Employee Health is the state of well-being. It not only includes physical well-being, but also mental and emotional well-being.
It is the responsibility of every employer to provide healthy work environment to his employees. If he is careful about their health, cost of disability payments, replacement of employees who are injured or killed could be avoided.
Through employee safety and health programs the company can enhance the emotional and physical well-being of the employees.
1. Introduction to Employee Health and Safety 2. Provisions for Employee Health and Safety 3. Elements 4. Need 5. Steps 6. Safety Management Programmes
7. Role of the Supervisor and Safety Officer 8. Duties of Supervisor 9. Safety in India 10. How to Prevent Accidents at Workplace 11. Measures to Improve Employee Health.
Employee Health and Safety in Industries: Introduction, Provisions, Elements, Need, Programmes, Measures and Other Details
Employee Health and Safety – Introduction
Health is the state of well-being. It not only includes physical well-being, but also mental and emotional well-being. It is the responsibility of every employer to provide healthy work environment to his employees. If he is careful about their health, cost of disability payments, replacement of employees who are injured or killed could be avoided. Through employee safety and health programs the company can enhance the emotional and physical well-being of the employees.
Industrial health is needed to:
(a) Improve productivity of employees and the quality of their work. Healthy employees are more productive and give quality performance.
(b) Protect workers against any health hazard arising out of work conditions.
(c) Preserve physical and mental health of all employees.
(d) Reduce absenteeism, turnover, injuries and accidents.
(e) To improve the confidence of employees in their work environment. Industrial health improves the morale of employees.
Recent years have witnessed rapid increase in the use of sophisticated machinery and plants in the industry. While technical progress in industry has made it possible to eliminate certain physically exacting jobs, it has also made work in the industry more risky. Workers’ safety, thus, has assumed more importance in recent times.
There is no doubt that proper precautionary measures coupled with the inculcation of safety consciousness among workers can go a long way in preventing industrial accidents which may result in loss of life and property. An unsafe or unhealthy work environment can affect employees’ ability and motivation to work.
Poor safety and health conditions are likely to endanger fulfilment of the security needs of employees, and hence the importance of regulatory measures by various organizations in different sectors. Safety hazards are those aspects of working conditions which can cause immediate and sometimes violent harm to an employee. Examples of such loses are loss of hearing, eye sight, or body parts; sprains and broken bones; and burns and electric shocks.
One can reasonably hold the top management responsible to make health and safety of the employees a major enterprise objective, particularly in a manufacturing organization. This could be a policy issue. Operating managers are also responsible, because accidents and injuries will take place, and health hazards will exist, in the work unit.
Another very significant department responsible for health and safety is the personnel department. In large enterprises, personnel have a separate health and safety department. The personnel specialists help the supervisors, where they can encourage safe behaviour on the part of the employees, control safety violations, and help investigate accidents and injuries.
Employee Health and Safety – Statutory Provisions for Employee Safety in India
A Tripartite Technical Conference organised by the I.L.O. in 1948 formulated a “Model Code” of Safety Regulations for Industrial Establishments for the guidance of governments and industry.
Rule 82 of this Code specifically deals with guarding machinery; According to the Code, the guards should be properly designed, constructed and used so that they will – (a) provide positive protection; (b) prevent all access to the danger zone; (c) cause the operator no discomfort or inconvenience; (d) not interfere unnecessarily with production; (e) operate automatically or with minimum effort; (f) constitute preferably a built-in feature; (g) be suitable for the job and the machine; (h) provide for machine oiling, inspection, adjustment and repair; (i) withstand long use with minimum maintenance; (j) resist normal wear and shock; (k) be durable and fire and erosion resistant; (I) not constitute a hazard by themselves; and (m) protect against unforeseen operational contingencies.
Statutory Provisions for Safety in India:
The Factories Act contains specific provisions for the safety of workers. These are referred to in Sections 21 to 40.
1. Fencing of the Machinery:
It is obligatory on the part of the management to fence machinery with guards of a substantial construction, which shall be maintained and kept in position when any part of the machinery is in motion.
2. Work on or Near Machinery in Motion:
Any examination, adjustment or lubrication of any part of an operating machine shall be effected or carried out by a specially trained male worker wearing tight-fitting clothing.
This worker, however, shall not handle a belt on a moving pulley:
(a) If the belt is more than fifteen centimeters in width;
(b) Unless the belt joint is either laced or flushed with the belt;
(e) Unless the pulley is normal for the purpose of a drive and not a fly-wheel or a balance wheel;
(d) Unless the belt, including the joint and the pulley rim, is in a state of good repair;
(e) Unless there is a reasonable clearance between the pulley and any fixed part of a machine or structure;
(f) Unless a secure foothold and, where necessary, a secure handhold are provided for the operator; and
(g) Unless the ladder to be used for carrying out any examination, adjustment or lubrication of any part of a machine is securely fixed or lashed or is firmly held by another person.
No woman or adolescent is allowed to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of a machine which is in motion if it is likely to expose her or him to the risk of injury from any moving part.
3. Employment of adolescents on dangerous machines:
No adolescent shall be allowed to work on any machine which poses a danger to him unless:
(a) He has been fully instructed to be aware of the particular danger that is likely to arise from the machine and to observe the necessary precautions; and
(b) He has received training on that machine or is under the supervision of a person who has a thorough knowledge of, and experience in working on, the machine.
4. Striking Gear or Device for Cutting off Power:
In every factory, a suitable striking ear or other efficient mechanical appliance shall be provided and maintained. Driving belts, when not in use, shall not be allowed to rest or ride on a shaft in motion. Suitable devices for cutting off power in an emergency shall be provided and maintained in every work room.
When a device, which is likely to be inadvertently shifted from the “off to the “on” position, is provided in a factory to cut off power, arrangements should be made to lock it in a safe position with a view to preventing any accidental starting of the transmission machinery or any other machines to which the device is fitted.
5. Self-Acting Machines:
No transverse part of self-acting machine and no material carried thereon shall be allowed to run on its outward or inward transverse within a distance of 45 centimeters from any fixed structure which is not a part of the machine.
6. Prohibition’ of employment of women and children near cotton openers:
No woman or child shall be employed in any part of a factory to press cotton when a cotton-opener is at work. But if the feed-end of a cotton-opener is in a room which is separated from ‘the delivery-end by a partition extending to the roof or to such height as the factory inspector may specify in writing, women and children may be employed in that part of the room in which the feed end is situated.
7. Hoists and Lifts:
In every factory, hoists and lifts shall be of good mechanical construction and of sound material; and they shall be sufficiently strong and properly maintained. Every hoist- way and lift shall be adequately protected by a proper enclosure fitted with gates. The maximum safe working load shall be clearly indicated on every hoist or lift. A heavier load shall not be allowed to be carried on that hoist or lift.
Lifting machines, tackles, chains and ropes- In every factory, lifting machines, tackles, chains and ropes shall be of good construction and of sound material. They shall be free from defects and strong enough to carry the necessary loads.
8. Revolving Machinery:
In every room in which grinding jobs are carried on, a notice indicating the maximum working speed of the machine shall be fixed near it.
9. Pressure Plant:
In any operation which is carried on at a pressure which is higher than the atmospheric pressure, effective measures should be taken to ensure that the safe working pressure is not exceeded.
10. Floors, Stairs, and Other Means of Access:
All doors, steps, stairs, passages and gangways shall be of sound construction and shall be kept and maintained, in a state of good repair; and they shall be free of obstructions. No substance, which is likely to cause a person to slip, shall be kept near them.
Necessary provisions should be made for a secure handhold or fencing to ensure the safety of persons working at a place from where he is likely to fall from a distance exceeding two meters.
11. Pits and Openings in Floor:
In every factory, even fixed vessel, tank, pit or opening in the floor, which may be a source of danger, shall be securely covered or securely fenced.
12. Excessive Weights:
No person shall be employed in any factory to lift, carry or move any load which is so heavy as to cause him possible injury.
Precautions against Dangerous Fumes:
No person employed in a factory shall be allowed to enter any chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue or such other confined place in which dangerous fumes are likely to be present to such an extent as to constitute a hazard unless such chamber, tank, vat, pit or flue is provided with a manhole of a large enough size or with similar other means of egress.
Precautions against the use of portable electric lights in any factory:
(a) No portable electric light or any other electric appliance of a voltage exceeding 24 volts shall be permitted for use inside any chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue, or confined place;
(b) If any inflammable gas, fume or dust is likely to be present in such chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue, or confined place, no lamp or light other than the one which is flame-proof, shall be permitted to be used therein.
13. Explosive or Inflammable Gas or Dust:
When, in any factory, any manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour of such nature and to such an extent that is likely to explode on ignition, all practical measures shall be taken to prevent such explosion by-
a. An effective enclosure of the plant or machinery used in the processes;
b. The removal or prevention of accumulated dust, gas or fume; and
c. The exclusion or effective enclosure of all possible sources of ignition.
Precautions in case of fire:
The following precautions shall be taken:
(a) Exit doors shall not be locked or fastened and shall be capable of being easily opened; and they shall be so constructed as to open outwards;
(b) Proper means of escape shall be provided in every industrial establishment;
(c) Every door, window or other exit, through which persons can escape in the event of a fire, shall be distinctly marked in red letters in a language that is understood by workers;
(d) Proper arrangements shall be made to raise an alarm in the event of a fire; it would be preferable if a siren is sounded so that workers may recognise the signal as an indication that a fire has broken out somewhere in the factory premises;
(e) All the exits should be easily and freely accessible to all the workers in every place in the factory premises, so that they can easily make their escape when a fire breaks out; and
(f) All the workers shall be trained in the routine to be followed in the event of a fire in the factory premises.
14. Safety of Building and Safety and Health Machinery:
When a building or machinery poses a danger to workers, it shall not be used till it has been suitably repaired or altered.
Indian government enacted an Act known as Factories Act, safety regarding the following:
(a) Fencing of machines.
(b) Work near the machine in motion.
(c) Employment of child and woman.
(d) Striking device or gear for power cut off.
(e) Hoists and lifts.
(f) Pressure plants.
(g) Excessive weights.
(h) Inflammable and fumes.
(i) Fire precautions,
(j) Eye protection,
(k) Floor, stairs and others.
Employee Health and Safety – 10 Important Elements of a Comprehensive Industrial Health and Safety Program
A comprehensive industrial health and safety program should include:
1. A professional staff of physicians and nurses.
2. Adequate facilities for emergency care and injuries sustained in the course of work and for the conduct of pre-employment and post-employment medical check-ups.
3. Proper first aid treatment for occupational injuries and diseases.
4. A careful post-employment medical examination of those who are exposed to particular occupational hazards.
5. Reasonable first-aid treatment of employees for non-occupational ailments.
6. Information and educational services, which aim at promoting the health of employees.
7. The maintenance of adequate and confidential medical records.
8. Cooperation of the organization’s medical officer with those who are responsible for accident prevention and control of environment with a view to achieving an integrated employee health program.
9. Cooperation with public health authorities in implementing mass inoculation program and other measures for the prevention of communicable diseases.
10. Advice on and supervision of, with provision and maintenance of satisfactory sanitary conditions in the factory premises.
The following facts should be given due consideration in any safety organization program:
1. Safety programs must have top management approval, sanction and support.
2. Responsibility for safety must rest with the supervisory personnel.
3. Safety must be given equally important consideration in the elimination of mechanical and personal hazards
4. Provision must be made for prompt action in the elimination of mechanical and personal hazards
5. A definite safety program must be developed so as to educate all employees in safety and to secure their active cooperation in the effort to eliminate accidents.
6. Safety must be included in all phases of planning, purchasing, supervision and operation.
Safety management refers to the act of protecting the physical well-being of the employees. It also involves minimisation of the risks of accidents at the place of work.
Employee Health and Safety – Need and Benefits
Accidents cause personal injury or loss of life, damage of property, loss of production, loss of man-hours, and heavy cost in replacement of faulty machines and also loss to workers, employers and to the nation. This is very serious problem to be solved. We can control or reduce the above mentioned losses if we can prevent the accidents. Hence the need of safety is felt.
Accident free company shall enjoy the following benefits due to safety:
(a) Controls number of accidents.
(b) Minimizes personal injuries.
(c) Checks the loss of life.
(d) Prevents production loss.
(e) Minimizes damages to property.
(f) Minimizes wage losses to workers.
(g) Ensures proper utilization of resources for production.
(h) Maintains morale of the workers.
(i) Saves costs.
(j) Fulfils legal requirements.
Employee Health and Safety – 5 Major Steps Involved in Safety Programme
Management is responsible for the safety. The safety responsibility lies on the shoulders of all levels of management. It will include plant manager, production manager, engineer, personnel manager, maintenance manager, foremen, safety officer and directors.
Following steps are involved in safety programme:
(a) Formulation of safety policy.
(b) Establishment of safety programme.
(c) Setting up of safety programme.
(d) Implementation of safety policy –
(i) Safety education
(ii) Safety training
(iii) Arrangement of safety devices
(iv) Records of accidents.
(e) Review of safety policy – In safety planning and programming the following principles are fundamental –
(i) Safety is primarily the legal and moral obligation of employer.
(ii) Cooperation is the moral obligation of each employee in safety programme.
(iii) Labour organisation must cooperate in prevention of accidents.
(iv) Accidents can be controlled but cannot be reduced to zero.
Employee Health and Safety Management – Components of Safety Management Programme (in India)
The safety programmes should be based on an analysis of accidents or injuries and the factors that cause them. On the basis of the analysis, necessary steps can be taken to control and prevent them. Generally, it deals with the prevention of accidents and with minimising the resulting loss and damage to persons and properties of the organisation.
A comprehensive safety management programme should include:
1. Safety Organisation:
A safety committee should be set up by top management and appoint or nominate some person as a chairman or secretary of the safety committees. As a rule one full time safety director should be appoint for each 2,000 employees.
As per S. Dale Beach, “the safety director serves in a staff, not in line, capacity. He serves as an innovator, organiser, creator, adviser, teacher, analysts, stimulator and producer. He must organise the safety programme throughout plant, collect accident data, investigate accidents, conduct safety training and information meetings, analyses jobs to develop safe working procedures, and prepare instructional material for safety foremen when they conduct meeting with their men.”
The following facts should be given due consideration in any safety organisation:
(i) Safety programmes must have top management approval, sanction and support.
(ii) Responsibility for safety must rest with the supervisory personnel.
(iii) Safety must be given equally important consideration in elimination of mechanical and personal hazards.
(iv) A definite safety programme must be developed to educate all employees in safety and to secure their active cooperation in the effort to eliminate accidents.
2. Good Working Conditions:
The accidents frequency and severity can be controlled by providing safe and proper working conditions, avoid of risks and hazards. All dangerous parts of the machinery in a factory must be adequately fenced. The colour shade can play a very important role in preventing accidents.
The American Standards Association adopted a safety colour code as ‘red’ for danger or stop, ‘Yellow’ for cautions or hazards, ‘green’ for safety or first aid equipment, and ‘white’ for house beeping and traffic working. Floor should not be slippery. The protective equipments and clothing should be provided to the employee if necessary without charging.
3. Safety Educations and Training:
Safety education and training for all levels of management and for employees is a vital ingredient for any successful safety management programme. Workers should be educated in safety precautions, rules and advised about the safety devices. Posters, leaflets, bulletins, films and talk are all effective method of safety education of workers. He should also teach the principles of first aid, the need for avoiding active hazards, for taking precautions to prevent the outbreak of a fires, and for protecting eyes.
A safety code for worker in necessary in all undertaking. This can be done in conjunction with the Safety First Association of India and National Productivity Council. The supervisors must understand their key role in the safety effort because they are primarily responsible for preventing accidents. They must conduct safety training programmes for their employees who are directly under their supervision.
4. Safety Culture:
Every organisation has its own culture, simply described as “the way things are done around”. As a part of industry culture, safety should start, ‘at the top’ from the senior management and pervade the whole organisation. Safety is unfortunately seen as a cost item and a necessary evil demanded by law.
An unsafe plant can prove far too expensive in the long run for everyone. It is people who cause accidents and it is only people who can protect them. In the absence of a safety culture no amount of sophisticated gadgetry, full proof safety devices and alarms will ensure a safe plant operation.
5. Worker’s Cooperation:
A knowledge of the attitude of the employees to the safety programmes developed for them and the specific measures adopted for that purpose. The cooperation of the workers in accidents preventive measures should be enlisted. When co-operation is offered, they should be advised about the type of cooperation required in a particular event or accident. When the workers cooperate the management should respond and properly make use of such cooperation.
Safety schemes cannot be successful without the full understanding, appreciation and cooperation of the employees. The safety committee may discuss the problems of safety with the employees, get and act on their suggestions.
6. Safety Engineering:
It is necessary to use proper engineering procedures because they can eliminate or minimize work place accidents. The full attention is paid to safety engineering in design, layout and installation. Safety equipment is made available to an employee. The discipline of ergonomics should be used to prevent the outbreak. The movement of materials during all stages of the manufacture of a product should be properly planned to eliminate accidents.
7. Accident Reports and Records:
The accident records should be maintained accurately by safety office or safety director. The Factories Act, 1948 provides that when any accident which causes death or bodily injury by reason of which the injured person is prevented from working for a period of 48 hours or more immediately following the accident takes place in an industry, the manager of factory should notify the inspector of factories.
The annual return of accidents showing the number of accidents which took place during the year, the number of persons killed and or injured, the number of man days lost on account of the accident should be sent to the commission for workmen’s compensating and to the inspector of factories for the year ending 31st December, not later than 31st January.
8. Safety Audit:
It is a useful technique to undertake a systematic critical appraisal of the effectiveness of a company’s safety programme. Such a periodic review provides an independent assessment of the correctness of the basic direction as well as identifies the specific areas for action to improve the programme. It is a tool for ensuring that the plant operation and maintenance procedures match the design intent and standards.
The National Safety Council, U.S.A. says that accident prevention depends on the ‘three’ F’s-engineering, education and enforcement. The job should be engineered for safety; employees should be educated in safe procedures; and safety rules should be properly enforced.
International Labour Organisation’s Model Code of Safety Regulations:
A tripartite Technical conference organized by die I.L.O in 1948 formulated a ‘Model Code’ of Safety Regulations for Industrial Establishments for the guidance of governments and industry. Rule 82 of this code specifically deals with guarding machinery.
According to the code, the guards should be properly designed constructed and used so that they will:
(i) Provide positive protection;
(ii) Prevent all access to the danger zone;
(iii) Cause the operator no discomfort or inconvenience;
(iv) Not interfere unnecessarily with productions;
(v) Operate automatically or with minimum effort;
(vi) Constitute preferable a built-in feature;
(vii) Be suitable for the job and the machine;
(viii) Provide for machine oiling, inspection, adjustment and repair;
(ix) Withstand long use with minimum maintenance;
(x) Resist normal wear and shock;
(xi) Be durable and fire and erosion resistant;
(xii) Not constitute a hazard by themselves; and
(xiii) Protect against unforeseen operational contingencies.
Any comprehensive and systematic approach to safety begins with the organizational commitment. This effort should be coordinated from the top to involve all members of the organization and be reflected in their actions and work. Once commitment is made to organizational safety, planning efforts must be coordinated, with duties assigned to supervisors, managers, safety specialists and personnel specialists. The focus of any systematic approach to safety is continued diligence of the workers, managers and other members of the top management of the organization.
Safety education for all levels of management and for employees is a vital ingredient for any successful safety program. Education in this context refers to the development of proper perspective and attitudes towards safety. Training on the other hand, is more concerned with immediate job KSAs and work methods.
Safety training of employees, as it is often conducted, has apparently been more effective in arousing safety consciousness than in teaching safe job skills. Group training is helpful in maintaining employee awareness of safety but does not become effective until the employee knows the hazards of his job and the means of avoiding them.
Top and middle management require education in the fundamentals of safety and the need for an effective accident prevention program. The supervisors must understand their key role in the safety effort, namely, that they are primarily responsible for preventing accidents.
They must conduct safety training programs for their employees who are directly under their supervision. Apart from these, periodical safety meetings should also be organized from time to time at the shop floor level.
Effective safety awareness programs have the following features:
1. To use records to identify the most common unsafe acts that lead to accidents.
2. To establish committees and ensure participation by all departments within the company.
3. To communicate about safety in a variety of ways e.g. – posters, pamphlets, demonstrations at departmental meetings.
4. To instruct supervisors as how to communicate, demonstrate and train employees in the safe use of equipments.
5. To use incentives, rewards and positive reinforcement to encourage safe behaviours.
6. To encourage widespread communication and enforcement of safety rules.
Employee Health and Safety – Appraisal of Employee Attitude to Safety Programmes
Every organisation should formulate and implement a safety policy. The procedure to be adopted naturally depends upon the size of a company, the number of plants it operates, the nature of the industry in which it is engaged, the production technology it uses and the attitude of the top management
After the company has spelt out its safety policy, a company should establish a safety programme, the primary goals of which should be to reduce the number of hazardous factors which are likely to cause accidents and to develop safe working habits among its employees.
In a large company it is desirable to have a full time safety director in addition to a number of analyst’s engineer’s industrial hygienists and safety inspectors.
The job of a safety Director is to educate line managers on the safety measures to be adopted to prevent accidents and to impress upon them the fact that they are responsible for the safety of the employees.
The function of a Safety Committee is to ensure the establishment of safe working conditions in an organisation. The size of the Committee depends upon the size of an organisation and generally includes one or more persons from among the employees. The idea is that the workers themselves should be interested in the safety programmes which are designed and developed for their good and offer their own suggestions for the procedures to be adopted for their safety.
Appraisal of Employee Attitude to Safety Programmes:
A knowledge of the attitude of the employees to the safety programmes developed for them and the specific measures adopted for that purpose — such as the setting up of bulletin boards, displays of safety measures, pamphlets booklets, posters, magazines and motion pictures which highlight them — would help the safety director in presenting safety information to the employees of an organisation. The direction may discuss the problems of Safety with the employees get and act on their suggestions and undertake attitude surveys.
The adoption of proper engineering procedures to minimize and if possible eliminate a work hazard is fundamental to any organised safety programme. New products processes and machines are designed and full attention is paid to safety engineering in design layout and installation. The most important function of Safety engineering is to eliminate the risks posed by the operation of machines by the processes of the manufacture of products and by the structure and layout of plants and equipment
Safety equipment is made available to an employee at a subsidised price or free of charge.
The machinery which poses danger to the employee working on it is generally covered or fined carefully when it is in operation.
Safety glasses or plastic eye shields to protect the eyes from the hazards of fire; glace dust or fumes, hard protective caps to prevent head injuries, gloves to protect the hands against acids and explosives materials, Safety shoes; – are provided for the use of workers.
Materials handling is the most prolific source of accidents. Hence, the flow of materials during all the stages of the manufacture of a product should be properly planned to eliminate hazards.
Inflammable liquids and materials expose workers to a variety of risks during their handling and storage of them.
It is necessary therefor, to exercise the utmost care in the handling or storage of such material preferably in underground tanks or in places which are at same distance from the place of work, or in Safety containers with automatically closing lids.
A program rive of fire control should necessarily include periodic inspection of firefighting equipment and of the devices which have been installed to prevent the outbreak of a fire.
As an aid to safety colours are used to identify and mark out the dangerous parts of machines. The British Standard Institute has recommended a three colour code; Red to indicate that a person should stop; orange giving a warning of danger and green to identify safety- equipment, escape routes and first aid boxes.
Safety and Training:
Safety education for all levels of management personnel and for employees is vital for any successful safety programme.
The goal of safety education is twofold to develop safety consciousness among employees and build up a favourable attitude on their part toward safety measures and precautions and secondly to ensure safe work performance on the part of each employee by developing his skill in the use and operation of safety equipment.
Training is concerned with providing immediate job knowledge, skills and methods work, and also to give understanding of the hazards he is likely to encounter in the course of his work in particular department or particular job and impressing upon him the need for a prompt report of any personal injury, for an understanding the causes of accidents and how they may be prevented, the importance of good house-keep and handling of materials safety.
He is also taught the principles of fluid aid, the need for avoiding machine hazards for taking precautions to prevent the outbreak of a fire, for using hand tools properly and for protect his eyes. Safety publicity should be undertaken by displaying poster and the screening films and by arranging safety suggestion schemes.
Basis of Safety Programme and Policy:
A Safety policy is based on the fact that the well-being of employees is a major concern of an organisation that people are its most valuable asset and that their safety is its greatest responsibility.
Basically the requirements of safety programme are:
(i) To provide a safe work environment. This includes a safe and a clean plant, safe and well maintained equipment and safe materials.
(ii) To train employees to do their work in a safe and an efficient manner. Safety training must be an integral part of job training.
(iii) Employees must be taught a safe way of doing their jobs. It should also be impressed upon an employee that he has a duty to his fellow workers and to the company to do his role in a safe-way, so that he may not endanger the lives of others or cause damage to or bring about a loss in material value of company property.
(iv) To promote participation in safety efforts. To be successful a safety programme should have the support of everyone for whom it is designed and developed.
(v) To comply with all the legal safety codes, rule or regulations.
They are very important in every organization. Various health maintenance measures may be grouped into two categories—preventive and curative.
Preventive measures include pre-employment and periodic examination, removal of health hazards to the extent possible, surveillance over certain classes of workers like women, children and persons vulnerable to special risks, emergency treatment for accidents, training of first-aid personnel, education of workers in health, hygienic and curative measures.
The following are some curative measures:
i. Inoculation for the preventions of communicable disease.
ii. Maintenance of hygiene and sanitation in factory.
iii. Periodic medical checkup.
iv. Annual medical checkup for those employees exposed to occupational hazard.
v. Pre-employment medical checkup.
vi. Adequate emergency care and hospitalization facilities.
A good safety programme identifies and corrects hazards before an accident occurs and acknowledges outstanding performance. Effective safety meetings and inspections with two-way communication between the management and the employees can help identity problems.
Proper safety training needs to be imparted to employees to prevent accidents, and corrective action should be taken with an ‘unsafe’ employee, beginning with counselling, retraining, and progressive discipline, if necessary. The overall commitment by the management and the workforce is an important element of an effective safety programme.
Controlling costs is more important than ever if companies want to remain competitive. A strong safety programme is vital to reduce the number of accidents and, consequently, the costs incurred.
It may take longer to get a job done when all safety measures are in place. This means that supervisors must be allowed adequate time to accomplish a project in complete safety.
As part of company policy, employees should be made aware that they would be penalized or dismissed for failure to abide by the rules and to act responsibly about their own or their co-workers’ health and safety.
Employees should be aware that they are expected to inform supervisors of unsafe workplace situations—near-miss incidents, and accidents due to malfunctioning of the machinery, and instances in which certain individuals follow unsafe practices and others condone this behaviour.
To encourage the reporting of dangerous situations, a complaint procedure must be laid down and every employee must know it. A standard written format for such incidents can be created so that a record of the incident and the corrective action taken is kept.
Employees may feel uncomfortable about coming forward with the information because they may feel that it jeopardizes their positions. A procedure of anonymous reporting will circumvent this obstacle.
A ‘health and safety box’, much like a suggestion box, can be used for such a purpose. The company’s workforce should be informed of how the anonymous process works, how often it is checked, and how complaints and suggestions are handled.
Organizations should also establish an investigative procedure. Generally, the safety and health officer investigates allegations of safety violations thoroughly. Each complaint, anonymous or not, should be investigated and a report kept in file with the findings about its validity and what action, if any, was taken to remedy the situation.
Employee Health and Safety – Role of the Supervisor and Safety Officer
The supervisor has a critical role in achieving workplace health and safety. Supervisors know the work practices and the employees they supervise and are in touch with the health and safety problems that can arise. They deal with issues raised by health and safety representatives, and can provide health and safety information and training to employees. Supervisors can also implement hazard control measures.
Given below are some of the important roles of a supervisor:
i. Ensuring that safety and health issues brought to their attention are resolved in a timely manner.
ii. Walking routinely through their areas of responsibility and soliciting input from employees on safety and health issues.
iii. Communicating to employees the status of safety items, that is, the results of inspections, of incident investigations, trending data, resolution of safety concerns, upcoming events, etc.
iv. Allocating the necessary resources to ensure the appropriate integration of safety measures with work tasks.
v. Participating in the development and communication of unit safety, health goals, and action plans.
vi. Ensuring that the employees are represented on the unit level employee safety team and periodically attending the team meeting.
vii. Ensuring that employees are aware of all the physical and chemical hazards in the workplace and how they are controlled to prevent injury.
viii. Allowing employees to participate in inspections, investigations, hazard assessments, and safety reviews.
ix. Organizing and personally attending monthly safety meetings.
x. Beginning safety meetings with safety share.
xi. Ensuring that employees understand and can explain the following- stop work authority, discipline policy, safety policy, etc.
xii. Holding employees accountable for their safety contributions, and providing constructive feedback as needed throughout the year.
The employer must provide the supervisor with appropriate training, information, and back-up support for the supervisor to be an effective force in preventing workplace injury and disease.
Role of Safety Officer:
The role of a safety officer in an organisation should be:
1. To formulate safety procedure, safety policy, safety requirements and standard of the company.
2. To promote schemes to guarantee observance of legal requirements.
3. To act as chairman or secretary or, in any other capacity on the works safety committees.
4. To promote formation of such committees, where they do not exist.
5. To administer safety suggestion schemes.
6. To organise safety education, training, publicity at various levels of company’s operations.
7. To investigate the causes of industrial injuries and the circumstances leading to accidents.
8. To prepare and circulate accident stabilities.
9. To act in close liaison with governmental and non-governmental agencies.
10. To co-ordinate the safety effort of the company in every possible way.
11. To assess critically the safety performance of the organisation and if necessary, conduct safety training programmes and feedback sessions on an ongoing basis.
12. To perform the job of a salesman of safety to the top executives, and as a technician, planner, organiser and stimulator of safety.
Occupational Health and Safety Programs:
Occupational health and safety programs deal with the prevention of accidents and with minimizing the resulting loss and damage to persons and property.
These programs are based on five principles namely:
1. Industrial accidents and disease result from a multiplicity of factors, but these have to be traced to their root causes which are usually faults in the management system.
2. The most important function of a health and safety program is to identify the potential hazards, provide effective safety facilities and equipment, and take prompt remedial action.
3. Health and safety are the concern of the top management.
4. Managers and supervisors must be made fully accountable for the health and safety performance in the areas they control.
5. All employees should be given thorough and continuing guidance in safe methods of work.
In order to apply these principles, an organization needs to:
1. Develop health and safety policies
2. Set up an organization required to maintain health and safety
3. Prepare and implement health and safety programs.
Employee Health and Safety – Duties of Supervisors
The specific health and safety duties of supervisors will differ from one workplace to the next.
They may include:
i. Assisting in the implementation of policy procedures designed to provide and maintain a healthy and safe working environment.
ii. Assisting with the identification of workplace hazards, particularly through routine inspections using prepared checklists.
iii. Investigating accidents and incidents.
iv. Participating in induction and ongoing training for employees.
v. Responding to issues raised by health and safety representatives.
vi. Submitting statistics and reports on health and safety performance.
vii. Participating in purchasing procedures designed to take health and safety into account.
viii. Implementing procedures for the issue, use, storage, and maintenance of personal protective equipment.
ix. Participating in emergency response arrangements for first aid, fire, and evacuation.
The process of developing the health and safety expertise of supervisors is not difficult.
i. Planning by senior management, with involvement from supervisors, and
ii. Building health and safety duties into supervisors’ job descriptions, with appropriate training and back-up mechanisms.
A good starting point in planning an effective role for supervisors is to define the health and safety duties of the supervisor and, indeed, of all levels of management.
By including a reference to health and safety duties in supervisors’ job descriptions and by setting down specific duties in writing:
i. The importance of health and safety relative to other duties is stressed, and
ii. The scene is set for further planning on supervisor training and support mechanisms, and on how health and safety is built into day-to-day supervisory duties.
Employee Health and Safety – In India
Employers in India currently are paying a lot of attention towards the safety of the workers because accidents at the workplace are responsible for thousands of deaths and disabilities every year. The safety of employees is considered to be an integral part of the work environment. It is suggested to make such an environment which would enhance the well-being of the employee and also make the work place accident free.
Safety refers to the act of protecting the physical well-being of an employee and includes the risk of accidents caused due to machinery, fire, or disease. An accident is an unfortunate occurrence leading to cessation of work by a worker or a group of workers. It may cause damage to one’s life as well as property.
The Factories Act, 1948, has defined an accident as an occurrence in an industrial establishment causing bodily injury to a person which makes him/her unfit to resume his/her duties in the next 48 hours. Thus, an accident is an unplanned negative and unfortunate event. But accidents cannot be totally unexpected. It has been seen that many accidents could have been prevented.
Accidents occur due to the hazards on the machine or due to an unsafe act of the person who has met with the accident. The employer wants to reduce accidents because it is concerned with the humanitarian grounds, i.e., the well-being of employees.
Accidents are expensive to the organization in the sense that they cause anguish and sufferings to the employees, damage the person or machinery along with the cost associated with the loss in production, man-days, payment of compensation, sick leave, and replacement of the employee who has been killed or injured. Organizations have also realized that the cost of maintaining safety is less than the cost associated with the accidents.
The statistics on accidents show that a large amount of money is lost in productivity. Thus, adoption of safety measures influence the productivity of an employee. In organizations where safety measures are taken to perform the work fearlessly and without tension, there is noted to be an increase in productivity and employee’s ability to work and stay motivated. Safety measures undertaken in an organization reduce the rate of accidents and increase industrial efficiency and, thus, can reduce absenteeism and labour turnover to a large extent.
The safe operation of industrial plants is the responsibility of the top management and senior managers. To effectively discharge this responsibility, there is need for laying down a broad safety policy as well as a comprehensive program to ensure its implementation. Safety Audit is a useful technique used to undertake a systematic critical appraisal of the effectiveness of an organizations’ safety program.
Such a periodic review provides an independent assessment of the correctness of the basic direction as well as identifies the specific areas for action to improve the program. It is a tool used for ensuring that the plant operation and maintenance procedures match the design intent and standards.
Employee Health and Safety – How to Prevent Accidents at Workplace: 11 Steps to Prevent Accidents
Everybody is interested to check or control accidents. Accidents are unwanted because employer, employees, society and nation as a whole suffer due to this. For this purpose precautions should be taken.
Precautions will control accidents. NSC (National Safety Council) of USA advocated that accidents can be prevented by 3 E’s:
(a) Engineering – Jobs and machines should be engineered properly for safety.
(b) Education – Employees must be educated regarding safety rules, procedures and safety devices.
(c) Enforcement – Safety rules and regulations must be enforced strictly.
Accidents can be prevented to a very good extent if following steps are taken:
(a) Safe working place must be provided.
(b) Safe materials and equipment for use.
(c) Safe working conditions for work.
(d) Unsafe actions of workers must be checked.
(e) Safety education for workers.
(f) Training of workers in safety.
(g) Proper safety devices for workers.
(h) Proper enforcement of rules of safety.
(i) Inspection of work surrounding.
(j) Creating awareness of workers regarding misuses of alcohol and drugs,
(k) Work stress in workers to be reduced.
Employee Health and Safety – Measures to be Taken by Industrial Houses for Healthy Work Environment
Health of employees is a very major issue for industrial houses as their health defines their efficiency. Thus, some measures should be taken by industrial houses for healthy work environment.
The following steps should be taken for health programs:
(a) Health education and information about unhealthy habits leading to disease should be regularly told to employees. They should be told about the alcohol and drug abuses.
(b) Proper medical check ups should be done at regular intervals by doctors/specialists appointed by the employer. If any health problem has been diagnosed, it should be treated medically there and then. Employer should also get medical insurance done for all his employees so that at times of need, the insurance company can come to their rescue.
(c) Maintenance of satisfactory sanitation and hygiene in the factory/ office premises. Maintenance cannot be done if supervisors are themselves not convinced or support the health programs.
(d) Public health agencies and accident prevention authorities should also be encouraged to get involved in the organization’s health programs. As and when required, employees should be inoculated/vaccinated for protection against communicable/contagious diseases.
(e) Regular check up of emotional disorders if any should be done. When an employee goes through a personal crisis, his tension may lead to his behavioural disorder. This may lend him to drug abuse or alcoholism. Supervisors have to play an active role in sympathising with the employee and giving him due attention. If nothing seems to work for him/her, a professional help should be arranged for the employee. Employees who are wanted to come- out of their stress should put in rehabilitation programs etc.
Employee Health and Safety:
They have accused employers on the following grounds:
(a) Management is not sufficiently committed to the safety of employees.
(b) Inadequate instructions to the employees about the safety measures is another cause of accidents in Indian industries.
(c) Very often there is lack of regular flow of communication between departments. If one department has to communicate something about safety precautions to another immediately, it is done after a week in real situations. This gap kills the very purpose of safety for employees.
Preventive measures are categorized into three areas-
Engineering precautions include using tools that can help reduce certain motions, and designing work-stations to minimize awkward movements, such as lifting and turning at the same time. Rotating employees to different workstations is an administrative control.
Exercising before start-up and using braces that support the muscles are controls that can be adopted by most operations. Employees properly trained in lifting techniques can help limit back injuries. Some company physicians survey an operation and make recommendations on how to take proactive measures against CTDs.
Pre-employment examinations are helpful as long as the information is properly evaluated. Managers should review all medical reports before hiring a prospective employee.
Workers operating in extreme environments, such as freezers and coolers, can be especially prone to back strains. Going from a warm environment to very low temperatures can cause muscles to tighten. Stretching exercises can loosen muscles and make them more resistant to strains.
An employer can provide health benefits for medical expenses (for example, purchasing medicines, and dental and eye problems) to both active employees and retired employees. Such a plan can be provided on an insured basis, a self-insured basis, or a combination of the two. There are no nondiscrimination requirements if the plan is fully insured.
That is, the employer can provide different or better insurance coverage to various groups of employees or retirees so long as the benefits are all provided through health insurance policies. However, if the plan is not fully insured, there can be no discrimination in favour of highly compensated employees (for example, a medical expense reimbursement plan that provides reimbursement for medical expenses that are not covered by the employer’s insured medical plan).
Long-term disability benefits can be provided to employees depending on how the plan is structured. If the premiums for the coverage are not included in an employee’s gross income, the benefits received by the employee are taxable. If, however, the premiums for the coverage are included in an employee’s gross income, the benefits received by the employee are income tax-free.