Health and Safety

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Impact on occupational safety and health for higher labour productivity Occupational health and safety is about ensuring a safe workplace. For resource recovery facilities this includes staff employed at the factory as well as contractors and the public. Occupational health and safety is a discipline with a broad scope involving many specialized fields. In its broadest sense, it should aim at: * The promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations; * The prevention among workers of adverse effects on health caused by their working conditions; * The protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; * The placing and maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to physical and mental needs; * The adaptation of work to humans.

The costs to employers of occupational accidents or illnesses are also estimated to be enormous. For a small business, the cost of even one accident can be a financial disaster. For employers, some of the direct costs are: * Payment for work not performed;

* Medical and compensation payments;
* Repair or replacement of damaged machinery and equipment; * Reduction or a temporary halt in production;
* Increased training expenses and administration costs;
* Possible reduction in the quality of work;
* Negative effect on morale in other workers.
Some of the indirect costs for employers are:
* The injured/ill worker has to be replaced;
* A new worker has to be trained and given time to adjust; * It takes time before the new worker is producing at the rate of the original worker; * Time must be devoted to obligatory investigations, to the writing of reports and filling out of forms; * Accidents often arouse the concern of fellow workers and influence labour relations in a negative way; * Poor health and safety conditions in the workplace can also result in poor public relations. Overall, the costs of most work-related accidents or illnesses to workers and their families and to employers are very high. 

There are an unlimited number of hazards that can be found in almost any workplace. There are obvious unsafe working conditions, such as unguarded machinery, slippery floors or inadequate fire precautions, but there are also a number of categories of insidious hazards (that is, those hazards that are dangerous but which may not be obvious) including: * Chemical hazards, arising from liquids, solids, dusts, fumes, vapors and gases; * Physical hazards, such as noise, vibration, unsatisfactory lighting, radiation and extreme temperatures; * Biological hazards, such as bacteria, viruses, infectious waste and infestations; * Psychological hazards resulting from stress and strain; * Hazards associated with the non-application of ergonomic principles, for example badly designed machinery, mechanical devices and tools used by workers, improper seating and workstation design, or poorly designed work practices. Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are the most common and will be present in most workplaces at one time or another. They include unsafe conditions that can cause injury, illness and death. They are typically easiest to spot but, sadly, too often overlooked because of familiarity (there are always cords running across the aisles), lack of knowledge (they aren't seen as hazards), resistance to spending time or money to make necessary improvements or simply delays in making changes to remove the hazards (waiting until tomorrow or a time when "we're not so busy"). None of these are acceptable reasons for workers to be exposed to physical hazards. Examples of physical hazards include:

* Electrical hazards: frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring * Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts: guards removed or moving parts that a worker can accidentally touch * High exposure to...
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