December 14, 2011

Employee Health and Safety - Review Notes

Human Resource Management Revision Article Series
Many laws are designed to higlight the role of employers to protect workers from illness. Prevention activities related to health and safety are made mandatory and fines and penalties are imposed for violating these laws and regulations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act
(http://www.osha.gov/)

The act was created in1970. Since the act was created, US employment increased by more than two times but fatalities and injury rates were cut by more than 40+.


Human resource professionals have to understand the provisions applicable to their organizations and implement the necessary measures in association with safety and health professionals.


Employer Responsibilities under OSHA

Employers have certain responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The following list is a summary of the most important ones:

- Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSHA Act.

- Examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.

- Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.

- Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.

- Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.

- Provide medical examinations and training when required by OSHA standards.

- Post, at a prominent location within the workplace, the OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) informing employees of their rights and responsibilities.

- Report to the nearest OSHA office within 8 hours any fatal accident or one that results in the hospitalization of three or more employees.

- Keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. (Note: Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from this requirement.)

- Provide employees, former employees and their representatives access to the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300).

- Provide access to employee medical records and exposure records to employees or their authorized representatives.

- Provide to the OSHA compliance officer the names of authorized employee representatives who may be asked to accompany the compliance officer during an inspection.

- Not discriminate against employees who exercise their rights under the Act.

- Post OSHA citations at or near the work area involved. Each citation must remain posted until the violation has been corrected, or for three working days, whichever is longer. Post abatement verification documents or tags.

- Correct cited violations by the deadline set in the OSHA citation and submit required abatement verification documentation.

Source: OSHA web page

Contemporary Issues Related to Health and Safety in Workplaces

Aids and the workplace
Drugs in the workplace
Smoking in the workplace
Violence in the workplace
Video display terminals
Repetitive strain injuries

Source:
Bernardin, Human Resource Management,McGraw Hill

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