Hazard in the workplace ar 2


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Industrial hazards and approach to minimize it

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Hazard in the workplace ar 2

  1. 1. “Occupational health safety and welfare on productivity – Hazards in work place” “People don’t care what you know until they know you care” – Corrie Pitzer Introduction: In the previous article we have given introduction about the occupational health safety and welfare on productivity, in this article we are going to view and give idea on the hazards in the work place. By every forthcoming article one topic related to the occupational health safety and welfare on productivity is going to reveal. Centre for Research and Excellence CRE is a not – for – profit organization dedicated to research in areas of social and environment to achieve excellence. Our mission is to initiate, promote, facilitate and implement projects that have positive impact on environment and society. CRE was started in the year 2010. Over the two years, the organization has carried out social and environmental projects. Industry hazards: An industrial hazard is a major issue in present scenario. Some industrial plants, by the nature of their activities and the substances they use, constitute hazards which are all the greater when they are located close to residential areas for these and their residents are particularly exposed in the events for accidents. Types of hazards: 1) Physical 2) Chemical 3) Biological 4) Psychological 5) Ergonomical hazard. Physical Hazards: Physical hazards are the most common and will be present in most workplaces at one time or another. They include unsafe conditions that can cause injury, illness and death. They are typically easiest to spot but, sadly, too often overlooked because of familiarity (there are always cords running across the aisles), lack of knowledge (they aren't seen as hazards), resistance to spending time or money to make necessary improvements or simply delays in making changes to remove the hazards (waiting until tomorrow or a time when "we're not so busy").None of these are acceptable reasons for workers to be exposed to physical hazards. Examples of physical hazards include: • • Electrical hazards: frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts: guards removed or moving parts that a worker can accidentally touch • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays, heat or cold • Working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area
  2. 2. • Working with mobile equipment such as forklifts (operation of forklifts and similar mobile equipment in the workplace requires significant additional training and experience) • Spills on floors or tripping hazards, such as blocked aisle or cords running across the floor. • Heat and Cold- The direct effects of heat exposure are burns, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and heat cramps; the indirect effects are decreased efficiency, increased fatigue and enhanced accident rates. • Light- The workers may be exposed to the risk of poor illumination or excessive brightness. • Noise- The degree of injury from exposure to noise depends upon a number of factors such as intensity and frequency range, duration of exposure and individual susceptibility. • Vibration- Vibration usually affects the hands and arms Chemical Hazards: Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid or gas). Some are safer than others, but to some workers who are more sensitive to chemicals, even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation or breathing problems. Beware of: • • • • • • • Liquids like cleaning products, paints, acids, solvents especially chemicals in an unlabelled container (warning sign!) Vapours and fumes, for instance those that come from welding or exposure to solvents Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon monoxide and helium Flammable materials like gasoline, solvents and explosive chemicals. There is hardly any industry which does not make use of chemicals. The chemical hazards are on the increase with the introduction of newer and complex chemicals. Chemical agents act in three ways: local action, inhalation and ingestion. The illeffects produced depend upon the duration of exposure, the quantum of exposure and individual susceptibility. Biological hazards: Biological hazards come from working with animals, people or infectious plant materials. Work in day care, hospitals, hotel laundry and room cleaning, laboratories, veterinary offices and nursing homes may expose you to biological hazards. The types of things you may be exposed to include:
  3. 3. • • • • • • Blood or other body fluids Fungi Bacteria and viruses Plants Insect bites Animal and bird droppings. Workers may be exposed to infective and parasitic agents at the place of work. The occupational diseases in this category are brucellosis, leptospirosis, anthrax, hydatidosis, psittacosis, tetanus, encephalitis, fungal infections, schistosomiasis and a host of others. Persons working among animal products (e.g. hair, wool, hides) and agricultural workers are specially exposed to biological hazards. Psychosocial hazards: The psychosocial hazards arise from the workers’ failure to adapt to an alien psychosocial environment. Frustration, lack of job satisfaction, insecurity, poor human relationships, and emotional tension is some of the psychosocial factors which may undermine both physical and mental health of the workers. The capacity to adapt to different working environments is influenced by many factors such as education, cultural background, family life, social habits and what the worker expects from employment. The health effects can be classified in two main categories – a) Psychological and behavioral changes – including hostility, aggressiveness, anxiety, depression, tardiness, alcoholism, drug abuse, sickness absenteeism b) Psychosomatic ill health – including fatigue, headache; pain in the shoulders, neck and back; propensity to peptic ulcer, hypertension, heart disease and rapid aging. Ergonomic hazards: Ergonomic hazards occur when the type of work, body position and working conditions put strain on your body. They are the hardest to spot since you don't always immediately notice the strain on your body or the harm these hazards pose. Short-term exposure may result in "sore muscles" the next day or in the days following exposure, but long term exposure can result in serious long-term injuries. Ergonomic hazards include: • • Poor lighting Improperly adjusted workstations and chairs • Frequent lifting • Poor posture • Awkward movements, especially if they are repetitive • Repeating the same movements over and over
  4. 4. • Having to use too much force, especially if you have to do it frequently. Steps for managing hazards: Safe work provides a basic structure for the valuable and appropriate implementation of health and safety in your business. It’s about employers and workers working together to provide the safest work environment. The ‘SAFER’ approach will help protect employees, safeguard a workplace’s investment and reduce a workplace’s levy rate. See it — hazard identification Identify anything that has the potential to harm the health or safety of people at workplace. Assess it — risk assessment Consider the likelihood that someone will be hurt, how badly they will be hurt, how they could be hurt, as well as how much, how long and how often a person is exposed to the hazard. Fix it — risk control Determine how the hazards are going to be controlled. If elimination of the hazard is not possible, then other controls should be implemented to reduce potential risks. Evaluate Once the most appropriate fix has been selected, it’s important to evaluate whether the fix has been successful in controlling the hazard or re-assess the risk again. Review After a period of time, when the working environment changes, a review of this entire process is required to continually control of the hazard. A safe system of work should be provided to ensure the total set of methods is adopted for carrying out the operations required in a particular workplace. They cover all aspects of the employment situation including the organisation of work processes, the methods of using machinery, plant and equipment, the methods of hiring labour, job training, instruction and supervision about the associated hazards and their management, and what to do when things go wrong. Hazards, risks, outcomes: The terminology used in OSH varies between countries, but generally speaking: • • A hazard is something that can cause harm if not controlled. The outcome is the harm that results from an uncontrolled hazard.
  5. 5. • A risk is a combination of the probability that a particular outcome will occur and the severity of the harm involved. “Hazard”, “risk”, and “outcome” are used in other fields to describe e.g. environmental damage, or damage to equipment. However, in the context of OSH in the apparel industry, “harm” generally describes the direct or indirect degradation, temporary or permanent, of the physical, mental, or social well-being of workers. The health and safety legislation in India: India has 16 laws related to working hours, conditions of services and employment. The major legal provision for the protection of health and safety are contained in two acts: the Factories Act (1948) and the Mines Act (1952). The factories act was amended in 1987 which provides for pre – employment and periodic medical examination and mandatory, periodic monitoring of the work environment in those industries defined as hazardous. Maximum permissible limits have been established for a number of chemicals. The factories act is applicable only to factories employing 10 or more workers and covers only about 13 million workers. The factories and mines acts are implemented by the state factory inspectorates. OSH is split between two ministries. While primary health care and medical education fall in the mandate of Health ministry, the ministry of labours has the main responsibility for occupational health and safety. OSH is implemented at the state level and monitored by the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health who employ engineers and medical staffs to inspect factories. Indian Standard on OH&S management systems: Occupational Health and Safety demands adoption of a structured approach for the identification of hazards, their evaluation and control of risks in the organisation. Hence, Bureau of Indian Standards has formulated an Indian Standard on OH&S management systems. It is called as the IS 18001:2000 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. This standard prescribes the requirements for an OH&S Management Systems, to enable an organization to formulate a policy, taking into account the legislative requirements. It also provides information about significant hazards and risks, which the organization can control in order to protect its employees and others, whose health and safety may be affected by the activities of the organization. International standard OHSAS 18000: OHSAS 18000 is an international occupational health and safety management system specification developed by the London-based BSI Group, a multinational business chiefly concerned with the production and distribution of standards related services. OHSAS 18000 comprises two parts, OHSAS 18001 and 18002. The British Standards - Occupational Health and Safety management Systems Requirements Standard BS OHSAS 18001 was developed within the framework of the ISO standards series. Allowing it to integrate better into the larger system of ISO certifications.
  6. 6. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System can work in tandem with BS OHSAS 18001/18002 to complement each other and form a better overall system. Each component of the system is specific, auditable, and accreditable by a third party after review. Some of the direct and indirect benefits of OHS interventions identified in the literature are summarized below: Direct Benefits • • Reduced insurance and workers' compensation premiums Reduced litigation costs • Reduced sick pay costs • Lower injury and illness costs • Fewer production delays • Reduced product and material damage • Improved production/productivity rates • Reduced absenteeism • Reduced staff turnover • Improved corporate image • Improved chances of winning contacts • Improved job satisfaction/morale Four things that links Productivity and OSHAS: The drive to link employees' productivity with their overall health and safety is fuelled by four things: • • The need for more innovative ways to reduce the high rates of workplace injury and illness. The pressure to reduce the social and economic costs of injury and illness, particularly compensation costs. • The need to improve labour productivity without employees needing to work longer hours and/or taking on more work. • The need to offer good working conditions as an enticement to recruit and retain skilled workers in a tight labour market. References: 1. Introduction to Occupational health and safety, Work place safety module by International Labour Organisation. 2. Work place health and safety hand book by Safework, SA.
  7. 7. 3. Occupational health – An Aid to productivity by Roger Thomas, Methods Apparel Consultancy. 4. Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems, SafeWork, ILO Geneva. 5. Occupational safety and health in India: Now and the future by Shyam Pingle on Industrial health 2012. 6. www.ohsas-18001-occupational-health-and-safety.com & www.ilo.org 7. www.business.gov.in/legal_aspects/occupational.php Sent by: M.Muhundhan Project Executive Centre for Research and Excellence Tirupur. Mail id: mdhan87@gmail.com, muhundhan@crex.in