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BU354 (259)

Ch12 - Occupational Health & Safety

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Shawn Komar

Chapter 12 - Occupational Health & Safety The Strategic Importance of Occupational Health & Safety  investment in disability management and proactive wellness programs create measurable bottom-line returns  according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, in 2007 there were 1055 deaths and 317 524 injuries resulting from accidents at work; on average 3 deaths  on April 28 each year, a day of mourning is observed for Canadian workers killed or injured on the job  workplace accidents can be prevented Basic Facts about Occupational Health & Safety Legislation  OHS Legislation: laws intended to protect the health and safety of workers by minimizing work-related accidents and illnesses  Purpose: These laws fall into three categories: o general health and safety rules o rules for specific industries (e.g. mining) o rules related to specific hazards (e.g. asbestos) o they differ across Canada but have certain basic features in common for every conceivable hazard  Responsibilities and Rights of Employers and Employees o Due Diligence - employers are responsible for taking every reasonable precaution to ensure the health and safety of their workers and enforce it through discipline process (for defense) o specific duties of the employer include:  filing government accident reports  maintaining records  ensuring that safety rules are enforced  posting safety notices and legislative information o employees are responsible for taking reasonable care to protect their own health and safety and, in most cases, that of their co-workers o specific requirements include wearing protective clothing and equipment and reporting any contravention of the law or regulations o employees have three basic rights:  the right to know about workplace safety hazards  the right to participate in the OHS process  the right to refuse unsafe work o Reasonable cause means that a complaint about a workplace hazard has not been satisfactorily resolved  Joint Health and Safety Committees o the JHSC provides a nonadversarial atmosphere where management and labour can work together to ensure a safe and healthy workplace o committees are usually required in all workplaces, and to consist of between 2 and 12 members, at least half of whom must represent workers; in small workplaces, one health and safety representative may be required o committee is responsible for:  making regular inspections of the workplace  evaluate hazards  implement solutions  investigating employee complaints, accident investigation, promoting measures to protect health and safety, dissemination of information  Enforcement of Occupational Health and Safety Laws o in all Canadian jurisdictions, OHS law provides for government inspectors to periodically carry out safety inspections of workplace o penalties consist of fines and/or jail terms as a means of enforcing health and safety standards o the Criminal Code includes a criminal offence commonly known as ―corporate killing,‖ which imposes criminal liability on ―all persons‖ who direct the work of other employees and fail to ensure an appropriate level of safety in the workplace o the first company to be charged with and plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death of a worker was Transpavé  Control of Toxic Substances o Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a Canada-wide, legally mandated system designed to protect workers by providing information about hazardous materials in the workplace. o legislation has three components:  labelling of hazardous material containers to alert workers of potential danger  material safety data sheets (MSDS) to outline potential hazardous ingredients and procedures for safe handling  employee training to ensure employees can identify WHMIS symbols, read WHMIS supplier and workplace labels, and read and apply the information on an MSDS  Occupations Health and Safety and Other Legislation o health and safety, human rights, labour relations, and employment standards laws are in force in every jurisdiction in Canada in an interlaced web of legislation o situations arise in which it is difficult to know which law is applicable, or which one takes precedence over another  Supervisor’s Role in Safety o most jurisdictions impose a personal duty on supervisors to ensure that workers comply with occupational health and safety regulations o specific obligation on supervisors to advise and instruct workers about safety, to ensure that all reasonable precautions have been taken to provide for the safety of all employees, and to minimize risk of injuries or illness o safety-minded managers must aim to instill in their workers the desire to work safely What Causes Accidents?  (1) Chance Occurrences contribute to accidents but are more or less beyond management’s control o e.g. walking past a plate-glass window just as someone hits a ball through it  (2) Unsafe Conditions – one main cause of accidents; must eliminate or minimize the unsafe conditions. o improperly guarded equipment; defective equipment; hazardous procedures; unsafe storage; improper illumination; improper ventilation; o work-related factors that contribute to accidents: the job itself; the work schedule; the psychological climate of the workplace.  (3) Unsafe Acts – people cause accidents and there’s no sure-fire way to ensure no accidents. o throwing materials; operating or working at unsafe speeds; rendering safety devices inoperative; using unsafe equipment or using equipment unsafely; taking unsafe positions under suspended loads; lifting improperly; distracting, teasing, abusing, startling, horseplay, quarrelling  Personal Characteristics o Personal characteristics can serve as the basis for certain behaviour tendencies, such the tendency to take risks, and undesirable attitudes, which in turn, result in unsafe acts o Personality; intelligence; motivation; sensory skills; motor skills; experience o May be situational o Vision; literacy; age o Perceptual vs. motor skills: people who have a greater perceptual skill than motor skill will have less accidents How to Prevent Accidents  reduce unsafe conditions o having safety engineers reduce or remove physical hazards o having management and supervisors enforce safety o only 4% of accidents stem from unsafe working conditions  reduce unsafe acts o selection testing  screen out accident-prone persons before they are hired o top-management commitment  demonstrate how health and safety affects the bottom line o training and education  all employees should be required to participate in occupational health and safety training programs, as well as provide input into the content and design of such programs  appropriate for new employees o positive reinforcement  controlling workers’ compensation costs o Before the accident  accident prevention measures such as remove unsafe conditions, screen out accident- prone employees, and establish safety policy and loss control goals o After the accident  provide first aid and ensure medical attention
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