding of radioisotopes are necessary in certain cases. Personal protective equipment, while not a primary prevention method in most situation, may be the option of choice for temporary set-ups and some experimental conditions.

Hazardous materials and waste management programmes are usually required. Centralized purchasing and distribution of commonly used chemicals and micro-scale experiments in teaching prevent the storage of large volumes in individual laboratories, studios and workshops.

The maintenance of an emergency response and disaster recovery plan in anticipation of major events which overwhelm the normal response capabilities will mitigate the health and safety effects of a serious incident.

 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 15:24

Art Teaching

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Health and safety problems in art programmes can be similar in educational institutions ranging from junior high schools to universities. Arts programmes are a special problem because their hazards are not often recognized and, especially at the college level, can be semi-industrial in scale. Hazards can include inhalation of airborne contaminants; ingestion or dermal absorption of toxins; injury from machinery and tools; slips, trips and falls; and repetitive strain and other musculoskeletal injuries. Precautions include the provision of adequate ventilation (both dilution and local exhaust), the safe handling and storage of chemicals, machine-guarding and competent maintenance of machinery, efficient clean-up, good housekeeping and adjustable work stations. A key precaution in avoiding occupational safety and health problems of all kinds is adequate and mandatory training.

Elementary and Secondary School Teachers

Hazards at the elementary and secondary school levels include practices such as spraying and unsafe use of solvents and other chemicals and poor ventilation of processes. There is frequently a lack of proper equipment and sufficient knowledge of materials to ensure a safe workplace. Precautions include efficient engineering controls, better knowledge of materials, the elimination of hazardous art supplies from schools and substitution with safer ones (see table 1). This will help protect not only teachers, technicians, maintenance workers and administrators, but also students.

Table 1. Hazards and precautions for particular classes.

Class

Activity/Subject

Hazards

Precautions

Elementary Classes

Science

Animal handling

 

 

Plants

 

Chemicals

 

 

Equipment

 

Bites and scratches,

zoonoses, parasites

 

Allergies, poisonous plants

 

Skin and eye problems,

toxic reactions, allergies

 

Electrical hazards,

safety hazards

Allow only live, healthy animals. Handle animals with heavy gloves. Avoid

animals which can carry disease-transmitting insects and parasites.

 

Avoid plants which are known to be poisonous or cause allergic reaction.

 

Avoid using toxic chemicals with children. Wear proper personal protective

equipment when doing teacher demonstrations with toxic chemicals.

 

Follow standard electrical safety procedures. Ensure all equipment is properly

guarded. Store all equipment, tools, etc., properly.

 

Art

 

 

 

Painting and drawing

 

Photography

 

 

Textile and fibre arts

 

Printmaking

 

 

 

Woodworking

 

 

 

Ceramics

 

 

 

Pigments, solvents

 

Photochemicals

 

 

Dyes

 

Acids, solvents

 

Cutting tools

 

Tools

 

Glues

 

Silica, toxic metals, heat,

kiln fumes

Use only non-toxic art materials. Avoid solvents, acids, alkalis, spray cans, chemical dyes, etc.

 

Use only children’s paints. Do not use pastels, dry pigments.

 

Do not do photoprocessing. Send out film for developing or use Polaroid cameras

or blueprint paper and sunlight.

 

Avoid synthetic dyes; use natural dyes such as onion skins, tea, spinach, etc.

 

Use water-based block printing inks.

 

Use linoleum cuts instead of woodcuts.

 

Use soft woods and hand tools only.

 

Use water-based glues.

 

Use wet clay only, and wet mop.

Paint pottery rather than using ceramic glazes. Do not fire kiln inside classroom.

 

 

Secondary Classes

 

Chemistry

General

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organic chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inorganic chemistry

 

Analytical chemistry

 

Storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solvents

 

 

 

Peroxides and explosives

 

 

Acids and bases

 

Hydrogen sulphide

 

Incompatibilities

 

 

Flammability

All school laboratories should have the following: laboratory hood if toxic, volatile

chemicals are used; eyewash fountains; emergency showers (if concentrated

acids, bases or other corrosive chemicals are present); first aid kits; proper fire

extinguishers; protective goggles, gloves and lab coats; proper disposal

receptacles and procedures; spill control kit. Avoid carcinogens, mutagens and

highly toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, cadmium, chlorine gas, etc.

 

Use only in laboratory hood.

Use least toxic solvents.

Do semi-micro- or microscale experiments.

 

Do not use explosives or chemicals such as ether, which can form explosive

peroxides.

 

Avoid concentrated acids and bases when possible.

 

Do not use hydrogen sulphide. Use substitutes.

 

Avoid alphabetical storage, which can place incompatible chemicals in close

proximity. Store chemicals by compatible groups.

 

Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved flammable-storage

cabinets.

 

Biology

Dissection

 

 

Anaesthetizing insects

 

Drawing of blood

 

Microscopy

 

Culturing bacteria

Formaldehyde

 

 

Ether, cyanide

 

HIV, Hepatitis B

 

Stains

 

Pathogens

Do not dissect specimens preserved in formaldehyde. Use smaller, freeze-dried

animals, training films and videotapes, etc.

 

Use ethyl alcohol for anaesthetization of insects. Refrigerate insects for counting.

 

Avoid if possible. Use sterile lancets for blood typing under close supervision.

 

Avoid skin contact with iodine and gentian violet.

 

Use sterile technique with all bacteria, assuming there could be contamination by

pathogenic bacteria.

 

Physical sciences

Radioisotopes

 

 

Electricity and magnetism

 

Lasers

Ionizing radiation

 

 

Electrical hazards

 

 

Eye and skin damage,

electrical hazards

Use radioisotopes only in “exempt” quantities not requiring a license. Only trained

teachers should use these. Develop a radiation safety programme.

 

Follow standard electrical safety procedures.

 

 

Use only low-power (Class I) lasers. Never look directly into a laser beam or pass

the beam across face or body. Lasers should have a key lock.

 

Earth sciences

Geology

 

Water pollution

 

 

Atmosphere

 

 

Volcanoes

 

Solar observation

Flying chips

 

Infection, toxic chemicals

 

 

Mercury manometers

 

 

Ammonium dichromate

 

Infrared radiation

Crush rocks in canvas bag to prevent flying chips. Wear protective goggles.

 

Do not take sewage samples because of infection risk. Avoid hazardous

chemicals in field testing of water pollution.

 

Use oil or water manometers. If mercury manometers are used for demonstration,

have mercury spill control kit.

 

Do not use ammonium dichromate and magnesium to simulate volcanoes.

 

Never view sun directly with eyes or through lenses.

 

Art and Industrial Arts

All

 

 

Painting and drawing

 

 

Photography

 

 

Textile and fibre arts

General

 

 

Pigments, solvents

 

 

Photochemicals, acids,

sulphur dioxide

 

Dyes, dyeing assistants,

wax fumes

Avoid most dangerous chemicals and processes. Have proper ventilation. See

also precautions under Chemistry

 

Avoid lead and cadmium pigments. Avoid oil paints unless cleanup is done with

vegetable oil. Use spray fixatives outside.

 

Avoid colour processing and toning. Have dilution ventilation for darkroom. Have

eyewash fountain. Use water instead of acetic acid for stop bath.

 

Use aqueous liquid dyes or mix dyes in glove box. Avoid dichromate mordants.

Do not use solvents to remove wax in batik. Have ventilation if ironing out wax.

 

 

Papermaking

 

 

 

Printmaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodworking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceramics

 

 

 

Sculpture

 

 

 

 

Jewelry

 

Alkali, beaters

 

 

 

Solvents

 

 

 

Acids, potassium chlorate

 

 

 

Dichromates

 

 

Woods and wood dust

 

 

 

Machinery and tools

 

Noise

 

Glues

 

 

Paints and finishes

 

 

Lead, silica, toxic metals, kiln fumes

 

 

Silica, plastics resins, dust

 

 

 

 

Soldering fumes, acids

Do not boil lye. Use rotten or mulched plant materials, or recycle paper and

cardboard. Use large blender instead of more dangerous industrial beaters to

prepare paper pulp.

 

Use water-based instead of solvent-based silk screen inks. Clean intaglio press

beds nd inking slabs with vegetable oil and dishwashing liquid instead of solvents.

Use cut paper stencils instead of lacquer stencils for silk screen printing.

 

Use ferric chloride to etch copper plates instead of Dutch mordant or nitric acid on

zinc plates. If using nitric acid etching, have emergency shower and eyewash

fountain and local exhaust ventilation.

 

Use diazo instead of dichromate photoemulsions. Use citric acid fountain

solutions in lithography to replace dichromates.

 

Have dust collection system for woodworking machines. Avoid irritating and

allergenic hardwoods, preserved woods (e.g., chromated copper arsenate

treated).Clean up wood dust to remove fire hazards.

 

Have machine guards. Have key locks and panic button.

 

Reduce noise levels or wear hearing protectors.

 

Use water-based glues when possible. Avoid formaldehyde/resorcinol glues,

solvent-based glues.

 

Use water-based paints and finishes. Use shellac based on ethyl alcohol rather

than methyl alcohol.

 

Purchase wet clay. Do not use lead glazes. Buy prepared glazes rather than

mixing dry glazes. Spray glazes only in spray booth. Fire kiln outside or have

local exhaust ventilation. Wear infrared goggles when looking into hot kiln.

 

Use only hand tools for stone sculpture to reduce dust levels. Do not use

sandstone, granite or soapstone, which might contain silica or asbestos. Do not

use highly toxic polyester, epoxy or polyurethane resins. Have ventilation if

heating plastics to remove decomposition products. Wet mop or vacuum dusts.

 

Avoid cadmium silver solders and fluoride fluxes. Use sodium hydrogen sulphate rather than sulphuric acid for pickling. Have local exhaust ventilation.

 

 

Enameling

 

 

Lost wax casting

 

 

 

Stained glass

 

 

Welding

 

 

 

Commercial art

Lead, burns, infrared

radiation

 

Metal fumes, silica,

infrared radiation, heat

 

 

Lead, acid fluxes

 

 

Metal fumes, ozone, nitrogen

dioxide, electrical and fire

hazards

 

Solvents, photochemicals,

video display terminals

Use only lead-free enamels. Ventilate enameling kiln. Have heat-protective

gloves and clothing, and infrared goggles.

 

Use 50/50 30-mesh sand/plaster instead of cristobalite investments. Have local

exhaust ventilation for wax burnout kiln and casting operation. Wear heat-pro

tective clothing and gloves.

 

Use copper foil technique rather than lead came. Use lead- and antimony-free

solders. Avoid lead glass paints. Use acid- and rosin-free soldering fluxes.

 

Do not weld metals coated with zinc, lead paints, or alloys with hazardous metals

(nickel, chromium, etc.). Weld only metals of known composition.

 

 

Use double-sided tape instead of rubber cement. Use heptane-based, not hexane

rubber cements. Have spray booths for air brushing. Use water-based or alcohol-

based permanent markers instead of xylene types.

See Photography section for photoprocesses.

Have proper ergonomic chairs, lighting, etc., for computers.

 

Performing Arts

Theatre

 

 

 

 

Dance

 

 

 

Music

Solvents, paints, welding

fumes, isocyanates, safety,

fire

 

 

Acute injuries

Repetitive strain injuries

 

 

Musculoskeletal injuries

(e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)

 

Noise

 

 

 

Vocal strain

Use water-based paints and dyes. Do not use polyurethane spray foams.

Separate welding from other areas. Have safe rigging procedures. Avoid

pyrotechnics, firearms, fog and smoke, and other hazardous special effects.

Fireproof all stage scenery. Mark all trap doors, pits and elevations.

 

Have a proper dance floor. Avoid full schedules after period of inactivity. Assure

proper warm-up before and cool-down after dance activity. Allow sufficient

recovery time after injuries.

 

Use proper sized instruments. Have adequate instrument supports. Allow sufficient recovery time after injuries.

 

Keep sound levels at acceptable levels. Wear musician’s ear plugs if needed.

Position speakers to minimize noise levels. Use sound-absorbing materials on

walls.

 

Assure adequate warm-up. Provide proper vocal training and conditioning.

 

Automotive Mechanics

Brake drums

 

Degreasing

 

Car motors

 

Welding

 

Painting

Asbestos

 

Solvents

 

Carbon monoxide

 

 

 

Solvents, pigments

Do not clean brake drums unless approved equipment is used.

 

Use water-based detergents. Use parts cleaner

 

Have tailpipe exhaust.

 

See above.

 

Spray paint only in spray booth, or outdoors with respiratory protection.

 

 

Home Economics

Food and nutrition

Electrical hazards

 

Knives and other sharp

utensils

 

Fire and burns

 

 

Cleaning products

Follow standard electrical safety rules.

 

Always cut away from body. Keep knives sharpened.

 

 

Have stove hoods with grease filters that exhaust to outside. Wear protective

gloves with hot objects.

 

Wear goggles, gloves and apron with acidic or basic cleaning products.

 

 

College and University Teachers

Hazards at the college and university levels include, in addition to those mentioned above, the fact that students, teachers and technicians tend to be more experimental and tend to use more potentially dangerous materials and machinery. They also often work on a larger scale and for longer periods of time. Precautions must include education and training, the provision of engineering controls and personal protective equipment, written safety policies and procedures and insistence on compliance with these.

Artistic Freedom

Many art teachers and technicians are artists in their own right, resulting in multiple exposures to the hazards of art materials and processes which can significantly increase their health risks. When confronted with hazards in their field about which they have not known or which they have ignored, many teachers become defensive. Artists are experimental and frequently belong to an anti-establishment culture which encourages defiance of institutional rules. It is important, however, for the school administration to realize that the quest for artistic freedom is not a valid argument against working safely.

Liability and Training

In many jurisdictions teachers will be subject to both a personal and a school liability for the safety of their students, particularly the younger ones. “Because of the age, maturity, and experience limitations of most students, and because teachers stand in loco parentis (in the place of a parent), schools are expected to provide a safe environment and establish reasonable behaviour for the protection of students” (Qualley 1986).

Health and Safety Programmes

It is important that schools take the responsibility for training both art teachers and school administrators in the potential hazards of art materials and processes and in how to protect their students and themselves. A prudent school administration will ensure that there are in place written health and safety policies, procedures and programmes, compliance with these, regular safety training and a real interest in teaching how to create art safely.

 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 15:29

Health Problems and Disease Patterns

Written by

Teachers comprise a large and growing segment of the workforce in many countries. For example, over 4.2 million workers were classified as preschool through high school teachers in the United States in 1992. In addition to classroom teachers, other professional and technical workers are employed by schools, including custodial and maintenance workers, nurses, food service workers and mechanics.

Teaching has not traditionally been regarded as an occupation that entails exposure to hazardous substances. Consequently, few studies of occupationally related health problems have been carried out. Nevertheless, school teachers and other school personnel may be exposed to a wide variety of recognized physical, chemical, biological and other occupational hazards.

Indoor air pollution is an important cause of acute illnesses in teachers. A major source of indoor air pollution is inadequate maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). Contamination of HVAC systems can cause acute respiratory and dermatological illnesses. Newly constructed or renovated school buildings release chemicals, dusts and vapours into the air. Other sources of indoor air pollution are roofing, insulation, carpets, drapes and furniture, paint, caulk and other chemicals. Unrepaired water damage, as from roof leakage, can lead to the growth of micro-organisms in building materials and ventilation systems and the release of bioaerosols that affect the respiratory systems of teachers and students alike. Contamination of school buildings by micro-organisms can cause severe health conditions such as pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Teachers who specialize in certain technical fields may be exposed to specific occupational hazards. For example, arts and craft teachers frequently encounter a variety of chemicals, including organic solvents, pigments and dyes, metals and metal compounds, minerals and plastics (Rossol 1990). Other art materials cause allergic reactions. Exposure to many of these materials is strictly regulated in the industrial workplace but not in the classroom. Chemistry and biology teachers work with toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and other biohazards in school laboratories. Shop teachers work in dusty environments and may be exposed to high levels of wood dust and cleaning materials, as well as high noise levels.

Teaching is an occupation that is often characterized by a high degree of stress, absenteeism and burnout. There are many sources of teacher stress, which may vary with grade level. They include administrative and curriculum concerns, career advancement, student motivation, class size, role conflict and job security. Stress may also arise from dealing with children’s misbehaviours and possibly violence and weapons in schools, in addition to physical or environmental hazards such as noise. For example, desirable classroom sound levels are 40 to 50 decibels (dB) (Silverstone 1981), whereas in one survey of several schools, classroom sound levels averaged between 59 and 65 dB (Orloske and Leddo 1981). Teachers who are employed in second jobs after work or during the summer may be exposed to additional workplace hazards that can affect performance and health. The fact that the majority of teachers are women (three-fourths of all teachers in the United States are women) raises the question of how the dual role of worker and mother may affect women’s health. However, despite perceived high levels of stress, the rate of cardiovascular disease mortality in teachers was lower than in other occupations in several studies (Herloff and Jarvholm 1989), which could be due to lower prevalence of smoking and less consumption of alcohol.

There is a growing concern that some school environments may include cancer-causing materials such as asbestos, electromagnetic fields (EMF), lead, pesticides, radon and indoor air pollution (Regents Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality in Schools 1994). Asbestos exposure is a special concern among custodial and maintenance workers. A high prevalence of abnormalities associated with asbestos-related diseases has been documented in school custodians and maintenance employees (Anderson et al. 1992). The airborne concentration of asbestos has been reported higher in certain schools than in other buildings (Lee et al. 1992).

Some school buildings were built near high-voltage transmission power lines, which are sources of EMF. Exposure to EMF also comes from video display units or exposed wiring. Excess exposure to EMF has been linked to the incidence of leukaemia as well as breast and brain cancers in some studies (Savitz 1993). Another source of concern is exposure to pesticides that are applied to control the spread of insect and vermin populations in schools. It has been hypothesized that pesticide residues measured in adipose tissue and serum of breast cancer patients may be related to the development of this disease (Wolff et al. 1993).

The large proportion of teachers who are women has led to concerns about possible breast cancer risks. Unexplained increased breast cancer rates have been found in several studies. Using death certificates collected in 23 states in the United States between 1979 and 1987, the proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) for breast cancer were 162 for White teachers and 214 for Black teachers (Rubin et al. 1993). Increased PMRs for breast cancer were also reported among teachers in New Jersey and in the Portland-Vancouver area (Rosenman 1994; Morton 1995). While these increases in observed rates have so far not been linked either to specific environmental factors or to other known risk factors for breast cancer, they have given rise to heightened breast cancer awareness among some teachers’ organizations, resulting in screening and early detection campaigns.

 

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Monday, 21 March 2011 15:30

Environmental and Public Health Issues

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Educational institutions are responsible for ensuring that their facilities and practices are in conformity with environmental and public health legislation and comply with accepted standards of care towards their employees, students and the surrounding community. Students are not generally covered under occupational health and safety legislation, but educational institutions must exercise diligence towards their students to at least the same degree as is required by legislation designed to protect workers. In addition, teaching institutions have a moral responsibility to educate their students on matters of personal, public, occupational and environmental safety which relate to them and to their activities.

Colleges and Universities

Large institutions such as college and university campuses may be compared to large towns or small cities in terms of the size of the population, geographic area, type of basic services required and complexity of activities being carried out. In addition to the occupational health and safety hazards found within such institutions (covered in the chapter Public and government services), there is a vast range of other concerns, relating to large populations living, working and studying in a defined area, that need to be addressed.

Waste management on campus is often a complex challenge. Environmental legislation in many jurisdictions requires stringent control of water and gas emissions from teaching, research and service activities. In certain situations external community concerns may require public relations attention.

Chemical and solid waste disposal programmes must take into consideration occupational, environmental and community health concerns. Most large institutions have comprehensive programmes for the management of the wide variety of wastes produced: toxic chemicals, radioisotopes, lead, asbestos, biomedical waste as well as trash, wet garbage and construction materials. One problem is the coordination of waste management programmes on campuses due to the large number of different departments, which often have poor communication with each other.

Colleges and universities differ from industry in the amounts and types of hazardous waste produced. Campus laboratories, for example, usually produce small amounts of many different hazardous chemicals. Methods of hazardous waste control can include neutralization of acids and alkalis, small-scale solvent recovery by distillation and “lab” packing, where small containers of compatible hazardous chemicals are placed in drums and separated by sawdust or other packing materials to prevent breakage. Since campuses can generate large quantities of paper, glass, metal and plastic waste, recycling programmes can usually be implemented as a demonstration of community responsibility and as part of the educational mission.

A few institutions located within urban areas may rely heavily upon external community resources for essential services such as police, fire protection and emergency response. The vast majority of medium-size and larger institutions establish their own public safety services to service their campus communities, often working in close cooperation with external resources. In many college towns, the institution is the largest employer and consequently may be expected to provide protection to the population which supports it.

Colleges and universities are no longer entirely remote or separate from the communities in which they are located. Education has become more accessible to a larger sector of society: women, mature students and the disabled. The very nature of educational institutions puts them at particular risk: a vulnerable population where the exchange of ideas and differing opinions is valued, but where the concept of academic freedom may not always be balanced with professional responsibility. In recent years educational institutions have reported more acts of violence toward educational community members, coming from the external community or erupting from within. Acts of violence perpetrated against individual members of the educational community are no longer extremely rare events. Campuses are frequent sites for demonstrations, large public assemblies, political and sports events where public safety and crowd control need to be considered. The adequacy of security and public safety services and emergency response and disaster recovery plans and capabilities needs to be constantly evaluated and periodically updated to meet community needs. Hazard identification and controls must be taken into consideration for sports programmes, field trips and a variety of sponsored recreational activities. Emergency medical service needs to be available even for off-campus activities. Personal safety is best managed through hazard reporting and education programmes.

Public health issues associated with campus life, such as control of communicable diseases, sanitation of food services and residence facilities, provision of fresh water, clean air and uncontaminated soil, must be addressed. Programmes for inspection, evaluation and control are required. Education of students in this regard is usually the responsibility of student service personnel, but occupational health and safety professionals are often involved. Education regarding sexually transmitted diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, blood-borne pathogens, stress and mental illness is particularly important in a campus community, where risky behaviour may increase the probability of exposure to associated hazards. Medical and psychological services must be available.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Grade schools have many of the same environmental and public health issues as colleges and universities, only on a smaller scale. Often, however, schools and school districts do not have effective waste management programmes. A serious problem faced by many schools is the disposal of explosive ether and picric acid that have been stored in school laboratories for many years (National Research Council 1993). Attempts to dispose of these materials by unqualified personnel have caused explosions in several instances. One problem is that school districts can have many schools separated by several miles. This can create difficulties in centralizing hazardous waste programmes by having to transport hazardous waste on public roads.

 

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Contents

Preface
Part I. The Body
Part II. Health Care
Part III. Management & Policy
Part IV. Tools and Approaches
Part V. Psychosocial and Organizational Factors
Part VI. General Hazards
Part VII. The Environment
Part VIII. Accidents and Safety Management
Part IX. Chemicals
Part X. Industries Based on Biological Resources
Part XI. Industries Based on Natural Resources
Part XII. Chemical Industries
Part XIII. Manufacturing Industries
Part XIV. Textile and Apparel Industries
Part XV. Transport Industries
Part XVI. Construction
Part XVII. Services and Trade
Part XVIII. Guides