To ensure a safe and healthy workplace, responsibilities are placed on managers, supervisors and employees under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1984. There are number of resources that provide safety. It includes some of the following.
- Hazard identification, risk assessment and control.
- Steps of information in controlling the dangerous hazards.
- Training and information
- Information on workers’ compensation
- A team for solving the health and safety issues
- A unit for dealing cases of injured staff
Responsibilities for Safety and Health
The responsibilities are placed on managers, supervisors and employees under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1984. The company ensures that their employees are not subjected to any kind of hazards, and is committed in providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workspace.
- Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors
- Establish workplaces, provide equipment and work which doesn’t expose the employees to hazards of any kind.
- Give information, instruction, training and a supervisor who examines, so that workers can perform their work safely and efficiently.
- Provide adequate coverings (clothing) and equipment if workers had to work in a place where hazards are unavoidable.
- Consult the employees and their representatives to check whether all the necessary measures are taken and their safety needs are being carried out.
- Responsibilities of Employees and Visitors
There are some responsibilities that even an employee should take for his own safety purposes. They are:
- Cooperate with the higher officials (for Safety and Health department) for having a safe work place.
- Take some minimum individual care.
- Encourage the establishment and maintenance of safety and health systems in your organizations.
- Report immediately if there are any hazards or injuries to anyone.
- Follow instruction and training classes keenly and oblige to all the safety measures established by the Safety and Health department in your organization.
There are some processes and procedures to be followed to ensure that the above mentioned responsibilities are carried out. They are –
- Consultative process
- Hazard identification
- Hazard Investigation
- Control workplace hazards
- Information and training
- Risk Assessment
Consultation between employees and managers is very important to ensure workplace safety.
There are three steps involved in this consultative process. They are
- Elect the Safety and Health Representatives
- Form the Safety and Health Committee
- The process followed for resolving the safety issues
SHR’s(Safety and Health Representatives) are the mediator link between the employees and the organization. They have number of functions which focus on improving the safety and health measures.
Occupational Safety and Health Committee consists of selected members of SHRs and members of the organization who meet on quarterly basis to discuss, plan, initiate policy and monitor the injury trends.
Resolution of safety issues is done by the above mentioned committee. But mostly they will be resolved at the local level. If not, they will be directed to Divisional Safety and Health Committee.
We have to first identify the hazard prone workplaces. Hazard is a source of harm to life, property and health. It can be of any type, like chemical, physical, psychological, mechanical, biological etc.
All new tasks must be assessed. If there are any alterations to the existing tasks then they also must be assessed. These should be done and inspected regularly. Job Safety Analysis measures are carried out.
Job Safety Analysis
- Pick a Job
- Break the job into sequential steps
- Analyze each step if it is necessary or not and if there is any hazard present in it. If present, then the necessary equipment to prevent the hazard is provided or not is ensured.
- Assess the risk and follow the hazard control techniques.
It is very important to record and report the hazards even if they are near misses for the reasons such as:
- Recurrence of the incident can be avoided
- Collected information can be used for preventative efforts taken up by the organization
- Formal record is kept as an evidence that the event took place
- Worker’s compensation to be met are recorded legally
All injuries, near misses, hazards can be reported by the eye-witnesses, and the supervisor may assist in treating the injured person.
Investigating the hazard is the only way we can know the failures in the system that caused the injury or ill health. This is done soon after a hazard/incident is reported. All the hazards, near misses, injuries must be investigated. This investigation is done by the Management representatives. These Management Representatives should contact the SHRs’ for the place of action / investigation. The level of investigation will depend on the seriousness of the hazard. Early investigation is preferable because the valuable evidences are not lost.
Hazard investigation team should consider all the task factors, environmental factors, person factors, equipment factors and the management factors. Usually there won’t be a single cause for a hazard. There would be multiple factors involved.
Controlling hazards in the workplaces
Determine whether the risk is acceptable or not. If not, then follow the ‘Hierarchy of Control’ system below.
- Elimination: Eliminates or removes the risk entirely.
- Substitution: Substitutes a safer process or material instead of the previous hazardous method
- Isolation: Separating the hazardous equipment and making it a safer place
- Engineering: This involves in adding physical and safety measures to the plant
- Administration: These controls are effective when used in conjunction with the above control methods.
- Personal Protective Equipment: This is used when all the above mentioned control methods are impractical to apply.
Risk assessment will involve two steps.
- The likelihood of the hazard leading to an incident resulting in injury.
- The consequences should the hazard leading to an accident.
Risks are classified into four types
- Extreme Risk
- High Risk
- Moderate Risk
- Low Risk
Procedure for Resolution of the Issues
- The person raising the issue should complete an online form and report it. This will be examined by the supervisors.
- Supervisor should discuss with SHRs’ and the person raising the issue. If not solvable, forward it to higher officials.
- Senior Manager will work on resolving the issue next.
- If not resolved then vice chancellor is responsible for solving the issue.
- If it cannot be resolved, then it is forwarded to Work Safe inspector for a review and a solution.