Safety in the Workplace

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Safety and Health Issues in Human Resources

There are several health and safety threats to an organization’s employee health that an employer must address. These include: Chemical Hazards, Physical Hazards, Biological Hazards, Substance Abuse, and Work-related Stress (Bogardus, pp. 109-113, 2004). Organizations can protect employees most efficiently by addressing them with all five of the primary workplace management functions: plan and align the workforce, hire workers, deploy the workforce, reinforce performance, and develop the workforce (State of Washington, 2006).

Chemical hazards are the most likely to require an unforeseen reassignment of an employee. Chemical hazards include dangerous production components and seemingly harmless office supplies can hold risks for employees with different levels of sensitivity. A company needs to be flexible enough to redesign jobs to use different products or to allow for the transfer of employees out of jobs that include chemicals that bother them. Naturally jobs with high chemical risks should be filled only by applicants who are trained and experienced in their field. Continuing education and reward and recognition for problems found before someone is hurt will also contribute to a chemically safer environment.

Ethical standards and good supervision are the keys to avoiding accidents involving physical hazards. Employees who present have a “win at all costs” attitude might remove safety features from machines to make production quicker. Sufficient supervisors need to oversee operations. Workstations should be planned with safety in mind. Supervisors should periodically train employees on the safest way to do things, and specialists observe employees in action. Many physical hazards actually involved repetitive motion injuries that occur over time, so employees need to be checked lest the fall into dangerous habits. Employees who refuse to comply with physical safety procedures should be reprimanded...
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