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Importance of Occupational Health and Safety Culture

Explain about the Facts and term for Occupational Health and Safety?

Employees always want a safe and healthy culture in the workplace. Thus, the employer should have key concern upon the health and safety measures in the organization for providing a healthy and safe culture. Culture can be defined as the organizational philosophy that pervades the regular activities in the workplace (Berlin et al. 2012). Health and safety are major aspects of organizational culture. Healthy and safe culture can promote the work efficiency of the employees, thereby leading to the success of the organization. This essay would be focused on the importance of occupational health and safety culture in the organization and its application within an organization.

Schulte et al. (2012) depicted that, development of a strong safety culture has the greatest impact on the reduction of incidence and accidents in the workplace. For this reason, developing cultures should be the priority of the managers and supervisors. Safety culture includes the attitudes, beliefs, values and practices existing in the establishment. A healthy and safe culture can shape the behavioral attributes of the employees toward positive outcomes. There are a number of external as well as internal factors that help in building the safety culture in the organization. These factors include management and employees norms, values, myths, stories, policies and procedures in the organization, employees training and motivation, supervisor priorities responsibilities and accountability, management and employee attitudes, quality issues and production pressure (Farrow and Reynolds 2012). In an organization where a strong safety culture is provided, people feel responsible for and safe in their job as well as employees attempt to go beyond their duty for determining the unsafe conditions and behaviors. After identifying unsafe conditions, people attempt to understand and reform behaviors for correcting them. The elements of a safety culture include commitment or buy-in at all the business levels, treatment as investment, training and information for all the employees, a system for detecting, controlling and preventing hazards, a blame-free environment, integration into continuous improvement process and celebration of success (Arezes and Swuste 2012).

There are some basic principles that are important for building a safe culture and managing safety performance in the organization. These principles should be followed in the organization for promoting workplace health and safety. The first one is the establishment and observation of a written corporate safety policy. Next based on the policy, an independent safety review process would be created (Zanko and Dawson 2012). The first step of a safety management system (SMS) implementation is the establishment of safety policy for all the levels of business. Then the next principle would be the risk assessment procedure. In this context, the severity and foresee ability of product hazards would be identified and evaluated. Then a design would be reviewed for assessing the risk of injury after considering the environment, hazards and predictable use (Chu and Dwyer 2012). The system can incorporate proactive and reactive approaches for enhancing the overall risk management.

Factors for Building a Safe Culture

The first attempt of the system would be the elimination of hazards if it is not possible; the system should attempt to reduce the chance of injury by providing protection against the hazard. At this point of risk assessment, the communication with each member of the organization is important (Ajala 2012). It is because, at this point, users should be warned about the product dangers and should motivate them to avoid injury. Through the effective communication and training of the employees, they can be promoted for using only safe products in the workplace. The system should monitor the performance of each member of the organization against the objectives set by the organization by maintaining the safety-related records in the organization. Continuous monitoring and reviewing of the safety culture and management in the workplace is the important principle for identifying any kind of safety related concerns before leading to severe consequences (Kuempel et al. 2012). In addition, promotion is one of the most important principles for ensuring healthy and safe culture in the workplace through the transparent and effective communication channels in the organization. 

For managing safety in the workplace, a safety management system can be implemented after consulting with the members of the organization. For reducing injuries, accident, the Ideagen Safety Management software can be implemented in the organization. This software has the capabilities of identifying hazards, reporting the occurrence of incidence and accident, risk assessment, modeling and control automation, performance monitoring, audit management, policy and document control as well as CA/PA management (Farrow and Reynolds 2012). Through the implementation of this system, the risk of unsafe behaviors of employees can be reduced. Additionally, this software will be able to assess the implementations of procedures following the Health and Safety Act 1974, occupational health and safety act, 1990, health and safety regulations and the policies set by the organization (Zanko and Dawson 2012). Training is important for making employees aware of the internal health hazards. A safety team can be built, who will be appointed for monitoring and assessing any kind of incidence of the accident, injuries or any kind of unsafe behavior of employees. The reporting and the documenting system are essential for monitoring the incidents in the workplace.

The safety team would review the non-compliance to the health and safety objectives set by the organizational policies and the offenses would be categorized. If the non-compliance can be mitigated through communication, the team would do it otherwise, according to the categories of unsafe behavior, appropriate penalties would be charged and employees will be rewarded according to their safe and cultural behavior that could be monitory, non-monitory or an annual appraisal (Ajala 2012).

Principles for Managing Safety Performance

The safety culture in an organization can be influenced by both external and internal factors as depicted above. The internal factors help to shape the culture and behavior of the employees. The cultural factors have a major role health and safety measurement. The safety culture depends upon the some internal sub cultural factors; these include physical culture, behavioral culture, management and norm culture and ideological culture. All of those factors in a workplace make a healthy and safe culture in the organization. Additionally, some external factors affect or influence these internal factors, thereby contributing in establishing safety culture in workplace (Zanko and Dawson 2012).

These factors include the national and state health and safety acts, social effects, industry environment and production or service demands. These factors can shape the culture through the involvement of safety culture. The internal and personal factors of employees can also influence the safety culture that can be influenced by the leadership culture. A leader can shape or influence the safety behavior of his subordinates, thereby ensuring healthy and safe environment (Farrow and Reynolds 2012). The communications, competence of employees as well as management communications are also other factors that influence safety culture.

In conclusion, it can be said that safety is a key part of a corporate culture and it should be incorporated at all levels of business for providing a healthy environment to the employees. In this context, the principles of safety cultures included some factors, responsibility, leadership, trust, decision-making, training, constant assessment.  Along with these factors, some external factors are also responsible for shaping the safety culture of the workplace. The essay revealed the principle steps in managing workplace safety. The identification of hazards, evaluation and appropriate protection against the potential hazards can be done through the clear communication and the establishment of a safety management team.

Reference List

Ajala, E.M., 2012. The influence of workplace environment on workers’ welfare, performance and productivity. In The African Symposium (Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 141-149).

Arezes, P.M. and Swuste, P., 2012. Occupational health and safety post-graduation courses in Europe: a general overview. Safety science, 50(3), pp.433-442.

Berlin, A., Yodaiken, R.E. and Hanman, W.A. eds., 2012. Assessment of toxic agents at the workplace: roles of ambient and biological monitoring. Springer Science & Business Media.

Chu, C. and Dwyer, S., 2012. Employer role in integrative workplace health management. Disease Management and Health Outcomes, 10(3), pp.175-186

Farrow, A. and Reynolds, F., 2012. Health and safety of the older worker.Occupational medicine, 62(1), pp.4-11.

Kuempel, E.D., Geraci, C.L. and Schulte, P.A., 2012. Risk assessment and risk management of nanomaterials in the workplace: translating research to practice. Annals of occupational hygiene, 56(5), pp.491-505.

Schulte, P.A., Pandalai, S., Wulsin, V. and Chun, H., 2012. Interaction of occupational and personal risk factors in workforce health and safety.American journal of public health, 102(3), pp.434-448.

Zanko, M. and Dawson, P., 2012. Occupational health and safety management in organizations: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(3), pp.328-344.

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