Organizational Responses to Health and Safety Challenges

Some organizations have placed responsibility for employee health and safety with their CEOs. This approach is typical of smaller organizations with threats in this area or with mid size organizations with few such threats.

The larger organizations have set up safety departments usually under the purview of the human resources management team. In the US, a safety director should be appointed for every 2,000 workers. In Bangladesh, it is mandatory under the Factories Act of 1965 to appoint safety officers in factories with a workforce of 1,000 or more.

Safety and health must become the responsibility of everyone in an organization if programmers are to be successful. The duties associated with a specialist or a department responsible for safety would include:

Organizational Responses to Health and Safety Challenges

  • Analysis of the job environment to prevent accidents or health hazards
  • Education and training in safety to prevent accidents and health hazards
  • Inspection of job  conditions  to  determine  causes  and  prevent  the recurrence of accidents
  • Accident research to prevent future accidents

Safety committees in organizations prove very effective if everyone in the organization gets involved in the work of the committee. This work covers the organization’s entire programme, i.e., inspection, design, record keeping, training and motivation.

organizational_responses_to_health_and_safety_challenges

Organizational Responses to Health and Safety Challenges

Below are some details about the three approaches Glueck (1982) suggests to safety committees for improving the safety of working conditions:

  • Prevention and design
  • Inspection and research
  • Training and motivation

1. Safety Design and Preventive Approaches

Organizations have adopted measures to build-in safety through what is known as safety engineering. It makes jobs more comfortable, less confusing and less fatiguing. It keeps employees more alert and therefore less prone to accidents.

2. Inspection, Reporting and Accident Research

Safety departments and specialists have another approach to reducing accidents and illnesses. They inspect the work place to find, out:

  • Are safety rules being observed?
  • Are safety guards and protective equipment being used?
  • Are there potential hazards in the work place that safety redesign could improve?
  • Are there potential occupational health hazards?

Their observations and collected data then help them in setting things right relative safety.

3. Safety Training and Motivation Approaches

Safety training is usually part of the orientation programmed for new employees. Training can also take place at any time during an employee’s career. Although in  safety as in other areas, workers often learn ‘the ropes’ from each other, some training is also required by government agencies.

Those responsible for safety have also devised motivational devices such as safety contests and communication programmers in their efforts to create a safer environment for employees. They are intended to reinforce safety training.

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