Published on 12:29, 10/03,2013
28 October – 03 November STROKE AWARENESS WEEKSTROKE TEST: A 3-PART TEST FOR RECOGNIZING POTENTIAL STROKESThe signs of a stroke are being publicized through a number of different campaigns (e.g., the Massachusetts Health Promotion (n.d.). A modified form of the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS) (see “EMS Stroke Assessment: The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale” below) has been presented as a simple STRoke test, with the first 3 letters of stroke standing for:·         Smile. Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?·         Talk. Ask the person to repeat a phrase. Does their speech sound strange?·         Raise your arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?The public are being advised that the sudden appearance of any one of these 3 symptoms indicates a possible stroke and immediate medical help should be called (Wall et al., 2008). A person who is having a stroke has a better chance of survival and recovery if they obtain medical care within 3 hours of the stroke episode. Fast action is vitally important.FIRST AIDPeople often wonder what first aid to give to a stroke victim. The best first aid is professional transport to a hospital, and getting an ambulance is the most important thing that a bystander can do for a stroke victim. When a person calls for help, the operator can give additional guidance for any other necessary first aid (AHA, 2005).In addition, the one critical medical step that the public should know is how to control external bleeding. First aid providers should be taught to press on a bleeding area until the bleeding stops or an emergency medical services (EMS) team arrives. For guidelines on the Universal Precautions please go to the following UCT website for page 3 of the First Aid Policy: http://www.uct.ac.za/downloads/uct.ac.za/about/policies/firstaid.pdfFor more information about strokes please view the literature on the sites listed below:http://www.ansdocs.com/pdf/answers_5.pdfhttp://msucares.com/newsletters/safety/09/6.pdf       Classic signs of a stroke. (Source: NINDS, 2007.)



Published on 15:31, 09/19,2013
Each of us is in a unique position to recognize employees who are at risk for suicide and to take action to get them the help they need.  Recognize some of the common warning signs:·         Depression, feelings of hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts·         Impulsiveness, extreme anxiety, agitation, irritability, or risky behaviour·         Withdrawal from others; giving away treasured belongings·         Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed·         Abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other substances Remember, if you are concerned about a co-worker, friend, or a family member, and you think they may be considering suicide, you can ACT to prevent suicide.  A – Ask the question – “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” C – Care for your co-worker – Listen with compassion and voice your concern. T – Take action – Seek professional help.  If you, or someone you know, are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Crisis Helpline: 8am-8pm call 0800 567 567 / SMS 31393. This number can be dialled toll-free seven days a week.  You can also contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 650-2154. The EAP provides all UCT employees and their eligible family members with up to six free face-to-face counselling sessions. All services provided by the EAP are free of charge, and completely confidential. Key signs of depression: •Loss of interest in things you like to do or not enjoying things you once liked•Sadness that won’t go away •Irritability or feeling angry a lot •Feeling guilty or hopeless •Feeling tense, worrying a lot, crying a lot and spending a lot of time alone •Eating too much or too little •Sleeping too much or too little •Having low energy or restless feelings • Skipping school & having trouble thinking or paying attention•Hard time making decisions  •Thinking of dying or killing yourself  For more information please visit the websites listed below: http://www.sadag.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=43http://www.iasp.info/suicide_guidelines.php If you need help please call the toll-free number or sms the number provided:Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0800 567 567 / SMS 31393 (8am-8pm) 


March is TB Awareness Month

Published on 09:32, 03/06,2013
Did you know that 1 out of 10 people develops the disease. If not treated, the infectious person can affect 20 other people or more in a year. TB spreads when infected people with pulmonary (lung) TB cough tiny droplets containing TB into the air, and others breathe them in. People who have TB of other parts of the body are not infectious. The earlier the client goes to the Municipal clinic to get examined, the easier it is to cure TB. More severe signs are coughing up blood, nightsweats, loss of weight and shortness of breath.


The symptoms of tuberculosis depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. Tuberculosis bacteria often grow in the lungs, causing pulmonary tuberculosis.


  • Bad Cough for longer than three weeks either dry, yellow or green mucus and in some cases bloody mucus
  • Rapid Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slight Fever (early hours of the morning)
  • Night Sweats
  • Lack of appetite




The client is examined at a Municipal primary healthcare clinic and asked to give a morning sputum sample and another the next day. These samples are sent to a laboratory and the results are available in 48 hours. Only one of them needs to be positive to indicate TB infection.

If the result is positive, the client will be counselled and advised on the benefits of being put on the TB control programme. If both sputum samples are positive, treatment is given immediately. An x-ray may also be taken, but the sputum tests confirm diagnosis. If the TB infection is severe, the client will be referred to a specialist TB clinic.

The best method to ensure your wellbeing and that of those who share your work and personal space, is to be well informed. Find out more on what you need to know about TB by visiting the PGWC Dept of Health website below for posters on the signs of TB infection, how to prevent TB and how to take TB medication. http://www.westerncape.gov.za/eng/pubs/public_info/W/214623
Remember that TB can be Cured!



Published on 09:19, 10/12,2012

Olla UCTlings,

Colleagues, Students, Visitors and Friends, I hope that life on Campus has been kind to you as we approach the half way mark through the month of October. Monday 15 October is Global Handwashing Day and I'd like to remind you of these 4 resources to help you advocate Infection Control and General Wellbeing in the weeks and months ahead:- 

1. Please remember to Tweet #iwashmyhands on Global Handwashing Day and to play the Global Handwashing Initiative (GCI) social media game, World Wash Up, to ensure that they reach their goal of trending worldwide on Twitter. The game can be found at globalhandwashing.org/ghw  2. Please circulate the link to the GHD map where people can log in their activities (including attaching photos, etc.) after the event: http://globalhandwashing.org/ghw-day/activities .We especially want to count the number of people worldwide involved in celebrating Global Handwashing Day so please count the # of people at your event and let us know! We also welcome stories, photos and any other documentation you would like to share. 

3. More tools and resources are available on the GCI website: globalhandwashingday.org

4. Please display the UCT Global Handwashing Day Poster in your Restroom, Office, Lab, Waiting Room, Reception Desk, Canteen - simply everywhere. Lets make an effort to stay healthier, safer, stronger - Together! You can download the A4 Poster from our website http://ohs.uct.ac.za

Safety Greetings from the SHE Team.



Find Out Whats Going On Around You Because...

Published on 13:59, 09/06,2012

You could have won some awesome prizes if you visited the exhibitions in the Jameson Hall on 04 - 06 September 2012. HR hosted another Staff Wellness expo on Upper Campus which had a brand new exhibitor, OSS Office Furniture. This company exhibited their innovative desktop solutions for people who work with multiple monitors. They also showcased some portable ergonomic solutions for people who work using laptops/netbooks/iPads/Tablets etc. If you would like to find out more about their office solutions please give Gail a call at 021-551 2655.

On 04 September we had 5 winners and on 06 September we had 1 main winner, we congratulate our 6 Staff Wellness Winners and hope that they will find their prizes very useful. Now don't be sad if you missed out. If you keep checking out our website and blog, or read the Monday Paper safety articles on a regular basis then you are bound to win some of our future prizes. The important thing is to keep up to date with whats happening on Campus. Have a safe week.   


Do you know how to help someone having an epileptic fit? No - well read on...18 - 24 June is National Epilepsy Week

Published on 13:10, 06/19,2012

What is the best first aid for a seizure? Here are some tips if you or a loved one has epilepsy.

  • Always carry medical identification. In an emergency, knowledge of your seizure disorder can help the people around you maintain your safety and provide the appropriate treatment.
  • Make sure family,friends and co-workers know what to do if you have a seizure. (See below.)
  • Avoid potential dangers e.g. high places or moving machinery at home, school or work if you have active seizures. Though there is less risk if your seizures are under control, your attention should focus on the specific risks of certain activities (such as mowing, working around farm machinery, hot appliances, etc.).
  • It is important for you to remain active, but you should chose your sports and other activities intelligently. You may want to avoid contact sports, but if your seizures are well controlled, you can lead a normal life. The buddy system works well, so have another person with you who knows you have seizures and what to do if you have one. Activities such as baseball, bike riding, canoeing, horseback riding, or hockey can be made safer by wearing helmets/life jackets and by having another person with you, but this is true for all people.
  • If you take anticonvulsant meds, do not suddenly stop taking it or change the dosage without consulting your doctor. The type of anticonvulsant meds you are prescribed depends on the type of epilepsy you have, and the dose is determined by your weight, age, gender, and other factors.
  • Be alert to the risks of possible drug interactions between your epilepsy meds and other medications you may take, including over-the-counter drugs. Always call your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure what interactions could occur before taking any medication. Most pharmacists will do this for you if they know that you are on any treatment.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it can interfere with the effectiveness of your medication and may lower the brain's seizure threshold.

What Should I Do for a Person Who Has a Seizure?

  • Loosen the clothing around the person's neck.
  • Do not try to hold the person down or restrain him or her, this can result in injury.
  • Do not insert any objects in the person's mouth; this can also cause injury.
  • Reassure concerned bystanders who may be upset and ask them to give the person room.
  • Remove sharp objects (glasses, furniture, and other objects) from around the person to prevent injury.
  • After the seizure, it is helpful to lay the person on his or her side to maintain an open airway and prevent the person from inhaling any secretions. (Recovery position)
  • After a seizure, the person may be confused and should not be left alone.
  • In many cases,especially if the person is known to have epilepsy, it is not necessary to call Emergency Services. 
  • Call CPS (ext.2222/2223/2121) if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or if another seizure begins soon after the first, or if the person cannot be awakened after the fits have stopped. If you are concerned that something else may be wrong, or the person has another medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes, you should contact a doctor immediately.
  • Log onto the Epilepsy South Africa website for more information on Epilepsy support services http://www.epilepsy.org.za/facts/medical.php


Safety Week : 23 - 28 April 2012

Published on 14:20, 03/07,2012
Please diarize these dates, times, venues & topics. We are sure that you'll enjoy the topics and demonstrations presented by industry specialists. For further info or to share your thoughts, access the website http://ohs@uct.ac.za or email us: ohs@uct.ac.za. We'll see you there...
Monday 23 April:
Food Safety - Practical Solutions ( 9 - 11), venue: James L, RW James Building
Case Studies of Serious Fires @ UCT (12 - 14), venue: Hoeri LT1, Hoerikwaggo Building 
Tuesday 24 April:
Construction Safety (9 - 11), venue: Baxter Hall Res., Chapel Rd, Lower Campus
Waste Management (12 -14), venue: M202 Maths Building  
Wednesday 25 April:
Occupational Health (10 - 11), venue: B106 Beattie Building
Practical Health & Safety (12 - 14), venue:B106 Beattie Building     
Thursday 26 April: (By invitation only)
UCT SHE Reps Safety Breakfast (09:30 - 12:30), Smuts Hall Upper Campus.  
Friday 27 April : Public Holiday
Saturday 28 April: World Day for Health & Safety at Work      


Basic First Aid for after hours Incidences

Published on 07:14, 02/25,2012
There seems to be a worrying trend on campus. Lately I have noted that the emergency assistance call outs for ER24 ambulances are for minor conditions like twisted ankles or stomach cramps. The first aid responders are not remaining calm and are not thinking through the range of basic first aid responses to address the call out issues. Lets consider last nights incident for example; the basic first aid for a strain or sprain would have been R.I.C.E- Rest affected limb, Immobilise, Cold compresses, Elevate the affected limb. Surely these steps with some basic pain relief would have helped the student to remain stable through the night until he/she could go to a GP in the morning. Now consider the cost of an ambulance call out (R1500- R3500) €€€€€+ a Trauma unit consult fees of R5000 or more depending on the treatments prescribed. We then have a better understanding of how panic impacts the University. we also need to consider the value to cost ratio of providing costly first aid training to personnel who are not using these skills as intended. a study of the reasons for these emergency call outs for minor cases will help to identify problems in the system €+ help us to engage with the UCT community to find better solutions. Watch this spot for further developments, safety greetings.


Upcoming Safety Events @ UCT

Published on 15:48, 02/24,2012

Dear Colleagues, Visitors, Students

The SHE Dept is very excited to announce that in April we have a week of safety activities planned at selected venues on Campus. As soon as the venues are confirmed, I'll be blogging, tweeting & facebooking the info to all of you. We hoped to have secured all of our venues by now, but you know what a squeeze it is to try to get a teaching or lecturing venue on Campus. So at this point we are busy bees zipping about getting the posters, flyers, speakers, exhibitors and all the other safety gurus lined up to provide you with a sweet week of safety info and fun from 23 - 26 April. Don't forget that the 27 April is a public holiday and therefore our safety "week" only has 4 days. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, give us your feedback and ideas. We would love to hear your thoughts and implement your safety suggestions.




Safety Health Environment Event News aka S.H.E.E.N

Published on 15:46, 02/22,2012

The Safety Health & Environment Dept (SHE) are very excited to finally, be on the blog scene. We hope that you will find the blogs useful and interesting. Some very useful facts that you may not be aware of about the SHE Dept.:- (1) We have an advisory role on campus and are willing to assist you with health and safety matters pertaining to occupational safety, (2) the Occupational Health Unit forms part of the SHE Dept and conduct occupational safety medicals which are specific to the risks related to certain high risk activities of certain job functions/work performed by UCT employees. These medicals are based on an Occupational Risk Exposure Profile (OREPs), (3) We conduct risk assessments, safety audits and offer free safety related workshops on Campus. The SHE Dept has a network of voluntary safety personnel who help us by being our eyes and ears across campus. These safety volunteers are permanent UCT employees who have been appointed as either a Safety Rep (SHE Rep), a First Aider or an Evacuation Marshal within their Faculty or Dept. In order to ensure that these volunteers are equipped with the basic knowledge and skill to assume their voluntary functions, the SHE Dept funds accredited training during working hours to ensure that the University, the Volunteer and the UCT Community benefits - in essence a win-win situation. We have some very exciting safety events planned for the year and I'll be blogging some more about these details in time to come. If you would like some more information about the SHE Dept, our services, the training/workshops on offer or would like to view our monthly safety newsletter (SHEQ Mate), please follow the link and join us on our safety journey. http:///www.ohs.uct.ac.za Safety Greetings...    



Published on 15:36, 02/22,2012
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