Introduction Part 1
Occupational Safety Engineering
And Health Management
Safety and the Field of Safety Engineering
Definition establishes foundation of any concept, field of studies and professions. One of the marks of a profession is the existence of a unique terminology, with well-defined meanings. But the basic word safety is often poorly defined and poorly understood because of lack of insight and, given the insight, lack of consistency (James Covan).
This introductory chapter is intended to provide explicit definition of safe or safety as a concept and principle. It caters the very simple definition up to the technical one as applied in professional practice. As well as the OSHS of the Philippines’ concept of safety is presented in this section. There might be other definition which not sighted in this part but the author believes that what presented here is accepted by most of all safety professionals and practitioner in the country and abroad. These definitions were source out from different widely used references on occupational safety and health management. These terms were also verified from the conceptual description of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on its published Encyclopedia on Occupational Safety and Health.
WHAT IS SAFETY?
Safety in a broad sense commonly referred as “freedom from hazards or accident.” This mean keeping one’s self away from dangers, injuries or damages. In a simple definition, it is the “opposite of danger.” Dictionaries defined safety as “the quality or state of not presenting risk.” Or the “condition from being safe: freedom from being threatened by danger or injury.” Danger states the degree of exposure to a hazard. While hazard is defined as the condition with potential of causing injury or damages. In the industry, safety is applied not only to human but as well to property and other vital resources.
“Risk and life are Inseparable”
In order to survive, man has acquired instinctive habits and reflexes to protect himself from more common hazards. As it is impossible to eliminate hazard since it is inevitable in man’s every activity, therefore safety is not absolute. The definition above is the general perception of safety. Yet in the engineering side, “safety is not absolute”. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) prefers to use for a safety definition is the more practical connotation of “relative safety”. Technically, SAFETY defines as a relative matter of freedom from risks and hazards in any environment – home, office, factory, mine, schools, construction site, supermart, malls or their environs. Some risks are more easily reduced or eliminate than others. Now, “how safe is safe?” as other usually ask. Safe is relative – nothing is 100% safe under all conditions (Gloss and Wardle; Emphases Added).
As example, there is always some case in which a relatively safe material, building structure or piece of equipment becomes hazardous. This happens due to different factors and conditions where this material or machine is subjected. These are verified by our topics in Strength of Materials and Materials Science. For example, eating food usually considered safe so as drinking water. But there can become hazardous if one takes too much, since these can cause stomach and kidney failure. We can never achieve “absolute safety”. What we can is to maintain certain level or relative safety condition, which is subjected to different situations. Therefore readiness is indispensable in the management of safety in any industry.
Safety in the Philippines Context
In the Philippines, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSH) defines safe or safety as conditions or state on which compliance to the provisions of the said standard is being maintained. The OSHS is promulgated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its Bureau of Working Condition (BWC). Its interpretation on the level of safety condition is dependent on...
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