occupational health

Occupational Health

What is occupational health?


Occupational health and safety is a subject that is concerned with workplace health, welfare and safety. It relies on inputs from various sources (the workplace, people, industry in general, expert opinions, healthcare professionals, lawyers, etc.) before formulating a workplace health and safety procedure. The goal of occupational health and safety is to ensure that the work environment is safe and does not harm the employees, owners, customers, vendors, and the public.


In America, occupational health and safety standards are laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA isoccupational health

part of the Department of Labor and its job is to ensure that occupational health and safety standards are appropriate with the changing times and that these are followed by companies. The goal of promoting occupational health and safety is to ensure that all workers in America are 100% safeguarded against mental, physical or social harm that may be contracted at the workplace.


The process of creating an occupational health and safety system


To understand the process, you need to understand the terminology that is regularly employed – hazard, risk and outcome. A hazard is something that can cause harm if it is not controlled. A risk is the probability that a specified event will occur and cause certain harm (outcome). The word “harm,” in OSHA terminology refers to any degradation, whether transitory or permanent, of a worker’s mental or physical health or social comfort. For example, working with chemicals is a hazard. The risk of a chemical-related disease in a year can be 50/50. The outcome of working with that chemical can be a rare nerve disorder.


First, the workplace hazards are recognized and evaluated. Then, control and safety processes are installed close to the source of the hazard. The risks are assessed as well and minimized. The risk is calculated based on the probability of a harmful event’s occurrence and it is expressed in mathematical terms. A risk factor is arrived at and used to calculate chances of harmful events occurring. Risks and hazards must be assessed periodically.


The case for workplace health and safety


Here are the reasons that make up the case for safety and health at the work


1. Any harmful workplace incident has the potential to reduce profitability and impact profits.


2. Creating a safe and healthy workplace requires considerable investment. If there were no safety laws, employers would not have invested in safety equipment and processes, thereby leaving the worker exposed to these.


3. An accident at the workplace can lead to lawsuits. The employee can sue the company for not installing adequate safeguards, and then many lawsuits can occur which may result in millions of dollars’ worth of losses.


4. Once an employee is harmed at the workplace, he and his co-workers and friends lose faith in the company. As the word spreads, workers may become hesitant to work in such industries, and such herd behavior can even hurt a nation’s GDP.


5. Incidents at the workplace involve insurance firms and the authorities. Precious time is wasted in the investigation – time that could

have been used in a better and more productive way.


6. Customers can shun a company if they get the feeling that a company does not care about its workers. This can have disastrous consequences on the revenues.


7. Moreover, it is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that he provides a safe and healthy workplace to his workers. If he does not, then he can be said to be criminally negligent because injuries to workers can scar their money-making abilities for life.

These reasons make it imperative for every organization to provide for occupational health and safety. These safety measures must be recommended by an OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) professional.


What does an OHS professional do?


1. He develops procedures, requirements and the methods that are needed to provide a safe workplace per OSHA’s guidelines. These guidelines, standards and methods help provide a hazard-free workplace that is safe for both workers and the environment.


2. He takes inputs from workers, management and stakeholders before formulating a safety plan. These inputs are reconciled with OSHA’s guidelines and the safety measures employed in other companies are benchmarked, and only then the safety measures are put in place.


3. He keeps the company up-to-date with any changes in the law. He also is in the loop of what’s happening in the occupational health and safety area across the industry and his rich knowledge keeps his clients up-to-speed with the latest occupational safety trends.


4. He ensures that the company provides for safety by observing the best business practices and by wasting the least amount of money. He also ensures that the company stays in compliance of the rules and regulations.


5. The OHS professional employs a range of techniques to assess the dangers at the workplace. His assessment is continuous and he is always at hand to help the company comply with the law.


Being safe at work is important to all. Risk assessments that look at health and safety in the workplace are beneficial to all workers and help organisations to develop and mee their goals. Stress management articles and stress management tips will help to keep you well.

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