OCCUPATION, HEALTH & SAFETY
After studying this chapter, students should be able to understand the
A. Explain Elements of Workplace Safety and Health
We begin this chapter by describing the nature and role of safety and health
and provide an overview of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act. Organizations realize the importance of
social responsibility and that
safe organizations are more effective organizations. Moreover, the law
requires that the workplace be safe
and free of health hazards. Thus, many firms seek to provide a workplace
environment that is safe and
healthy. This chapter presents workplace safety and health in detail. First,
it deals with the legal issues of
workplace safety and health. Second, it presents a variety of contemporary
safety and health issues. Finally,
the chapter evaluates programs designed to maintain employee safety and
A. Elements of Workplace Safety and Health
Safety: Involves protecting employees from injuries due to
Health: Refers to the employees’ freedom from physical or
Safety programs may be designed to accomplish their purposes in two primary
ways. The first approach is
to create a psychological environment and attitudes that promote safety. A
strong company policy
emphasizing safety and health is crucial. The second approach to safety
program design is to develop and
maintain a safe physical working environment.
• Physical Conditions: Conditions resulting from the
workplace environment that include
occupational diseases and accidents, such as:
• Repetitive motion injuries
• Back pain
• Cancer Etc.
• Psychological Conditions: Conditions resulting from
the workplace environment that result from
organizational stress and low quality of working life. These include:
• Dissatisfaction, withdrawal
• Mistrust in others, irritability
I. Safety Programs
Today, it has become clear that optimal health can generally be achieved
through environmental safety,
organizational changes, and different lifestyles.
a. Developing Safety Programs—Organizational safety
programs require planning for
prevention of workplace accidents. Plans may be relatively simple or more
highly sophisticated in order to fit the organization’s size. Top
management’s support is
essential if safety programs are to be effective. Tremendous economic losses
1. Job hazard analysis: The main goal of safety and
health professionals is to
prevent job-related injuries and illnesses.
2. The Superfund Amendments Reauthorization Act, Title III (SARA):
requires businesses to communicate more openly about the hazards associated
with the materials they use
and produce and the wastes they generate.
3. Employee involvement: One way to strengthen a safety
program is to include
employee input, which provides workers with a sense of accomplishment.
b. Accident Investigation—Accidents can happen even in
the most safety-conscious firms.
Each accident, whether or not it results in an injury, should be carefully
determine its cause and to ensure that it doesn’t recur. The safety engineer
and the line
manager jointly investigate accidents—why, how, and where they occur and who
involved. Main causes that can create accidents at workplace are:
• Chance occurrences
• Unsafe working conditions
• Unsafe acts by employees
• Unsafe conditions
• Defective Equipment
• Inadequate Machine Guards
• Lack of Protective Equipment
• Dust, Fumes
• Unsafe behaviors
c. Evaluation of Safety Programs—Perhaps the best
indicator that a safety program is
succeeding is a reduction in the frequency and severity of injuries and
d. Rationale for Safety and Health Trends—Firms are
spending an increasing amount of
money on safety. Reasons include; (1) profitability—employees can produce
they are on the job, (2) employee relations—firms with good safety records
can attract and
retain good employees, (3) reduced liability—an effective safety program can
corporate and executive liability, (4) marketing—a good safety record may
companies with a competitive edge, and productivity—(5) an effective safety
boost morale and productivity while simultaneously reducing rising costs.
II. Ways to manage Safe and Healthy environment in organization
To cope with physical hazards and other hazards such as stress, unsafe
behavior, and poor health habits,
employers often design comprehensive safety and health programs. Among these
are safety programs,
employee assistance programs, and wellness programs.
a. Safety Programs
A safe working environment does not just happen; it has to be created. The
organizations with the best
reputations for safety have developed well-planned and thorough safety
b. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
EAPs are programs designed to help employees whose job performance is
suffering because of physical,
mental, or emotional problems.
c. Wellness Programs
As health care costs have skyrocketed over the last two decades,
organizations have become more interested
in preventative programs. A complete wellness program has three components:
• It helps employees identify potential health risks through screening
• It educates employees about health risks such as high blood
poor diet, and stress.
• It encourages employees to change their lifestyles through exercise,
nutrition, and health monitoring.
d. Smoking in The work place
Numerous studies have concluded that workplace smoking not only is hazardous
to employees’ health, but
also is detrimental to the firm’s financial health. Increased costs of
insurance premiums, higher absenteeism,
and lost productivity cost huge amount a year. These factors, along with
rising opposition from nonsmokers
and widespread local and state laws, have spurred many firms into action, and
the trend continues.
The rewards of good health habits
Effective safety programs share the following features:
• They include the formation of safety committee and participation by
within the company. Employees participate in safety decision and management
considers employee suggestions for improving safety.
• They communicate safety with a multimedia approach that includes
safety lectures, films,
poster, pamphlets, and computer presentations.
• They use incentives, rewards, and positive reinforcement to
encourage safe behavior.
• They communicate safety rules and enforce them.
• They use safety directors and/or the safety committee to engage in
and accident research to identify potentially dangerous situations, and to
accidents occur and how to correct them.
III. Policies to prevent workplace violence
Every organization should have a two-pronged policy in place to (a) prevent
workplace violence and (b) to
deal with violent incidents when they occur. An HR manager's major
responsibility is to be certain that
selection policies include careful screening and reference checking.
Furthermore, the HR manager should
take the lead to enforce policies pertaining to the fair treatment of
employees. This may require training
managers to recognize performance problems, refer troubled employees for
counseling, and apply
disciplinary procedures consistently.
IV. Cumulative Trauma Disorders
CTDs are also called repetitive stress (or motion or strain) injuries (or
illnesses or syndromes). CTDs do
not refer to only one disorder but to a wide array of maladies ranging from
carpal tunnel syndrome to tennis
elbow. The number of workers with CTDs has risen dramatically in recent
V. Benefits of a Safe and Healthy Workforce
• More productivity
• Increased efficiency and quality
• Reduced medical and insurance costs
• Lower workers’ compensation rates and payments
• Greater workforce flexibility
VI. The HRM Department and Employee Safety and Health
HRM department can help organizations and employers by performing tasks like:
• Develop safety and health programs.
• Select safety and health programs.
• Evaluate safety and health programs.
• Ensure legal compliance.
• Incorporate safety and health concerns in HRM practices.
Safety Involves protecting employees from injuries due to
Health Refers to the employees’ freedom from physical or emotional