Accidents and mishaps are unforeseen circumstances that can affect individuals and groups at any time and in any place. Most accidents are preventable, but the carelessness or negligence of the involved individuals leads to major injuries and grievances. Accidents can also occur in the workplace and seriously affect the ability and health of the involved workers.
The objectives of this essay to discuss the safety and wellbeing of all workers are necessary for the organization not only for consistent productivity but also due to regulatory requirements. Workers and human resources are the necessary components of all organizations due to their role in the effective accomplishment of objectives. Corporations cannot achieve long-term success and sustainable growth in the absence of motivated, safe, healthy, and effective workers. The health and safety of all workers are necessary to ensure the enhancement of productivity and efficiency at all levels and areas. Lack of safety measures can create havoc for the organization and negatively affect the working criterion of an organization. The management has to devise and implement effective safety procedures to reduce hazards and prevent accidents in the workplace. The can motivate the employees through this perspective as employees admire working in organizations that prefer safe working conditions. Employees believe that safer working conditions enhance their ability work because they do not feel scared in troublesome situations. The management should coordinate with all the related stakeholders when they devise policies about safety at workplace, as this would enhance a positive change in an organization. Different legislations also depict that organizations should focus on these perspectives and they should attain self-sufficiency in providing workplace safety.
Corporations in the current era focus on the development of employees and they believed in the ideology of benefiting employees through different approaches. Safety at the work force is an important aspect that many organizations of today’s world disregard. Many people face mishaps and accidents in various situations especially due to negligence, recklessness, and carelessness. Many accidents and serious injuries are avoidable and preventable by taking effective safety measures and reducing hazards. For example, drivers and passengers can avoid serious injuries and death by wearing seatbelts while traveling in cars. However, many people fail to realize the importance of seatbelts and face a variety of consequences in the event of an accident. Mishaps and accidents are unforeseen occurrences that can lead to several adverse consequences in the absence of effective safety measures and precautions. Accidents, disasters, and mishaps can also occur in the workplace and affect several employees in the absence of precautions and safety procedures. Certain mediocre organizations do not regard this aspect as important and they do not focus on safety at the workplace. The owners and management of the organization need to implement rules, regulations, procedures, and systems relevant to safety and health. The management also needs to ensure that all workers have ample knowledge and information regarding safety procedures, prevention of accidents, and safe working practices.
Human resources are one of the most important assets of the organization with respect to success and growth. The success and growth of the organization depend on the effectiveness and efficiency of the human resources. However, the inefficiencies in human resources caused by any circumstances, occurrences, and events can hinder the accomplishments of the organization. Organizations take all necessary measures to ensure the productivity of all workers and employees to maximize profits and achieve organizational objectives (Blair, 2013). The wellbeing, safety, and health of all employees are among the highest priorities of all organizations. Organizations cannot take risk for their respective employees because an occurrence of a negative event would tarnish the credibility of an organization. Safe and healthy workers are more productive as compared to injured or sick employees. Employees that cannot work in safe conditions feel suffocated because of the risks associated with their respective work. Risks and hazards associated with a specific job or organization adversely affect the morale and motivation level of employees. The unsafe or hazardous working conditions have several long-term psychological and physiological consequences for the workers and the organizations. When a negative event occurs in an organization, it sets up the mindset of an employee. Employees would feel that this event would occur again and this would create hurdles in their effective working process. Organizations need to create a safe and healthy working environment for all workers to ensure high levels of motivation and enhancement in efficiency (Stricoff & Groover, 2012).
Safety at Workplace
Workplace safety refers to the prevention of illness, injury, and hazards in the workplace for all employees. Workplace safety involves the creation of a safe and healthy environment for all workers to evade hazards, injuries, and illnesses. Organizations can ensure the efficiency of all workers and circumvent a considerable amount of costs by ensuring workplace safety and health. Organizations develop different strategies through which they set up different work place safety policies and benefit the workers through this. Workplace injuries and illnesses lead to compensation benefits, health insurance costs, hiring temporary replacements, lost work hours, and lawsuits. Lack of concentration would cost severe damage to an organization and they should sort such issues in order to attain proactive benefits. Business can save a considerable amount of costs by creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all workers. Safeguarding the interests and wellbeing of the employees allows organizations to circumvent costs relevant to injuries and illnesses (Legg, Laird, Olsen, & Hasle, 2014). On the other hand, workplace safety instills a sense of commitment and dedication among the employees due to the safety assurance of the organization. The morale and motivation of the workers increase due to the implementation of rules that safeguard the health and interest of the employees. Employees feel that they are safe to work in this place, and through this perspective, they would perform well.
Purpose of Workplace safety
The primary objective of safety in the workplace is to create a safe, healthy, and risk-free environment for all workers. Workplace safety involves the evaluation, analysis, prevention, and elimination of hazardous and dangerous elements from the workplace. Workplace safety programs evaluate and remove the risks and hazards relevant to the safety, well-being, and health of workers and other relevant individuals. Organizations develop health and safety standards due to several reasons including laws, regulatory requirements, organizational policies, and historical occurrences. Certain industries and their associations bind organizations to work for the benefit of their employees and they force organizations to focus on different safety related perspectives. Workplace injuries and illnesses caused by working conditions or environment can lead to lawsuits, high costs, and deterioration of the corporate image. There are instances when employees at times die because of sever working conditions. Employees might got injured because of certain safety and the lack of safety would be the only probable reason of this. Enhanced safety measures and appropriate quality of these measures can reduce this perspective to a considerable level.
Safety at the workplace enables organizations to comply with regulatory requirements and prevent high costs resulting from injuries and illnesses. Several corporations can consider the fact that these safety measures would save their health and medicinal costs that would arise when an employees would hurt him. They should take proactive measures earlier through which people can benefit from these perspectives. The management can maintain high levels of productivity and efficiency by creating a safe and healthy working environment. Conversely, the employees work with dedication due to their perceptions regarding the commitment of the organization with respect to the wellbeing of the workers.
Importance of safety at workplace
Legislative and legal requirements are the most prominent cause of health and safety policies in most organizations. The Occupational and Safety Health Act is the primary law for the assurance of health and safety of all workers throughout the United States. The Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA) necessitates the dissemination of standards, rules, and regulations relevant to the safety and health of workers. The government establishes and enforces the standards for the safety and health of all workers and their families through the Act. All public and private organizations have to comply with the rules, regulations, and standards prescribed in OSHA (Jung & Makowsky, 2014). They would face legal complications if they do not comply with such policies and measures taken by the decision makers. However, many organizations develop and implement health and safety procedures to safeguard their interests relevant to organizational objectives rather than legal requirements. The financial and moral aspects of workers’ health and safety have a greater influence as compared to regulatory compliance. Corporations can save considerable costs by avoiding high insurance expenses, lawsuits, and employee replacement costs in the event of injuries and illnesses (Barling & Frone, 2003).
Manpower and Management
The primary objective of all managers is to enhance and promote productivity and efficiency in all areas and functions. However, the managers cannot uphold efficiency and effectiveness in the absence of a safe workplace. The managers need to create a safe working environment and increase the awareness and knowledge of all employees with respect to safe working practices. The employees and workers also need to understand the importance of workplace safety and reduce personal injury through attentiveness and removal of hazards. These safety hazards are negative for the effectiveness of organizations and create a long-term negative impact. The attitude of the employees, management, and employers plays a vital role in preventing accidents and creating a safe working environment. The negligence on the part of the employers and employees can cause a variety of hazards and accidents (Rahim, Ng, Biggs, & Boots, 2014). However, the diligence and commitment of all stakeholders regarding safe work practices leads to the prevention of major accidents and injuries. The employees and management can create a safe workplace through a shared responsibility model for workplace safety and cooperation. Organizations should own this perspective and they should realize the fact that it is their managerial responsibility to focus on this perspective so that employees can remain safe.
Conclusively, a safety plan is necessary and it comprises of certain steps that would develop a safer workplace. Organizations should make sure that everyone else in the workplace is aware of the core problem. People should notify their respective supervisors and they should file any reports if there is a problem. An important aspect is that people should realize that there is a problem as sitting back and holding the problem for a long time would not solve the problem.
Barling, J., & Frone, M. (2003). The Psychology of Workplace Safety. New Jersey: Amer Psychological Assn.
Blair, E. H. (2013). Building safety culture. Professional Safety , 58 (11), 59-65.
Cobb, E. (2013). Bullying, Violence, Harassment, Discrimination and Stress: Emerging Workplace Health and Safety Issues. New Jersey: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Jung, J., & Makowsky, M. D. (2014). The determinants of federal and state enforcement of workplace safety regulations: OSHA inspections 1990’2010. Journal of Regulatory Economics , 45 (1), 1-33.
Legg, S., Laird, I., Olsen, K., & Hasle, P. (2014). Creating healthy work in small enterprises – from understanding to action: Summary of current knowledge. Small Enterprise Research , 21 (2), 139-147.
Mathis, T., & Galloway, S. (2013). Steps to Safety Culture Excellence. New Jersey: Wiley.
Rahim, A. N., Ng, H. K., Biggs, D., & Boots, K. (2014). Perceptions of safety, physical working conditions and stress between Malaysia and United Kingdom. International Journal of Business & Society , 15 (2), 321-338.
Stricoff, R., & Groover, D. (2012). The Manager’s Guide to Workplace Safety. New York : Safety in Action Press.
The main legislation providing for the health and safety of people in the workplace are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010. They apply to all employers, employees (including fixed-term and temporary employees) and self-employed people in their workplaces. The Acts set out the rights and obligations of both employers and employees and provides for substantial fines and penalties for breaches of the health and safety legislation.
(General Application) Regulations 2007: Almost all of the specific health and safety laws which apply generally to all employments are contained in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007. You can find them and other relevant regulations on hsa.ie.
Under Section 8 of the Act the employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health the employer is required, among other things, to:
- Provide and maintain a safe workplace which uses safe plant and equipment
- Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
- Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk
- Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety
- Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees
- Appointing a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer
The duties of employees while at work are set out in Section 13 of the Act. These include the following:
- To take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and of other people in the workplace
- Not to engage in improper behaviour that will endanger themselves or others
- Not to be under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace
- To undergo any reasonable medical or other assessment if requested to do so by the employer
- To report any defects in the place of work or equipment which might be a danger to health and safety
Risk assessment and safety statement
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 every employer is required to carry out a risk assessment for the workplace which should identify any hazards present in the workplace, assess the risks arising from such hazards and identify the steps to be taken to deal with any risks.
The employer must also prepare a safety statement which is based on the risk assessment. The statement should also contain the details of people in the workforce who are responsible for safety issues. Employees should be given access to this statement and employers should review it on a regular basis. The Health and Safety Authority has published guidelines on risk assessments and safety statements (pdf).
Protective equipment and measures
The employer should tell employees about any risks that require the wearing of protective equipment. The employer should provide protective equipment (such as protective clothing, headgear, footwear, eyewear, gloves) together with training on how to use it, where necessary. An employee is under a duty to take reasonable care for his/her own safety and to use any protective equipment supplied. The protective equipment should be provided free of charge to employees if it is intended for use at the workplace only. Usually, employees should be provided with their own personal equipment. You can find more information in this list of frequently asked questions about personal protective equipment.
There is a range of measures that employers must take in regard to visual display units (VDUs). These include examining the reflection and glare, the operator's position in front of the VDU, the keyboard and the software used. Operators must be given adequate breaks from the VDU. In addition, employers must arrange for eye tests and, if required, make a contribution towards the purchase of prescription eyeglasses. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a list of frequently asked questions about display screen equipment (VDUs).
All accidents in the workplace should be reported to the employer, who should record the details of the incident. Reporting the accident will help to safeguard social welfare and other rights which may arise as a result of an occupational accident. An employer is obliged to report any accident that results in an employee missing 3 consecutive days at work (not including the day of the accident) to the Health and Safety Authority. The Safety, Health and Welfare at work (General Application) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2016 (SI 370/2016) set out the statutory responsibilities on employers in reporting of accidents and dangerous occurrences at workplaces.
Health and safety leave
An employer should carry out separate risk assessments in relation to pregnant employees. If there are particular risks to an employee's pregnancy, these should be either removed or the employee moved away from them. Under Section 18 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 if neither of these options is possible, the employee should be given health and safety leave from work, which may continue up the beginning of maternity leave. If a doctor certifies that night work would be unsuitable for a pregnant employee, the employee must be given alternative work or health and safety leave.
Following an employee's return to work after maternity leave, if there is any risk to the employee because she has recently given birth or is breastfeeding, it should be removed. If this is not possible, the employee should be moved to alternative work. If it is not possible for the employee to be assigned alternative work, she should be given health and safety leave. If night work is certified by a doctor as being unsuitable after the birth, alternative work should be provided. If alternative work cannot be provided, the employee should be given health and safety leave.
Time spent on health and safety leave is treated as though the employee has been in employment, and this time can be used to accumulate annual leave entitlement. The employee is not entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur during health and safety leave. During health and safety leave, employers must pay employees their normal wages for the first 21 days (3 weeks), after which Health and Safety Benefit may be paid.
Health and safety and young people
An employer should carry out a separate risk assessment in relation to an employee under 18 years of age. This risk assessment should be carried out before the young person is employed. If certain risks are present, including risks that cannot be recognised or avoided by the young person due to factors like lack of experience, the young person should not be employed.
One of the employer’s duties is to prevent improper conduct or behaviour (which includes bullying). An employer should have established procedures for dealing with complaints of bullying in the workplace and deal with such complaints immediately. Ignoring complaints of bullying could leave an employer open to a possible claim for damages by an employee. It is advisable for an employer to have an established grievance procedure to deal with complaints of bullying. An employee who feels that he or she is the victim of bullying can also refer the matter to the Workplace Relations Commission – see ‘How to apply' below. The Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work (pdf) sets out guidance notes for addressing bullying in the workplace.
The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 place an obligation on all employers to prevent harassment in the workplace. Under this law, you are entitled to bring a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission and your employer may be obliged to pay you compensation if you are harassed by reason of your gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, age, disability, race, religious belief or membership of the Traveller community.
Violence in the workplace
The possibility of violence towards employees should be addressed in the safety statement. For example, factors like the isolation of employees and the presence of cash on the premises need to be taken into account. Proper safeguards should be put into place to eliminate the risk of violence as far as possible and the employee should be provided with appropriate means of minimising the remaining risk, for example, security glass. The Health and Safety Authority has published a booklet for employers on violence in the workplace (pdf).
Assault: Under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 assault is a criminal offence. It is also an offence if you are made to fear immediate assault. If you have been assaulted or threatened with assault at work by another employee, you should report the matter immediately to your employer and it can also be reported to the Gardaí. If your employer assaults you, you should report the matter to the Gardaí. You should contact your doctor or seek medical treatment for your injuries. You can also call one of the organisations providing support to victims of crime. You can apply for compensation by making a personal injuries claim – see ‘How to apply’ below.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 the employee may not be victimised for exercising his or her rights under safety and health legislation such as making a complaint. This means that the employer may not penalise an employee by dismissal or in some other way, for example, by disciplinary action or by being treated less favourably than other employees – see ‘Enforcing your rights’ below.
Health and Safety Authority
The Health and Safety Authority – see ‘Where to apply’ below is responsible for enforcing health and safety at work. It provides information to employers, employees and self-employed people on workplace health and safety. Its publications include a Short Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (pdf) and a set of Simple Safety leaflets which are aimed at small retail or food businesses in particular. The Simple Safety leaflets are available in other languages.
How to apply
If you have an accident at work you can apply for Injury Benefit. This is a weekly payment from the Department of Social Protection if you are unfit for work due to an accident at work or an occupational disease. Under the Medical Care Scheme you can claim certain medical costs that are not paid by the Health Service Executive (HSE) or covered by Treatment Benefit Scheme. You can find out more about these payments in our document on the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme.
Personal injury claim: If you have suffered an injury at work, you cannot seek compensation from your employer under the health and safety legislation but you can make a personal injury claim through InjuriesBoard.ie. It is an independent statutory body which gives an independent assessment of personal injury claims for compensation following an accident. It will only give an assessment of compensation where the person responsible is not seeking a decision on liability, or, in other words, where legal issues are not disputed. All claims involving workplace accidents (employer liability cases) must be submitted to InjuriesBoard.ie before starting legal proceedings. All personal injury claims (excluding medical negligence) must also be submitted to InjuriesBoard.ie. It assesses compensation quickly but doesn't award costs for or against either party. If either you or your employer rejects the assessment the Board will issue you with an authorisation allowing you to make a claim through the civil courts.
If you wish to make a complaint of victimisation or about your rights under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act you should apply to the Workplace Relations Commission within 6 months of the complaint occurring. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. The time limit may be extended for up to a further 6 months, but only where there is a reasonable cause which prevented the complaint being brought within the normal time limit.
Where to apply
Health and Safety Authority
The Metropolitan Building
James Joyce Street
Tel:(01) 614 7000
Locall:1890 28 93 89
Fax:(01) 614 7020