With conditions in the workplace changing every day, maintaining a safety and healthy workplace is always a challenge. But the principles remain the same. Module 3 of the MAKRPOSAFE Health and Safety Certificate discusses the important health and safety principles.

This particular module of the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety Certificate certificate is broken down in four modules, each discussing a different health and safety principle that are a common occurrence and bone of contention in the South African workplace:

  • Health and safety principles regarding the movement of people
  • Health and safety principles regarding ergonomics
  • Health and safety principles regarding the movement of vehicles and mobile equipment
  • Health and safety principles regarding walkways, ladders and conveyor belts

This module will look into how to describe the hazards and risk involved in each principle as well as actions or steps to be taken. It also discusses the negative effects when these principles are not applied correctly. Learners will also discuss and be shown possible solutions to alleviate the negative effects of these principles.

Learners will find the Health and Safety principles module a module they can identify with easily as it touches on day-to-day challenges people will come across in the workplace. As this module makes use of visuals and drawings extensively, even the most complicated aspects will be made easy to understand.

Even though much of the information that is provided in this module seems to be obvious, the content should certainly not be underestimated. The increasing trend of urbanisation will see more and more people move towards South African cities in the years to come. This will place more pressure on the space that is used and will see an increase of people that will move through a particular location. The possible increase in accidents involving vehicles or mobile equipment, as well as objects like ladders that obstruct a walkway, should not be underestimated.

And a recent study by the university of Sydney, Australia, concluded that a third of all complains about lower back pains is related to the workplace.

Ergonomic factors linked to low back pain occurrence are forceful movement, vibration, awkward positions and lifting heavy items according to the report. However, these instances can be reduced when the use of ergonomic appropriate furniture or equipment is promoted and when procedures for cleaning and maintenance are reviewed.

To put it into perspective; in Australia published data says that back pain is the major cause of work loss days. A quarter of the people who suffer from lower back pains are aged between 18 and 44. They take 10 or more off days per year at a cost of around AUS$4.8 million billion for health care each year. Nearly 80% of adult Australians will suffer from back pain sometime in their life.

Claiming that working in Australia cannot be compared to working in South Africa is not only looking for a cheap excuse to turn a blind eye but will also result in a resemblance to a typical South African export product. Ostriches also tend to bury their head when they are faced with a situation they don't like.

The same study also measured the disability- adjusted life years( DALYs) by calculating a combination of the life lost due to premature death and the lives one lives with the disability. Statistics from 2010 showed there are 22 million DALYs worldwide all with work related low back pain. According to the author, Professor Driscoll, Africa tops the list with DALY's, closely followed by Asia and Oceania. I would argue that this is exactly the wrong list where South Africa should be beat the Aussies!

The health and safety principle module of the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety certificate might be easy to understand or to relate too; it is certainly a module that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Posted date: 27th Jan 2014
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