WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY: RISK MANAGEMENT

This essay describes contemporary WHS (Risk Management) practices in the company and their impact to the
workers. From this research, the company is at a great extent compliant with Workplace Health and Safety
regulations in making work environment safe and healthier. However, the company is disinclined due to limited
resources and thus it is difficult for it to train, replace or provide its workers with protection tools in
their work. Otherwise, there is a positive preference of the management in developing a cost effective
framework of WHS system.
I currently work in a seed production company. The company has more than 3000 employees that facilitate
different activities in various production units. Offloading, loading, transportation, driving, purification
of seeds, sorting, branding, packing and storing are some of the tasks that workers perform in the company
besides those who work as engineers in maintaining company’s machines and equipments run efficiently.
Most of the working places in the company expose these workers to risks. Workers operating grinding machines
get exposed to loud noise produced by these machines. Those working in the sorting department get exposed to
chemicals.
On the other hand, the company has limited housing to accommodate all the workers in the production plant.
Therefore, workers that fail to secure a house within the company’s premise are forced to look for
accommodation besides a busy road. These workers are stressed up with vehicles when they try to cross the
road while coming to work and going back after work. The fly-over would be the best for them in reducing
accident risks that perhaps may occur while crossing the road.
These are the main Work Health and Safety (Risk Management) that concerns workers: Machine safety, chemical
and hazardous materials, use of electrical equipment, noise, injuries from slips and falls, loading,
offloading, transportation (heavy loads), dusts and housing.
If we reflect on the working environment of the workers in USA, surely the company needs to improve on these
working conditions since high productivity will only be reached by employees working in safe environment.
Part II
Risk Identification
The company has WHS system that identifies risks using the following protocols;
? Review of the past accidents and incidents whereby workers and visitors are interviewed based on the
close causes of those accidents,
? Consulting workers while focusing on WHS complaints. This describes the amount of tasks and
responsibilities assigned to worker in the workplace.
? Hazard Inspection in workplaces by use of pro-forma done by Health and Safety Team and a supervisor
and
? Reviewing of standards of equipment and machines used in the work place, for instance, WHS
Regulation Requirements, Australian Standards, business experience and Code of practice in that particular
work place.
This system appears to be quite effective as reflected by the following data from the annual report of the
company;
Injury type 2006 2007
Back Pain 32.6% 29.9%
Highway Incidents 9.7% 2.1%
Mental Illness (work place stress) 27.5% 27%
Chemical burns 12.5% 9.4%
Injuries from falls and slips 45% 36%
WHS and risk management systems in place (risk control process)
Risk management involves eliminating, avoiding, reducing, transferring or insuring. Therefore, the department
of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) of the company has ensured that;
• There is WHS Back Education Project which shares knowledge to the workers on how to treat a painful
back. This treatment focuses on modifying the amount of load that causes back pain besides the clinical
treatment and at the end of the day the risk will have been eliminated.
• There is WHS Quality Assurance Standards Committee that monitors and evaluates the current
occupational and safety policies of the company and modifies if standards and precautions are outdated. The
committee uses an assumption that when there is achievement of high performance standards, risks are normally
low, therefore lost time linked to injuries are reduced.
The company is dedicated to the legislative framework of consultation derived from WHS Regulations 2001-
Chapter 2 and the code of practice which allows workers and management in identifying hazards, making
decisions on how to eliminate risks, decision on adequate facilities and proposing changes that may affect
the health of the workers. It also ensures that Emergency plans-Clause 43 and Electrical Equipment-Clause 162
is rightfully enforced.
The company has complied with Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances-National Model Regulations 1994 by
ensuring that workers in the department are provided with the required materials for handling chemical, for
instance gloves, overalls and masks. The company also ensures that there is guidance on how to handle
Hazardous Substances as the policy suggests-NOH&SC:1003. This has eased the departmental heads role in
enforcing standards of Victorian Code of Practice and Regulations.
System for Assessment at Workplace
The company uses Human Resource Information System (HRIS) to identify, assess, evaluate and control hazards
in the work place. This is because HR department normally concentrate in worker’s welfare. A risk matrix is
used to analyze and prioritize these hazards whereby it calculates rate of impact of a hazard in causing
harm. Therefore, those risks with high rate of impact are prioritized first than those with low rate which
are controlled later.
How it works (HRIS)
Risk Management Team of the company audits WHS procedures, inspection reports, workplace reports, workplace
meeting agendas, training plans, hazardous substance registers, equipment and machines maintenance, injury
records and medical records. The information gathered from these audits is used to investigate an effective
plan, environmental and behavioral system to either reduce the rate of exposure or to completely remove the
hazard. It is also used to identify priorities in remedying these hazards.
Hazard control: The system controls the hazard by;
• Developing a procedure of investigation-What type of injury/accident occurs frequently? Where do they
occur frequently? What time of the day or of the week do incident occur? What type of machine/equipment leads
to this accident? And which hazard results from this accident?
• Developing a hazard report form containing immediate action taken, place of hazard occurrence, time
and date and recommended actions.
• Actions are taken by Health and Safety Committee by training workers, replacing faulty machines,
purchasing safety equipment to the workers (masks and gloves) and consulting with workers.
• In managing specific risks, the company have stick on to the following legislations;
? Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (2007) on Hazardous Substances and Carcinogenic
Substances-part 4.1 and Part 4.2 respectively, Drugs and Poisons Controlled Substance Act (1981), and
Dangerous Goods Regulations (2000). For instance, the company has ensured that those workers working in
chemical section are provided with gloves and masks to reduce the rate of exposure.
In handling of noise, the company under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 has ensured that those workers
working in grinding machines are provided with ear masks to prevent loud noises from damaging their earring
ability. WHS Team of the company has also put in place a management plan that review and implement specific
standards required by the policy.
With the guidance of Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001, the company ahs implemented Systematic
Risk Management Process which is sustained by Industry Codes of Practice, Australian Standards (AS),
Australian and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) and the National Standards. Some of the Industry Codes Include
Noise Management and Protection of Hearing at Work (1997), AS include AS/NZS 2293: 1995-Emergency Evacuation
Lighting for Buildings.
The organization uses Human Resource Information System (HRIS) when reporting accidents and incident of
hazards. For instance, when a worker gets seriously injured, representative in the workplace notifies the
organization about the injury which is thereafter followed up. The organization is guided by the Australian
Standard 1885.1 when recording and keeping statistics of workplace injury that resulted to lose of time by a
worker. Nevertheless, notification of other incidents for instance death or infectious disease is kept on
recorded in risk register. Risk register is used to monitor worker’s health and safety performance, training
programs that the worker has undergone and consultative meetings on risk management. WHS training program
include procedures of how to develop risk management plan, labeling of substances to avoid confusion,
introduction of new employees and the importance of using safety materials in the workplace (WHS, Labels and
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Regulation 2012 and National Code of Practice for Labeling Workplace Substances;
NOHSC:2012 (1994)).
The management chain of the company together with OHS members and representatives have integrated
consultation process into the framework of Workplace Risk Management as it is the requirement of NSW OHS Act
2000. This action has keep employee safe, healthy and unharmed. Furthermore, through consultation employees
have become conversant to the guidelines of WHS.
Part III
The management of the company requests all the departmental leaders to comply with OHS Regulations 2001
Chapters 3-Workplace Consultation, Chapter 4-Work site and working environment, manual handling, Chapter
6-How to handle Hazardous Substances, Chapter 8-OHS induction Training and work structure and Chapter
12-Review of Work Cover assessments.
It is the responsibility of the employer as required by WHS Act to ensure safe work practice by use of safe
equipments, to ensure that there is regular training and supervision of workers in their work environment, to
ensure that workers are acquainted with safe work measures and to carry out ordinary risk identification,
evaluation and control in the work environment.
Job descriptions of the company contain all the responsibilities to be carried by the supervisors concern.
These responsibilities are shared among the OHS committee members who ensure that;
? All the machines and equipment, whether for transport, handling or storage are safe without risks,
? There is an effective communication system for passing health information and training to workers and
for auditing procedures as well.
By and large, this assessment activity has guided me to know much on Workplace Health Safety of workers which
is a significant avenue to organizational performance. These policies have greatly support the performance of
the organization especially during the induction of a new worker in the organization. It provides stability
and understanding as well when acquainting to WHS duties and responsibilities not only of the employers but
also workers particularly when they are reporting incidences and accidents. Furthermore, WorkCover Authority
of NSW facilitates formal OHS training by endorsing a registered training agency with an assessor.
In conclusion, the overall structure of the company is in full support to manage work place risks. However,
sensitization of other co-workers needs to press on to reduce more risks. Otherwise, team leaders are talking
their responsibilities well in enforcing safety standards in the workplace.
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