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Implementation of Occupational Health and Safety

Question:

Discuss about the Implementation of Occupational Health and Safety.

Answer:

Introduction

Occupational health management is the highest degree of health promotion and maintenance of social and physical well-being, and mental health of an employee in generalize occupations by averting aggress from health, restraining risks and the adaptation of individual workplace and their jobs. And in most cases workers that are assigned or employed by any company, they are prone to be affected negatively by occupational health hazard especially those that work in chemical industries. Since their body are expose to so much chemical. The occupational health hazard is a vulnerability of noise, pollution, and vibration in a work environment.

This paper will discuss on occupational health risk affecting chemical companies. I will choose one individually which is BASF (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory) was inaugurated on April 6th, 1865 in Mannheim by a German-speaking fellow known as Friedrich Engelhorn. It is ranked as the first in producing a chemical in German, gas production and its big responsibility was gasworks and streetlight for town council in 1861 (BASF, 2017). Its physical size stated as 865,000acres of land in Germany, and according to Statistic, (2017) statistic, the number of employees that are currently working is 13,830 workers.

Mr. Nevil Paul, one of the BASF employees, working as the chemical engineer, he is 45 years old, has two sons, and one daughter all are teenagers and a wife called Hellen. Mr. Nevil has worked for these company for 20 years and most of his working session he has been spending in the laboratory and his lifetime he has spent touching and may be inhaling some toxic air produced by the chemicals during an experiment. He has been diagnosed with a cardiovascular infection (heart failure) and also, he is now on medication and also retires from BASF.

Occupational Health Hazard and Associated Risk at BASF

While working at BASF one is likely to be exposed to toxic gasses released by the product produced by the industry, product like dyes, drugs, plastics, and synthetic rubber. The chemical engineers might be having some protective gear to protect them from these hazardous chemicals, but in the scientific view, these protective gears do not work one hundred percent. Some effects of harmful chemicals are irritation or skin burns caused by the corrosive liquid when they come into contact with the skin: These make an individual feel itchy on the skin, and it brings no peace to the affected individual (Safety, 2017).

Losing consciousness by inhalation of toxic gas and also causes cardiovascular infection such as asthma and heart failure. After exposure to carcinogenic substances, the individual is prone to cancer. Poisoning of a person by absorption of a toxic substance through the skin. Damage of genetic offspring after exposure to a mutagenic substance in several working years. The individual suffers acute symptoms such as a headache and nausea within the inhalation hours. And finally, dermatitis affects the individual that has worked for many years in the same company or a similar company.          

These risks are should be assessed because they are considered as limelight to an organization or a company’s success. If the workers are affected by this hazardous chemical, some may be forced to resign because of their health condition, and it might affect the company negatively. Before any assessment is done, some aspects need to be followed. First, one should assess the risk of the hazardous chemical agent in your workplace. Assessing these risks, there are number questions that are to be asked. What substance are the workers exposed to? What are the risks of these substances? What activities contribute to the exposure? , and finally what risks to be controlled?.

Changes are to be done in any company annually or even half a year. This is where hazardous chemicals are found and either they can be replaced or eliminated. When this is done it reduce the chances of employees being affected, and their health conditions may as well be of well-being (Ilmarinen, 2009). The changes are the introduction of new equipment and tool used, frequent change of personal protective gears used, assign workers to new posts and assessment should be done repeatedly to ensure that the employee’s health is normal.

The legal requirement that should be applied here is employee’s health, safety, and welfare which should be administered by the employer. The risk assessment is to be carried out by a supervisor or an employer present in the company because it is their responsibility and they are running the company. Furthermore, assessment of transport hazard should be included in the evaluation program since it is a part of the risk evaluation and apt steps should be taken to reduce the risks found (Gholami et, al, 2015). Preventing this health hazard Is the most important act to be made by every company because it helps to avoid ailment, injuries, and incidents, and eliminate safety and health risks.

Controlling this health hazard an employer needs to do the following: First is the elimination of the hazardous chemical by changing the process to avoid the use of the substance .secondly replacement of the material with an alternative safer to the working environment.Thirdly isolation: separate the hazardous material from the workers or the workplace this increases safeness in the working area and less side effect.Fourthly Administrative controls should be put into practice by using safe procedure and safe work practice to reduce contamination.A good example of this practice is good hygiene process.Lastly provide personal protective equipment(PPE) like masks, gloves, protective clothes to protected from skin poisoning, hot fumes, and toxic gasses released by the chemicals during the activities.

These control measures should be checked and maintained consistently and in intervals.For example, examination of ventilation equipment should be done at suitable intervals with no specifications to ensure sustainable effectiveness. Intermittently, keeping track of workers exposure at regular intervals by measuring the temperature of a room the worker is working in and also the air concentration these ensure exposure limits are not overreached. All these actions should be taken into count by writing them down.

Occupational Health Program

Development of Occupational Health programs assists in reducing the feasibility of an employee being injured in the workplace. According to Paul, (2016) these programs include industry hygiene, general safety practices and lessons on the ergonomics. But the biggest difficulty, manager of an organization, a company or industries encounters is a selection of one management style that promotes a safety environment that reduces employee’s injury rates. While setting up any program, it is important to include training and other support, and choices where possible. Moreover, health and safety programs are specific law and regulation that must be complied with.

When planning the program, there is some significant factor that one should be clear about are. The objective: after all the effort know what you want to see happen and if you aim is fulfilled. Target your audience: know who is the program for or what group is the program for. And lastly, the type of the campaign or the program: find out the tone your program has. There are few things should be put into consideration by the organization when developing workplace health program for the working environment. When implementing the program, an organization should consider difference since everyone needs may vary too.

There are steps to follow while developing the health program: Step one: Take ownership and get support from the authority. The organization should have or find someone that is interested in taking the role as a leader and being the limelight of the program; It can also be a committee of management and labor if at all wants to take part in leading the project. Step two: get the essential support from everyone: Talk to many groups of the worker as you can especially those that can help you. These people include worker representative, health and safety professionals, human resource, employee assistant provider, Occupational health staff and groups from your community who may be able to assist you.

Step three: collect current baseline data and informal activities and acknowledge them. There several groups that have inaugurated in many companies and may give a hand in forming a basis for your workplace health program. Inaugurating these activities (example a group of people having lunch together) may cheer up new ideas for your program. Step Four: Identify the essential needs and the assumption of the workplace. Find out the employee’s attitude, needs, and preferences regarding the specific aspects of the program implementation. Employees can be surveyed with one to one extensive interview, mini review, suggestion box placed around the organization and a full-time study it can be confidential. These studies or survey can also be conducted by sending simple email questionnaire or sending pay cheques with the survey. It is decisive finding the need of your audience before your policy and program.

Step five: detailed plan should be developed. It bases on few steps which are to figure out what needs to be done, emphasize these requirements, have both long-term and short-term goals by setting realistic targets, plan when the program should be initiated and how, plan on how to maintain its interest, finally know the specific resources needed to carry out these program either money, time or people. Make sure you arrange or organize your activities in a hierarchy such as awareness, skill building, and working environment all these are sample suggestion of workplace program elements (Koch, et,al,2017). Step six: plan into action, now it time to share your program to all your audience and these can be done in many ways. Pinning posters around your or the workplace, posting your program on your organization website, on billboards, informing the management (manager and the human resource department) so that they can inform the employees about it, by sharing the flyers or the brochures, and email or mail. It is critical to corporate policies that show or tell the importance of the program.

The last step is evaluating, monitoring and maintaining the program. This is the most important part where it gives room for improvement for both long time and short time changes where necessary. And make sure to review and evaluate your program because the is where what’s working and not working is quickly reviled. Gathering correct information is obligatory but not complicated. Noting down the baseline program for future reference of following programs. When reviewing the results, one should not forget to evaluate the program based objective set in the beginning. Use the final result to check what should be enhanced if not working (Posavac,2015).

The method or tools used in undertaking the evaluation are “employee compliance, writing programs, hazard identification, employee communication, accident investigation, work training, corrective action,  and record keeping “(Anon, 2017).

  • Writing programs: It is imperative to have a written document, computer file or booklet for your program. This shows a clear impression of the company that you are committed to the program and also allow employees to read and understand the purpose of these program to the company (Nogueira,2017).
  • Employee compliance: Employees should compel with the define method compliance to adhere to the safe work practices. If they go against it, face penalties like suspension, write-ups or even dismissal (Nogueira, 2017).
  • Employee communication: Employer should prepare for complaints or suggestions presented by the employees for workplace improvement.
  • Hazard Identifications: to identify the workplace hazard an inspection must be done. The inspection should of a regular basis, occurrence of accident, and recognition of new risk in the working place.
  • Accident investigations: To prevent injuries, developing and improving safe workplace practices, accident investigation should be done consistently(Macdonald et, al, 2016).
  • Corrective action is a method such as personal protection equipment, or training that reduces chances of illness and injuries from workplace exposures. These are done to eliminate or reduce health hazard (Foromo et, al,2017).
  • Worker training: training employees on how to protect them self from the risk is the limelight to safe worker’s behavior (Macdonald et, al, 2016).
  • Record keeping: documenting all the process from the beginning of the program to the end and store them for future references in other upcoming programs.

Conclusion

To succeed in implementing proper occupational health management for a particular a workplace, preparing the best workplace program is the key value to it. Because in these program allot of the problem will be observed, complaints or suggestions are raised and educating the workers on how to protect themselves from these health hazards. All the challenges faced by the workers the workplace program cannot fail to solve them no unless it is not correctly monitored, examined and maintained.

References

BASF. (2017, May 12). BASF. Retrieved from En.wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BASF

Gholami, P. S., Nassiri, P., Yarahmadi, R., Hamidi, A., & Mirkazemi, R. (2015). Assessment of Health Safety and Environment Management System function in contracting companies of one of the petrochemistry industries in Iran. A case study. Safety Science, 42-47.

Ilmarinen, J. (2009). Workability—a comprehensive concept for occupational health research and prevention. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, ., 1-5.

Liebler, J. G. (2016). Management principles for health professionals. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Paul, J. (2016). Organizational Safety Strategies: Which Management Practices are Most Effective in Reducing Employee Injury Rates. Business Journal for Entrepreneurs.

Peto, B., Hoesly, L., Cave, G., Kretch, D., & Dieterle, E. (2016). Evaluation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Site-Specific Targeting Program Final Report.

Safety, A. H. (2017, May 12). Chemical Risk Assessment 2 - Health and Safety Authority. Retrieved from Health and Safety Authority: http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Chemicals/Most_Read/Chemical_Risk_Assessment/

Statistic. (2017, 12 May 12 ). BASF number of employees 2002-2016. Retrieved from Statistic. Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/281383/number-of-employees-at-basf/

Posavac, E. (2015). Program evaluation: Methods and case studies. Routledge.

Hamilton, J., & Feldman, J. (2014). Planning a program evaluation: a Matching methodology to program status. In Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 249-256). Springer New York

Käfferlein, H. U., Broding, H. C., Bünger, J., Jettkant, B., Koslitz, S., Lehnert, M., Marek, E. M., ... Brüning, T. (July 01, 2014). Human exposure to airborne aniline and formation of methemoglobin: a contribution to occupational exposure limits. Archives of Toxicology, 88, 7, 1419-1426.

Pendleton, H. M. H., & Schultz-Krohn, W. (2017). Pedretti's occupational therapy: Practice skills for physical dysfunction.

Koch, S., Hägglund, M., & Scandurra, I. (January 01, 2017). Informatics and Socio-Technical Challenges when Designing Solutions for Integrated eCare.

Nogueira, C. (May 01, 2016). Ethics in Occupational health practice: back to basics. Occupational Health Southern Africa, 22, 3, 6-11.

Foromo, M. R., Chabeli, M., & Satekge, M. M. (January 01, 2016). Survey on the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act at an academic hospital in Johannesburg: original research. Curationis, 39, 1, 1-10.

Macdonald, J. L., & Levy, S. R. (March 01, 2016). Ageism in the Workplace: The Role of Psychosocial Factors in Predicting Job Satisfaction, Commitment, and Engagement. Journal of Social Issues, 72, 1, 169-190.

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