Health And Safety Management

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Health And Safety Management- A Case Study Of Qatar Steel

Executive summary

The summary is that what sums up the entire work like the bold lettered lines in a newspaper, says a critic. The needs of the health and safety management form an important part of the backbone of an organization for an organization to stand on its feet, along with all the hard policies is required the maintenance of the safety of its employees. Employees are the major driving force of an organization, without them the company would never be able o function. The safety and the security of the employees are a major factor that the management needs to take care of, which if not, would affect the entire process of work.

Health And Safety Management

The current report deals with the topic of health and safety management and the requirement of the measures in an organization. The report states the methods which are generally followed or should be followed by the companies in order to prosper in the process of implementing the health and safety standards. At a more personal point, the report is a case study of the Qatar Steel, an organization based in the Middle East which manufactures steel and is a brand name in the corporate world. The company employs over 1000 employees and hence the factor of health and safety management becomes a major point to be looked at. The report details on the general need and introduces the concept of health and safety management and the way it is required for the companies operating in the present era. It is followed by an introduction of the Qatar Steel. The introduction speaks of the origin of the company and the evolution of it into what it is in the present time. It talks of the takeover and the stakes, the achievements of the concern and the strength of the employees. Any large organization would deal with the satisfaction of its employees.

The report also states the aims and the objectives that the study is about to deduce by the end of it. It also describes a clear methodology that is to be followed in the implementation of the health and the safety programs. It then moves to the company, Qatar Steel and states the health and safety management programmes which the organization takes up in order to help the smooth running of the concern. The programs taken up are discusses with respect to the concerned organization and how far is the organization able to implement them fully. No system can be perfect. The report analyses the gaps or the defects which are present in the health and safety policies of the organization- Qatar Steel. The gaps which are found out are combined with suitable processes which would help the company overcome the same. The amount of risk which the gaps are likely to cause is also stated.

The report also identifies the problems which are caused until date or which are likely to be caused in the near future for the defects in the health and safety management system. The problems are classified into two subheads of physical hazards and health and welfare hazards. The subheads explain the kind of physical hazards faced by the employees and the effect the same has on the mind and body. The health hazards are the results of either the physical hazards or the other external health issues which come out due to the health and safety management program of the organization.

The report then goes on to analyzing the amount of risk which is caused by these hazards. The analyzing of the amount is equally necessary as it helps in the further analysis of the efficiency of the organization in dealing with the matter. The report states the damages faced by Qatar Steel and the way it has affected the working and the turnover of the company. The risks are also analyzed under the two subheads. It is seen that the one affects the other and the matter is originally interlinked.

The report has a formal conclusion, followed by suitable recommendation provided on the basis of the entire study. It also details an action plan that can be followed. Added on the report contains references used from the various journals and books, also the websites. It also contains a proper list of the appendices. The report aims to provide complete knowledge to the reader about the factors that could help improve the health and safety management of the company. 

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The common issues of health and safety

Any sort of business that runs on the earth has the requirement of proper health and safety measures for the smooth running of the company. There always remains the possibility of an accident or any kind of damage to the heath of the employees, the failure of the machinery causing the major issues to arise and the atmosphere of the workplace is affected due to these at large. According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003), any kind of work exposes the people working on it to hazards. Work might be manual or with the help of the machines. The heavy machinery, toxic substances, electricity or even the psychological hazards of stress are the few issues which an organization has to take care of in the fields of health and safety. The proper management of the health and the safety issues provide the employees with the feeling of securing and in the process enhance the flow of the work.

However, it is quite true that the organizations these days have been facing a lot of issues with regards to the safety and the management of the same. As stated by the critics Zanko & Dawson, (2011) amongst the various reasons found out, are the facts that the systems of prevention are in a place which have been built up over generations and are outdated. Most of the accidents that occur in a daily basis at the common organizations happen because of the inability of the management to prevent them. These hazards can easily be dealt with, however. Despite the precautions taken at times, nearly millions are affected by the ill health caused or made by more work. This, in turn, affects the number of working days in the year. Paying attention to the health and safety section is not merely a contribution to being socially responsible, but that it initiates good business sense and should be regarded as an important achievement, same as the other stated business goals. The follow up with the modern rules and regulations of the health and safety might sound troublesome, but originally they come with a good amount of supportive guidance and follow the principles to mould the workplace into a better place to work in. (Work.alberta.ca,.2015)

Sample – Sociology: Health and Illness

The current report deals with the health and safety management followed by the renowned Qatar Steel, a company known for its excellence since the last 4 decades. The company was originally formed as QASCO in the 70s and is a marked name in the commercial world today.

1.2 Aims and objectives

A complete report is the one that states certain objectives and details the requirement of the same. It must have a well-mentioned aim for the readers to derive the reason for the research.

The current report dealing with the health and safety management of the Qatar Steel also has a set of aims which clearly defines the outcome of the report.

  • To give an introduction about the Qatar steel
  • To talk of the requirement of the health and safety management
  • To discuss the issues faced by Qatar steel in maintain the health and safety of the workers.
  • To segregate appropriate methods to deal with the issues
  • To evaluate how would the implementation of better health and safety management favour the smooth running of the organization.
  • To give suitable recommendations

1.3 Qatar Steel

Founded in the year 1974, Qatar steel has been running successfully for the past 41 years. It is a government corporation and falls under the industry of steel milling. Presently it is headed by its chairman, Yousef Hussain Kamal and the director-general manager, Ali Hassan Al- Murakhi. It was the first steel plant of its kinds in the Persian Gulf. The company specializes in the production of sponge iron, hot briquetted iron, deformed bars, steel billets and wire rods. At present the company has 1,650 employees, the number, however, is subject to change in accordance with the business expansion and the setting up of the new subsidiaries. The company, however, is the daughter concern of the Industries Qatar, which took over the company in the year 2003, thus becoming the parent concern. The company was originally named QASCO and was the joint venture of the Government of Qatar that owned 70 per cent of the stakes and two Japanese concerns named, Kobe Steel with 20 per cent of the stocks and Tokyo Boeki that has 10 % of the stocks. The company started its full operation in the year 1978 and in the year 1997, the Government of Qatar took away the 30 per cent shares which belonged to the Japanese concerns. It had the parent concern as Qatar petroleum and finally the Industries Qatar. Qatar steel is a new corporate identity in the world market. The firm acquired the ISO 9002 certification in the year 1995 and the environmental management certification in the year 1999. In the year 2007, the new name of Qatar steel was introduced in the commercial world with the tag line of “we make steel matter.” The operation of the company over a period of years has remained intact and has made a mark in the commercial arena. In the year 2008, MEED acknowledged Qatar Steel to be one of the four topmost producers of steel in the entire area of the Middle East. The company also has its wings in the industry of oil and gas, refineries and also has a number of environmental and societal programs. The industry operates both in the domestic and the international level. It has its headquarters at the Mesaieed, Qatar and also has subsidiaries running in the United Arab Emirates.

The company, in comparison to the other steel plants, has the most significant advantage regarding the fact that its production is based on DRI, which makes the use of clean raw materials. It employs the various methods of reuse and recycling of the products and also looks after the health and safety of its workers. The company employs a large number of workers and there are also many of them in the small subsidiaries of the concern. Taking note of their health and safety, the management has adequate safety measures. The company employs a large number of workers and also has a position in the world market. A proper keeping of the work environment is quite necessary in order to keep the name. The satisfaction of the employees, the providing of a quality work environment is very necessary (Walters & Nichols, (2007). The organization hence follows the health and safety measures but also has to relate to a few gaps in the system, which are the causes of little yet marked issues and can turn to a bigger one in the recent years.

1.4 The Methodology

There is nothing that could happen in an organization without planning. A proper methodology is required to manage the health and safety of the organization.

Health And Safety Management

1.4.1 System in place to manage the health and safety

There should be a clearly defined system that would be dealing with the issues of health and safety at the workplace. Precisely there has to be a department to deal with the entire process. People need to be appointed in the departments which are required to be further subdivided into categories. According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003) the subdivisions must have efficient communication within each other to avoid any wrong information or any misappropriate circulation of words. The organization needs to be able enough to plan, organize, control, monitor and review the preventive measures. The employees and the workers need to be well trained and educated in order to understand how and when to use the instruments. Education is the most important criteria in the process of establishing anything new. The system should have efficient management hold and also legally educated people to manage the legal obligations likely to be faced by the firm (Warhurst, 2006).

1.4.2 Identifying the risks

The process of health and safety management would not be workable without the identification of the problems or rather the risks which are likely to be faced by the organization. The health and safety rule book has defined ways to deal with every single problem, only when the people around are fully knowledgeable about the issue. The management needs to find out the main reasons which could affect the company and the workforce in the long run.

Wells & Hawkins, (2011) argue that in case of heavy machinery factories, there are maximum chances of danger to befall on the workers and even cause their lives to end. In the case of chemical factories, the use of toxic substances and the harmful chemicals are needed to be taken care of. In offices, there are chances of fire, short circuits or other damages caused due to external forces. The problems and the chances of the problems arising are different in the different scenarios. The company using heavy machinery can never have the ids of a chemical factory and vice versa. The people in the company need to be educated about the problems which are likely to arise. The essential steps can only be taken after the identification of the same (hseni.gov.uk 2015).

At the same time, the workers, as well as the management, need to participate in the identification of the risks. As it is that, those working in the fields or the market would have different problems compared to those in the office and the factories. The type of risk not only varies according to the work but also according to the place of work. The issues are different and hence the ways of treating, preventing and overcoming them would be different as well. The system or the management is required to take a closer look into all the fields before implementing the ways to ward off the problems (safework.sa.gov.au 2015).

1.4.3 Assessing the risk

Once the risk is identified, it is required to judge the amount of damage that can be caused if the same befalls on the organization. The assessment of the amount of destruction that can be caused by the particular hazard which is identified can help the company to figure out the easiest and effective way to deal with the same. Before dealing with it, however, the organization can take the most appropriate preventive measures to avoid the same even before it happens. Different hazards would have different effects on the workers and the organization itself. It could be of minimum harm to even life sacking ones (Proctor, Hughes & Hathaway, 2004).

Though it is one of the keys to the entire process of working out on the health and the safety issues, it is necessary that it should not be made over-complicated. The assessment has to be legal and at the same time should be of the good of the fellow workers. The wrong turn in assessing can actually cause a lot of damage and can backfire the organization itself. Looking into it again, the amount of damage that can happen should be communicated with the employees as well. There is a requirement of their views to be taken at times the employees understand the level of the damage more compared to the management (Piet, 2012). The assessment should be well discussed and must contain everything that would prevent that particular harm from happening.

1.4.3 The risk control measures

The organization needs to ensure that the risk control measures are adequate and that they continue to be in function even when they are not required. The risk control measures also need to have a proper and particular back up that would be of support when the original ones fail. They are also known as emergency procedures. According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003) the educating, training and the supervising of the employees are also an integral part of the risk control measures. The risk control measures also include regular safety drills and the updating of the measures in accordance with the latest development. However, the measures also measure the complexity and make it the easiest for the employees to make the use of it.

As the laws and rules of the health and safety measurements state, there are certain health and safety goals which are needed to be achieved and that would indicate the benchmark for the organization to understand the fact that whether the health and the safety measurements that it implements are up to the standards or not. However Walters, & Nichols, (2007) opine that the measures also state the fact that apart from the safety precautions and the procedures that is attested by the workplace for the employees, the use of common sense and taking care of one’s own safety also forms a rule under the measures. The people need to understand the fact that even before using the measures, they can easily prevent the disaster. In case it is not preventable, the use of one’s own senses is better off than the equipment. The training on the control measures also trains the employees on the same.

1.4.4 Further processes

The methodology also incorporates the reporting and the recording of the accidents, providing of the basic workplace facilities, providing the employer’s insurance, notifying the health executives and the local nearest help zones about the existence of the organization. The factors also include the self-judgment of the organization. The organization seldom needs to find out the position and the proximity of it to the risks it has assessed. The self-assessment is required to clear out whether the policies of the organization are fit enough to help the employees (Wald & Stave,2002).

Working together is another major step in the method of health and safety management in an organization. The entire process has to be a team effort. There should not be any delay as the process states. Every organization is required to have the health and safety management program in its rulebook.

1.5 The Rule of Law

Commonly known as the HSE or the Health and Safety Executive, there are stated certain laws which talk about the laws of the workplace. Laws like the Mines Regulation Act of 2014, Construction (Design and Management) regulations in 2015 are only few of the laws passed to ensure the health and safety in the organizations. Health and safety law is a part of the judiciary that protects the common interests and the environment the general public works in as employees. Wells & Hawkins, (2011) argue that they can be widely stated to be of regulatory control and criminal law. The regulatory law states that the organization would be held responsible in the case of health issues and even the death of the employee. In a more proper manner, it would have the same liability in such cases. Thus in the case of an employee being hurt or hampered in the course of work, the person can bring in the charge of a  criminal offence against the organization. It comes under the Health and Safety Act (2008). The person can also claim the equal amount of compensation in lieu of the criminal proceedings. Further, there are Public safety laws, alcohol laws, the laws stating the prohibition of the drugs in the workplace. Tweedy, (2014) opines that there has also been the Health and safety at work act of 1974 which makes the further provision for securing the health and safety and the welfare of the general person at the workplace.

Organization Culture: Importance and Role

The law states a few points an organization needs to follow:

  • A written health and safety policy in case the firm employs five or more people.
  • Assessment of the risks to employees, customers, contractors, partners and all those who are affected by the working of the firm.
  • Arrangement of the effective system of planning, organizing, controlling and monitoring the risks that is likely to be faced.
  • Access to competent health and safety advice
  • Providing the employees about the risks at the workplace and how they are protected.
  • Instruction and training of the employees in how to deal with risks
  • Ensuring the presence of adequate supervision in the place.
  • Consulting the employees about their risks at work and the ways that can be dealt with.

The government sets out a legal framework for health and safety policies involving as few rules and administrative burdens as possible. It sets target regulations that state the levels of protection that employers must provide for their employees so that employers can work in safe and healthy conditions (Tooma,2008).

Employers and employees themselves work out the precise details on the target regulations set by the government. The agreements they reach can be set down in a health and safety catalogue.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The HSE is the UK government body responsible for enforcing health and safety at work legislation. The HSE also plays a major role in producing advice on health and safety issues, and guidance on relevant legislation. The role of enforcement is split between HSE and local authorities depending on the business sector.

In addition, HSE conducts research into the effectiveness of regulations and other health and safety issues, consults with employers and employees representatives, and advises legislators and government on health and safety (Swuste, 2008).

The HSE website contains a wealth of information and guidance on maintaining health and safety at work, and detailed advice on complying with health and safety regulations.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Often referred to as HASAW or HSW, this Act of Parliament is the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers “to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work” of all their employees (Sims, 2002).

Among other provisions, the Act also requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant and systems
  • maintenance of safe access and egress to the workplace
  • safe use, handling and storage of dangerous substances
  • adequate training of staff to ensure health and safety
  • adequate welfare provisions for staff at work.

Employers must also keep and revise a written record of health and safety policy and consult with employees or their representatives on such policies (this only applies to those employing five or more).

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities.

Employers must also make arrangements to ensure the health and safety of the workplace, including making arrangements for emergencies, adequate information and training for employees, and for health surveillance where appropriate (Sevett, 2006).

Employees must work safely in accordance with their training and instructions given to them. Employees must also notify the employer or the person responsible for health and safety of any serious or immediate danger to health and safety or any shortcoming in health and safety arrangements (Pearce & Tombs, 1997).

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

Known as RIDDOR, these regulations require employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, to report work-related deaths, major injuries, work-related diseases and dangerous occurrences.

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

These regulations are concerned with the working environment. They place a duty on employers to make sure that the workplace is safe and suitable for the tasks being carried out there, and that it does not present risks to employees and others (Rietschel, Fowler & Fisher, 2008).

The regulations cover all aspects of the working environment, including:

  • maintenance of the workplace, equipment, devices and systems
  • ventilation
  • temperature in indoor workplaces
  • lighting
  • cleanliness and waste materials
  • room dimensions and space
  • work stations and seating
  • condition of floors and traffic routes
  • falls or falling objects
  • windows and transparent or translucent doors, gates and walls
  • windows, skylights and ventilators
  • ability to clean windows, etc. safely
  • the organisation, etc. of traffic routes
  • doors and gates
  • escalators and moving walkways
  • sanitary conveniences
  • washing facilities
  • drinking water
  • accommodation for clothing
  • facilities for changing clothing
  • facilities for rest and to eat meals (Maennl, & Douglas, 2007).

Qatar Steel also follows certain laws and abides by the HSE norms, which are applicable internationally, all throughout. The firm adheres to the norms and takes care of the employees who work under them.

2.0 Describing the health and safety management system

Paradies, (2011) states that a safety and health management system means the part of the Organization’s management system which covers:

  • the health and safety work organization and policy in a company
  • the planning process for the accident and ill-health prevention
  • the line management responsibilities and
  • The practices, procedures and resources for developing and implementing, reviewing and maintaining the occupational safety and health policy.

The system should cover the entire gambit of an employer’s occupational health and safety organization (Ridley, 2004). The key elements of a successful safety and health management system are:

2.1. Policy and commitment

The workplace should prepare an occupational safety and health policy programmed as part of the preparation of the Safety Statement required by Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. Effective safety and health policies should set a clear direction for the organization to follow (Oortman Gerlings, 1995). They will contribute to all aspects of business performance as part of a demonstrable commitment to continuous improvement. Responsibilities to people and the working environment will be met in a way that fulfils the spirit and letter of the law. Cost-effective approaches to preserving and developing human and physical resources will reduce financial losses and liabilities. In a wider context, stakeholders’ expectations, whether they are shareholders, employees or their representatives, customers or society at large, can be met.

2.2 Planning

The workplace should formulate a plan to fulfil its safety and health policy as set out in the Safety Statement. An effective management structure and arrangements should be put in place for delivering the policy. Safety and health objectives and targets should be set for all managers and employees.

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2.3. Implementation and operation

For effective implementation, organizations should develop the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve the safety and health policy, objectives and targets. All staff should be motivated and empowered to work safely and to protect their long-term health, not simply to avoid accidents (Mason, 2001). These arrangements should be:

  • underpinned by effective staff involvement and participation through appropriate consultation, the use of the safety committee where it exists and the safety representation system and,
  • Sustained by effective communication and the promotion of competence, which allows all employees and their representatives to make a responsible and informed contribution to the safety and health effort (Marketing Donut, 2015).

There should be a planned and systematic approach to implementing the safety and health policy through effective safety and health management system. The aim is to minimize risks. Risk Assessment methods should be used to determine priorities and set objectives for eliminating hazards and reducing risks (Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005). Wherever possible, risks should be eliminated through the selection and design of facilities, equipment and processes. If risks cannot be eliminated, they should be minimized by the use of physical controls and safe systems of work or, as a last resort, through the provision of PPE. Performance standards should be established and used for measuring achievement. Specific actions to promote a positive safety and health culture should be identified. There should be a shared common understanding of the organization’s vision, values and beliefs on health and safety. The visible and active leadership of senior managers fosters a positive safety and health culture (Leigh, 1995).

2.4. Measuring performance

The organization should measure, monitor and evaluate safety and health performance. Performance can be measured against agreed standards to reveal when and where improvement is needed. Wells & Hawkins, (2011) argue that active self-monitoring reveals how effectively the safety and health management system is functioning. Self-monitoring looks at both hardware (premises, plant and substances) and software (people, procedures and systems, including individual behaviour and performance). If controls fail, reactive monitoring should find out why they failed, by investigating the accidents, ill-health or incidents, which could have caused harm or loss. The objectives of active and reactive monitoring are:

  • to determine the immediate causes of substandard performance
  • To identify any underlying causes and implications for the design and operation of the safety and health management system (Leadbetter, & Trewartha, 1996).

2.5. Auditing and reviewing performance

The organization should review and improve its safety and health management system continuously so that it’s overall safety and health performance improves constantly. The organization can learn from relevant experience and apply the lessons. There should be a systematic review of performance based on data from monitoring and from independent audits of the whole safety and health management system (Langerman, 2015). These form the basis of complying with the organization’s responsibilities under the 2005 Act and other statutory provisions. There should be a strong commitment to continuous improvement involving the development of policies, systems and techniques of risk control. Performance should be assessed by:

  • internal reference to key performance indicators
  • External comparison with the performance of business competitors and best practice in the organization’s employment sector.

According to the reports of Langerman, (2009) many companies now report on how well they have performed on worker safety and health in their annual reports and how they have fulfilled their responsibilities with regard to preparing and implementing their Safety Statements. In addition, employers have greater responsibilities under Section 80 of the 2005 Act on ‘Liability of Directors and Officers of Undertakings’ that requires them to be in a position to prove they have pro-actively managed the safety and health of their workers. Data from this ‘Auditing and reviewing performance’ process should be used for these purposes.

3.0 The hazards faced

Health and safety management faces certain hazards:

3.1 Chemicals

Employers are required by regulations to protect workers from the hazards related to chemical agents at work. According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003) the regulations set out the measures employers must take and deal with risk assessment, prevention and control measures, health surveillance, record keeping and employee’s duties. The regulations apply in situations where hazardous chemical agents are present or likely to be present in the workplace.

The legal definition of chemical agents is complex, but put simply chemicals are substances, many simple such as cleaning fluids, which contain substances that might harm health. The legal definition covers chemical agents assigned an occupational exposure limit value in the Code of Practice to the regulations.

Carrying out a Risk Assessment

When carrying out risk assessment employers must take account of: the hazardous properties of chemical agents; information available from suppliers; information on safety data sheets (Kimball, 2000). They must also consider the type and duration of exposure work, circumstances and the quantities of chemically stored; occupational exposure limit values and biological limit values in the Code of Practice to the Chemical Agents Regulations; the effects of preventative measures; conclusions from health surveillance; and activities including the maintenance and accidental release in respect of which it is foreseeable that there is potential for significant exposures.

As opined by Kluger et al. (1997) risk assessments should be recorded in writing. They should be reviewed regularly or if there are reasons to suspect that the risk assessment is no longer valid when there have been changes in work practice when health surveillance results show it is necessary or exposure limits have been exceeded.

Identifying Risks

Having assessed the hazards (if any) associated with a chemical (whether substance or preparation), there is a legal obligation to communicate this information effectively to those handling the chemical. Risks can be identified by reference to hazard labels and safety data sheets. The hazard label gives immediate information, which is, of necessity, brief. The safety data sheet gives more detailed information on many aspects of the product’s health and safety characteristics (Kapin, 1999).

Reducing Risks

Where the risk assessment reveals a risk, employers must in so far as is reasonably practicable, reduce the risk by:

  • the design and organization of a safe system of work
  • the provision of suitable equipment
  • reducing to a minimum the number of employees exposed
  • reducing the duration and intensity of exposure
  • putting in place hygiene measures (including washing facilities)
  • reducing the number of chemicals to a minimum
  • Having safe handling, storage and transport arrangements.

John, (2010) opines that employers must draw up action plans to deal with emergencies/accidents/incidents. Action plans must include arrangements for regular safety drills, first-aid facilities, warning and communications systems, and the provision of protective clothing and PPE.

Record keeping

Employers are required to make health surveillance available when employees’ exposure to a hazardous chemical is such that an identifiable disease or adverse health effect may be related to the exposure and to keep individual health records (Hughes & Ferrett, 2003).

3.2 Slips, Trips and fall

Approximately 1 in 4 accidents reported to HSA annually are attributable to slips, trips or falls and such hazards can equally affect both employees and non-employees. Employers must ensure that where possible the hazard is eliminated or at minimum control to reduce the risk for slips, trips and falls are implemented and maintained (Hubble & Dothard, 2013).

Hazard Identified: Slips
Examples of how slips may occur include:

  • Wet floor surfaces
  • Ice forming outside work premises
  • Fats, oils and other contaminants on floor surfaces
  • Rugs and mats on polished floors and slipping on poorly secured carpets
  • Slipping in baths, showers etc.
  • Inappropriate footwear (Hse.gov.uk, 2015).

Examples of control measures:

  • In the first instance, floor surfaces with good grip should be laid where possible but should also be able to be hygienically cleaned
  • The risk of any contaminants that may be spilt onto the floor should be eliminated where possible
  • Leaking pipes etc., should be fixed and adequately maintained
  • Contaminants should be cleaned off the floor immediately. Where they cannot be removed immediately, safety signs should be placed on the floor to warn persons of the slipping hazard
  • Those persons who clean the floors must be informed and trained to know what cleaning products they can safely use on the various floor surfaces
  • Procedures should be in place to grit and salt outside areas of the workplace to reduce the risk of persons and vehicles slipping on ice or compacted snow
  • Measures should be taken to stop ice forming on the floors of freezer/refrigeration units
  • Floors should have effective drainage in wet areas
  • Pedestrian walkways should be kept clear of any materials and be kept separate from workstations
  • Steps and steep slopes should be clearly marked and handrails provided
  • Safety signs should be placed in bathrooms/shower rooms to warn of slipping hazards within these areas. Staff should supervise elderly care home residents when in bathrooms/shower rooms
  • Leather soled shoes or very high heels should be avoided in many workplaces; appropriate footwear for the work conditions should be worn instead
  • All workers must receive suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training in all of the above control measures (Hsa.ie, 2015)

Hazard Identified: Trips

Examples of how trips may occur include:

  • Cables, hosepipes, ropes, etc., left across walkways
  • Uneven, loose floor surfaces
  • Small items left on the floor/accumulation of rubbish
  • Poor lighting (including dazzling lighting and strobe lighting etc)
  • Low barriers
  • Loose mats, rugs and carpets
  • Inappropriate footwear (Hovden, 1996)

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Examples of control measures:

  • Floors should be in good condition and regularly maintained
  • Uneven and loose flooring should be repaired immediately
  • Those objects that cannot be removed from floors should be secured in place by sticking them firmly to the floor and warning persons by using appropriate safety signs
  • Cables, hosepipes and similar objects lying on floor surfaces should be removed where possible (Henig, 1997)
  • Waste materials should not be allowed to accumulate; they should be removed on a daily basis
  • Low lighting levels and glare from lighting can cause persons to trip and injure themselves. Those persons entering these situations must be warned about any tripping hazards they may encounter because of the lighting used, e.g. in cinemas and nightclubs (Hirschler, 2008).

3.3 Work Equipment

In the regulations, work equipment is defined as meaning any machine, apparatus, tool or installation used at work (Anderson, 2010). This definition covers all types of work equipment from the largest machine to the smallest hand tool. It also covers lifting equipment.

Hazards

According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003), the hazards associated with unguarded machinery can vary greatly from a simple cut to amputation or to a fatality. Robust guards must be provided to prevent the operator and/or others being exposed to the machine’s moving part but must also allow for repair and maintenance work to be carried out. There are many different types of guards and the appropriate type e.g. fixed, interlock, adjustable, safety-trips, control, two-hand, the gate must be fitted.

Gunningham, (1999) opines that where lifting equipment is used, employers must ensure safe lifting loads are clearly marked on machinery and are adhered to by the staff in order to guard against injury/fatality to the user or their colleagues. Lifting equipment includes vehicle lifting tables, ropes, lifting tackle, chains, and cranes).

When using mobile work equipment, employers are required to ensure that work equipment with ride-on-employees is fitted in such a way as to reduce the risks to employees, including the risk of contact with, or trapping by wheels or tracks.

Wells & Hawkins, (2011) argue that accidents can also occur where an employee is cleaning a machine. Where possible, maintenance operations should be carried out when the machinery is shut down or if this is not possible, protective measures must be taken the keep the employee safe i.e. a safe system of work must exist and be followed. Non-routine interventions such as dismantling and cleaning require the isolation of all energy sources. The isolation should be tested and secured by means of tagging or locking. Permit to work systems should also be considered to provide a higher level of organizational control (Choudhary, 1981).

Employers’ duties

Employers are required to ensure that:

  • the equipment is suitable for the work to be carried out;
  • equipment selection takes account of the working conditions, characteristics and hazards of the workplace (Astier, 2008)
  • he/she must ensure that work equipment can be used without risk to the user or at the very least, the employer must minimize the risk;
  • where the equipment involves a specific risk, its use must be restricted to those employees who are required to use it (Goddard, 2012)
  • only competent employees should carry out repairs/modifications to the work equipment;
  • employees must have adequate information and training to use the machine safely;
  • Where appropriate, written instructions on the use of the work equipment are provided.

Controls

The controls on any machinery must be visible and identifiable and be placed outside the danger zone. If this is not possible, the machinery must have audible or visible warning signs which are automatically activated when the machinery is about to start. These warning mechanisms should be clear and easily understood. The controls must be constructed in such a manner to ensure that deliberate action is necessary to start the machinery and that the controls can stop a machine completely and safely (Garner, 2013). The machine must also have an emergency stop device which should have priority over the start controls.

3.4 Asbestos

According to Buchbinder, Shanks & Buchbinder, (2014) asbestos is a term used to define a group of fibrous crystalline silicates and it has been recorded in the H.S.A annual reports that an estimated death of 3000 people has happened in the last year due to the exposure to this.

Measures to be taken by the employers

  • Identify the presence or the suspicion of the asbestos
  • Check the condition of the material
  • To get the asbestos removed in the case of the bad condition
  • Assess the risk of the workers being exposed to the same
  • Identify the type of risk

Controls

At the place where an employer discovers the risk which can be caused by the presence of asbestos, it should be well maintained and removed in the case of requirement. All the forms of asbestos are taken to be equally harmful and can in no way prove to be a proper factor for the employees (Foulke, 2009). The care of a medical practitioner is also required to be taken.

3.5 Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a very common occupational skin disease in Ireland and is one of the major causes of occupational ill-health. Skin anywhere on the body may be affected by work-related dermatitis, but it most commonly affects the hands, as these are the parts of the body that come into contact with chemicals most frequently. It is difficult to predict who will develop dermatitis. In the case of contact dermatitis caused by the removal of natural oils from the skin, anyone may be susceptible (Foster, 2003). High standards of personal hygiene are important, so workers who fail to wash their hands after working with solvents, for example, maybe more likely to develop the condition.

Control

  • By eliminating sensitizing substances from the workplace, where possible. An example would be by switching to water-based paints rather than solvent-based ones;
  • using mechanical methods for applying paint, or purchase solvents in smaller containers to avoid the need for decanting;
  • restricting access to processes or work in areas that may lead to exposure;
  • provision of adequate washing facilities and encouraging workers to wash thoroughly after contact with sensitizing chemicals;
  • provision of suitable information, instruction and training to anyone who may be exposed to an agent that causes dermatitis, so that they are aware of the risks, know how to use the control measures and can spot the symptoms;
  • supervision of workers to check that they are following the information, instruction and training they have been given;
  • ensure that suitable skincare or barrier cream products are available to workers; and
  • protective gloves are only used as a last resort if other methods of control do not provide effective protection;
  • Regular health surveillance provided to address ‘catch’ symptoms before they escalate.

3.6 Intoxicants

As per the opinion and the points of Feuerle, Steen & Hecker, (2015) under Section 13 of the Safety Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005 an employee shall, while at work, ensure that they are not under the influence of an intoxicant to the extent that they may endanger their own safety or the safety of others. The definition of intoxicant in the Act defines the term “intoxicant” as including drugs or alcohol or a combination of both. It, therefore, includes alcohol, prescribed drugs, over the counter medication and illegal substances.

In line with legislation, every organization should consider drawing up a policy, and include or refer to it in its safety statement. Having an intoxicant policy in place means that employee incidents involving intoxicants, even if isolated, can be dealt with properly, and the potential difficulties of an ad hoc response avoided (Duncan, 2006). There are three types of testing that can arise

  • pre-employment testing
  • random testing
  • with-cause testing

An intoxicants policy would normally:

  • define the objective of the policy
  • clearly define what constitutes a serious breach under the policy
  • describe how decisions will be reached in suspected cases of intoxicants use if testing is not utilized
  • indicate the disciplinary action that will be taken
  • outline the assistance for addiction
  • apply to everyone within the organization
  • define searching policy and limitations (if applicable)
  • Outline the company approach to reporting of possession of illicit drugs and disciplinary action (DiDomenico, 2006).

3.7 Manual handling

Annual statistics published by the HSA show that manual handling continues to be one of the primary causes of injury in the workplace reported to the Authority, with about 1 in every three accidents falling into this category (Mandelstam, 2002).

Manual handling tasks carried out using incorrect technique and without due regard to individual capability significantly increases the risk of injury to the back. These injuries range in severity from soft tissue injuries to more serious and permanent injury to discs. However, in all cases, they are likely to lead to lost time from work.

According to the opinion of Ridley& Channing, (2003), a number of factors affect the likelihood of injury occurring during manual handling and employers are obliged to carry out a specific risk assessment for all manual handling tasks to identify high-risk factors and reduce them to as low as possible in conjunction with any training provided. These factors can include the weight of the load, the distance and frequency of lifts, stretching or stooping, production demands, fitness, floor conditions and space constraints for example (Dalton, 1998).

Risk Assessment

A manual handling risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person in consultation with employees and must identify the specific aspects or part of the operation that could increase the risk of an injury to employees. Measures must then be put in place to reduce that risk and may include:-

  • avoiding the need for manual handling
  • using mechanical aids
  • reducing the number of lifts or weight of lifts
  • training and supervision of employees

Training is only one measure that can be taken to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling activities. Any training provided to employees must be relevant to the types of tasks carried out in the workplace and ideally should be provided by an instructor familiar with the particular manual handling activities of the employment. The most cost-effective means of providing such training is through having an ‘in-house’ manual handling instructor (Crosta, Dal Negro, & Frattini, 2003).

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3.8 Workplace temperature

The last but not the least factor is the condition of the weather inside the workplace. The employees’ comfort and the betterment is all that would give the organization a better future. The temperature at the workplace is it too hot or cold will be affecting the employees and their working in the long run (Cournoyer & Maestas, 2004). Hence the factor should be kept in mind and in the same way it should be carried on in order to provide the best possible options to work with.

3.9 The working of Qatar Steel

Until now the factors which affect the health and the safety management in an organization are taken care of in the general platform (Resdow 2010). The policies followed by the Qatar steel in order to control to the health and safety hazards are made looking at the requirement and the benefit of the employees. The company happens to follow the rules and the regulations on the basis of the HSE and provides a satisfactory working environment to the employees. The company maintains the health and the safety of the workers and at the same time determines the factors that could cause the damage. The damage is then judged and accordingly, the proceedings are made (hsa.ie 2015).

4.0 Conclusion

Employers must be able to show that they are “managing and conducting” health and safety. Thus evidence of an integrated health and safety management is required.

Typically the management of Health and Safety falls into one of three categories:

a) General Health and Safety Management
For successful management of health and safety in the workplace, there are a number of key elements to consider (Colombini, 2013). For many organizations, the focus can be on having the right documentation in place but correct documentation is only the first step. The mechanisms of communication and consultation in an organization play a major role in making sure that the documentation works properly. Following are some of the key issues employers must tackle to ensure successful health and safety management.

b) Accident Management and Investigation
Accidents can have a huge impact on both the business and your employees. Good accident management will ensure that any lessons to be learnt from an occurrence derive maximum benefit to the organization and more importantly prevent reoccurrence in the future. Following are some key factors in accident management and investigation (Collins, & Schneid,2001).

c) Fire and Emergency Planning
Effective fire and emergency planning can be the difference between life and death in more than one sense. As per Choudhary, (1981) there are minimum fire and emergency requirements set down for every Irish business in the legislation and these are outlined below.

The firm is also recommended to follow the legislative principles.

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The health, safety and welfare of employees in Ireland are governed by national legislation, much of which is derived from European Directives.
The primary piece of legislation governing the duties of employers to keep their workforce safe and healthy is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
There are a number of additional Acts relating to health and safety for example:-
Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998
Chemicals Act, 2008
Chemical Weapons Act, 1997
Organization of Working Time Act, 1997
There are also a significant number of regulations that apply to places of work within Ireland which provide more details of the regulatory requirements under primary legislation (Acts). The most significant regulation is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 which contains many of the provisions that apply to almost all workplaces.
In addition to legislation, there are a number of ‘Codes of Practice’ that also relate to health and safety in the workplace (Chen, Geng, & Zhu, 2013).

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