Management of Workplace, Health & Safety Essay Sample
In this assignment, we have been asked to identify and imply risk management system in a company. Being a Safety Officer is not an easy job, everyday they (safety officer) have to deal with the grievances of the staff which must be resolved so that workers can give in their 100% effort.
This essay is about a safety officer who has received complaints while the workforces are working in the warehouse. They complain about excessive heat which reduces their interest of work and efficiency. The staff has also complained about severe headaches.
As a Safety Officer, it is his duty to try and resolve the problem being faced by the workforce. A smart officer will first assess the severity of risk which causes hazards. After identifying these hazards he has to control them so that they don’t occur again or less frequently.
Let us look forward in appendix what is the current situation and how the safety officer handles the complaint(s).
Introduction to Risk Management
The risk management process is an important tool to enable safety managers both to demonstrate compliance with legislation and to ensure that risks to health and safety are identified and controlled in most effective way. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000)
Please refer Table 1 for the following content.
The risk management process can be followed at many levels, the inner boxes represent the fundamental steps of risk management, planning, identifying, assessing and treating, while the other two boxes at the sides of the diagram represent the processes which need to occur at each of these steps – communication and consultation and monitoring and review. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000) Let us see what each level tells us:
Level 1 – Establish the Context: Firstly, in risk management the planning stage is where information is gathered, resources are defined, communication and consultations are set up. This will not only benefit the company but also improve quality of the product, productivity and employees satisfaction. Part of this planning phase involves identifying legal requirements and deciding on limits for acceptable risks. In cases where hazards are unable to be eliminated risks cannot be reduced to zero but must be minimized as far as practical. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000)
Level 2 – Identify Risks: OHS regulations require hazards to be identified. In reality both hazards (the source of harm) and risks (what can happen when the source of harm causes injury) need to be identified. To identify hazards effectively there must be a systematic process by which the workplace, the tasks carried out and the equipment used are each considered with a structured method of seeking hazard. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000)
Please refer Table 2 for the following content
Having a huge workforce makes it difficult for us to assess the problems being faced by our employees in our warehouse. In order to identify where and how the problem arises? We first have to ask everyone about their opinion. This can be done by handing out a risk identification report (table 2) to the group supervisor who in turn will ask the labors about their problems.
After the report findings it is clear that the hazard is the heat (the source of harm) and the staff complaining about the headaches and work pressure is the risk (source of harm causing injury). Harsh temperatures make it difficult for the workforce to work especially during the summer season.
Being on of the leading traders in the market, we must take proper care of our workers so that we do not fall out to our competitors during a stiff summer period when the business is low due to the summer holidays.
Level 3 – Risk Assessment: Risk assessment has two aspects: risk analysis and risk evaluation. Analyzing a risk involves gathering facts about the nature of the hazard by which it can lead to an injury or ill health. While, risk evaluation takes account of people’s perceptions, certainty with which the consequences are know and the cost and practicality of reducing the risk. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000)
After finding out the hazard we then have to assess the severity of this hazard. But first we will find out how and when this hazard arises?
This is caused by the climatic condition the region faces during the summer period. The structure of the warehouse is outdated as we have been practicing business from the same warehouse for the past 15 years. These are the problem which ignites the heat issue. Furthermore, employing over 400 labors in a single warehouse not only adds more pressure but also suffocation. Improper shelving which blocks the flow of winds hampers the situation further. As a result symptoms of headaches and mental pressure are already put into notice, but the worst scenario could be diarrhea, fatigue due to imbalanced diet – usually labors are found having this deficiency, sun stroke and sun burns, breathing problems as more of carbon dioxide is built up in the warehouse.
The above ailing labors will not only have to be compensated but also have to be replaced by hiring labors from outside which not only increases the overheads but also decreases the productivity and reputation of the firm. The above shows the risk analytical and risk evaluating factors.
Once a list of risks within a company has been complied, the impact of each risk on the organization – assuming no control action has been taken – requires assessment, so that the risks may be put in order of priority in terms of when control action is actually required, whether immediate, short, medium or long term on the basis of a ranking of the risks relating to their relative impact on the organization. (Ridley & Channing, 1999)
The fundamental equation in any risk assessment is:
Risk magnitude = Frequency x Consequences
Please refer Table 3
The following is the explanation of the Table 3:
The red level is considered extremely risky; it can lead to death and huge financial loss. This event is expected to occur more frequently if the hazard is not taken care of. In this case, if the management does not treat the hazard, the workforce will decline immediately which will harm the companies reputation and will cause a stoppage in work.
The yellow level will cause an injury which will require immediate medical attention and this event will probably occur in sometime. In this case, the immediate injury would be unconsciousness due to fatigue and heat stroke. This will result into financial loss but much lesser than the above.
The green level situation is less likely but probable. This too will require a quick medical attention. In this scenario a person will stop work for sometime but continuous exposure to heat could lead to some serious injury.
The blue level is very unlikely to occur; even if it does it will cause no severe injuries and not much of a financial loss. The workforce here will have to bear the heat if there is no action being taken. But working on sunny afternoon’s when the temperature is around 35-39 degrees.
Level 4 – Risk Control: Risk control means to control the hazard before it leads into injury. In the OHS context the organization needs first aid procedures, emergency plans and training and a rehabilitation program to help people recover from injury and to reduce long-term absences. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000) Controlling risk is managed by cost strategies and each strategy is based upon in order of effectiveness. There can be various strategies to solve a hazard. We will look upon each strategy later when discussing the hierarchy of control.
Generally speaking there are two ways of distributing the financial costs: Insurance and Sub-contracting (third party), these are easy methods of lowering financial risk over the firm but the implementation requires a humungous initial capital.
By insuring the workforce, in case of any critical situation, our company will not have to dig out money from the reserves to compensate a victim. This is a brighter side but, on the other hand, the premium to pay for each worker will be high due to our working conditions.
Sub-contracting is another option available. But relying on third party to carry out your operations is not feasible. Sometimes sub-contractors may refuse to send workers on time due to non-settlement of bills. The brighter side is that you don’t have to worry about the labors grievances, the whole pressure in on the sub-contractor.
Above were the financial aspects, now we will see in detail the hierarchy of control. There are basically 6 steps which are different from one another but, sometimes there are a few strategies which can belong to more than one step.
Step 1 – Elimination: This strategy just eliminates the hazard. It is the optimum strategy but very costly. I reckon that the elimination here would be shifting from a hot country like UAE to a moderate climatic zone where the temperatures are not very high. This obviously will be out of question due to the costs involved.
Step 2 – Substitution: Here by substitution we mean to replace the hazardous material with another but a safe option. There are many safe options available, firstly we could move into a new state-of-art warehouse where there is proper ventilation and airy places. Or else, we can have an extended lunch break so that the workers don’t have to work under intense heat during the afternoon. This option is cheaper when compared to elimination but much higher than the lower ones which are to be followed.
Step 3 – Redesign: In this step we completely redesign the area where we work so as to avoid the hazardous substance. Here redesigning will be the above mentioned feature like having a good ventilation system, air-conditioning in the places where there are high pressure levels. This too is an expensive affair, so the higher management will try to look for other suitable option.
Step 4 – Isolation: In this step we isolate the hazard so that it does not cause harm. This strategy will not work much as it reduces the work efficiency and can affect the profit lines. Isolation here will be working in night shifts rather than day shifts.
Step 5 – Administration: In this strategy we will have to explain the procedures and policies to the workforce how to tackle the heat during summers? We can serve refreshments and special liquids which will cools off body. This is comparatively cheaper than the strategies mentioned above.
Step 6 – PPE (Personal Protective Equipment): In this strategy we give out special protective gears to the workforce so that the can avoid hazards. This will not completely eliminate the hazard but will surely make the impact minimal. Here we can provide the workforce with ultra-violet sunglasses, caps, napkins, personalized automatic hand fans etc. this will definitely make some difference to their situation. This is the cheapest strategy out of all. The management will be quiet happy to imply this strategy.
Level 5 – Monitoring: All the steps in risk management are to be monitored; the most important aspect of this is the collection of data on losses such as accidents, hazard reports, first aid injuries and absence from work, etc. which is past records, these records can be colleted first hand or second hand which ever comes in handy. The hazards are to be regularly followed and updated. Previous risk management levels must also be checked upon and be updated from time to time.
The safety manager must imply tough conditions of safety manuals and procedures which the supervisors must check upon so that the workforce does not neglect them. The safety manager must also have random checks in the warehouse so that a hazard can be avoided before it becomes a problem. This will not only be cost effective but will be a good example for the others to follow.
Level 6 – Communicate & Consult: these are not only critical but are legally required. The means of channel broadcasts possible input which is needed to identify hazards and risks effectively. (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000) The top level management has to communicate with the subordinates from time to time so that they can check upon the workforce grievances. The junior level like the group warehouse supervisor must perform safety checks and must bring to attention even small faults to the safety manager. Hazards and risks can be avoided if you have a sound communicating system.
The risk management is essentially a structured approach of safety management which requires teamwork and consultation. Planning and structuring risk identification and assessment exercises effectively and finding out all relevant background information about the organization and its risks are an important part of ensuring that safety management fits in with and is part of mainstream management goals, objectives and systems.
It is usually impossible to eliminate all hazards OHS management must also consider ways of treating residual risk through workers compensation insurance, emergency planning, first aid, rehabilitation and other loss management programs.
Regular monitoring and review provides feedback information which allows the safety risk management process to be continually improved with regard to the management of OHS.
Company Name: ABC Pvt. Ltd.
Profile: Trades in foodstuff, importers and exporters of canned/frozen/bakery/meat items.
Location: Dubai, UAE (Middle East)
Market Position: One of the leading sole-agents of various food items in the UAE
Workforce: 500 employees (400 labor force, 90 admin force, 10 – including managers, GMs, Directors)
From the above table, it is clear that the company is into trading of food products. Everyday it imports and exports tons of food materials to various destinations. This is why a huge labor force is required to load and unload pallets from the delivery vehicles to provide service(s) quickly.
Being situated in the Middle East region, it is very tough for the labors to work under scorching sun when the temperatures are said to reach about 50 degrees during the months from April to September. In this case the workforce is complaining about the pressure generated through the heat in the warehouse. They are facing severe headaches and mental pressure as a result they are losing interest in work. Working under such intense conditions it is not possible for someone to give in their 100%, this is due to lack of proper ventilation system in current warehouse.
As a safety officer the first task is to follow a risk management system which tells us to check where and how the problem arises? What is to be done to control it? And how well it is being controlled or monitored?
In this case, it is impossible to make decisions when over 400 employees are concerned. A safety officer will have to check grievances of all in order to cater them a sound working environment. This is easier said than done because he (safety officer) first needs to have approval of the higher management keeping in mind the costs and other aspects of having a safe working environment.
P.S. Table 1, 2, and 3 are followed after this page.
Article on Risk Management, viewed on 9th May 2006,
Bohle. P, Quinlan. M, 2000, Managing Occupational Health and Safety, a multidisciplinary approach, Malaysia, 2nd Ed.
Boylston. R, 1990, Managing Safety and Health Programs, USA.
For Table 1, viewed on 10th May 2006, < http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/dcgpubs/riskmanagement/images/rmf-cgr03_e.gif>
For Table 2, viewed on 10th May 2006,
For Table 3, viewed on 10th May 2006,