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Work Health And Safety Legislation

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Question:

Discuss About the Work Health and Safety Legislation?

 

Answer:

Introduction

In the hospitality industry, Work-Health and Safety should be a priority. It is necessary for the hotel human resource management to create good working conditions for the workers. Health and safety issues should be closely observed. To avoid accidents that may result in severe injuries, the hotel must come up with safety measures which include training the workers on safety issues. Since the hotel offers temporary accommodation, the safety and health of the clients should not be taken for granted. Evidently, the hotel requires a lot of improvements to address the current issues related to health and safety of its customers and employees. Risks facing the employees and the clients in the hotel should be identified so that they can be addressed appropriately.  

Breaches in WHS legislation

WHS legislation guides the employers, employees and other parties with a common workplace on how to manage workplace risks through consultancy and cooperation. In New South Wales WHS legislation includes Work Health and Safety Act 2011 which is supported by Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. This legislation became effective from 1st January 2012. The legislation is founded on the national model WHS legislation. This model should be observed in all workplaces in NSW (NSW Legislation, 2017)  the report identified that the hotel had breached the following legislations;

  • Health and safety duties- according to NSW Legislation (2017), WHS Act 2011 diversified the categories of people with a duty of care. Apart from employers and ‘Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBUs), every member of the management has the responsibility to manage risk at the workplace including; designers, suppliers, manufacturers, and importers. In this hotel, the supplier did not provide information on safe use of the chemical.
  • Risk management- the organization has an obligation to manage risks effectively to protect the workers and other persons against any harm. The hotel had breached this legislation, for instance, they have not repaired the lift, and also they have ignored the harm that the new chemical is causing on the staff as well as the clients (NSW Government SafeWork 2016, b)
  • Reasonably practicable- the organization should make any possible effort to manage risks in the workplace. Every person should be informed about the severity of every risk and how they can eliminate or manage it and the cost of managing This has not been done in the hotel. For instance, Health and safety committee does not meet frequently, and the agenda of the last meeting was not on safety issues.
  • Representation and consultation- relevant information about risk management must be shared with the workers, and they should be given the opportunity to participate in decision making by considering their opinions. The Health and safety representatives (HSRs) and the health and safety committee must be involved in risk management processes. In this hotel, the HSRs are not properly trained while the Health and Safety committee does not frequently meet, so they do not participate in managing risks at the workplace.
  • Notifications- the organization must provide WorkCover and NSW must be informed about any serious injuries and incidents before carrying out the dangerous The hotel has bought cleaning chemicals which are harming the workers and the clients and do not provide WorkCovers to their employees.
 

Hazards in the workplace

According to Omer (2016), a hazard is an element or a situation that have the potential to cause harm to a person. It this hotel the following hazards can be identified (See table 1 in the appendices);

  • Poor lighting.
  • Accommodating visitors whose details are not recorded.
  • An old faulty lift.
  • The hotel lacks a written occupational health and safety plan.
  • Lack of fully trained Health Safety representatives.
  • The health committee is not committed since they are too busy.
  • Unreliable TCR.
  • Lack of induction training for new employees.
  • Use of chemicals without any information on how to use the chemical safely.
  • Poor communication as most of the accidents at the workplace is not reported.
  • Overcrowding in the hotel.
  • Employing untrained staff who serve food and alcohol.

Risks associated with the hazards identified

The business is located in an area which has poor lighting. This increases the vulnerability of the clients, the workers and other people living in the region. According to Brandon &David (2008), lighting is a situational approach to crime prevention which is environmental in nature and is important as it deters the offenders. This suggests that in a place that lacks proper lighting, the criminals are more likely to attack and cause harm to unsuspecting people.

The hotel management has also been ignoring the security issues related to hosting clients in one room whose details have not been recorded at the reception. This puts the lives of other clients and the surrounding community at risk as criminals may take the advantage to arrange for criminal activities in the hotel.

The hotel operates an old faulty lift which is likely to break down frequently thus threatening the safety of the users. This may cause injuries and other health complications to the users like the one illustrated in the case study.

Lack of trained HRS in the hotel is risky since in case a disaster such as an accident occurs, there are no skilled personnel to manage the risks that may result. Health representatives are important in ensuring that the workplace presents healthy working conditions for the employees (Health and Safety Authority,2015)

The hotel also lacks a reliable TCR, therefore, if a person is injured at the workplace, they cannot get instant first aid assistance. This may be risky to the lives of the injured employee or persons since the injuries might be too severe (NSW Government SafeWork 2016 c)

According to NSW Government SafeWork (2016 a), It is also risky to use chemicals at the workplace that do not have the manufacturer’s information as well as the information on how to use the chemical safely. The chemicals may cause harm to the user such as the ones illustrated in the case study. Some of the chemicals are corrosive and may burn the users. Others may have long-term effects on the user’s health.

According to Health and Safety Authority (2015), there are cases of unreported accidents on the workers in the hotel. Some cases are severe thus threatening the lives of the workers. Cases of injuries should be reported early enough so that the victims can be treated on time.

 

Hazard analysis matrix

Hazard risk analysis is done in order to identify the probability of a problem occurring and the damage it may cause. In risk analysis, the hazard is identified first. Secondly the probability of its occurrence is analyzed, and lastly, its severity is analyzed. The following model can be used in analyzing the risk of a hazard; Example

  1. Hazard – Poor lighting
  2. Potential location (s) - on the streets near the hotel.

The hazards with the highest probability of occurring and high level of severity should be prioritized. (See table 2 in appendices)

Management controls to address non-compliance with legislation

According to OSFI (2013), Regulatory Compliance Management (RCM) refers to a set of guidelines that help organizations manage compliance risks. The organization should set an RCM framework which establishes a line of responsibilities on individuals in managing compliance risks.

Compliance helps to ensure that an organization abides by the legislations of the government bodies and other regulatory bodies through regulating its internal controls and policies. According to Metric Stream (2017), the organization should come up with an initiative to comply with legislations. The organization should have a timeframe to ensure that they comply with legislations on time to avoid extra costs which may result from non-compliance.

Risk controls applying the hierarchy of controls for the identified hazards

According to Safe Work Australia Fact Sheet (2016), the hierarchy of controls which is used in managing workplace health and safety risks is comprised of four steps which are as follows;

  1. Eliminate hazards- the organization should try to get rid of the hazards in the workplace such as getting replacing old lift which is likely to harm the users.
  2. Substitute the hazard - this suggests that the organization should replace the non-functional equipment or the equipment that are hazardous to the employees and the clients in the workplace. For instance, they can purchase a new lift to replace the old one (NSW Government SafeWork 2016 e)
  • Isolate the hazard- any element that can cause harm should be kept away from the workplace, for example; they should have stopped using the new chemical once they realized that it harms the users.
  1. Use administrative controls- the hotel management should ensure that the staffs are well trained to minimize accidents at the workplace.
  2. Use protective gears- the hotel management should provide protective gears such as gloves and goggles when using the chemicals to clean the glasses so as protect them from getting into contact with the chemicals (Paramount Safety Products, 2007)
 

Cost and benefit analysis associated with noncompliance, hazards and recommended controls

Cost-benefit analysis helps organizations to determine whether or not a given policy is worthy to be implemented. The organization should weigh the cost that the company can accrue if it fails to comply with the legislations by the government. Every company is required to comply with the government legislations regulating its operations. The following is a cost benefit analysis of the hotel according to (Robinson, 2008)

  1. Estimate of the baseline conditions- this involves assessing the current and estimating future conditions in case there are no government regulations. This includes determining the harm that may be caused by the current practices of the company. For example, in the case study, the hotel is using chemicals without safety use information. The chemical has caused significant harm to a number of employees and even to a client. This is as a result of non-compliance to the chemical safety legislations, and it may attract legal action from the government.
  2. Predict outcomes to each regulatory option- this involves considering the various responses that the company needs to take to comply with the legislations. For example, installing a new lift in the hotel.
  • Estimate change in national cost- this will involve considering the costs of implementing various risk management plans. This will include considering the impact the change will have on the market.
  1. Estimate change in national costs- this includes assessing the effect that the change will have on the public regarding security and health.
  2. Assess distributional impacts- analyze the impact that the change will have on various groups such as the workers and the clients. If the change will have positive impacts, then it is worth implementing.

Consequences of non-compliance and not managing workplace hazards

Failure to comply with government legislations has adverse effects on the business. Considering the non-compliance issues that the case study presents, the following are the consequences that it is likely to face (Intuit Inc. 2017).

Failure to comply with workplace legislation exposes the company to lawsuits by employees in case they attain injuries while at the workplace. The company may also incur huge fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (The University of Sydney 2016). For example: If the organization is alerted about OSHA violation it should act immediately. Dollar Free Store at Boston was fined $177.800 for blocking exits and also due to hazardous conditions of the workplace.

Non-compliance to wage legislation may expose the company to lawsuits, audits, and fees among other severe consequences.

 

Conclusion

The hotel has not complied with most of NSW Work Health Safety legislations. This has exposed it to many non-compliance consequences. This exposes employees and clients at this hotel to many hazards which risk their wellbeing. It is important for the management of this hotel to consider putting up initiatives on how they can comply with the WHS legislations. This ensures that their workers are safe as well as their clients.

 

References

Brandon, W. & David, F., 2008. Effects of improved street lighting on crime. S.l.: Campbell Systematic Reviews.

Health and Safety Authority(2015) Safety and Health Managment. Available from: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Managing_Health_and_Safety/Safety_and_Health_Management_Systems/

Intuit. Inc 2017, The dangers of non-compliance for your business. Available from: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/hr-laws-and-regulation/the-dangers-of-non-compliance-for-your-business/

Metric Stream, 2017. Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Framework, s.l.: s.n.

NSW Government SafeWork 2016 a, Hazardous chemicals. Available from: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/safety-topics-a-z/hazardous-chemical

NSW Government SafeWork 2016 b, Duty of care and duty to consult. Available from: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/manage-workplace-safety/providing-training-and-instruction

NSW Government SafeWork 2016 c, Fist aid. Available from: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/manage-workplace-safety/first-aid

NSW Government SafeWork 2016 d, Work health and safety legislation. https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/law-and-policy/legislation-and-codes/work-health-and-safety-legislation

NSW Government SafeWork 2016 e, Workplace facilities.  Available from. https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/workplace-health-and-safety/whs-oh-and-s-acts-regulations-and-codes-of-practice

NSW Legislation, 2017. Work Health and Safety ACT 2011, s.l.: s.n.

Omer, A. M., 2016. What is the difference between the terms "Hazard" and " Risk"?. Recovery Partners, 8 August.

OSFI, 2013. Regulatory Compliance Management (RCM). Corporate Governance Guideline..

Paramount Safety Products, 2007, Managing workplace risk and the hierarchy of control. Available from:https://t.co/sWcuURYhQb

 Robinson, L. A., 2008. Assessing Regulatory Costs and Benefits. The Encyclopedia for Environmental health, Volume 712, p. 3.

The University of Sydney (2016) Safety Management System - WHS. Available from:https://sydney.edu.au/whs/policies/penalties.shtml

Trivedi Nihal, 2015,  Chemical register. Available from: https://assist.asta.edu.au/question/3092/chemical-registers

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