Occupational health and safety which in simpler term known as workplace health and safety is the right of every employee which ensures a safe environment to work in, irrespective of the industry. There are various laws and legislations dictating how employers should facilitate this and minimise accidents, injuries or worse, fatalities.
The middle of 20th century marked the point when clear-cut definition and laws associated to workplace safety and health were shared by the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation. However, these laws were revised in 1995; almost 45 years after their initial introduction back in 1950. Here’s a summary of the entire definition for clarity;
“Occupational health is aimed at the promotion and assurance of highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of employees and employers. Factors that cause workers to leave the work premises were reconsidered mostly associated to health and safety. Deployment and well-being of workers in a professional environment should meet all prerequisites of the law.”
Rules & regulations
Citing example of the U.S. where Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 was passed after unanimous consent as a means to prevent injury and reduce damage to the workers within industrial environment. Employees and employers are liable to abide by the conditions, following defined protocols which significantly eliminate health risks and hazards. OSHA covered government, private as well as semi-government sectors.
There’re many different reasons as to why there was a need to pass such laws whereas the coming of detailed explanation associated to occupational health provide clarity to the matter. It’s a basic moral right of every human to work in a safe environment thereby preventing the risk of injury or fatality.
This holds true for all the industries as a means to mitigate health and safety threats. Poor health and unsafe environment compromises productivity while too costly for relevant companies due to the possibility of legal fees, compensation damages and decrement of morality.
Workplace hazards can arise in a number of ways and nature. Take example of all those working in manufacturing plants that involve using heavy equipment and machinery posing significant risk of fatal injury or death on-spot due to collision, entanglement and crushing.
Exposure to certain chemicals, heavy metals, toxic fumes also fall under the umbrella of health risks whereby in some industries, there’s a high potential of epidemic diseases and illnesses due to presence of viruses and bacteria.
In a typical office environment, injuries and accidents can be cause by improper lifting of objects, musculoskeletal anomalies or electrocution due to poorly designed workstations. Psychological and physical risks such as stress or bullying that eventually cause too much distress and health issues are other examples of occupational risks.
Preventing workplace accidents
Each employee in a company is liable to have a detailed risk assessment conducted on the nature of their workplace responsibilities. This would surely identify environmental hazards and risks, train individuals on avoiding such potential accidents and injuries.
Occupational health encompasses ergonomically designed workplace design to ensure safety and reduction of accidents.