Workplace Safety – The fact :
Here are some gruesome true facts to hammer in the point. The statistics made public show that in 2012 approximately 4628 workers met with fatal accidents while at their workplace. A more recent true story is about the mining disaster that occurred in May 2014 in Turkey. This is an incident in which more than 250 miners from many different countries around the world including Turkey lost their lives. The sad truth about this incident is that a review of the safety of the miners was initiated approximately 3 – 4 months prior to the incident but it did not take place since it was deemed unnecessary by the authorities. There no more fitting quote than is for something like this – “We must respect the past, and mistrust the present, if we wish to provide for the safety of the future.”
A workplace is not a place where you go to feel safe and sound, it is simply a workplace. Moreover depending on the nature of the work there are varying degrees of risks involved while on the job. I do not mean to scare you or make you feel uncomfortable at your workplace. But it is vital to treat a workplace like a workplace, and stay alert for potential disasters. This applied to all the workplaces and is more obvious is some than it is in the others. For example the mining industry as well as the construction industry tend to have a high fatally rate due to incidents occurring while at work. The other workplaces not as much. But the sad part is disasters don’t come with a warning bell hence the best chance of surviving a disaster is to always stay alert and follow safe practices.
There are many laws in place that are meant to enforce workplace safety. In fact workplace health and safety is an issue that should be foremost in the minds of the employers. To ensure this there have been several measures taken by several governing bodies. There are also support centres in place that assist the workplace to become as safe and secure as possible. Although in the event of a incident such bodies support the quick employee recovery as well as cover the employer from being sued by the employee.
But at the end of the day who knows the workplace better than the very people who work there. Thus the Canada Labour Code let the employees and the employers play a major role in identifying and resolving their respective health and safety concerns. This has been designed in a hope to help the employers and employees be more self reliant and alert in dealing with workplace safety topics.
Being prepared for the worst as an Employee:
Workplace health and safety is an important issue for the employer but that is not where it starts. It is important that as an employee that you make sure you take all the necessary percussions towards ensuring you prevent any work related injuries. The safety of oneself and other colleagues should be high on list of priorities. Besides which it is necessary that you be aware of a few facts mentioned below:
- You have the right to refuse the work if it seems dangerous.
- You can also intervene in the safety issues related to your colleagues.
- In the case where an employee is pregnant or nursing, you are entitled to some special considerations.
- You not only have a right to inquire about the Labour program’s handling of health and safety complaints but you should even make sure to you do.
Employee’s right to know:
Workplace safety training is an important factor to making sure there are no incidents at the workplace. Hence the employer is entitled to arrange for a general session for their employees that involves matters of health and safety training. There are many companies that incorporate health and safety training in their employee initiating procedure. There are also other companies that regularly organize such sessions to ensure the safety of their employees. In either case, it is important for you as an employee to be aware of the necessity of some form of work place safety training, that provides you with the workplace safety tips. Employees with special needs in case of disabilities are also catered for.
Besides this you as an employee can also access the official employee reports related to health and safety and considering the workplace safety facts, it is a good idea to do so.
Employee’s right to participate:
The health and safety representatives have a right to participate in identifying and correcting any work related health and safety concern as do the health and safety committee or policy health and safety committee members. In fact in larger companies where the strength of the employees is close to 300 and more, the employers are required to put in place an policy health and safety committee. This is committee is intended to handle organization wide issues. The employees also have a right to participate in the resolution process of any internal complaints.
Employee’s right to refuse:
Just because you are an employee doesn’t mean you have to do everything that is thrown at you. You have every right to refuse the work if you have reason to believe that it is dangerous. There are several situations where this is applicable as listed below:
- The workplace is clearly too dangerous to work in.
- The machine or instrument can potentially cause harm to yourself or a fellow employee.
- The task that has been assigned can cause harm to yourself or other fellow employees.
Your duties as an employee:
Workplace safety rules are often exist in many workplaces to ensure the safety of the employees and make sure that the supervisors have an organized set of employees to manage and ensure safety. In spite of that there are several duties of an employee as listed here:
- The employee must at all times use safety materials, equipment, devices and clothing that has been provide by the employer and is intended to keep the employee safe.
- It is likely that several procedures are in place at the workplace to insure the safety of all. It is necessary that as an employee you follow these procedures.
- Any instructions explicitly give by the employer concerning the health and safety of all involved should always be followed.
- It is also necessary to co-operate with other employees who are carrying out their duties by adhering to the health and safety rules.
- In the case where the task or environment gets too risky or hazardous to work in, it is necessary to report it to the employer.
- All the workplace incidents, or occupational diseases or hazardous occurrences should always be reported even if they are about other fellow employees.
The responsibilities of the Employer:
The employer is a place where he has both the knowledge and the means to take all the preventive measure necessary to avoid any workplace accidents and injuries. In addition to which the employers are also legally obligated to do so. Employers often arrange workplace safety groups where the necessary information and training is provided to ensure the employees can perform their jobs safely. But that is not all, the employers also need to make sure the managers, supervisors and the health and safety committees and representatives perform their jobs safely. Besides which the obligations of the employer also extend to the investigation, inspections, accident reporting and hazard prevention program.
The employer’s duties to provide information, training and supervision:
The employer has several duties towards the employees. They need to ensure that the employees have the necessary information, training and supervision to perform their duties. The employers need to make sure of the following:
- The employees have an understanding of the overall work safety procedure.
- The employees have all the required knowledge and training to use the workplace tools and equipment.
- The employees are aware of all the potential things that can go wrong as well as all the potentially dangerous conditions. In addition to which they should also know what to do when things go wrong.
- The training sessions provided should also include documentation.
It is not enough that the employees take all the necessary precaution. The managers and the supervisors also need to understand their duties and be aware of the necessary hazards to be able to guide the other employees. The employers must also ensure that the health and safety committees or representatives are aware of their duties as mentioned here:
- Maintain regular meetings to review the safety.
- Arrange regular inspections to insure the safety.
- Active participation in accident investigations and hazard analysis.
It is little known that the employer is also legally required (by The Canada Labour Code) to initiate investigation in several situations as mentioned here:
- Any employee complaints.
- Any employee refusals to work
- Any employee accidents or injuries.
Employers do the training and make their employees aware of the risks involved and potential dangers at the workplace. But that is not enough. Regular inspections are key to ensuring the potential occupational health and safety hazards are spotted before they become a cause of any big incident. In fact it is legally required to carry out regular inspections by the health and safety committee.
It is important to make note of the fact that in case when any hazard is identified, the health and safety committee is not authorized to take any actions. They are required to report it to the employer. However the employer is entitled to provide a written response regarding the discovery of the hazard to the committee within 30 days which should mention how the issue will be resolved.
The investigation and reporting of accidents at workplace:
When it comes to investigating and reporting accidents, it is necessary to be thorough. Doing so helps all involved to take preventive measures to prevent such incidents in the future. Thus by reporting every such small incident you are not only making your company a safer workplace but also providing important information regarding potential disasters for others and saving many lives.
It is in fact legally required by the employee to submit a written investigation report for any employee with temporary or permanent disabling injuries within 14 days of it occurring.
Besides which there are also two annual reports to be submitted by the employers like, Employee Annual Hazardous Occurrence report and work place committee report.
Being Safe with Safety First:
Safety First is of the few firms with the moto of safety first that provide full workplace health and safety service. It is a Canadian firm in Ontario who’s first priority is workplace safety. This is the reason why they have been so successful in the past and are likely to continue to do so in the future.
They have a team of certified health and safety consultant with experience in several different types of businesses and different sizes as well. The adhere to the government legislations and regulations and make sure their clients too are up to speed with the latest updates in this matter.
They are basically there to help and during their first contact with make a thorough study of your firm to understand the health and safety requirement, leaving no stone unturned. That is the reason why they are so good.
About the Author
Sophie Moore is a Digital Marketing Analyst, in charge of many digital marketing projects that involve SEO, Social Media and mobile web strategy. Moore has a background in IT, strong experience on website development and web interface, degrees in both traditional and digital marketing at Duke University, North Carolina.
Moore has a wide experience of internet projects and keeps herself up to date with the latest technologies and trends. Moore always explains that social media is her passion, SEO a motivation and a dynamic challenge where she is involved every day.
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