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MHR 711 (20)
Chapter 1

MHR 711- Chapter 1

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Department
Human Resources
Course
MHR 711
Professor
Danielle Lamb
Semester
Fall

Description
MHR 711 Chapter One: Introduction - HR departments hold greatest burden for monitoring organization’s OHS  failure = huge costs - Lost-time injury: workplace injury that results in the employee missing time from work - Workplace fatalities/injuries concentrated by industry with primary industries (mining, forestry)- most danger - Occupational health and safety (OH&S): the identification, evaluation, and control of hazards associated with the work environment (goal is to reduce occupational injuries/illnesses) o Hazards range from chemical, biological, and physical agents to psychosocial disorders such as stress - Occupational injury: any cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation resulting from a workplace accident - Occupational illness: any abnormal condition or disorder caused by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment - Health and safety concerns no longer limited to industrial workers, employees in white-collar environments worrying more about repetitive strain injury and sick building syndrome Historical Development of Modern Occupational Health and Safety - Ancient Egypt, stonemasons and potters respiratory problems - Societies becoming more technologically advanced… cases of vomiting, copper-induced dermatoses (skin diseases), and hepatic (liver) degeneration began to occur Industrial revolution - Machinists and others working in the new industries exposed to oils used for lubrication during cutting and Removing of metals (oils + poor personal hygiene practices serious dermatoses, such as acne and skin melanomas - Spinning and weaving industries became mechanized, resultant dust from hemp and flax caused byssinosis (brown lung) o Brown lung: a disease of the lungs caused by excessive inhalation of dust; the disease is in the pneumoconiosis family and often afflicts textile workers - Canada, concern for OH&S first in late 19 century, when Ontario passed legislation that established safety standards- e.g. mandating guards on machines th - Quebec followed, by early 20 century every jurisdiction in Canada had passed factory laws to regulate heating, lighting, ventilation, hygiene, fire safety, and accident reporting (factory inspectors enforce standards and conduct regular inspections of workplaces) - Royal Commission on the Relations of Capital and Labour in Canada (1889): 1. Commissioners made several recommendations for improving health and safety by creating standards and mandating regular inspections 2. Commissioners first to recommend system for compensating victims of industrial accidents, regardless of who’s at fault 3. Commissioners recommended that a labour bureau be created to oversee these activities - 1960s/70s we saw implementation of the Canada Labour (Standards) Code and Canada Labour (Safety) Code - 1974, Ontario government formed Royal Commission on Health and Safety of Workers in Mines o First to articulate 3 principal rights of workers: 1. Right to refuse dangerous work without penalty 2. Right to participate in identifying and correcting health and safety problems 3. Right to know about hazards in the workplace o These 3 rights enshrined in current legislation, basis for many of Canada’s h&s programs - 1988: legislation was passed that established the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) o In every jurisdiction in Canada- based on fundamental right of workers to know about potential hazards Changing Perspectives on Risk and Liability 1 MHR 711 Chapter One: Introduction th - Until early 20 century, dominant model of dealing with hazards in the workplace was the legal doctrine of assumption of risk  normal risks associated with occupation…employers have little/no responsibility - Employer not responsible for providing compensation to injured workers unless accident solely fault of employer (uncommon cases…given that workplace accidents rarely have only one cause) - Assumption of risk: belief that a worker accepted the risks of employment when he or she accepted a job o Associated to this belief, occupational injuries were caused by worker carelessness  Extreme form of this notion: belief in accident-prone personality o Accident-prone personality: notion that some individuals are inherently more likely than others to be involved in accidents, as a result of individual characteristics th  Was a focus of research for most of the 20 century most workplace accidents caused by a small proportion of workers…(has little empirical support) - Enhancing occupational health and safety requires cooperation among multiple stakeholders (government, employers, and employees and public should care about OH&S for economic, legal and moral reasons) - Computer vision syndrome: results from glare caused by combination of bright office lights and monitors Economic Considerations - Direct and indirect costs (can be more than 10 times direct costs) o Direct: e.g. worker’s lost time, time spent investigating incident, finding/training replacement worker o Indirect: e.g. potential increase in Workers’ Compensation Board assessment and potential fines & legal costs associated with allowing an unsafe condition in the workplace, negative publicity (b/c of serious health problem, accident or death becomes public) - Lost time attributable to injuries exceeds labour disruptions such as strikes or lockouts - Direct and indirect estimates are underestimates of true costs of workplace injuries o Lots of evidence that workplace injuries aren’t accurately reported o Occupational injury statistics do not adequately capture the extent of illnesses that are caused or exacerbated by exposure to workplace conditions o Death that might be attributable to occupational illnesses are not typically accounted for in statistical analyses of occupational fatalities - Figures can also only represent costs associated with an injury once it has occurred - Costs for employer = work stoppages and strikes due to unsafe work conditions - Incalculable costs include those associated w/ employees who quit or refuse to work in companies because of safety/health concerns - Labour disputes involving pollutant levels, safety equipment, first aid facilities = thousands of lost days of worker production - Worker’s Compensation rates are determined by industry sector o Negligent employer forces others in the sector to pay higher rates - Conversely, industry estimates indicate up to 90% of safety- related changes made can result in positive paybacks through associated reductions in Workers’ Compensation premiums. o Programs such as the New Experimental Experience Rating (NEER) reward employers for implementing safe work practices by reducing Workers’ Compensation costs based on company’s actual experience Legal Considerations - OH&S Act of Ontario, Section 25(2)(h) requires employer to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”legal term is due diligence - Due diligence: an expected standard of conduct that requires employers to take every reasonable precaution to ensure safety o Defined by the measure of prudence to be expected from, and ordinarily exercised by a reasonable and prudent person under the particular circumstances depending on the relative facts of the special case o What could be expected of a reasonable person in the same circumstances 2 MHR 711 Chapter One: Introduction o Foresee all unsafe conditions or acts and requires it to take precautions to prevent accidents that can reasonably be anticipated - Worker is required to work in compliance to H&S legislation Moral Considerations - Research proves that management commitment to health and safety= higher levels of employee motivation to work safely and better organizational safety records - Workers have moral responsibility to learn about safety and health, to follow recommended workplace practices, and to be alert and responsible - Perception of managers, supervisors, and coworkers committed to h&s = single biggest predictor of employe
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