Author: kellymoyle

Health effects of wood smoke

Wood smoke and your health

Wood smoke is a complex mix of chemicals and particles, smoke is made up of coarse and fine particles. Particles are tiny solid and liquid substances that can float in the air. Many particles are invisible. Coarse particles can include soot, dust and pollen. When breathed in these particles settle in the lungs and narrow airways.

Fine dust particles, such as smoke, are more likely to settle more deeply into the lungs while ultra fine particles can be absorbed into the blood stream. The majority of the particles in wood smoke are fine particles, which are linked to the most harmful health effects.

Short term effectsdownload (3)

  • irritation of the eyes, throat and nose
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • aggravated asthma

Long term effects

  • decreased lung function
  • development of chronic bronchitis
  • cardiovascular effects

What can be done?

Before you throw away the marshmallows, there are steps you can take to decrease the health effects.

Choosing your woodSelfFeedingFire1

  • Only use well-seasoned hardwoods.
  • Do not use stained, treated or painted wood.
  • Chop your wood into smaller pieces.
  • Store your wood loosely stacked and covered in a well-aired place.

Building a fire

  • Use plenty of kindling and paper to establish a good fire quickly.
  • Use smaller logs to get the fire started and larger logs for slower burning.
  • Stack your fire so there is 2cm between each log. This allows air to get into the hot area of the fire.
  • Do not over fill the heater or fire place.

Wood heaters and fireplaces

  • Ensure there is enough air circulation in your wood heater by adjusting the air intake or flue.
  • Check your wood heater and chimney regularly to ensure no smoke is being produced.

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Asthma and respiratory distress 

Do you know how to manage an asthma attack, what would you do if a loved one was showing respiratory distress?

Keep your first aid and resuscitation skills up to date! Book into a public course here.

 

 

Information Source: healthywa.wa.gov.au

Winter health hazards at home

 

The cooler months means we will probably be spending more time in the home than anywhere else. It is also a time of seasonal hazards. As we unpack our hot water bottles and electric blankets please keep these reminders for a safer winter.

Fire safetydownload (1)

About half of all fires in the home start in the kitchen, and more than 40% of all deaths from fire happen during winter. Here are a few tips to keep you and your home fire safe:

  1. Have a written home fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
  2. Install smoke alarms throughout your home and test them monthly. Change the batteries every year.
  3. Keep curtains, tablecloths, clothes and bedding away from portable heaters and fireplaces.
  4. Clean the lint filter every time you use a clothes dryer.
  5. Always keep children away from open heat sources such as fireplaces and gas stoves, and remember that even clothing with a ‘low fire danger’ label can still catch on fire.

Fireplaces & Heatersdownload (2)

If you have a fireplace in your home then make sure the chimney is clean and not blocked. Always place a screen in front of a fireplace when it’s being used, and never burn rubbish such as plastics or foam as these create toxins.

  1. Store matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of children.
  2. Check that each heater is safe to use every winter.
  3. Don’t leave portable heaters in places where people or pets could knock them over.
  4. Gas heaters produce heat when they burn gas fuel. This also produces air pollutants and water vapour. If your gas heater doesn’t have a flue, service it regularly and make sure the room is well ventilated.
  5. Use just one appliance per power point and switch them off when you’re not using them. Heaters consume a lot of power and may overload the supply which can cause a fire.
  6. Never use a gas heater designed for outdoor use inside your home.

Electric blanketsdownload (2)

Check your electric blanket is in good condition and hasn’t been recalled by checking the Recalls Australia website. About 400,000 potentially faulty electric blankets were recalled in 2012. Faulty electric blankets can overheat, cause an electric shock, spark and potentially cause a fire.

You should always roll your blanket up to store it because folding it can damage element wires inside the blanket. When you take it out of storage and use it for the first time, lay it flat on the bed and check for hot spots as it heats up.

Hot water bottlesdownload (3)

Use warm, but not boiling, water to fill your hot water bottle and examine it for leaks before you use it. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn or every two years. Remember – the rubber can perish from the inside so you may not be able to see if it’s worn out.

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Learning first aid can help you to

identify potential hazards and

be prepared to act if an accident where to occur. 

Book into one of our public courses here.

 

information source: www.healthdirect.gov.au

5 Tips to creating a better culture of workplace health and safety

 How can you improve the current workplace culture toward Work Health and Saftey?

1. Frequent and informal communication.

imagesCommunication between workers and management on safety management raises workers’ awareness of and can potentially contribute to a positive preventative safety culture. People work more safely when they are involved in the decision making process.

 

 

images (1)2. Set the example.

Managers that model behaviour by making a personal contribution to WHS consultation can significantly change the way their team thinks about health and safety in the workplace.

 

 

 

3. Reward positive contributions. download (1)

This has lasting effects to culture change. An organisation is formed to achieve certain goals and objectives by bringing individuals together on a common platform and motivating them to deliver their best. It is essential for the employees to enjoy the workplace for them to develop a sense of loyalty towards it. The organisation must offer a positive atmosphere to the employees.

 

 

download4. Promote team building activities.

Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees and to bind the employees together. Team building improves communication, boosts morale, increases motivation, improves productivity and a fun way to learning effective health and safety strategies.

 

 

 

personal responsibility5. Make it personal.

Personal safety responsibility, control and rational judgment are essential to a good health and safety culture. An organisation is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organisation’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines.

Allowing personal responsibility within organisational guidelines gives employees ownership of their responsibilities and personal satisfaction.

 

 

Information source: comcare

Delirium

Although delirium is primarily found within aged care facilities and hospital patients, the symptoms of delirium may be the first signs of an untreated medical or mental condition or medication reaction. Causes also include trauma, drug toxicity, bleeding and dehydration. All causes we may come across as first aiders. These may include:

  • Medications or drug toxicity
  • Alcohol or drug abuse or withdrawal
  • A medical condition
  • Metabolic imbalances, such as low sodium or low calcium
  • Severe, chronic or terminal illness
  • Fever and acute infection, particularly in children
  • Exposure to a toxin
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation or severe emotional distress
  • Pain
  • Surgery or other medical procedures that include anesthesia

Delirium involves a quick change between mental states. For example, from lethargy to agitation and back to lethargy. Other symptoms may include:

Delirium syndrome mental health icon design. Hallucinations symbol concept

  • Changes in alertness
  • Changes in sensation and perception
  • Changes in level of consciousness
  • Changes in movement. For example: may be slow moving or hyperactive
  • Changes in sleep patterns, drowsiness
  • Confusion about time or place
  • Decrease in short-term memory
  • Disorganized thinking, such as talking in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • Emotional or personality changes, such as anger, agitation, depression, irritability
  • Movements triggered by changes in the nervous system – seizures, tremors

Delirium or Dementia?

Dementia and delirium may be particularly difficult to distinguish, and a person may have both. In fact, frequently delirium occurs in people with dementia. Dementia is the progressive decline of memory and other thinking skills due to the gradual dysfunction and loss of brain cells.

Delirium is a  sudden onset of symptoms, often lasting about 1 week. It may take several weeks for mental function to return to normal . Full recovery is common, but depends on the underlying cause of the delirium.

First Aid for the Delirious or Demented

What ever the cause of delerium,  how do we render first aid treatment effectively to a severely confused person?

Our primary concern is our own safety and the safety of the ones we are treating. If a person seems delirious it is important to reassure our casualty to enable us to treat them effectively and safely. Which we would try to do anyway, but these specific types of reassurances will help your casualty deal with their situation.

Perform the initial steps to providing first aid, ensuring all dangers have been identified and dealt with and that medical help is on its way. If the person is not requiring immediate resuscitation or action, bear in mind these tips to help reassure your patient as you perform assessment for/of injuries.

  • Reassure the person by speaking slowly in a clear voice, identifying yourself and them (if known).
  • Knowing the time of day can reduce confusion. Let them know where they are, what day it is and the time of day.
  • Visual and hearing impairment can make confusion worse. If you can see they have glasses or hearing aids help them to put on (if safe to do so).
  • If aggressive or agitated do not try to restrain. Try to make sure the area is free from hazards.

Agitated or aggressive patients may be dangerous to themselves and others or may not be able to cooperate with necessary procedures.

information sources: nlm.nih.gov, carersaustralia.com.au, mayoclinic.org
Image: kondyukandrey/iStockphoto.com

AEDs – Your Questions Answered

AED-Automated External Defibrillator (2)

Why do we need Automated External Defibrillators?

AEDs save lives. When a person has a sudden cardiac arrest, the heart becomes arrhythmic. Every minute that the heart is not beating lowers the odds of survival by 7-10 percent. After 10 minutes without defibrillation, very few people survive.

AED’s are becoming an essential piece of first aid equipment in shopping centres, schools, community centres, airports and workplaces. If you are considering purchasing one for your workplace, home, community we strongly urge you to. By having an AED onsite you can increase the chances of a persons surviving a sudden cardiac arrest by 75 percent.

Can a non-medical person make a mistake when using an AED?

AEDs are safe to use by anyone who has been shown how to use them. The AED’s voice guides the rescuer through the steps involved in saving someone; for example, “apply pads to patient’s bare chest” (the pads themselves have pictures of where they should be placed) and “press red shock button.” Furthermore, safeguards have been designed into the unit precisely so that non-medical responders can’t use the AED to shock someone who doesn’t need a shock.  

Can the AED itself make a mistake?

It is unlikely. Studies show that AEDs interpret the victim’s heart rhythm more quickly and accurately than many trained emergency professionals. If the AED determines that no shock is needed, it will not allow a shock to be given.  

Can I be sued if I help someone suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

State and federal “Good Samaritan” laws cover users who, in good faith, attempt to save a person from death. To date, there are no known judgments against anyone who used an AED to save someone’s life.  

Can anyone buy an AED?

Anyone can buy an AED in Australia. AEDs must be TGA approved to be sold.

Who can use the AED’s installed in public areas?

In the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest anyone can use the “public access” AED’s located in airports, train stations and shopping centres etc.

 

Previously Published Related Article: What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)? Read here..

info source: http://www.defibtech.com/

Why is work health important?

It’s the law

Under section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (the WHS Act), a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure the health and safety of workers at work in the business or undertaking, so far as is reasonably practicable. Additionally, section 19(2) requires PCBUs to ensure that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking, so far as is reasonably practicable.

‘Health’ is defined under the WHS Act to mean physical and psychological health.

The employer’s duty of care includes providing:

  • a physical and psychosocial work environment without risks to health and safety
  • safe systems of work
  • information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.
  • monitor the health of workers and conditions at the workplace to prevent illness or injury

It’s the right thing to do

The workplace plays an important part in combating the rise in chronic disease, promoting participation in employment, and preventing needless disability. The workplace can affect the physical, mental, economic and social wellbeing of workers and therefore offers opportunities to improve worker health.

To realise the health benefits of work and accelerate the prevention of chronic disease, workplaces need to extend their agenda to include health and wellbeing.

It’s the smart thing to do

Good work is good for you. Strong evidence shows that good worker health and wellbeing boosts organisational health and business performance.

Chronic disease negatively affects worker productivity and workplaces bear a number of associated costs. Health and wellbeing programs can improve performance and productivity and reduce indirect costs from:

  • absenteeism
  • presenteeism
  • staff turnover
  • workers’ compensation
  • disability and early retirement.

Other advantages of investment in health and wellbeing include improved workplace culture, attraction of talented workers and improved organisational image.

Healthy and safe workplaces have a future because they are resilient in the face of change and adversity. They contribute to prosperity and a sustainable economy will create new opportunities.

Businesses that protect worker health are among the most successful over time.

Information Source: COMCARE.COM.AU

Prepare Your Emergency Go Bag

images (4)What do you grab in an evacuation situation, when you’re panicked, you have to leave in a hurry and you’re facing the possibility that your home and everything you own will be destroyed?

Not the things you really need, people can say from experience. Panic stations is not a time to be thinking about packing a go bag. The following is a list of suggested items to pack.

Suggested Content List:

  • Comfortable clothing – Layers, sealed in weather proof bag
  • A current family photograph including pets – to use for identification.
  • Water for drinking and sanitation
  • Non-perishable food such as energy bars, tinned tuna etc.
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Proof of identification and ownership of pets
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • AM/FM radio and extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • A method of water purification.
  • Can opener for food & utensils for eating
  • Extra toothbrush and toothpaste, toiletries
  • Lighter or flint
  • Mobile phone with chargers
  • Important documents (see tips below)
  • First aid kit & manual
  • List of Contact Numbers
  • Local maps and compass
  • Money small denominations rather than large notes.
  • Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies, eyeglasses

 

images (2)Documents Tip

Prepare certified copies of important documents and having them packed safely in a sealed waterproof sleeve. Alternately you can get electronic copies of these documents and your family pictures and store them on a USB. Store correctly in sealed bag to protect. Remember you can only access a USB with a computer or device and power.

Make copies of important paperwork such as:
– drivers license, medicare card, marriage certificates, birth certificates, insurances, property deeds, banking details, current medications & treatments, proof of residence, insurance policies, and tax records.

 

Information sources: nrdc.org, wikihow, nyc.gov

A Global Language

LOST-IN-TRANSLATIONWhy the need for an international language?

The materials and substances used commonly in workplaces and homes are designed and manufactured all around the world. All around the world we have a huge variety of languages and workplace safety standards. Hence the need for GHS.

What is the GHS?

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is a single internationally agreed system of chemical classification and hazard communication through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The GHS was developed by the United Nations and is being progressively implemented in many countries internationally. It includes harmonised criteria for the classification of:

  • physical hazards,
  • health hazards, and
  • environmental hazards.
Advantage-Label-GHS-pictograms

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Benefits of GHS

It is expected that the GHS will provide trade benefits to industry as well as improved health and safety outcomes through use of internationally consistent hazard communication elements.

Even if we don’t speak the same language.. we can speak the same ‘language’.

Does it apply to you?

Even workplaces in states that have not adopted the model WHS legislation will still be affected by the introduction of the GHS. Commonwealth persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) will need to ensure that all hazardous chemical labels and SDS are in the new GHS format by 1 January 2017.

For more information about GHS, material labelling codes of practice click here..

Information source: comcare

Start the new year with PPP

Medilife are strong believers in PPP..

What is PPP and how can you maintain it in your workplace?

Prevent – Preventing an accident or incident is the best option

Prepare – Training can minimise injury in the event of an emergency

Perform – Fully confident to provide assistance in an emergency

 

  1. Check Your Workplace First Aid Kits

Often neglected, a quick glance in the kits direction is not enough. Prepare your workplace and ensure your first aid kits are up to code for your workplace, that includes vehicle kits. You need to check: contents, expiry dates, open packages, kit location, signage and staff accessibility. You can purchase code of practice refill modules or complete kits online here..

  2. Emergency Procedures

Review your workplace first aid, fire, emergency and evacuation plans and policies. The workplace is a dynamic and evolving environment. By reviewing and then performing an evacuation drill you ensure procedures are working smoothly and that every person onsite is trained in workplace procedures. Your staff will then be prepared and confident to perform.

  3. First Aid Training

A first aid kit is only going to be of maximum benefit if you have staff that are familiar with its location, contents and trained in the most up to date first aid training. Prepare your staff by booking into courses here..

  4. Promote a Safe Working Environment

Encourage your staff to make suggestions as to safer work practices and keep an open means of communication for safety concerns. Provide incentives for safe work practices. This can help to prevent accidents and potentially life threatening incidents in the workplace.