3 Reasons To Manage Safety and Health in the Workplace

by admin on January 20, 2016

Occupational safety and health is an area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. All work exposes people to hazards such as loads which have to be manually handled; dangerous machinery; toxic substances; electricity; risk of fire; working with display screen equipment or even psychological hazards such as stress.

It may seem obvious but management of health and safety in the workplace is extremely important, not only because it protects employees, but also because productivity increases when workers are happy and healthy. Safety does not come about by accident: most accidents happen because they have not been prevented. Occupational safety and health (OSH) management in organizations is important for moral, legal, and economic reasons.
It is morally right to protect a fellow human being from harm. All organizations have a duty of care to ensure that employees and any other person who may be affected by the companies undertaking remains safe at all times. Families and friends would expect their loved ones who go out to make a living to come back home safe. The pain, suffering and grief of individuals who are hurt or have their health affected, whilst working for their companies, are not only felt by the individual workers but also by their families. Most people would not wish to be responsible for someone elses injury or illness. This is a clear moral reason why accidents should be prevented. There is also an impact on the family and friends of someone who has suffered an injury, such as the loss of a limb or ill health, where the person might need additional support and care to carry on their life. The press and media coverage of a serious accident can also have a massive effect on how an organization is perceived in a town, city or region.
There are sound economic reasons for reducing work-related accidents and ill-health. Besides reducing costs, effective safety and health management promotes business efficiency. Work-related diseases and ill-health result in many days lost at work. Accidents and ill-health disrupt normal operations and is a potential addition to an organizations operating costs. Ill and injured employees will be absent from work for days or even months. This could affect the productivity of the sections where they work. These employees will still be paid as they recover. The stress and strain on the remaining employees may lead to more accidents and could de-motivate them, affecting their productivity even further. In addition, the medical costs incurred by ill and injured employees in hospitals will be borne by the organization. The total effect has a potential to affect the organizations income and profitability. Increased insurance premiums as a result of accidents will also increase the organizations costs.

Legal reasons for occupational safety and health management practices relate to the preventative, punitive and compensatory effects of laws that protect workers safety and health. Occupational Safety and Health legislations require all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of workers and to manage and conduct all work activities in such a way as to ensure their safety, health and welfare. This requires all who have this legal responsibility to be proactive in managing their safety, health and welfare responsibilities and deal with them in a systematic way.
Employers must ensure that the workplaces, machinery, equipment and processes under their control are safe and without risk to health. Any employer who fails to abide by this law commits an offence and can face prosecution. All organizations should abide by the law.