HR interventions in the arena of Safety & Health
An unknown author once said, "Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent". Prevention is better than cure is something that we hear often. So why do we stress on safety & health? As a HR Manager why should we practice the ethics of care? How does it benefit the organization? But most of all that do I do to ensure safety & health? Organizations in all the industries have reached a certain stage where technology is available to everyone and the stage is even to compete. The unique value now comes from the employees employed. So in order to have high productivity and the best from the employees, an organization should have engaged members working for its goals. This could only happen if the employees feel safe and secure in their workplace. Occupational hazards plague their minds with fear and thus reducing their productivity. Accidents at workplace cause immense suffering and loss. The economic cost involved is also high. In this scenario it becomes necessary for organizations to foster an environment of safety and care for the employees in their own vested interests. Corrie Pitzer “People don’t care what you know until they know you care”.
Figure 1: Relationship between Health and Wealth
The recent turmoil in the economic scenario and scandals of business giants has led to the question of business ethics and their eventual impact on the lives of people and their families. It has become a moral imperative for organizations to provide a safe and secure environment for the employees to work in. More than that, companies have realized the economic impact of the lack of safety standards. Court cases, settlements and compensations are on the rise. They are now coming forward to set up practices that would ensure safety and health of their employees. Governments in many countries have stipulated laws that require organizations to have certain safety measurements that would help provide the same to the employees. Considering all the factors, organizations are increasingly becoming interested in increasing their safety and health standards. A Healthy Workplace A healthy workplace is one where there is a complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. It is not just the absence of disease. The environment is free from all physical, social, psychological and organizational conditions that demote the workforce. In such a workplace everyone gets together and work towards the common goal in a harmonious environment. It must be an environment that is
Burton, Joan (2010). WHO Healthy Workplace Framework and Model: Background and Supporting Literature and Practices. World Health Organization.
supportive for the employees to express their concerns and thereby allaying their fears. Apart from WHO, ILO outlines a global strategy on occupational safety and health.
WHO - DEFINITION OF A HEALTHY WORKPLACE
A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following, based on identified needs: • • health and safety concerns in the physical work environment; health, safety and well-being concerns in the psychosocial work environment including organization of work and workplace culture; personal health resources in the workplace; and ways of participating in the community to improve the health of workers, their families and other members of the community.
Figure 2 : WHO Healthy Workplace Model
Hazards / Problems at Workplace The nature of work in many organizations especially in the mining industry and construction industry are such that they pose a threat to life constantly. Physical hazards in these jobs are much higher than many other jobs. Organizations in the IT industry face a different set of problems, ranging from stress due to work to...