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  • This chapter is all about health and safety in the work environment. In this segment we

  • will discuss the basic facts about the Occupation Safety and Health Act and Administration,

  • discuss how to minimize unsafe acts by employees, talk about how to deal with important occupational

  • health problems, and look at the supervisor's role in safety.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970 to preserve the nation's human

  • resources by assuring as much as possible that every worker has a safe and healthy working

  • condition. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) held within the Department

  • of Labor administers the act, sets and enforces the safety and health standards, and has inspectors

  • working out of branch offices throughout the country to ensure compliance.

  • One of the main things OSHA does is to create general industry, maritime, and construction

  • standards, and well as other regulations and procedures that different industries must

  • follow to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Here is an example of a general

  • construction standard for guardrails. As you can see the standard notes a minimum height

  • as well as other installation requirements.

  • OSHA also requires most employers to maintain records of any workplace injuries. Under OSHA,

  • employers with 11 or more employees must maintain records of and report occupational injuries

  • and illnesses. An occupational illness is any abnormal condition or disorder caused

  • by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment. This flow chart helps organizations

  • decide when an accident must be reported to OSHA. For example, if an accident results

  • in a death, an illness, or a restriction of work motion, it must be reported to OSHA;

  • but if the accident only involves minor first aid, then it does not need to be reported.

  • Not only does OSHA require reporting and record keeping but they also do onsite inspections.

  • Inspections are decided based on a priority list. First on this list are situations of

  • imminent danger and OSHA conducts an inspection within 24 hours for these situations. Second,

  • are catastrophes, fatalities, and accidents that have already occurred and OSHA responds

  • within 3 working days. Third, are valid employee complaints of an alleged violation of standards

  • and for situations that are non-serious, OSHA responds within 20 working days. Complaints

  • such as these are filed in writing by a worker or union. Next, are periodic special-emphasis

  • inspections aimed at high-hazard industries, occupations, or substances; and last are random

  • inspections and re-inspections. Penalties on average can range from $5,000 up to $70,000

  • for willful or repeated serious violations, although in practice the penalties can be

  • far higher based on the violation.

  • There are 3 main causes of workplace accidents: chance occurrences, unsafe conditions and

  • unsafe acts. The first, chance occurrences, are just that; they are random events that

  • have no rhyme or reason to them. For example, a baseball from a local little league game

  • comes flying through your window at work, breaks the glass and you receive some cuts

  • from the flying glass. This is a chance occurrence. The second cause, unsafe conditions can involve

  • any of the things you see listed here. For instance things like improperly guarded or

  • defective equipment can lead to serious workplace accidents. Unsafe acts by employees are the

  • last major cause of workplace accidents. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to the question

  • of what causes them, but examples include things like forgetting to wear a hard hat

  • or other safety equipment.

  • There are a number of hazardous substances or chemicals you may come into contact with

  • at work. Asbestos is one such example and organizations must take every precaution to

  • protect employees from this and other sources of respiratory illness such as silica or lead

  • poisoning. There is also the threat of infectious diseases. Since the SARS scare people have

  • become more concerned about this issue especially with many employees traveling to and from

  • international destinations. Obviously, employers must make provisions for ensuring that a returning

  • employee does not inadvertently infect colleagues.

  • There are also a number of other issues employers need to be aware of in relation to health

  • and safety, ranging from job stress to violence at work. Job stress can cause a number of

  • problems at work such as poor work performance and lower job satisfaction. Reducing job stress

  • can range from getting more sleep and eating better to negotiating with your boss for realistic

  • deadlines on important projects.

  • When severe job stress is not dealt with, it can lead to burnout. Burnout is the total

  • depletion of physical and mental resources caused by excessive striving to reach an unrealistic

  • work-related goal. Some suggestions for alleviating burnout include: getting away from it all

  • periodically and reassessing your goals.

  • A third issue concerns computer-related health problems such as eyestrain, neck and back

  • pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

  • (or NIOSH) has several recommendations that organizations can implement to reduce computer-related

  • health problems and minimize employee concerns.

  • AIDS is another issue we have discussed previously. While AIDS is definitely a workplace hazard

  • employers need to be aware of, under ADA, they cannot subject an employee with AIDS

  • to discriminatory treatment.

  • Workplace smoking is becoming an area of serious concern for employees and employers. Smokers

  • have significantly greater risk of occupational accidents and higher absenteeism rates than

  • nonsmokers. They also increase the cost of health and fire insurance. In response to

  • this, many organizations are starting smoking cessation programs or even going so far as

  • refusing to hire smokers.

  • Violence at work is the last issue we will discuss here. In the last few decades organizations

  • have seen a dramatic increase in the number of violent incidents occurring on the job.

  • From the highly publicized office shootings to the lesser discussed issue of workplace

  • robbery, organizations need to do their best to reduce violence at work.

  • There are a number of steps companies can take to better prepare or protect their employees

  • such as: improving their employee screening process to make sure they are not hiring anyone

  • with a past history of aggressive behavior and providing employees with conflict resolution

  • training.

  • In the end there is no better deterrent to employee violence than having a basic security

  • plan. Basic prerequisites for a Security Plan include several things: one, a company philosophy

  • and policy on crime, in particular, making sure employees understand that no crime is

  • acceptable and that the employer has a zero tolerance policy. Two, making sure to conduct

  • a full background check as part of your selection process for every position. Three, creating

  • a security awareness training to inform employees on the policies and procedures. Four, the

  • organization should establish and communicate the procedures employees should follow in

  • the event of a terrorist threat, bomb threat, fire, or other emergency.

  • When setting up the actual security plan organizations should follow these four steps: analyze the

  • current level of risk, and then install mechanical, natural, and organizational security systems.

  • Natural security is taking advantage of the facility's natural or architectural features

  • in order to minimize security problems. Mechanical security is the utilization of security systems

  • such as locks, intrusion alarms, access control systems, and surveillance systems.

  • Lastly, organizational security is using good management to improve safety. In other words,

  • if you have good managers that treat employees with respect and dignity then many health

  • and safety issues can be avoided completely.

  • In today's lesson we have discussed the basics of workplace health and safety and how organizations

  • can help to create a safe environment for their employees. Now it is time to apply what

  • you have learned.

This chapter is all about health and safety in the work environment. In this segment we

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B1 osha safety health occupational workplace security

HR Management: Health & Safety

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    kuoyumei posted on 2014/04/26
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