Critical Thinking

Abstract safety has evolved from an ancillary issue

Abstract

Industrial
safety is a vital issue for operations managers – it has implications for cost,
delivery, quality, and social responsibility. Minor accidents can interfere
with production in a variety of ways, and a serious accident can shut down an
entire operation. In this context, questions about the causes of workplace
accidents are highly relevant. The major factors influencing industrial
accidents might include operating and social systems in spite of common thought
that most workplace accidents occur due to insecure working attitude of the
labourers.

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Keywords:
Safety,
Accident, Injury, Steel, Employee

 

Introduction

For
employees in the manufacturing sector, workplace safety has evolved from an
ancillary issue to an operating priority with significant economic and social
implications. The National Safety Council, 1999 estimated that in 1998, the
total cost of work-related deaths and injuries in the US was US$125.1 billion
and those organizations lost 80,000,000 work days because of injuries (Brown et
al., 2000). A range of different accident causes can be studied from the
existing literature. In general an employee’s attitude towards safe working
condition may become the reason for nearly every accident. In case of any
accident, it becomes easy to blame to person rather than the unsafe working
environment.   

The purpose of this paper is to present a review on
the various perspectives on workplace safety in order to define more clearly
the antecedents to safe and unsafe work behaviors in manufacturing settings. Any safety aspect to be analyzed and rectified
requires elaborate study of the existing safety measures through literature
review. The review of some select literature and research studies is briefly explained
in this paper.

 

Aspects of Workplace Safety

Research on workplace safety is scattered among
fields such as occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, human factors
engineering, safety engineering, labor law, organizational behavior, and human
resource management. Each discipline tends to focus on variables that fall
within its domain, leaving few opportunities for readers to explore the
combined effects that characterize organizational safety realities. Different
variables ranging from societal, technical and personnel aspects can be
revealed through interdisciplinary literature search.

Occupational medicine is the
subspecialty of preventive medicine concerned with the health, safety, and
performance of workers. Occupational health specialists provide medical care to
workers with work-related injuries and illnesses. 

Safety Hygiene is the
practice of ensuring the general health and safety of the campus by supplying
information, services, and equipment to help identify, evaluate, and control potentially
harmful activities in the work and learning environment. 

Human factors in safety are
concerned with all those factors that influence people and their behaviour in
safety-critical situations (Vogt, 2010). Effective occupational health and
safety policies can’t be achieved unless both employers and employees perform
their respective responsibilities
(Kamal EltayebYassin, Nosaiba I Elsadig,
2013).

 

Workplace
Safety and Occupational Health

As new industries develop,
existing industries expand, and new technology is introduced, the environment
is increasingly placed at risk and hazards to human health arise. A large
number of workers are victims of work-related accidents and illnesses (Viswanathan Swaminathan, 2011).

Unless workplace safety and
health are improved, occupational accidents, disease and costs cannot be
reduced (Jilcha, 2017). The innovation of workplace safety and health brings
sustainable development through healthy people, safer workplace, reduced cost
of accidents, controlled environment, managed workplace accidents and improved
workplace safety knowledge.

Providing the workers safety and
health would establish the necessary infrastructure for social and economic
sustainability and without healthy workers and safe working places, the
environment and the society would be exposed to danger. In another words,
unhealthy employees in unsafe environmental working conditions cannot have the
maximum productivity and efficiency, and as the result, the organization would
experience financial crisis which in turn brings difficult economic conditions
for the workers and the stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, and
the society as a whole (Zohreh Molamohamadi and Napsiah Ismail, 2014).

Fabian Alberto (2017) described
Occupational Safety and Health Cycle based on traditional risk management
approaches with five basic steps: regulations, education and training, risk
assessment, risk prevention and accident analysis.

Kachu Jilcha (2016) identified
existing gaps on workplace safety and health management and proposed future
research areas. Various characteristics of workplace safety and
health problems were found emanating from the lack of operational activities of
the employees, internal working environment and external environment those
impose hazards on employee temporarily, permanently and on working
environments.

 Imon Rahman (2016) provided a brief overview
of occupational hazard exposures, accidents and their
hazardous impacts on human health, keeping in concern the most hazardous
occupational sectors in a developing country of Asia with a close comparison
with other developed and developing countries of the world.

 

 Behavior
based Safety Management System

The attitude of worker towards
safety and the importance given by worker to the safe working environment are
to be identified as these are critical factors towards prevention of workplace
injuries and losses. Behavior Based Safety approach can effectively reduce unsafe
attitudes that can lead to accidents occurring in the workplace. This approach
can be successfully implemented upon identification of the causes of unsafe
behavior. Work place safety management through behavior based safety also helps
in predicting and avoiding future accidents likely to occur. Across the globe many surveys and research studies were carried out on Behavior Based
Safety in different industrial sectors.

Most accidents occurring at
workplace are attributed to at-risk attitude of the workers which can be
largely controlled by changing their attitude (Sekar and Siddiqui, 2015). An
exploratory survey conducting using questionnaire on randomly selected
employees of the two construction companies indicated that the implementation
of behavior-based safety program in the construction project to a large extent
reduced workers at-risk behaviors and accident rate.

Behavior Based Safety approach
is the systematic application of psychological research on human behaviour
aimed at changing unsafe to safe behavior (Ismail and Hashim, 2012). Case Study approach carried out in three Oil and Gas companies through
Semi-structured interview, questionnaires and field observation revealed that
unsafe work processes, unsafe condition and unsafe work procedure are additional
reasons for workplace accidents.

An effective behavior-based safety program relies on
engaging employees to understand how unsafe behaviors lead to injuries and how
to eliminate them from the workplace (Morteza Oostakhan et al., 2012).
Identifying common workplace safety issues enables a company to assess the
problem areas and create behavioral-based safety guidelines.

As a safety management
technique, organizations can use positive reinforcement to provide workers with
the incentive to work safely. Behavior Based Safety programs focus on what the
employee is doing right and administer positive reinforcement to encourage the
learning of positive work behavior. Therefore, positive reinforcement can
reduce workplace injuries by directly involving employees in injury prevention
and encourage them to assume more responsibility for workplace safety.

The diversity of applications
and results reveals a need for systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate
the overall effectiveness of BBS to improve workers’ safety and health (Setenay Tuncel , 2010).

 

Workplace safety and Safety
management System

Organizational and industrial
psychology, occupational psychology, industrial relations and industrial
sociology have all contributed to our understanding of the structure and
operation of organizations and the reasons for workplace injuries and causes of
occupational illness (Michael Zanko and Patrick Dawson, 2012).

An innovative plant-wide safety
program brought everyone together in a team effort to improve plant safety.
According to a key plant safety person, the collaborative environment,
established in large part because of collaborative and universal training, was
tested and worked (Bruce Mahan, 2013).

This research focuses primarily
on examining the relationship between the dimensions of occupational health and
safety management systems and turnover intention in the mining sector of Ghana.
The hierarchical regression analysis found that facility or equipment is a
predictor of turnover intention. It can therefore be reported that, employees’
perception on the safety, effective, and efficient nature of the facility or
the equipment they are working can contribute to turnover intent after
considering the effect or accidents that are likely to occur. (Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah, 2016)

There is a significant negative
relationship between the presence of individual safety management practices, as
well as the composite of these practices, with accident rates (Watcher, 2014).

The scientific literature
regarding preventive occupational health and safety activities in small
enterprises has been reviewed by (Hasle P and Limborg HJ., 2006).
there is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that employees of small
enterprises are subject to higher risks than the employees of larger ones, and
that small enterprises have difficulties in controlling risk.

Understanding the types of OSH
risks and their probability of occurrence as well as the associated impacts is
a starting point to develop effective OSHMS strategies. It is necessary to
understand the types of OSH risks, and then the appropriate risk reduction
actions which vary with industry sectors (Huinee Auyong, 2011).

A literature provided evidence
of the association between health risks and the workplace economic measures of
time away from work, reduced productivity at work. Health risks are associated
with the productivity measures of time away from work, workers’ compensation,
absenteeism and presenteeism (Edington and Schultz, 2008).

 

Conclusion

            Study on the relationship among scattered fields of workplace safety, employees attitude and safety
management systems and components of safety performance provided solution while
planning strategies and programmes for controlling and preventing workplace
accidents.  Measuring safety systems can be referred as taking the safety practices
in an organization since it comprise a summary of employee perceptions of a
range of safety issues. Hence, it would be appropriate to understand the safety
related factors in various organizations and their relationships with accidents
and management systems practiced. An attempt in
this direction would be highly instrumental in motivating employees and
demonstrating the commitment of management for the health and safety of
employees.

 

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