We are in the epoch of organizational reform and innovation. Our time is marked with rapid changes in the demography of workforce, changing corporate culture, and changing institutions. In the light of the rapid shift in today’s organizations, the skills required of human resource managers, beginners in the profession and even aspiring students in the discipline, rest on the foundation of knowledge on the whole gamut of human resources and organizational development. Corporate America is not without its complications.
When the company “succeeds,” there is with it (the success) a corresponding notion of responsibilities and liabilities. Organizations thrive today because of the policies and guidelines they have managed to fixed firmly in their set-up and translated into their day to day affairs. Big businesses have the competitive edge over others – i.e., over small entrepreneurs, because they have arrived at their positions in the market place by securing certain parameters in the many facets that comprise their organizations. This is especially true on government laws and regulations.
Occupational health and safety are significant developments in the workplace in the modern century industry. This is a “must” and it spells compliance by institutions on government mandated policies. Every business enterprise or institution must be well-informed and cognizant of these laws such as the federal OSHS for instance, regarding its obligations and responsibilities towards its employees or personnel, towards the community where the business or organization thrives and interacts, and towards the authorities where it is subject to and is made answerable.
This paper is geared towards a) designing and developing a program for safety in the workplace, and, which must, b) adhere to the federal requirements on Occupational Safety and Health; lastly, c) must be transferable and easily implemented. The researcher believes that in every business enterprise or organization, there are health and safety hazards that should be recognized and dealt with by the owners and/or management of that institution.
The design and development of the workplace safety program lies in the training specialists but whose management and/or employers realize and are convinced of its importance. They must believe that on them depend the lives of their employees, their respective families and communities, where safety and health are concerned. This paper describes the problem or issue concerned, ascertains the strategies to address the problem, explains the rationale of the healthy and safety program, presents a model safety and healthy workplace training program, and discusses the administration, and evaluation that automatically must follow after its implementation.
Statements of the problem
For the sake of brevity and focus, this study will revolve its discussion on the following statements of the problem.
What is meant by workplace safety and health and what is the rationale behind the government’s regulations on occupational risks and employee protection? Why the necessity for training for workplace safety and health program?
What should companies provide to ensure health and safety of its employees?
What are the basics in safety management and how is the training for safety and health in the workplace implemented?
This study makes use of various resources collated from books, journals, and institutions with websites where the researcher was able to peruse the available data they provide in terms of whether these organizations make use of training programs, provide resources and help to other fledgling organizations, or offer expertise in this specific area. Visits to publicly available data on private and public injury/accident logs, demographics of business with safety plans are also eyed.
Analysis and Discussion of findings and results. What is meant by workplace safety and health and what is the rationale behind the government’s regulations on occupational risks and employee protection?
Leaders in business and industry have recognized their responsibility in maintaining the health and safety of their employees. They know that a healthy employee works more efficiently, is more productive, and possesses a better work attitude than a sickly employee. There are several factors that may affect the health of employees. Among these are the working conditions in the plant, his living conditions and habits, his family and environmental conditions, his past personal history, and his social economic and educational background (Cooper & Arbrose, 1984).
Health and safety has grown in importance in the light of technological changes bring with them hazards to health and safety to industrial workers. Machines are made by men and men control, operate, and maintain them. Some machines are so simple that even children can operate them, while others are sophisticated and complicated. They require men with great technical know-how involving years of training and experience before they can operate them. With the development and growth of business and industry, the problems of health and safety have gradually increased, brought about by advancing technology and by the innovations in modern tools and machines. The ability of a business organization to provide its employees with sound policies and programs on health and safety increases productivity and profitability (Bromet et al, 1980).
Over the past few decades, laws and regulations have been instituted by the government for the protection of industrial workers. The recent developments in the concept of amelioration and social conscience in the administration of human resources make business management more concerned with the health and safety of employees.
Thus the government’s federal laws on Occupational and Safety Standards and other laws of such nature were promulgated. The requirements for medical and dental services and the employment of physicians and nurses depend upon the number of employees and the location of the plant to provide first-aid treatment. Many companies however, provide even more and better health medical services than what the law requires. They even extend these services to members of employee’s families. Medical services of hospitals or medical clinics are also provided by firms located in outlying rural areas (____ OSHS Act of 1970).
Importance of safety
According to Nesbit and Vespi, “small businesses have no safety plan.” They indicated that in Florida alone (in their year 2000 study), 370,000 small business which averages 500 employees has no safety and health compliance (Nesbit and Vespi, 2000).
When talking of safety people immediately think of accident which is the result if an unexpected happening. Industrial accidents are inevitable in modern industry. It is a phenomenon that gives rise to a challenge to society, to the government, to the industrialists, managers, supervisors, and the workers. Accidents are production problems. The time lost due to accidents could be tremendous – it may cripple the entire organization and may mean the closure of the business. Accidents can be minimized, if not entirely eliminated through study and training.
The objective of safety is to eliminate time loss, prevent waste of human resources and the agony of human suffering because of industrial accident or illness. The results of accidents vary from temporary disability which may last only a few days or weeks to either partial, complete or permanent disability or even death of the victim. Accidents may involve only one person or a group of workers. Every accident causes suffering and sorrow to the victim and his family and dependents (Conroy, 1989).
While the first concern of management is to safeguard the health and safety of its employees, not much can be done if the latter fail to help themselves. A man may have been given a pair of safety goggles for use while grinding metal but if he does not wear them while at work, he may lose his eyesight just the same. Management cannot just censure the employee and say, “I told you so,” and leave it at that.
Management may punish him for not following company rules and regulations and that’s all could be done, but safety and accident preventions are still management’s responsibility. This is the basic lesson in safety management – to develop in the employee the proper working attitude to make himself a healthy and safe worker through the employee induction and training program and good supervision (Wolgater, Allison, & McKenna, 1989).
What should companies provide to ensure health and safety of its employees?
Most companies require a pre-employment physical examination for employees, for a number of reasons, namely:
a.) To guide management in the proper placement of the employee according to his physical ability; b.) To avoid the hiring of a person who is suffering from some illness or ailment which may endanger his life and those of his fellow workers; c.) To avoid the hiring of a person who may have been indulging in bad habits such as drug addiction, heavy drinking, etc., and may not possess the proper attitude for work; d.) To determine the physical and mental fitness of a person to work in the company (Ludwig & Geller, 1991).
Hence, pre-employment examination for employees is a prerequisite for the overall or comprehensive plan to ensure safety and health of its employees. Another includes First Aid Treatment which is the meant adequate, immediate and necessary medical and dental attention or remedy given in case of injury or sudden illness suffered by a worker during employment, irrespective of whether he is on duty or not. The Constitution mandates that it is the duty of the Government to safeguard the worker’s social and economic well-being as well as his physical safety and health (SKRSC, 1989).
Industrial and business establishments are required to provide medical and dental services in their respective establishments as provided for in the law. Every employer must keep in his workplace, a stock of first aid medicines, equipment and facilities as may be prescribed by the law, and employ medical personnel physicians and nurses, depending upon the size and number of employees employed, the firm’s location, and the hazards of the jobs in a company and the working shifts (SKRSC, 1989).
Besides taking care of the medical needs of the employees, company physicians or nurses may be required to give lectures on health and safety to employees. Very often, too, their medical testimony or report may be needed by the Employees’ Compensation Commission, the Social Security System, or the Government Health Care provider to support claims for benefits under these laws. Many firms include in their medical services, visits to the home of sick employees by the company physicians or nurse (SKRSC, 1989).
What are the basics in safety management and how is the training for safety and health in the workplace implemented?
A comprehensive program of the government on health, safety and social welfare for employees provided as a model for companies to follow. This is a general format of a typical training program (Bayer and Gerstein, 1990).
~Program Vision: Dealing constructively with the health and safety of employees in relation to work (National Safety Council, 1987).
To facilitate the placement and insure the suitability of individuals according to their physical capacity, mental ability and emotional make-up in work which they can perform with an acceptable degree of efficiency and without endangering their own health and safety and that of their co-workers;
To protect employees against health hazards in their work environment;
To assure adequate medical care and rehabilitation of the occupationally ill and injured;
To encourage personal health maintenance, e.g., physical fitness activities, etc., and
To provide information, guidance, service on population control.
Maintenance of healthful work environment
This requires that health personnel perform periodic inspection of premises, including all facilities used by employees and evaluate the work environment in order to detect and appraise health hazards, mental as well as physical. Such inspections and appraisal, together with the knowledge of processes and materials used, provide current information on health aspects of the work environment. This information will serve as the basis for appropriate recommendation or corrective measures.
Health examinations Placement
Special before transfer from one job to another
upon return to work after an illness or injury
when an employee is going to or returning from a foreign assignment
at termination of employment
prior to retirement.
Diagnosis and treatment of both occupational and non-occupational injuries and diseases.
The health personnel must maintain accurate and complete medical records of each worker from the time of his first examination or treatment. They are confidential and must be under the exclusive custody and control of the medical personnel and disclosure must not be made without his consent, except as required by the law.
Health education and counseling
It helps the employees and through him, his family to understand the why’s and how’s of good health practices. It goes hand on hand with safety education. The health and safety personnel should work cooperatively with supervisors in imparting appropriate health hazards and proper precautions, habits of cleanliness, orderliness, safe work practices, use and maintenance of available personal protective clothing and devices, the use of available health services and facilities, etc.
The nutrition of workers must be a common concern of all occupational health programs. The objective is that all workers should be nourished and adequately to meet their total health needs including any special demands of their work and their total living needs. Workers must be educated about the importance of sound nutrition and the composition of a balanced diet.
Mental health activities
The objective is to promote the mental health and happiness of people at work.
Family planning program
Physical fitness programs
The objectives of these programs are for the employee to develop awareness and understanding of the benefits of such programs to himself and in relation to his work and to motivate the worker to undertake some kind of regular physical activity which is suited to his physical, mental and social capabilities.
~Training of personnel in Occupational Safety and Health
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards requires that a number of supervisors or technical personnel, depending on the total number of employees in the company as well as the occupational hazards existing in the company, be trained or undergo an occupational safety and health training course by the government authorized training company. It prescribes a specific program to be followed by training organizations for accreditation by the United States government (Source: National Safety Council, 1987).
~Training and Personnel Complement
At least the following number of supervisors or technical personnel shall take the required training and shall be appointed safety man, full-time or part-time, depending on the number of workers employed:
For Hazardous Workplaces
Number of workers 200 and below – one (1) part-time safety man
Over 200 to 1,000 – one (1) full-time safety man
For every 1,000 workers – one (1) full-time safety man
For Non-hazardous Workplaces
Number of workers
Less than 1,000 – one (1) part-time safety man
For every 1,000 – one (1) full-time safety man
~Criteria for training
The prescribed course shall be used or followed by accredited organizations. Any deviation from the prescribed training course must be with the previous approval of the US Department of Labor.
Provisions for adequate training facilities for the holding of training including laboratory facilities, library, training rooms and equipment.
Training staff must be composed of persons recognized by the US authorities duly trained by and certified to as competent by the government or accredited training organizations.
(Source: National Safety Council, 1987).
PRESCRIBED TRAINING COURSE ON
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH FOR INDUSTRY
Basic Safety and Health Course
The following is an outline of the training course on safety and health for industry which is prescribed by the government.
12 Sessions of 2 hours per session
First Session – 2 hours
Subjects: 1. Orientation
Requirements of the Course
Objectives of the course
Progress of the Safety Movement in the United States Discussion of Occupational Health and Safety Legislations
Responsibility for safety.
Second Session – 2 Hours
Subject: 1. Safety programming
Why a safety program?
Elements of a safety program
Organization Structure to Implement a safety program
The safety committee
Types and Functions of the Safety Committee
Third Session – 2 hours
Subject: 1. Accident Records System and Analysis
Selection of factors
Accident Report and Problem study
Fourth Session – 2 Hours
Subject: 1. Materials handling
Handling injuries, Devices, and hazards
Protective Clothing and Equipment.
Importance of good Handling in Small Plant
Proper Storage and Stacking
Passage, Safe Levels
Fifth Session – 2 Hours
Subject: 1. Machine Guarding
Point of Operations
Transmission Equipment and Moving Parts
(1) Woodworking Machinery
(2) Metalworking Machinery
Sixth Session – 2 Hours
Subject: 1. Electrical hazards
Electricity and its effect on the Human body
Electrical hazards and remedies
Electrical Safety regulations
What to do in case of electrical accident (Factors, treatments, etc)
Seventh and Eighth Session – 2 hours
Subject: 1. Fire Prevention and Protection
Theories and General Protection
Methods of Prevention
Classification of fire
Organization of Fire brigades
Maintenance of Extinguishing Equipment
Ninth Session – 2 hours
Subject: 1. Occupational Health Programming
Medical examinations in Industry
Health Education and Counseling
Health measures for Women and children
Health Provisions of the New Labor Code
Tenth Session – 2 hours
Subject: 1. Occupational health hazards-Evaluation and Control
Classification and types
Assessment of hazardous Exposure
Methods of engineering control
Personnel Protective Equipment
Problems in Usage
Eleventh – 2 hours
Subject: Safety Inspection
Indicators of Good Housekeeping
Good Housekeeping Practices
Planning for Good Housekeeping
Good Housekeeping Inspection Checklist
Maintenance for Safety
Plant Layout and Arrangement
Planning and control
Role of Safety Engineer
Layout and Process arrangement
Advantages of Planned Inspection
Twelfth Session – 2 hours
Subject: 1. Human Elements in safety
Arousing and maintaining interest in safety
Application – 8 hours
Thirteenth Session – 2 hours
Fourteenth Session – 2 hours
Subject: Laboratory and Case Studies
Trainor’s Subjects – 8 hours
Fifteenth Session – 2 hours
Subject: Effective Communication
Sixteenth Session – 2 hours
Subject: Principles and Methods of Instruction
Seventeenth Session – 5 hours
Subject: Practice Session
Eighteenth Session – 2 hours
(Source: Compendium from various training designs and development programs)
Conclusion and Recommendations
Company policies reflect the company’s intentions of not only looking into employees benefits and/or plight, but its willingness to comply with authorities. Safety must be of prime importance in each organization and cooperation between employees and the imposed restrictions must be monitored and regulated. Any accident prevention program can only be effective and successful with the combined efforts of the management, supervisors, foremen and employees. This is where motivating the employees to participate is also critical and the constant and proper communication channels are employed in the organization. Government’s monitoring should also be unceasing because the tendency for institutions to make lapses and/or company support to be negligent with their duties can oftentimes occur.
_______OSHS Act of 1970. Occupational Safety and Health Standards. US Department of Labor. Accessed July 15, 2007 file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/alan/My%20Documents/US%20DEPT%20LABOR%20SAFETY.htm
Bayer, GA, & Gerstein, IH. 1990. EAP referrals and troubled employees: an analogous study of supervisors’ decisions. Journal of Vocational behavior, 36, 304-319.
Bromet, EJ, Dew, MA, Parkinson, DK, & Schulberg, HC. 1988.Predictive effects of occupational and marital stress on the mental health of a male workforce. Journal of Organizational behavior, 9, 1-13.
Conroy, C. 1989. Work-related injuries in the meatpacking industry. Journal of Safety Research. 20, 47-53.
Cooper, CI & Arbrose, J. 1984 Executive stress goes global. International management.15, 42-48.
Ludwig, TD & Geller, ES. 1991. Improving the driving practices of pizza deliverers: response generalization and moderating effects of driving history. Journal of Applied behavior Analysis. 24, 31-44.
National Safety Council, 1987. Accident Facts, 1987 edition. Chicago: National Safety Council
Nesbit, Robert, Charlene Vespi. 2000. The Seven-Up safety and health program. USF Florida Consultation program. Accessed July 15, 2007 http://www.safetyflorida.usf.edu
SKRSC, 1989 (June-July). Update: Current development in Employee relations in law and litigation. Newsletter available from Schacter, Kristoff, Ross, Sprague, and Curiale, 505 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111.
Wogalter, MS., Allison, ST., & McKenna, NA. 1989. Effects of Cost and Social Influence on warning compliance. Human Factors, 133-140
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