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Strategies for promoting workplace health and wellbeing

Question:

Discuss About The Promotion Of Workplace Health And Wellbeing?

Globally around 270 million workers become victims of occupational injuries (either fatal or non fatal) each year, and reports from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows an annual fatality of about 2 million workers due to occupational injuries, which incurs a considerable socioeconomic burden. However, all these injuries are due to preventable factors, and they can be eliminated by the implementation of the already existing methods, which are outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) guidelines (Alli 2018).

Germany employs a dual structure in the maintenance of safety and health at workplaces, and includes state safety and health provision and autonomous accident insurance institutes. Enactment of the legislations and promotion of the rules and regulations of the state boards are done by the state at both the federal and land levels. The accident insurance institutes after the examination of needs and an approval from federal and land government implement their own accident prevention policies. The state officials and the insurance institutes also oversee the business and provide advice whenever needed. The government (federal ad land) and accident insurance institutes developed the Joint German Health and Safety Strategy (GDA) to maintain and improve the safety and health of workers through health and safety policies (Osha.europa.eu 2018).

Information regarding the National Legislation workplace health and safety can be found on the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which provides the key directives, guidelines and standards associated with the legislation. According to European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 15% of workers in Europe handles dangerous substances as a part of their occupation, while another 15% are exposed to smoke, fume, dust or powder at work and can include highly toxic substances like asbestos (which can cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases). Such findings can be communicated to organizations and individuals through workplace campaigns, and worker training on health and safety. Reports can also be utilised, showing the adverse effects of asbestos, to highlight the risk factors for the employee (osha.europa.eu 2018).

Implementation of Safety Statement needs to include objectives and targets set by the management for maintaining health and safety in workplace. The activities can include Risk Assessment, implement safety statement, monitoring the processes involved to maintain safety, monitoring the development, implementation as well as the performance of the health management system, and measure the safety and health culture in the organisation. Monitoring allows maintaining compliance to all the legislative standards for health and safety at workplace.

The policies and regulations related to working with asbestos are outlined under several key legislations: The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations, 2006; The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) (Amendment) Regulation 2010; The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013; The Chemicals (Asbestos Articles) Regulations 2011 and The REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (Hsa.ie 2018).

According to Health and Safety Authority, exposure to asbestos above a concentration of 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre would require a notification written to Health and Safety Authority, 14 days prior to the commencement of operations.

Regulations related to workplace health and safety

Additional monitoring is provided by the Accidental Insurance Institutes, which along with the state boards, form the Joint German Health and Safety Strategy (GDA) in order to maintain and monitor health and safety standards at workplace.

Identification and evaluation of factors that affect the health and safety in a workplace, and consultation with individuals or parties with the organisational management can be medicated through the involvement of safety representatives, selected from within the organization (in adherance to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. The safety representatives can be involved in carrying out inspections of the workplace for risks and hazards, carrying out investigations on accidents in workplace, work with Health and Safety Authority and inspectors, making presentations in the organisation to improve awareness, and liaise with other safety representatives in the workplace (Hsa.ie 2018).

A safety Committee Member can include various strategies for consultation with individuals and parties in workplace, and can include: risk protection and prevention measures, delegation of health and safety responsibilities on staff, disseminating risk assessment outcomes, preparing safety statement and sharing them with the all employees, reporting accidents, liaison with the authorities, planning health and safety training for workers; planning and introduction of new technologies or process to improve health and safety (Hsa.ie 2018).

Planning and development or workplace health and safety can be achieved through the following steps: assessment of needs and health risks in workplace; facilitate employee participation, training workers in health and safety promotion; ensure long term commitment to health and safety goals, evaluation of progress and also through the involvement of the management (Eldredge et al. 2016).

Different areas of focus are applicable for the implementation of worker health and well beings, including: fairness and equality, proper interventions, planning and evaluation of wellbeing and health at workplace, impact review, consultation, responsibility and ownership, continuous development, rewards and recognition, constructive feedback, needs assessment, developing skills and competencies, developing a supportive culture, stress management and maintaining a work-life balance (Pescud et al. 2015).

The review and evaluation of measures to maintain worker health and wellbeing can be done through the process of auditing compliance to guidelines, and investigations of incidents. Evaluation process can include Feedbacks, change in employee behaviour and attitude towards workplace safety and health as well as the benefits to the organisation. This will enable measurement of the success of the implemented strategies, and provide ideas for further improvement (Worksafe.vic.gov.au 2018)

The following information needs to be shared: risk assessment and safety statements prepared under the 2005 act; data on reportable accidents, occupational illness, or dangerous incidents (without disclosing any worker’s personal identity), any data on health and safety measures and safety and health information of any dangerous equipment, substances or processes in the workplace (hsa.ie 2018).

Consultation can help in the development of workers knowledge about the adverse effects of exposure to hazardous substances (like asbestos) and the best procedures to minimise the risks. Participation of a safety representative, selected from within the organisation additionally allows the concerns of the employees to be represented in the organization, and therefore foster their involvement worker health and wellbeing measures (Curcuruto et al. 2016)

An understanding of the legal, policy, and legislative frameworks can help to ensure the guidelines are met by the organization and individual levels, thereby monitoring its compliance. It also helps to identify situations where health and safety issues can be reported, and the strategies that can be implemented to avoid or minimise health and safety risks. (Griffin and Neal 2014).

References:

Alli, B.O., 2018. Fundamental principles of occupational health and safety Second edition. Geneva, International Labour Organization, 15.

Curcuruto, M., Mearns, K.J. and Mariani, M.G., 2016. Proactive role-orientation toward workplace safety: Psychological dimensions, nomological network and external validity. Safety science, 87, pp.144-155.

Eldredge, L.K.B., Markham, C.M., Ruiter, R.A., Kok, G. and Parcel, G.S., 2016. Planning health promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Griffin, M.A. and Neal, A., 2014. Perceptions of safety at work: a framework for linking safety climate to safety performance, knowledge, and motivation. Journal of occupational health psychology, 5(3), p.347.

Hsa.ie., 2018. Asbestos Legislation - Health and Safety Authority. Hsa.ie. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Chemicals/Legislation_Enforcement/Asbestos/Legislation/

Hsa.ie., 2018. Safety Representatives and Consultation - Health and Safety Authority. Hsa.ie. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Safety_Representatives_and_Consultation/

Osha.europa.eu., 2018. Germany - Safety and health at work - EU-OSHA. Osha.europa.eu. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from https://osha.europa.eu/en/about-eu-osha/national-focal-points/germany

Pescud, M., Teal, R., Shilton, T., Slevin, T., Ledger, M., Waterworth, P. and Rosenberg, M., 2015. Employers’ views on the promotion of workplace health and wellbeing: a qualitative study. BMC public health, 15(1), p.642.

Worksafe.vic.gov.au., 2018. Healthy Workplace Kit. Worksafe.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/f7093280439cdf6db37eb3145ee8dc5e/?a=17203

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