Why Occupational Health & Safety Important ?

Why Health & Safety Important : ISO Certification Body Cambodia

Over 6300 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – that’s nearly 2.3million every year.

Over two million suffer illnesses caused by, or made worse by, their work. But did you know that forestry is one of the most dangerous industries, and

workers are 6 times more likely to be killed at work than a construction worker? That is not good odds. So, preventing accidents and ill health caused by work should be a key priority for everyone at work. As the owner or manager of a forestry contracting business you know that competent employees are valuable. Your business probably depends on them.

Most of the small business owners are very far from the realistic approach to their business regards to their worker health & safety. Doing Business for them is more important than to consider the equally important matter of occupational health and safety aspect as they feel it’s an additional burden and financial obligation to them.

While talking to small business owner and start-ups the very simple answer they have “My business is small and we cannot think to take this financial burden at this stage. Once we grow we surely look into this”

I must say here if safety is costly try to do an accident. The importance only be released when something happens serious, that moment we usually realise the value and important and regret that why we did not take measure at first place.

A serious workplace injury or death changes lives forever – for families, friends, communities, and coworkers too. Human loss and suffering is immeasurable.  Occupational injuries and illnesses can provoke major crises for the families in which they occur. In addition to major financial burdens, they can impose substantial time demands on uninjured family members.

Every person who leaves for work in the morning should expect to return home at night in good health. Can you imagine the situation on the door bell to tell you your loved one will never be returning home? Or the phone call to say he’s in the hospital and may never walk again? These are the serious questions and situation no wants to face.

How a business owner one can make sure that his employees and workers does not face any such situation?

I am advocating strongly here the need of implementing Occupational health and safety standard in your company either small or big to provide a safe and healthy work place environment to your employees and workers which not only will contribute to save the life but at the same time save a cost of your business.

What is Workplace Health and why is it important?

Workplace health is a comprehensive and integrated approach to health which focuses on the general population at a workplace and the organization as a whole. It addresses a broad range of health issues including physical and psychosocial, environment, health practices, personal resources, etc. through programs, policies and practices.

Here are advantages of having an occupational health & safety System:

  1. Save cost by reducing Injuries: – If a worker is injured on the job, it costs the company in lost work hours, increased insurance rates, workers’ compensation premiums and possible litigation. Productivity is lost when other workers have to stop work to deal with the injury. Even after the injured employee has been sent home or taken to the hospital, other employees may be distracted or need to take time off from work in the aftermath of the incident. Even a single injury can have far-reaching and debilitating effects on your business.

  2. Win loyalty of workers/ Employee: – Any business knows that employee attrition and absenteeism can be major obstacles. When you create a healthy and safe workplace, you reduce those issues in several ways. By budgeting for safety improvements and making safety part of your operational plan, you engender trust. By involving employees in safety decisions—through reporting, committees, walk-throughs and meetings—you show that their opinion matters to you. By following through on their input and improving safety, you prove quite tangibly that you care about their well-being. Workers typically respond by working harder, showing more pride in their jobs and remaining loyal.

  3. Safety Improves Quality: Time and again, companies that put safety first turn out higher quality products. In some cases, that’s because a safe workplace tends to be a more efficient one, free of debris and tangles of cords. In other cases, it’s a matter of focus. By working in a clean, efficient environment, workers are able to reduce distractions and truly focus on the quality of what they do. The results? Better products that create customer loyalty, bigger margins and increased sales.

In these ways and others workplace safety is about much more than legislation. It’s about creating the kind of productive, efficient, happy and inspiring workplace we all want to be part of. It’s about creating a highly profitable company. And that’s why it’s important.

As employers, you play a key role to play in creating a healthy workplace for you and your employees. This includes:

  • Providing a safe and healthy physical work environment to prevent occupational diseases, accidents and injuries;

  • Embracing work organization principles that prevent ill-health and stress and provides a balance between job demands and control over the work;

  • Supporting healthy lifestyles and encouraging personal development;

  • Promoting active participation by all to help improve health and well-being at work.

Healthy Employees + Healthy Organization = Healthy Workplaces

Organizations worldwide recognize the need to control and improve health and safety performance and do so with occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS). However before 1999 there was an increase of national standards and proprietary certification schemes to choose from. This caused confusion and fragmentation in the market and undermined the credibility of individual schemes.

Its supporters claim that an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) promotes a safe and healthy working environment by providing a framework that helps organizations to:

Identify and control health and safety risks

Reduce the potential for accidents

Aid legal compliance

Improve overall performance

The OHSAS 18000 standards provide organizations with the elements of an effective safety management system which can be integrated with other management systems and help organizations achieve better occupational health and safety performance and economic objectives.

BS OHSAS 18001 specifies requirements for an OH&S management system to help an organization develop and implement a policy and objectives, which take into account legal requirements and information about OH&S risks. It applies to all types and sizes of organizations and accommodates diverse geographical, cultural and social conditions.

BS OHSAS 18002 provides guidance for establishing, implementing or improving a management system which is based on OHSAS 18001 and demonstrating successful implementation of OHSAS 18001.

OHSAS 18001 can be aligned with existing ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems. Historically many organizations start with the quality management system ISO 9001, then add the environment management requirements from ISO 14001. Many organizations now look at implementing all three standards at once which can minimize costs and disruption.

OHSAS 18001 after 16 years of implementation is now undergoing a change to a full ISO standard. This new Standard is a known as ISO 45001

The burden of occupational injuries and diseases is significant, both for employers and the wider economy, resulting in losses from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.

To combat the problem, ISO is developing a new standard, ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements, that will help organizations reduce this burden by providing a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.

The standard is currently being developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, and will follow other generic management system approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. It will take into account other International Standards in this area such as OHSAS 18001, the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.

Who is it for?

ISO 45001 is intended for use by any organization, regardless of its size or the nature of its work, and can be integrated into other health and safety programmes such as worker wellness and wellbeing. It also addresses many, if not all, legal requirements in this area

Image Courtesy: ISO International Organisation for Standardisation

Conclusion:

Most of research and available data shows a dire need to adopt a safe and healthy environment for any business small or big. It is the first priority of all business owners and entrepreneurs to forecast the need of safe work environment to build a successful business at first place.

By adopting the change in approach while thinking of establishing new business will help them to gain more confidence of their new staff and worker to build a successful business. This will not only help them to build a successful business but at same time they will gain a recognition by helping the society and environment and fulfil their social responsibility.

Reference:

  1. Importance of Safety -http://www.worksafemt.com/safety/safety-important/the-importance-of-safety

  2. CCOHS – http://www.ccohs.ca/healthyworkplaces/employers/why.html

  3. HSE. Health & Safety executives – http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/training-is-important.htm

  4. Wikipedia: – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OHSAS_18001

  5. ISO Org:- http://www.iso.org/iso/iso45001

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