Work Health and Safety Issues the Same World Over

The issue of fostering and improving the health and safety of employees at work is international.

The safety concerns that face employers on the west coast of Canada are similar to those faced by employers on the east coast of England, the south of France, in Japan and also found in India.
The language may be different but the message is the same.
The issue that every employer faces is how best to identify hazards and risks in the workplace and then initiate meaningful change as it relates to the health and safety of employees.

Hazards and Risks in the Everyday Workplace

There are over 50 different issues that can be examined immediately within every organization that all relate to matters of health and safety. Some are less obvious in terms of their connection, whilst others are extremely clear.
Here are just 10 quick questions to ponder:

  1. Is there a workplace policy and strategy for stress prevention at work?
  2. Are there procedures to prohibit discrimination and for treating employees fairly?
  3. Is informal communication encouraged between managers and employees and amongst the employees themselves?
  4. Is training provided to raise awareness of respectful conduct?
  5. Are there procedures to deal with violence, abuse and harassment in the workplace?
  6. Is a rapid and culturally sensitive intervention available to help those involved in offensive behaviour?
  7. Are working areas in the workplace organized to protect employees against violence from clients or the public?
  8. Is there seamless communication between supervisors and employees to discuss any concerns within the workplace?
  9. Are employees informed regularly about important workplace decisions using adequate means?
  10. Is there an organizational framework and strategy to prevent offensive behaviour and to deal with it promptly and adequately if it did occur?

All of these issues (and many, many more) are designed to trigger thoughts and concerns about the health and safety of employees in workplaces everywhere. The downside of not having positive answers to each of the questions above can be that the employees within the workplace become disengaged and that can spell trouble. (Reference – Fast Company )

Closer examination of Organizational Framework

It is important to have a clear policy on offensive behavior and perhaps even more important to remember that the policy be implemented in order to prevent offensive behavior from occurring in the workplace. The prevention of this type of behavior will increase employee’s feeling of security and trust in the organization throughout the workplace.
Here are some Policy Point Suggestions

  • A list of the specific behaviours should be clearly recognized as being offensive
  • Specifically state that such forms of behaviour are unacceptable in any form within the workplace
  • Acknowledge that offensive behaviour can come from colleagues, supervisors, clients, customers or members of the public
  • Acknowledge that bullying can often come from colleagues and supervisors whilst violence often comes from clients, customers or members of the public
  • The workplace policy should deal with both primary prevention (i.e., how to prevent offensive behaviour) and secondary prevention (i.e., how to help employees who have been offended and to deal with the offender)
  • The workplace policy should also include a procedure for ensuring that an offended employee can return to the workplace if they have been away from the workplace recovering from psychological or physical injury (a return to work program).