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Occupational health and safety program

Basic Elements of OH&S Program:

We hear bad news quite frequently in the newspaper or on TV about a fatal accident at a work place. This is a fact of life and comes from working at risky and highly dangerous environments. But it can be prevented and it is important for everyone to know especially the young work force, that measures are being taken in the form of a occupational health and safety program to keep people safe.

This may bring a lot questions to your mind like below:

  • What is an occupational health and safety program?
  • What does a health and safety officer do?
  • What is occupational safety?

These are perfectly common questions the answers to which you will figure out when you get to the end of this article.

Responsibilities of management:

  • Making sure the workplace is safe from any hazards and that there is no potential health risk.
  • A health and safety program is a must for every organization and is usually up to the management to arrange that.
  • It is also the responsibility of the management to ensure that the workers receive the appropriate training and are certified.
  • Make available the appropriate protective material.
  • Provide the workers as well as the supervisors the health and safety information.
  • Monitoring the supervisors in terms of their attitude towards health and safety.

Responsibilities of a Safety Coordinator

  • Provide vital information regarding health and safety issues to the employees.
  • Being the person who binds all the health and safety activities that take place throughout the firm.
  • Keeping a note of the health and safety issues in the form of statistics.
  • Researching issues in question and providing expert training to the employees

The purpose of the workplace health and safety committee:

A workplace health and safety committee is required to establish an effective safety program. This usually requires the cooperation of all the employees. Depending on the size of the organization such a committee is mandatory. In order to function at its best a committee requires the appropriate structure, a clear purpose and list of duties and follow standard procedure when it comes to meetings. Doing this forms a committee that is very effective at dealing with any issues of health and safety at the work place.

Establishing the correct work procedure:

The correct work procedure is established by laying out the safest method to do a job, provide job instructions and even monitor the performance and accident investigation if the need be.

It is important to carry out a job hazard analysis to start with. Here are few steps to follow:

  • Select the job.
  • Break the job down into several sequence of steps and small tasks.
  • Identify the hazards in each step
  • Establish the preventive measures.

The reason it is necessary to establish the correct work procedure are quite simple in fact. To start with it is required by the government to do so. Rules are necessary to protect the health and safety of the workers. In fact the compliance to the health and safety rules should ideally be considered as a condition for employment in the first place. The basic mail would be as listed below:

  • Make sure the employee is aware of the rules
  • Make sure the employees to obey the rules since it is for their own benefit.

The employee orientation program:

The orientation of an employee is very important and it applies to every workplace. The employee may be fit and qualified for a job however that does not mean he is already aware of the ways of this new work place. Every work place in general has a unique environment and ways of handling things. At times there a subtle thing that go unsaid and are not understood by the new employee simply because there is no orientation. Things like these can lead to a big issue and even a fatal accident.

Hence the employee orientation a must and here are few safety related issues that should always be included in the program;

  • The workplace emergency procedures.
  • Location of the first aid stations.
  • Responsibilities related to health and safety of themselves and other co-workers.
  • The hazards present at the work place.
  • The correct and safe method followed for every procedure and instrument or machine.

Designing a Training program:

The training program for health and safety is necessary to raise awareness. It is vital that the employees are aware of the perils at their work place and how it is possible for them to stay safe. They should be informed about the precautions to take and the consequences of not doing so. In fact it is important to use statistics available or published publically, to help drive in the point.

For example the recently published statistics show that approximately 4620 people lost their lives at the work place in the year 2012. This is fairly recent and still the count is quite high. In an even more recent incident more than 250 miners lost their lives in Turkey in May 2014 due to an incident at a mine. This included workers from all around the world.

It is not always the fault of a worker that an accident occurs. For example in Turkey it was found a safety inspection which was long overdue had not been conducted by the officials.

Either way it is important the workers have the proper training to prevent an incident of any kind.

The government lays out the topics that should be general included a health and safety training session.

Why Safety First?

Safety first is one firm that is well placed to help organizations on the subject of health and safety. In fact Safety First has several industrial safety training courses to offer so that all concerned in an office or a factory have a better understanding of the same. The have a certified team of safety professionals and safety professional consultants who have a lot of experience and have developed an eye to spot danger from a mile away.

Safety First Consulting

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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Workplace Safety and related issues

How many young workers are injured each year?

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Workplace injuries is a sad fact of life. Every year many employees are injured at their workplace and some are not lucky enough to survive the injury. Although it is true that some workplaces are more risky than other, it always pays to take all the necessary precaution while performing a task assigned to you.

The statistics in Ontario, Canada are astounding. As per them over 10,000 workers under the age of 25 make claims with the Workplace safety and insurance board (WSIB) due to their injuries caused while on the job. These are only the workers who have made claims because they are unable to work for some time due to their injuries. The number of cases being reported for injuries suffered at workplace requiring first aid treatment are equally high.

But that is not all, there are many injured workers who don’t even make the statistics since they either don’t wish to inform their employer or their employer doesn’t wish to WSIB claims with their behalf.

A viable solution:

Health and safety duties

There has got to be a solution to putting an end to the tens and thousands of young workers that are injured every year. To start with, they themselves should take the health and safety duties seriously. It I important for them to stay alert and develop an eye for such situations so that they can be prevented. For example if an instrument, device or machinery has malfunctioned it is important to fix it properly. If the employee makes a temporary fix without informing the supervisor he could unknowingly be setting the scene for a major accident down the line.

Why don’t some workers report injuries?

At time many workers do not even report an injury; there are several reasons why that may happen as listed here:

  • The employer is a friend or a relative and thus you hesitate reporting it.
  • The likely hood of the employer thinking that you are unfit for the job.
  • Making the mistake of thinking the incident is not very serious.
  • Making the mistake of thinking that it will create a bad impression of you.

Why should I report an injury or illness suffered at work?Injury or illness suffered at work

It is very important for the worker to realize the importance of reporting an injury suffered at the workplace. Here are few reasons why:

  • Any injury should be immediately treated in the correct manner, reporting the incident make it possible.
  • WSIB offer compensation for your injuries or illness and thus it is necessary to first report the injury so that it can set the balls in motion.
  • An incident once reported can be thoroughly investigated and all the necessary steps can be taken to make sure it does not happen again.

Physical Stress Injuries:

Physical stress injuries are the basic form of injuries and are easy to identify as well. The name says it all; they are injuries caused due to physical stress. A quick example is administrative assistant suffering from the carpal tunnel syndrome that is usually due to excessive typing, chronic back injury – generally observed in people who stock shelves at a warehouse, even nerve damage caused due to excessive use of a jack hammer.

Such injuries can be quite a pain, (a good pun) since it is not possible to make claims for such injuries and neither is it possible to sue the employer due to the strong compensation laws. There is a solution however that ever employee should be aware off in the form the worker’s compensation system. The way this worker’s compensation system works is that when just injuries do occur it is likely that you will be receiving treatment for the injury and not be able to perform your duties.

At this time you are entitled to a portion of your average earnings for the duration of the treatment. However it is important to remember that this is not an automatic process. Thus even in such injuries it is necessary to report the injury to the employer and in some cases even to the company’s insurer. This will start the ball rolling for the insurance claim procedures.

Once a claim is made it becomes mandatory to consult a doctor so that he can provide a detailed assessment report. This report is used by the insurance agency to determine if the worker is eligible for compensation. The compensations would generally be provided without any delay if the injury hasn’t been caused prior to working with the company. The worker can expect the following benefits:

  • Weekly compensation
  • Permanent impairment
  • Payment of medical treatment.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation.

Once back to work it is very important to takes steps that such an incident does not occur again. This is the duty of both the employer as well as the employee to make sure the workplace is ergonomically correct. Besides which it is vital to obey the advice given by the doctor regarding restrictions or limits to stay in until you have fully recovered.

Emotional/Mental Stress Injuries:

It is very difficult to prove emotional stress injuries, in fact it is almost impossible; as a result of which it is very hard to receive compensation for them. However the worker compensation laws do vary by jurisdiction some states do not cover claims for emotional stress at all. One of the main reasons is that it is extremely hard to figure out whether the emotional distress has been caused from some actions at work or was it due to some incident that occurred outside of work.

Making a Claim Under Personal Injury Laws:Claim Under Personal Injury Laws

At times there is an alternative available for the workers if the injury is not covered by the worker’s compensation. If the injury is of the nature of emotional distress or intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of your employer or a co-worker, then it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit for the same. However there should be no ambiguity regarding the incident and it should be easy to explain and prove too.

Possible Disability Claims:

Social security disability claims for job related stress and anxiety do exist in some states, however they too are very hard to pursue.

Action Plans:

As a employee it is necessary for you to aware of the basic issues surrounding making of claims and the consequences. This not only applies to physical injuries that are very easy to claim for, but also includes the other injuries that are harder to prove like emotional stress at work.

Thus the first thing to do is to tell someone about the stress related issues. In addition to which it is also necessary to discuss the issues with the supervisor and even make a formal report. Every company will have some form of document format structure in place which should be followed while making a report. These documented reports help down the line since they become evidence. However there is a time limit to filing a claim, it must be filed within 60 days from the date of the event.

In cases like these, the more the details you have the easier it becomes to claim. For example you can maintain a journal to make a note of the time and place and nature of incident. It is not a good idea to trust your memory with so much data. In addition to this talking to a trusted co-worker and asking them to make a note of their observations will help the case too.

Being Safe with Safety First:

Safety First

Safety First provides full workplace health and safety service. Safety First in Ontario is a Canadian firm and their first priority is workplace safety. Their highly skilled team of certified safety professionals implement the highest level of health and safety practices in the construction workplace. In fact they also provide the best training. Their team of registered professionals’ trainers (RPT) provide the correct guidance to establish a construction safety training system that abides by all the government regulations, legislation and standards and is tailored for your company. It is thus a little wonder that they have been so successful in the past and continue to do so.

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 WSIB claims Ontario management system that is 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.

Safety First consulting plays an important role in making sure every workplace is safe. Even when it comes to high risk workplaces like a construction site, their highly trained and certified safety consultants take up the task to ensure that everyone present at the workplace is aware of the importance of staying secure and not taking any unnecessary risks.

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The professionals at Safety First 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. 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

If you like this blog, please Plus it ,Like it , Tweet it ,or best yet ,link to it


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Workplace Safety – The fact that you need to know

Workplace Safety – The fact :

Workplace Safety

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.

Workplace Safety:

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.

Employer Investigation:

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.

Inspections:

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 Consulting

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 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

If you like this blog, please Plus it ,Like it , Tweet it ,or best yet ,link to it