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Posted: November 24th, 2022

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Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY RESULTING FROM

Instructor sInstitution sCourse sDate

The Department of Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a multidisciplinary strategy that addresses all aspects of safety in the workplace, with a particular emphasis on practices that reduce the likelihood of workplace risks. Different health and safety guidelines have been developed to help organizations reduce the hazards and risks that they face. This paper will examine the differences and similarities between the International Labor Organization’s Guidelines on Occupational Health and Safety Management and the World Health Organization’s Healthy workplaces: a model for action guidelines, as well as the implications of adopting a combined approach.
The Purpose of Workplace Safety and Health Management Systems
Employment has a critical role in the generation of economic resources, which are necessary in today’s society in order to meet basic psychosocial demands. As a result, labor serves as a vehicle for the majority of individuals to better their own well-being as well as the welfare of their families, friends, and members of their community. While work is an important component of modern living, people’s quality of life is influenced by their physical and mental health (Waddell and Burton, 2006). The well-being of employees is vital, and it affects millions of people around the world. However, the concern for the health and safety of workers extends beyond them and their immediate family members.
Furthermore, the capacity of employees to work in a healthy and safe environment is seen as a fundamental human right. It is estimated that over two million individuals die each year as a result of accidents in the workplace or occupational diseases in general. There have also been numerous recorded workplace accidents and work-related diseases around the world (Facts on Safety and health at work, 2009). The International Labour Organization (ILO) developed the occupational health and safety management system in order to promote and protect workers while also providing a safe working environment for them. When it comes to the health sector, occupational health and safety (OHS) is designed to protect and promote workers’ health through the control and prevention of occupational hazards, diseases, and accidents. This is accomplished by removing factors and conditions at work that are hazardous to their safety and health.
A large number of businesses have different departments that are responsible for different aspects of occupational health and safety. Some companies have a human resource department that is responsible for the overall well-being of their employees. Additionally, a health and safety department is concerned with the safety and health of employees in their place of employment. As a result, the interaction between the human resource department and the health and safety department is critical to the psychological well-being of the employees. As a result, the WHO model of action integrates all of the critical elements in all departments in order to ensure that health, well-being, and worker safety are effectively implemented in a specific workplace.
Additionally, in order to keep up with the latest innovations in occupational health and safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) supported the Global Plan of Action in an effort to provide guidance to organizations and businesses in the development of stronger health and safety rules. With the help of stakeholder consultations with representatives from various industries, adaptable and realistic recommendations for the establishment of occupational health and safety programs were devised.
Workers may be exposed to risks that are physical, biological, and psychosocial in nature. Workplace psychosocial hazards such as violence, substance misuse, and stress may harm employees as well (Martinelli, 2019, n.p.). According to the World Health Organization, every worker should be able to work in a safe and healthy environment that allows them to lead a life that is both economically and socially productive (Amponsah-Tawiah and Dartey-Baah, 2015, 119). The Global Plan of Action serves as a reference framework for the promotion of health and safety initiatives that aim to improve, protect, and promote employees’ health and safety in a variety of work environments.
Furthermore, the employee’s personal well-being has a considerable impact on his or her ability to be productive. The term “well-being” refers to one’s own personal perspective on life, regardless of whether one is at one’s place of employment. When determining the status of an employee’s well-being, aspects such as physical and mental health, as well as personal feelings about their progress, are taken into account (HSE Network, 2020, n.p.). Workers who are involved in a large amount of safety and health management are required to be in good mental and physical shape.
Occupational Health and Safety: Different Approaches
Despite the fact that concerns about occupational health are common in many businesses, the measures taken by employers to workplace safety vary from industry to industry. Organizations are also required to have workplace safety rules in place to protect their employees from any hazards on the job. As a result, when developing their programs, businesses can choose from one of four techniques: static, reactive, active, or dynamic approaches, depending on their needs (Four Approaches to Workplace Safety, 2020, n.p.). The dynamic method is the most effective approach when applied by firms that are sincerely committed to developing a health and safety culture and investing in it.
However, there is a paucity of education in the marketing of workplace psychosocial risks to employees, as seen by the low levels of education. According to Sivris and Leka (2015), understanding how to effectively manage and prevent occupational health and safety problems corresponds to the WHO model of healthy workplaces, which emphasizes dialogue with all stakeholders as well as the implementation of continuous improvement practices in occupational health and safety management.
Furthermore, because of disparities in available resources, the safety programs of small businesses often fall short of the safety standards of large operations. According to a study by Bogna et al. (2014), which looked at the design of occupational safety and health interventions and their impact on small and medium-sized firms, a lack of resources and technical skills hampered the implementation of OSH programs. Furthermore, the findings of the study indicate that the context of a business is a critical aspect in the development of an occupational safety and health program. Furthermore, the traditional safety model at work stations implies that accidents are caused by the negligence of employees and their failure to protect themselves by following safety regulations. When it comes to responding to workplace dangers, the model, on the other hand, takes a reactive strategy (Jonathan and Mbogo, 2016, 1). Also excluded are the health consequences of poisonous gases and noise, to name a few examples of environmental toxins. The current occupational health and safety approach, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of shared responsibility between employees and employers in the reduction of workplace hazards. In addition to conventional values, new values such as well-being were incorporated into the model to complete it. The findings of studies on the management of psychosocial hazards in businesses have revealed that clearer leadership is essential in order to mitigate the risks. According to Jespersen et al. (2015), psychosocial management and systems control are insufficient in many organizations when compared to the amount of psychosocial health issues that are observed in the workplace. Correct advise on the deployment of certified management systems can have a major impact on the psychological requirements of employees.
Nonetheless, the growth of industrial technologies is likely to result in the digitization of industries, which would increase the danger of job loss. It is anticipated that as a result of industrial technology improvements, around 66.6 percent of the workforce in developing countries will be rendered redundant (Balliester and Elsheikhi, 2018, 9). It is anticipated that the implementation of robotic technology will result in a movement of jobs from developing to developed countries As a result of this trend, people will be forced to seek jobs in non-traditional settings (Balaram, 2017, n.p.). These types of employment are characterized by significantly poor working conditions as well as a lower level of workplace safety. According to research findings, workers who are employed on a temporary basis suffer more health consequences and are more likely to become ill or distressed (Pirani and Salvini, 2015, 128). Temporary employment has negative consequences that accumulate over time. As a result, working ability and productivity are both diminished as a result. Temporary workers are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of bad working conditions, which occur more frequently during economic downturns.
Because of labor issues, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) developed guidelines aimed at protecting employees from occupational exposures and preventing workplace-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The World Health Organization Workers’ health: A global plan of action establishes a framework for boosting occupational health and safety in the workplace (Healthy workplaces model action, 2020, 1). The recommendations are well-suited to the changing nature of industrial technology and competitiveness, which has a significant impact on working conditions.
The similarities and differences between the WHO’s Healthy Workplaces Model and the International Labor Organization’s Guidelines on Occupational Health and Safety Management
There are numerous parallels between the International Labor Organization’s standards and the model of action for healthy workplaces. The underlying objectives of the two models are similar in that they both aim to provide general principles for developing safe workplaces for employees. Each guideline aims to identify issues that need to be taken into consideration as well as processes that will be the most successful for employers and managers in building safe workplace environments. The models are also comparable in that they are both grounded by the plan, do, check, act cycle, which is intended at gaining and mobilizing employers to commit and accept improvements in their workplace. Apart from that, the documents aim to activate programs in four major areas: the physical environment, personal health resources, the psychological environment, and participation of the enterprise in the community. In both cases, the emphasis is on following the step-by-step process that is involved in mobilizing and involving workers behind a set of shared values and ethical principles and principles.
Another similarity is that both models are based on the need to create measures and solutions to aid in the identification of hazards to employees before they happen. In doing so, the programs will protect the workers and the enterprise in lowering the rates of accidents happening. As such, the programs will reduce the cost associated with reimbursing accident victims. Also, both models action plans are focusd on the future, where companies consider the cost as a result of accidents and th cost of accident prevention, thus making the entrpriss more competitive and succssful.
Additionally, both the OHS and WHO model of action for healthy workplaces outline a guideline for the mobilization, assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and channels for improvement of the existing organization policies. However, the program varies in that the OSH guidelines require national input in establishing national frameworks guided by national laws and regulations. The formulation of a national policy is to be prepared by representative organizations, workers’ bodies, and institutions. The policy established it to guide of providing general principles and procedures. The guideline also provides a working framework to organizations leaving them to establish needs necessary in the organization. Also, the OHS’s tailored guidelines contain the national guiding policy’s generic elements and reflect on specific needs and conditions to be met by organizations.
On the other hand, the WHO healthy workplaces model of action provides the framework for establishing a safe and healthy workplace. Contrary to ILO OSH guidelines, there are no laws in the WHO healthy workplaces model of action that require employers to promote a healthy culture in the workstation. Also, the model of action adapts the best methods based on knowledge and experiences collected worldwide. Also, the guidelines are peer-reviewed by key agencies and ILO.
Creating a Combined Occupation Health and Safety Approach
Work plays a crucial role in shaping the aging process during the adult years. The physical, mental, and cognitive aspects of humans are affected by the work environment. As such, work is an essential aspect that requires careful consideration in the context of the desire to raise life expectancy or working populations worldwide. Even with inadequate social protection, people in low and middle-income countries are starting to live longer, and most have to work nearly all through their life. For instance, in India, most older people working in the informal sector cannot provide any financial support (Staudinger, Finkelstein, Calvo, and Sivaramakrishnan, 2016, S288). The high prevalence of informal labor in low and middle-income countries offers challenges to developing policies that support the healthy participation of older adults’ labor force. However, in high-income countries, the redesign of support programs offers challenges in designing a program that will not discourage abled people from continuing with paid employment.
Further, shift work has undesirable effects on the health of people working outside the normal daytime hours. Workers working late at night and early hours of the morning are, particularly at risk. Research results on shift work effects on workers indicate possible problems with sleep patterns, fatigue, disturbed appetite and digestion, and disruption in internal cardiac rhythm (Folkard and Tucker, 2003, 1). The report also indicates that social and domestic problems may arise. Such problems affect individual performances increasing the likelihood of errors leading to accidents. They also do have negative effects on health. As such, workers engaged in shift work may engage in unhealthy behavior such as smoking, consuming alcoholic beverages, living a sedentary lifestyle, and acquiring conditions like obesity.
Moreover, the health status in work station directly affects the productivity of the team. In the current industrial economy, shift work, and people in non-standard forms of employment are common occurrences (Black, 2008, 72). Due to the problems posed by these kinds of work, it is necessary to develop a holistic occupation health and safety model of action that combines ILO OSH guidelines and WHO healthy workers model of action. The action will minimize the cost of lost days at work due to sickness and eliminate the occurrence of social inclusion. Also, the report by Dame Carol Black outlines the importance of preventing illnesses and promoting health and well-being (Black, 2008, 72). The report also recommends having provisions for early intervention for workers who develop problems and avenues to improve those out of work.
Finally, a holistic approach would improve physical work environments and enhance the psychosocial work environment. It also provides personal health resource support equipment and facilities and promotes the enterprise community environment. Implementing a holistic approach to maintain employee health and well-being involves applying a proactive approach to employee health. As such, the primary targets of a proactive approach will set up programs that foster a healthy lifestyle that involves a healthy diet, fitness, and weight management. Besides, the approach facilitates the adoption of programs to prevent or provide early intervention to diseases, such as hypertension screening and offering smoking help. A proactive approach also fosters developing programs that facilitate return to work interventions for workers with existing diseases and conditions such as diabetes. Essentially, the success of occupational health promotion programs is determined by the design and execution of the occupational health and safety. Therefore, workplace interventions that are well planned, coordinated, and employ an integrated approach to reducing hazard exposure to workers are more effective than traditional isolated safety programs.
Conclusion
In a nutshell, occupational health and safety deal with welfare in a workstation, emphasizing practices that prevent workplace hazards. The traditional model of safeguarding health and Safety utilizes a reactive approach that mainly focuses on well-being’s physical aspects. The approach also lays responsibility to employees to take care of their Safety by observing the outline guidelines. However, the modern model holds employees and employers with a shared responsibility to keep health and safety in work stations. The WHO healthy workplaces model of action and the ILO OSH guidelines give a model through which organizations can mobilize, assess, plan, implement, evaluate, and improve organizational safety programs. These guidelines aim to protect people working in informal employment, especially in low-income countries with people working for many years of their lives and poor working conditions. A holistic approach would work best to improve workers’ well-being in the physical, psychosocial, personal health, and community realms. A holistic model utilizes a proactive approach in organizations to foster workers to maintain a healthy lifestyle and provide early intervention avenues. The design and execution of occupational health significantly affect the success of health programs in a workstation. Given this observation, well-being should be considered as a priority at workspaces as a way to strengthen the safety of workers. Thus, coordinating and integrating occupational health and Safety, and complementing it with health promotion, results in increased program participation.

Reference List
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Amponsah-Tawiah, K. & Dartey-Baah, K., 2015. Occupational Health and Safety: Key Issues and Concerns in Ghana. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(14), pp. 119-126.
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Available at: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/certificate-recognition/occupational-health-safety-management-systems#:~:text=An%20occupational%20health%20and%20safety,into%20your%20other%20business%20processes. (Accessed: 19 December 2020) .
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