Cause & Effect Analysis of Landslides in Trinidad.

A cause and effect analysis was done to identify the reasons behind landslides in Trinidad along with recommendations and an action plan to assist with remedying their frequent occurrences. To summarize the cause and effects a fishbone diagram was attached to this blog to make this illustration clearer.


A landslide is the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of “mass wasting,” which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. Landslides involve four types of slope movement which are: flows, falls, topples, slides and spreads.

Landslides have multiple causes for which have been detailed below categorized under the 6 ‘M’ model (Machines, Manpower (people), Materials, Methods, Mother Nature and Management).


Human interaction is a contributing factor in the occurrences of landslides which is not a surprising reality. Humans possess the innate nature to probe and try to improve anything that shows the need to be revolutionized and land is no exception. Some of the human activities that cause landslides are:

Figure 1 depicts a forest where the trees have been burnt to clear the land.

Deforestation, which is where people permanently remove trees/forests by burning or cutting them down for various reasons such as:

  • To make more land available for housing and urbanization
  • To harvest timber to create commercial items such as paper, furniture and homes
  • To create ingredients that are highly prized consumer items, such as the oil from palm trees
  • To create room for cattle ranching
  • To be used as fuel

Tree roots are anchors and when they are removed it causes the soil to be free to wash or blow away, which can lead to landslides.

road on slope
Figure 2 shows a poorly graded slope in the maracas area.

The building of roads and structures without adequate grading of slopes, or poorly planned alteration of drainage patterns. According to a study done by Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, in addition to landslides other potential consequences can include:

Creation of hazards: potential for roads and driveways to wash out leaving a lack of emergency vehicle access and increased car accidents.

Damage to property: they damage homes and property and soil/mud/sediments can destroy downhill property contributing to the instability of streams and resulting in stream-bank erosion damage.

Cause water pollution: transport of polluted runoff due to fewer opportunities for pollutants to settle or be filtered by vegetation can cause septic system failures.


Piggybacking on manpower is the material causes of landslides which is primarily related to the actions or failure to act by humans.

poor road
Figure 3 shows the outcome of road engineering gone wrong.
  • Poorly built road-ways built as the engineering behind the digging of slopes were initially faulty.
  • Structural damage caused by rain and tree removal weakened the very earth allowing movement of the rocks and soil (Nature’s Materials).
  • Insufficient upgrades and improvement of structures to ensure the likelihood of a slip is reduced.

To summarize and categorize the potential causes of landslides in order to identify its root cause a fishbone diagram, also called a cause and effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram was used below:


A machine, is a device, having a unique purpose, that enhances or replaces human effort for the accomplishment of physical tasks. This broad category encompasses such simple devices as the inclined, plane, lever, wedge, wheel, axle, pulley, and screw (the so-called simple machines) as well as such complex mechanical systems as the modern automobile. The operation of a machine may involve the transformation of chemical, thermal, electrical, or nuclear energy into mechanical energy, or vice versa, or its function may simply be to modify and transmit forces and motions. All machines have an input, an output, and a transforming or modifying and transmitting device.

All machines are made up of elements or parts and units. Each element is a separate part of the machine and it may have to be designed separately and then assembled. Each element, in turn, can be a complete part or made up of several small pieces which are joined together by riveting, welding etc. Several machine parts are assembled together to form what we call as a complete machine.

Maracas LS

As listed above in manpower human interaction is a contributing factor in the occurrences of landslides which is not a surprising reality. The human species possess the innate nature to investigate and attempt to improve anything that shows the need to be revolutionized and land is no exception. Human has always found ways to adapt, evolve and create a mechanism to make everyday life easier from the use of windmills and water channels to generate energy in the implementation of solar powered panels. With manual labor now being a thing of the past so are some of the tools associated with it. We are now in a mechanical and digital era where tools of the past are now obsolete, as much as these present-day machines/tool assist in making the job easier if not used appropriately with discretion they can have a negative effect on our well being.

When accompanied by its human operator machines has been classified as a major contributor to landslides. The inconsiderate work done by contractor to move soil and develop quarries requires the use of heavy machinery excavator and backhoes to be exact when these machinery perform the vibration from such a large vehicle aids in loosening soil in close proximity to where the work is being done also a lot of work is left incomplete by these heavy machinery and these two elements are hazards waiting to happen. At the first sight of rainfall or even unannounced, these landslides occur damaging infrastructure and blocking transit points, worst case scenario taking life.

Another co-contributor would be persons logging and timbering these persons indiscriminately slash and burn our forest with their tools of trade chainsaws, leaving tree stumps in the earth to decay which results with pours in the earth. These pours are easily separated by rainfall or the moving of the earth planes causing these high volumes of debris to come downhill assisted by gravity. With that being said machinery is a moderate contributor to the issue of landslides, not because its contribution to landslides is mediocre it should be ignored.


Lack of landslides monitoring activity

The  high severity of damage was chosen as aspect from the major effect heading(Landslides in Trinidad and Tobago) as to better understand how lack of monitoring activities can increase high severity damage of landslides. Activity is very broad and can be broken down to understand the different forms of activity or lack thereof. Non-usage of statistical modelling  techniques can exacerbate the  high severity of landslides.

  The overall risk of high severity damage landscapes can be due to a lack of information about high severity damage as well  absence of statistical modelling techniques(Champati ray et al. 2013; Champati ray 2013). Identification of landslide hazard zones or susceptibility mapping which is the study of the likelihood of landslides in particular areas based on its local terrain condition is a good mitigation strategy. A statistical approach can be used to demarcate these particular landslide hazard zones which uses a data driven approach in order to determine ranks or classes within variables based on spatial statistical relationship of  landslides(Guri et al,2014). The WoFe method(Weights of Evidence) which is  bivariate statistical method, can be used to explain how critical parameters such as geology, slope and land use have an effect on landslides.

 With lack of usage of such a statistical technique within Trinidad and Tobago combined with the relevant remote sensing and geographic information system can increase the severity of landslide damage as mentioned earlier. Coupled with climate change, unsound agricultural practices and deforestation presents a need for a such a method as to reduce or at least mitigate the effects of landslides. Increase in extreme rainfall events in Trinidad can be seen to also contribute to landslides, use of these statistical methods here it can better assist in reduction of high landslides severity and also protect people in vulnerable areas.


Mother Nature

The category Mother Nature, simply refers to the environmental impacts, or natural causes of landslides in Trinidad. A landslide or landslip is a natural disaster, something which is unfortunately unavoidable. Natural causes of landslides include:

  1. Erosion. If this occurs, even slightly, it can cause some of the slope to fall into rivers or oceans. 
  2. Earthquakes can also cause the occurrence of landslides. According to the UWI Seismic Research Centre, the countries of the Eastern Caribbean (Trinidad is included here) are highly susceptible to earthquakes. Earthquakes bring about a sharp change in the slope and makes it very unstable.
  3. Erupting volcanoes can also be a cause of landslides in Trinidad as this can also cause the slope to be unstable. 

As aforementioned, there isn’t anything that can be done to avoid the occurrence of landslides in Trinidad, but we can definitely take precaution or put measures in place to safeguard ourselves in the case of any occurring landslides. 


The managing authority tasked with the management and coordination of emergency systems of landslides in Trinidad is the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) according to this eternity “A landslide is the rapid mass movement of soil, mud and/or rocks downhill due to the pull of gravity. Landslides are very common and occur in a variety of forms. Land may topple off in a big chunk, or slip down in bits. Landslide may be composed of mud or may contain rocks and other debris. Most landslides occur gradually, but some may be sudden.” (ODPM, 2013)

An employee from the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure alerts his colleague to falling debris as they attempt to clear a landslide near the lookout along the North Coast Road, Maracas.

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper (Jensen La Vende,2017)

Landslides can be caused by man made hazards or natural environmental phenomena such as earthquakes , heavy rainfall on slopes and bad human practices . The cause will determine how the managing authority may target the problem to mitigate against its effects. All man made hazardous acts can be mitigated against at its origin, but environmental hazards are mitigated to reduce its effects as best as humanly possible.

Causes of Land Slides from a Management Perspective-

  • Ineffective land management laws due to lack of enforcement.
  • Structures and foundations not constructed to building codes, contrary to the Town and Country Planning Act Chapter 35:01 Act 29 of 1960.
  • Not controlling the land grabbing of state-owned lands
  • Lack of policies in regards to construction on geographically sloped land
  • Not understanding the rainfall patterns in relation to the land slide prone areas.
  • Limited or no knowledge of citizens on the issue of deforestation practices and wrong agricultural practices and their negative effects that give rise to land slides.
  • Lack of proper coordination and cooperation among the agencies, NGOs, community leaders, government, methodological sections and defense force.
  • Another issue of proper management concerns the political facet, it is the inability of the government to prepare and coordinate the urban expansion of citizens.

According to Looptt on August 27th 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred and caused this landslide that occurred in Laventille.


The effects of Land Slides-

  • Damage to structures and houses.
  • Loss of lives
  • Damage to infrastructure.
  • Blocked roadways
  • Landslides that block rivers can cause flash flooding, this occurs when a lake is formed by land slip material blocking the water way. The Lake is eventually breached and gushes downhill to cause flash floods as a result.

The ODPM functions and administrative sections –

  • Mitigation and planning which includes the formulating of policy.
  • Preparedness Response Unit which deals with coordination of the first respondents.
  • Public Information on awareness, dissemination of information, media releases.
  • Administrative Support addresses finance, human resources and business services.
  • Project Management Unit addresses monitoring of projects, tracking and monitoring of internal and external projects.

Effective Management

Picture Shows The Land Slide Prone Areas In Trinidad. (ODPM,2013)

The effective management of landslides encompasses a systematic approach which involves the many arms of the government, the ODPM, meteorological departments, NGOs, the defense force and the city corporations. It is also important to consult with representatives from the vulnerable areas to understand the needs of residence. The government authority’s if pivotal in this execution.

Action Plan

The landslide phenomena in Trinidad must be addressed through various channels and at different  levels to create a renown impact in its reduction. At an operational standpoint the general public must be sensitized as to the bad practices that contribute to land slides and its alternatives. For example the practice of slash and burn with an alternative of clearing and adding fertilizers to the soil. Additionally, on a legal perspective building codes, land grabbing and illegal lumbering  laws should be enforced be the relevant authorities. Politically, governments must have proper communications between the agencies to permit exchange of information and encourage relevant data collection. Economically, money has to be injected in to the projects to ensure proper analysis is done to determine if it would negatively impact landslides. This is done for both private and governmental projects. Socially, the urban overflow must be considered with adequate housing areas allocated for this expansion, diverting housing away from the vulnerable slopes. The implemented measures  to curb the negative actions that cause landslides is not limited to those mentioned , but this initiative must be an holistic approach  to demonstrate efficiency.


The occurrence of landslides are dependent on various reasons as seen above, however many of these causes can lessen if these hazardous areas are avoided or if activities in such areas are restricted or deployed under certain conditions.

Trinidad’s government is responsible for land-use policies and forming legislation and regulation to reduce the risks associated with landslides. Additionally educating citizens on the history, prevention and causes of these potential disasters could leave a lasting effect on the nation.

Also the use of highly recommended professional services of engineering geologists, civil engineers, or geotechnical engineers, to evaluate the potential of a hazardous site if disrupted can also seek to quell the potential slips.

Other prevention steps could include:

  • Avoiding new constructions on steep slopes or by stabilizing the slopes before beginning the actual construction works. When groundwater cannot rise in the landslide mass, stability is increased.
  • Covering the land with impermeable membranes in order to prevent water infiltration in the landslide;
  • Directing surface water sources away from the landslides prone areas
  • Draining groundwater streams
  • Minimizing irrigation on the surface of the soil.
  • Removal of mass from the top slopes, so that its weight does not force the layer to slide.

Other Recommendations and Mitigating Management Practices
Managing and coordinating efforts jointly is an important facet to mitigate against landslides by –

  • Developing a National Land Use Planning template where high risk slip areas will be flagged and not allowed construction of any sought.
  • Developing risk assessments for projects located on slopes and do appropriate feasibility studies to understand the effects and consequences. A cost benefit analysis is needed to weigh the cost of mitigating measures against consequences.
  • Risk assessments should be conducted by an independent authority, it is very important as it highlights the consequences to the environment.
  • Controlling grabbing of state-owned lands which are more than likely utilized for dwelling house construction.
  • Enforcing the laws of Trinidad which states that all buildings must be certified by Town and Country to gain approvals under the Ministry of Housing.
  • Developing a landslide data base is important to be able to offer predictions for effective response.
  • Systems that can minimize the effects of land slip impacts-

-Implementing Land slide Mapping systems

-Geo physical analysis of the island.

  • Sensitizing local residence in the hilly and land slide prone areas on the effects and the knowledge on proper ways to control landslides by introducing proper drainage, soil conservation and proper water shed management to them. This can be done through advisories, media releases and town gatherings.

It is also important to include all land slide risk reduction initiatives for works in progress and at developmental stages for all government agencies, and private works. In order to implement or redesign ongoing works and new initiatives.



Trinidad and Tobago Guardian On-line, Published Saturday, December 30, 2017

Office Of Disaster and Preparedness, Retrieved on 17th November 2018.

Town and Country Planning Act Chapter 35:01 Act 29 of 1960 Retrieved on 17th November 2018.


LOOPTT  27th August 2018, Retrieved on 17th November 2018.

Effective Management of Land Slides, June 15 2017, Retrieved on 17th November 2018.

The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre. Accessed November 21, 2018.

“Landslide.” Earth Facts and Information. Accessed November 21, 2018.

Guri, Pardeep Kumar, P. K. Champati Ray, and Ramesh Chandra Patel. “Spatial Prediction of Landslide Susceptibility in Parts of Garhwal Himalaya, India, Using the Weight of Evidence Modelling.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187, no. 6 (2015).

Fishbone Diagram showing the cause and effects of landslides in Trinidad

Cause and Effect Analysis of Landslides in Trinidad. 


Risk assessment of the movie Skyscraper staring Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson



Our group ‘Strategic Billionaires’ has chosen to conduct a risk assessment on the movie ‘Skyscraper.’ This movie stars Dwayne ‘The rock’ Johnson who acts as a former FBI agent ‘Will Sawyer’ who must rescue his family from the tallest skyscraper in the world, due to it being set on fire criminals. The skyscraper was owned and designed by a wealthy Chinese financer ‘Zhao’ and stands at three thousand five hundred feet tall (3,500 feet). As Sawyer runs a security assessment and approves the building fire and security systems he disapproved the offsite security center that controls the system.

Whilst trying to rescue his wife, daughter and son from the building Sawyer faced a lot of struggle, from hanging off the skyscraper, jumping from one building to another thousands of feet in the air or even the chance of dying in the fire, Skyscraper was filled with danger, excitement, emotion, and hazards.

Throughout this movie a number of chemical, biological, ergonomic, physical and psychological hazards where found. The lack of offsite security made it easier for criminals to break into the skyscraper and start a fire, there were absolutely no emergency exits and all security systems were controlled through a handheld device which was stolen from Sawyer, that also gives the criminals full access to all the computer systems. Trip and fall hazards were prominent throughout the movie. A lot of ergonomic and physical hazards were also found as Sawyer was faced with a lot of uncomfortable positions as he fought to save his family and keep his daughter alive. Another clear health and safety hazard was chemical hazards; the smoke from the fire greatly affected the lives of Sawyer and his family, especially his son who was asthmatic. Psychological hazards plagued the minds of Sawyer, his family, the FBI agents, the bystanders, and even the criminals as they faced the fight to get the drive which holds the information of Botha’s international money laundering scheme in his attempt to “legitimize” the funds he has extorted. Zhao believes that the hard drive contains the money laundering information on Botha, that will provide them with insurance against any attempt by Botha to take money from them a second time. When Botha found out about the hard drive he came up with the plan to get the drive and destroy it, before his boss kills him.


Chemical Hazards

A Chemical Hazard is one of the major types of occupational hazard and is caused by exposure to chemicals in your working environment. Exposure to chemicals in the workplace can cause acute or long-term detrimental health effects (United States Department of Labour). In recent time we have seen an increase in the use of chemicals due to economic developments in a multitude of sectors such as industries, agriculture, and transport. As a result, individuals are more inclined to encounter chemical elements. Chemicals are known to have immediate, acute effects, accompanied by chronic effects, which can result through long-term exposure.

Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures, and materials that can be classified according to their health and physicochemical risks and dangers (World Health Organization). Health hazards can include but are not limited to skin irritants, carcinogens or respiratory sensitizers that have an adverse effect on a worker’s health because of direct contact with or exposure to the chemical, usually through inhalation, skin contact or ingestion. Low-level exposure to various chemicals can also result in several adverse health outcomes, such as damage to the nervous and immune systems, impairment of reproductive function and development, cancer and organ-specific damage. Physicochemical hazards generally result from a substance’s physical and chemical properties, as is the case with flammable, corrosive, oxidizing or explosive substances.

The chemical element of this scenes identifies a group of men emptying a white powder form substance on the floor from barrels which was later identified as sodium cyanide a white crystalline or granular powder according to Centre’s for Disease Control and Prevention “Sodium cyanide releases hydrogen cyanide gas, a highly toxic chemical asphyxiant that interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen. Exposure to sodium cyanide can be rapidly fatal. It has whole-body (systemic) effects, particularly affecting those organ systems most sensitive to low oxygen levels: the central nervous system (brain), the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels), and the pulmonary system (lungs)” (Centre’s for Disease Control and Prevention). The group of individuals seemed to have the proper PPE equipment for handling the controlled item, but later in the video clip, we identify on completion of pouring the chemical onto the floor these unconscious individuals removing their protective gear before disembarking the room. By removing their protective gear, they were exposed to this chemical elevating the risk of them being severely affected (only in the movies right).

in this video clip, we see an individual most likely the leader of these “very wise scientists” who seemed to be Russian due to the jargon in his speech. At this point in the movie, this Russian evolutionist proceeds to give an award-winning speech before igniting an emergency flare and placing it near a fire alarm triggering the apparent fail-safe fire prevention measures causing the water sprinklers to emerge and go into effect. The water released from the sprinklers then makes contact with the sodium cyanide and a chemical explosion is enacted. We also identified that when the explosion took place the fire was burning in a greenish blue color, the most common cause of a green flame is the presence of chemicals inside the fire.


Physical Hazards

Present in this movie, Skyscraper, is an immense number of hazards that can cause physical harm to the human body. We describe these hazards as Physical Hazards. From very early on in the movie and continuing throughout, we see the inhalation of smoke fumes being a major respiratory hazard to those involved in the respective scenes where this was present. Smoke inhalation occurs when you breathe in harmful smoke particles and gases. Inhaling harmful smoke can inflame your lungs and airway, causing them to swell and block oxygen. This can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure. Smoke inhalation commonly happens when you get trapped in a contained area, such as a kitchen or home, near a fire. (

In the above picture, we can see that this man is in a room that appears to be an electrical room and there’s smoke behind him. He is not well protected with a face mask or gloves and this can, therefore, be very detrimental to his health, should anything explode by any chance.

The above picture shows a mother and her two children in an enclosed building that’s on fire, where they seem to be trapped. The mother seemed to have tried to protect her kids from inhaling too much of the smoke fumes and dust by wrapping their nose and mouth with cloth but didn’t seem to protect herself as well in that regard. She, therefore, is at a higher risk of respiratory illnesses that can come about from inhaling the dust and smoke.


In the above pictures, we can see respiratory hazards present yet again. The persons in the scene are heavily surrounded by fire and smoke fumes. They are therefore at risk from contracting respiratory illnesses as well as getting physically burned from being so near to the fire. Having watched the movie, it is also known that the little boy already has asthma and as such, this type of environment is horrible for his and very detrimental to his health.

We also see Slip and Fall Hazards present in the movie as in the picture above. Here we see the star, Dwayne Johnson, climbing down a wall from a high story with no harness or anything to protect him in case he should fall and he actually did fall. Also, important to note, is that this character had a prosthetic leg which automatically had put him at a higher risk of danger especially since he was not protected by a harness or anything of the sort.


In the above photos, we see more slip and fall hazards present where the main character is seen climbing and hanging with his prosthetic leg and without a harness. He is also extremely high up which poses a major threat to life should he slip and fall. He is also exposed to smoke fumes from the nearby fire which can also cause respiratory illnesses.

We see another Fall Hazard present here where this mother is holding her son on her back and walking across a very thin, unstable length of board which her husband is trying to hold steady on the other end with all his might. She has no support whatsoever whilst she’s doing this and therefore, her life, as well as her son’s life, is hugely at risk for falling and causing death. Under them are fire and a very long distance to the ground.

In the above photo, we see that the main character is walking through a dark room with not enough light. Present here is a light hazard. There can be the possibility of bouncing into things or coming into contact with sharp objects which can be very detrimental to life. A torchlight may have helped mitigate risks in this situation.

Present in this photo above seems to be an Electrical Hazard. The character is cutting an electrical wire with his bare hands exposed and is not protected whatsoever by gloves or anything of the sort. He is therefore at risk for electrical shock.
All of the aforementioned physical hazards should be taken into consideration when undergoing any activity with those risks involved. Where respiratory hazards such as smoke fumes are present, oxygen masks should always be worn in order to protect your internal, respiratory organs and safeguard yourself from respiratory illnesses which may be detrimental to life. If ever a situation is presented where there can be the occurrence of falling from heights, one should always venture into it with a harness which will prevent possible damage from the fall. When going into a room or area with insufficient lighting, one should always have a torchlight present or a bright light so that they can see their way through without bouncing into or coming into contact with any harmful or sharp objects. Finally, if ever exposed to electrical wires, where there’s the possibility of getting shocked, one should always protect themselves with gloves.


Psychological Hazards

A psychological hazard is any threat that affects the mental well-being or mental health of a worker by overwhelming individual coping mechanisms and impacting the worker’s ability to work in a healthy and safe manner. Some examples of the effects of this hazard are; stress from conflict or job overload, boredom, uncertainty, lack of control, fear of bullying, customer aggression, intimidation, workplace violence.

For the purpose of the course, we looked at OSH (Operational Safety and Health) issues in a movie. Some of the psychological hazards were as follows:

Psycho Hazard 1

In this scene, the family is crouched and huddled on the floor because they are fearful for their lives. The husband and father have them in a hostage situation which has brought on high levels of stress, fear, and anxiety. This can be considered a violence hazard and results in lingering effects which would eventually require counseling or some form of rehabilitation.

Psycho Hazard 2

In this scene, Johnson was a victim of an explosion and was badly injured, amidst all the physical lacerations we can assume he was thinking he would die. We would imagine that this feeling is the pinnacle of worry for any human being, therefore, causing immense stress.

Psycho Hazard 3

The above scene shows Johnson standing in the skyscraper 220 floors high when Zhao Long activates a simulation to show the outside of the building from that high up. Johnson immediately holds his chest which symbolizes a fear of heights. Often enough people may display acrophobia or paranoia with being high up in buildings which can sometimes only be controlled by meditation, deep breathing or yoga.

Psycho Hazard 4

The above scene depicts another aspect of psychological hazards, Johnson is being attacked by his longtime friend and co-worker for personal gain. This constitutes as bullying, intimidation, threatening behavior and eventual physical violence.

While this scene did not take place in the workplace, workplace violence can be defined as an act or threat of physical harm against another person at the work site. Abusers might physically assault their victims or use verbal abuse to intimidate them.

Some factors that put workers at risk include:

  • Working alone at night or in isolated areas
  • Persons that attend to cash or carry large sums of money are usually targets
  • Delivery drivers and customer service personnel are routinely victims

Other examples of workplace violence are discrimination, sexual and other forms of harassment, verbal abuse, written abuse, malicious damage to property.

The impact of violence is dependent on how much harm came to the victim coupled with their experiences and personality.


Ergonomic Hazards

The energy and breath-taking near misses by Johnson in many of the scenes as he highhandedly saves his family from the burning 96th floor of the Pearl building was epic. All this, amidst the attacks of cold-blooded killers trying to get at Zahoo for an essential piece of software, could easily catch one’s attention. This auctioned packed movie had a substantial amount of ergonomics issues and best practices entrenched in its design and implement systems, though considered sophisticated technologically, the issues must be highlighted as can be considered high risk and hazardous.

Ergonomics is here-under defined to have a clear understanding of the phenomena, it is defined by the US Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration: “Ergonomics can be defined simply as the study of work. More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.” (OSHA, 2000)

The movie, though not realistic achieves keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with near-death drama. In doing so however many ergonomics issues can be realized throughout the movie. One of which was Johnson’s superhuman mission to climb an adjacent construction crane which he swung on and jumped over into the Pearl suspending over 96 floors to get to his family. Though heroic, with focus on the ergonomics of this action, posed a potential high-risk safety hazard that potentially could have ended in the death of the character Johnson. In a real-life setting proper fall prevention equipment example climbing harnesses or use of a crane bucket should be utilized for as safer options to mitigate risk. According to the US Department of Labor OSHA 2000, “ OSHA requires that fall protection is provided at elevations four feet in the general industry workplaces……..six feet in the construction industry” (OSHA, 2000).

Image result for pics from movie skyscraper

Johnson additionally carried a falling severed bridge suspended hundreds of feet above ground to allow the safe crossing of his family by his barehanded move by pulling on cables for his wife and son to cross on a narrow plank, almost a “shut eye” moment. Again, design can be failed by ergonomics issues that appear to be at work when an open bridge is suspended hundreds of meters, though revolutionary, raises safety concerns of risk involved in its usage worst case being death.

Additionally, pulling on the cables with such bodily force and not enforcing the proper pulling techniques as stated by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, 2017 which states that improper pulling and pushing is the cause of many injuries as they are the most common action at workplaces causing overexertion injuries, injured fingers, hands and lower legs (Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, 2017).

Image result for pics from movie skyscraper

Another ergonomically based concern was the use of duct tape around the hands and feet of Johnson to aid in suspending approximately a hundred floors by sticking to the external glass of the building to get to the turbines like in the Spider-man movies. He defies the rule of gravity as duct tape is impossible to hold the weight of a man in such conditions. Playing along with its ability to happen in the real world, a better solution will be the use of fall prevention equipment to reduce the risk in this extreme situation.

As the movie progressed, Johnson on reaching the turbines, having suspended like spider-man with a thin rope attached to his waist, has to time a huge revolving turbine to jump in and get to the control box of the Penthouse. This in itself was unbelievable based on the fast speed at which it revolved, but again with his brave and diehard character, he succeeded by evading the high risk of death.

Not without posing the question of the high risk involved in one (1) designing a system by placing a control box in the middle of spinning turbines and two (2) Actually jumping through these possible bodies crushing turbines. Alternatively, the building design should have had the control box placed in a secure area with no risk of death to access it.

Image result for pics from movie skyscraper turbines

Not all the ergonomics put forward in the movie had negative connotations, however. The positives must be highlighted and best practices observed in these action-packed scenes. The building has state of the art modern amenities with serene Eco waterfall system for a relaxing effect, additionally, the original building design with anti-fire measures to limit spread and minimize the effects of possible fires was exemplary in reducing the effects of a fire hazard proactively. I was also impressed with the well-designed workspace of the engineers working in the building before they were all killed, proper seating and work-space design were observed. Finally, the elevators, although highly technologically advanced, was designed with a manual override system which allowed for the safe exit of Johnson’s wife and son from the burning building which ultimately saved tow lives.


Biological Hazards

Within the movie Skyscraper, a few biological hazards presented were acknowledged. A biological hazard is one that is known to cause health conditions or that are harmful to human health. In general, there are three entry points for microorganisms to gain access to our body, they are the respiratory system, transmissions through contact with bodily fluids or contact with contaminated objects. They also can produce harmful effects on human health such as infections and allergies. It is important that these harmful effects are not restricted to the three listed.

Screenshot 2018-11-12 12.44.10

In this scene, the villains are seen coming through the hole that they created to begin their attack. This is the first example of a biological hazard. This type of hazard would be exposed to mold and fungi within that particular space. These microorganisms can enter a building directly or by their spores being carried in the air. The presence of mold does not always mean health problems will occur but mold creates “mycotoxins” which if inhaled can lead to allergic and respiratory problems. The risk rating here would be identified as a low. The controls put in place would be to equip these villains with the appropriate breathing mask to prevent minimal inhalation of such bacteria.

At this point in time, the main character has suffered a stab wound to the chest and has to take a rest. He then proceeds to clean and dress this wound with things available to him at this time which were: alcohol, tape and some cloth ripped from his shirt. This puncture can more than likely develop into an infection if not treated properly The risk rating applied to this hazard would be high because he would not be capable of treating such an injury as soon as possible.




Where do we seek protection

THE UWI Guild of Students has called an emergency meeting in response to an alarming report by a student that a man attempted to rape, rob and assault a female year two student in the university’s female locker room bathroom on Tuesday afternoon.
“This unfortunate act preceded by at least six reported robberies where students were held at gunpoint at various locations around the campus over the last four years” said the Guild

“There is the need for more functional security cameras, well lit areas, greater consistency in the protocols and operations of security officers and more frequent patrols” the Guild said.

An invitation has been issued for students to attend a town hall meeting from 1p.m. Thursday.

As a result of students frustration they formed a human barricade and blocked the University southern entrance making it impassable, the police were called in to quell the peaceful protest as the students voiced their frustration. Videos below illustrate the gathering

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