Importance of Health and Safety Programmes in an Organization

Employee health and safety in the workplace

The achievement of the highest standards of health and safety in the workplace is important because the elimination, or at least minimization, of health and safety hazards and risks is the moral as well as the legal responsibility of employers. Close and continuous attention to health and safety is important because ill-health and injuries inflicted by the system of work or working conditions cause suffering and loss to individuals and their dependants. In addition, accidents and absences through ill-health or injuries result in losses and damage for the organization.

Research has established that the tangible benefits from better health and safety management include higher productivity, lower absence, avoiding the cost of accidents and litigation, meeting client demands, and improved staff morale and employee relations. Some organizations have managed to overcome the common perception that health and safety is a compliance or staff welfare issue, and used initiatives in this area to add value to the business.

Managing health and safety at work involves:

  • developing health and safety policies;
  • conducting risk assessments which identify hazards and assess the risks attached to them;
  • carrying out health and safety audits and inspections;
  • implementing occupational health programmes;
  • managing stress; preventing accidents; measuring health and safety performance;
  • communicating the need for good health and safety practices;
  • training in good health and safety practices; and
  • organizing health and safety.

HR Department’s Responsibilities

Although line managers are primarily responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy working environment, HR department staff provides expertise to assist them to deal adequately with these important matters. In addition, HR manager is usually responsible for coordinating and monitoring specific health and safety programmes.

Most countries enact laws governing health, safety and basic welfare of employees in the workplace, and it is essential for the HR manager to ensure that management and employees are fully aware of their moral and legal obligations and responsibilities. These responsibilities include a number of preventive measures which can be taken under the coordination of HR department.

The main responsibilities of HR department include: prevention of accidents; creating safety consciousness; making people safe; Making the job safe; Making the work environment safe; Making the work environment safe; provision of Adequate training in the correct use of machinery and equipment is essential as well as establishing Safety committees.

Health and Safety Policies

Written health and safety policies are important to show that top management is concerned about the protection of the organization’s employees from hazards at work and to indicate how this protection will be provided. They are, therefore, first, a declaration of intent, second, a definition of the means by which that intent will be realized, and third, a statement of the guidelines that should be followed by everyone concerned including all employees in implementing the policy.

The policy statement should consist of three parts: the general policy statement; the description of the organization for health and safety; and details of arrangements for implementing the policy.

The general policy statement should be a declaration of the intention of the employer to safeguard the health and safety of employees and should emphasize four fundamental points:

  • That the safety of employees and the public is of paramount importance;
  • That safety takes precedence over expediency;
  • That every effort will be made to involve all managers, team leaders and employees in the development and implementation of health and safety procedures; and
  • That health and safety legislation will be complied with in the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

The Organization section of the policy statement should describe the health and safety organization of the company through which standards are set and achieved by people at all levels in the organization.

This statement should state the responsibility of top management for the health and safety performance of the organization. It should then indicate how key management personnel are held accountable for performance in their areas. The role of safety representatives and safety committees should be defined, and the duties of specialists such as the safety adviser and the medical officer should be summarized.

Leave a Reply