At Safety First Consulting, the health and safety of your company is our priority.

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What is Health and safety?

Workplace health and safety:

Workplace health and safety

Workplace health and safety is a very important issue and should not be taken lightly. These procedures are necessary for the well-being of every one (both the employees and the employers). As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration each year many workers (employees) succumb to their injuries caused due to workplace accidents. The statistics gathered in 2012 showed us that close to 4628 workers met with fatal accidents at workplace in that year.

This is a very big figure and thus it is foolish to live under the false pretence that you are invincible and that nothing can happen to you at your work place. It is true that some workplaces are more risky than others, however it is necessary to take the proper precautions at all times no matter where you work. For example construction sites and mines are usually more prone to having workplace related accidents than any other workplace. In fact a very recent incident that took place in a mine in Turkey (in the month of May 2014) claimed the lives of more than 250 people. These were miners from all around the globe.

Health and Safety Hazards:

There is always the risk of employees being exposed to hazardous substances at the workplace (where such substances are used). In addition there are also several circumstances in which workplaces pose as major hazards to their employees. For example for employees working at places like constructions site there is always the danger of either some heavy material falling on the workers or machinery related injuries. Similarly working in mines is hazardous too.

These are just two simple examples but in the real world there are health and safety hazards in just about every profession in the form of infectious diseases or fatal injuries. There is rarely ever something like a 100% safe workplace. Thus it is the duty of the employer to make sure he identifies all the potential hazardous situations and materials and takes appropriate measure to safe guard his employees.

Health and Safety Enforcement:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the task of enforcing the strict laws pertaining to health and safety. It is their duty to make sure any violations of Workplace health and safety are corrected and properly dealt with. In general the government has several responsibilities some of which are mentioned here:

  • The enforcement of occupational health and safety rules and legislation.
  • Inspection of workplaces.
  • Ensure correct flow of information.
  • Promote the relevant training, education and research.

Health Guidelines for health and safety:

Like just about any other legislation or standard there are guidelines for the health and safety requirements too. These guidelines are meant for companies who are seeking information on how to develop their health and safety policies. Furthermore these guidelines are also aimed at helping workers better understand the importance of being prepared in event of a incident occurring at their workplace. It helps the workers understand how to react in emergency situations. The guidelines are truly comprehensive and even include information for the companies that work with dangerous chemicals and hazardous substances.

Employee Awareness At Workplace:

There are health and safety guidelines and then there are organizations that enforce the health and safety policies but unless the employees themselves realize what effect their small carelessness or failure to behave and work properly can have on their future and the future of the company they may not take such matters seriously. Thus it is vital that the employees understand the risks and potential outcomes of their actions. As the famous saying goes “The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear”. It is the duty of the companies to make sure they prevent accidents by making sure the employees are fully aware of the dangers and hazards of the respective workplaces and not by hiding or blind sighting them.

Health and Safety Programs:

Health and Safety Programs help form the foundation to help the employees and employers alike for the necessary precautions that should taken and the dangers that lurk at every corner. Such programs make sure that the employers have all the information they need in order to be able to provide a safe and sound working environment for their employees. It also works for the employees by educating them on the benefit of proper workplace behaviour and practices. The programs try to hammer in the message that injuries and illness impact the companies and their employees in bad way and following systematic and proven procedures is the best way forward.

The cost of Safety failure:

In general the reason for an workplace incident is usually not enough preventive measure being taken, since it is safety first. Safety does not come after the accident has occurred. The workplace safety statistics paint a very murky picture; as per which in the year 2010/11 approximately 26.4 million working days were lost due to work related incidents. It would be naive to believe that this applies only to large industries because the small industries are equally at risk if not more.

System in place to manage Health & Safety:

There is a system in place that will come to the aid of the employees (and employers) in case of a workplace incident. But in an ideal world it should never come to that. In order to make sure that such kind of help and support is not required; and no incident occurs it is necessary for every company or industry to have a proper system in place. This system can be in the form of a health and safety policy which should ideally be on paper and if the resources do exist, even designate people to enforce the system.

Benefits of a good Health and Safety policy:

If you do have a good health and safety policy it can only mean one thing and that is that you have taken the first step towards safe guarding your employees. Having such a policy that is followed by all concerned has many benefits some of which are listed here:

  • Lesser requests for sick leave.
  • Lesser stress.
  • Better ability to cope with change.
  • An overall improvement in the morale.
  • An increase in productivity.
  • Greater job satisfaction.
  • Increase in the retention.
  • Fewer workplace incidents.
  • An overall improvement in the company image and culture.

Choosing to be safe with Safety First:

Safety First

Safety First is here to help you in every step from assessing the risks, to formation of a decent health and safety policy, to even helping train the employees and employers on the risks factors of their respective workplaces. Their certified health and safety consultant are fully qualified to make perfect assessments and provide the necessary help and consultation.

The professionals of Safety Consulting can show you how to navigate the sometimes technical and often confusing OSHA regulations. They can help you figure out what regulations apply in your workplace and what you need to do to comply.

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What is Occupational Health And Safety?

Occupational Health and Safety:

Occupational Health and Safety:

The term ‘Occupational health and safety’ suggest that it is something to do with the safety aspect and well-being while at work. That I correct. However how many people are actually aware of the significance of the term and the true meaning of what is occupational health and safety? 

What I am driving at here is that there are many workers who join a workforce immediately after graduation, some not even that; some may be high school dropout as well and others looking for a change of job. Either way, all these people would have had no real reason to be concerned with the safety at work. It is surprising though true that many workers are not aware how risky it actually is.

These statistics tell a grim story:

  • The Year 2012: Number of fatalities were 4620 while at workplace. That a very big figure in spite of having all the precautions.
  • May 2014: Number of fatalities were more than 250. This was in a mine in Turkey and involved workers from all around the world.

I can go on and on; but I have mentioned only a couple of recent statistics to keep it relevant.

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) program:

The main aim of the Occupational health and safety program is the much needed prevention of workplace incidents. If you are in the Canadian Jurisdiction and you are a business then it is mandatory to have some form of the program. Besides which the components of the program also dictated by Health and Safety Legislation.

Not every organization is the same and hence the same rules and regulations do not apply to all the organizations. This is more of a comprehensive guidelines for all the organizations to follow out of which only few may be applicable to you depending in the size of your organization. In fact in a small organization the level or the program is likely to be a scaled down version of what may be implemented in a medium to large scale organization.

The Policy Statement:

The Occupational Health and Safety policy of an organization are more of a guideline for action. It gives an overview of the extent to which every unexpected situation is covered. However in general if should have the following points:

  • Showcase their commitment to protect the health and safety of the employees.
  • State the main objectives clearly.
  • The basic health and safety philosophy of the organization.
  • Defining the structure of the occupational health and safety program and also naming the person accountable.
  • A general list of responsibilities of the employees.

This is an important document or statement hence the policy needs to be stated in unambiguous and clear terms. Furthermore it should always be updated with the latest modifications. This is one document that should be easily available and even provided to each employee.

The Program Elements:

The specific of the program are highly dependent on the nature of the organization as already mentioned, however there are some things that are recommended for every organization and they are listed here:

  • Employee Orientation
  • Training
  • Individual Responsibility
  • Medical and First Aid
  • Health and Safety Rules
  • Health and Safety Promotion
  • Workplace specific items
  • Correct Work Procedures
  • Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

The Individual Responsibilities

It is correct to assume that the management is responsible for the issues of health and safety in an organization and they are also accountable. However in medium to large organization or even the small ones for that matter it is the employees who are carrying out the major tasks, handling dangerous material and working with machines. Hence at the end the day if the employee as an individual does not understand his responsibilities towards his own safety and the safety of his colleges the whole purpose is defeated.

Hence it is vital that each employee be made aware of their responsibilities in general. They need to be aware of who the correct authority is and who is in the best position to make the important decisions. Besides which they should be aware of what is expected of them, know their responsibilities, have the correct set of skills and be sufficiently trained and certified as the position demands.

Sample list of responsibilities for a worker:

  • Making use of the personal protection and safety equipment that is recommended by the employer for each task.
  • Following the guidelines for each procedure to remain safe.
  • Be aware of all the regulations and implement them in every situation.
  • Remaining alert to be able to report an injury or illness as soon as it is spotted.
  • Report any unsafe practice when observed.
  • Be actively involved in the joint health and safety committee.

Sample list of responsibilities for the First Line Supervisor:

  • Instructing and reminding the workers of the safe work practices.
  • Actively enforce the health and safety regulations.
  • Remain alert to spot any wrong doings and immediately correcting any unsafe activity.
  • Making sure the workers are performing the tasks assigned to them and only the authorized workers are doing the job.
  • Making it a point to report any incident that takes place in the workplace no matter how small it may be.
  • Perform routine inspections of the work place and eliminating any potentially hazardous elements.
  • Actively promoting the importance of safety to the workers.

Why Choose Safety First?

Safety First

Safety first is one firm that is well placed to help organizations on the subject of JHSC. In fact Safety First has several industrial safety training courses to offer so that the company management can have a better understanding of the same. Their team consists of certified safety professionals and an expert team of health and safety professional consultants with experience in businesses of all sizes and a wide variety of different industries as well.

The professionals at Safety First Consulting can show you how to navigate the sometimes technical and often confusing OSHA regulations with occupational health and safety training. They can help you figure out what regulations apply in your workplace and what you need to do to comply. Just know About us, take one of our classes, or request a Contact us form.

About the author

Sophie MooreSophie 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.

Learn more about her at her personal site. Follow her on Twitter, on Google +Sophie or become a friend on Linkedin

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Health and safety in workplace – A practical guide

1. What is Health and Safety at workplace?
2. What is occupational Health and Safety?
3. Apply an health and safety specifications correctly
4. Importance of health and safety in the workplace

1. What is Health and safety at workplace?

  • Health and Safety in the workplace is to do with protecting the safety, health and welfare of the people working or employed there. It is vital for any organization that their employees are always safe and secure while working on their premises.
  • Workplace health and safety in Ontario, Canada is given a lot of importance. Although it is true that workplace health and safety applies just about anywhere in the world.
  • The organizations develop a health and safety in workplace program to deal with the issue of health and safety at the workplace of the employees. Such a program makes sure that the organization is taking all the preventive measures necessary, additionally it also needs to educate the employees regarding the perils at work.
  • Such programs are highly beneficial to any organization and also act as a morale booster for the employees.

2. What is Occupational Health and Safety?

  • The World Health Organization has established the definition of Occupational Health and Safety since as early as 1950. It has since then been revised several times, however the gist of it remains the same.

The definition goes as below:

  • “Occupational health should aim at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations; the prevention among workers of departures health caused by their working conditions the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to this physiological and psychological capabilities and to summarize, the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.

The main focus in occupational health and safety is on three different objectives

1. The maintenance and promotion of worker’s health and working capacity.

2. The improvement of working environment and work to become conducive to safety and health.

3. Development of work organizations and working cultures in a direction which supports health and safety in workplace and in doing so also promotes a positive social climate and smooth operation and may enhance productivity of the undertakings. The concept of working culture is intended in this context to mean a reflection of the essential value systems adopted by the undertaking concerned. Such a culture is reflected in practice in the managerial systems, personnel policy, principles for participation, training policies and quality management of the undertaking”.

  • This should more than answer your questions as to what is occupational health and safety. Thus this goes to show that the requirement of health and safety policies at workplace was established a long time ago. It also highlights the importance of such a program and how it benefits an organization and its employees on the whole.
  • It is important to note that the occupational health and safety procedure apply to all types of organizations and is not limited to only construction companies. The risk of accidents is usually higher at construction sites though this is something that all type of organizations should take seriously.
  • There are many different kinds of hazards at the workplace. For example chemicals, biological agents, physical, ergonomic conditions, psycho-social risk factors to name a few.
  • The Physical and mechanical hazards are usually common at a construction site though are not limited to a construction site. It is important to make a note of the fact that not every risk related to health and safety in workplace issue is identified can be eliminated.
  • What is possible however is to educated the concerned personnel of the risks involved in a given procedure as well as the precautionary measures to take while performing the task.
  • In addition to this there are biological and chemical hazards like infection from blood, or acids etc. The Psycho-social hazards include occupational stress, violence, etc. There are also different type of hazards as per the sector of work like construction, agriculture, mining, etc.

3. Apply an Health and Safety specification correctly:

The minimum requirements in order to apply the health and safety in workplace specifications are listed below:

  • A good occupational health and safety policy: It is a good idea to have such a policy of some for the relevant health and safety issues that affect the organization. Though this is not legally required, it only helps the organization in the long run.
  • Hazard identification risk assessment: This is in fact where you need to start. You need to identify the hazards and risks and once done you should be prepared with a plan to prevent potential accidents and injuries. The hazard risk assessment should be performed prior to the start of work.
  • Health and Safety representatives: A health and safety consultant is often the best person to assess the workplace and detect the risks present. In addition to which it is usually a good idea to arrange inspections as often as possible as well as arrange for mock drills once a month.
  • Health and Safety training: It is legally necessary for the company to train their employees and inform them about the risks involved while working,. Such training needs to be performed at the induction stage. Besides which special health and safety consultants can provide training regarding health and safety at workplace.
  • General record keeping: It is necessary to maintain records of all the safety precautions in place and efforts made in order to secure the workplace.
  • Emergency Procedures: An emergency plan should be in place and the employees should be fully aware of this plan. In fact mock drills should be carried out periodically to ensure that everyone has the ability to act in time of a real crisis.
  • Known Hazards: All the potential hazards should be identified and solved. Those that cannot be completely removed, need to have appropriate warning signs and specially informed to each of the employees.
  • Protective equipment and clothing: It is necessary for the organization to provide the employees with the necessary gear (clothing) in order to stay safe.
  • Restricted Access: It is highly important to ensure that the place of work is secure and has no unauthorized access by people other then the trained employees.

4. Importance of Health and Safety in the Workplace:

  • As an employee receiving training or as an employer providing the training you may have often wondered as to why is Heath and Safety so important at the workplace. The fact remains that it is very important to ensure health and safety of the employees at the work place.
  • It is necessary for the well being of both employers and employees. There are many hazards at the workplace, they could be due to dangerous substances or risky procedures or dangerous environment.
  • The employees are usually engrossed in there working routines and may not pay attention to the necessary precautions. This can result in bad accidents which will not only cost the company dear but will also result in loss of productivity, since then the employee is not available for work as well.
  • Thus a small training session on health and safety in workplace can go long way in ensuring the safety of the employees and even enforcing the use of proper procedures and methods while working.
  • It is necessary for the supervisors to receive special training above the usual training imparted to all employees since they are responsible for overseeing the other employees as well. First aid training as fire fighting training is usually a must no matter what kind of organization it may be.

Safety First Consulting Professional Corporation is a licensed paralegal firm regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC). Our paralegal team provides a widespread workplace health and safety ontario designed to reduce and control an employer’s costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses. Our pro-active program begins at the point of occurrence and continues to the final resolution of the claim with a rapid response.