. Introduction

What is occupational health and safety? Occupational health and safety is a discipline with a broad scope involving many specialized fields. In its broadest sense, it should aim at:





the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations; the prevention among workers of adverse effects on health caused by their working conditions; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to physical and mental needs; the adaptation of work to humans.

In other words, occupational health and safety encompasses the social, mental and physical well-being of workers, that is the whole person . Successful occupational health and safety practice requires the collaboration and participation of both employers and workers in health and safety programmes, and involves the consideration of issues relating to occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, toxicology, education, engineering safety, ergonomics, psychology, etc. Occupational health issues are often given less attention than occupational safety issues because the former are generally more difficult to confront. However, when health is addressed, so is safety, because a healthy workplace is by definition also a safe workplace. The converse, though, may not be true - a so-called safe workplace is not necessarily also a healthy workplace. The important point is that issues of both health and safety must be addressed in every workplace. By and large, the definition of occupational health and safety given above encompasses both health and safety in their broadest contexts. Efforts in occupational health and safety must aim to prevent industrial accidents and diseases, and at the same time recognize the connection between worker health and safety, the workplace, and the environment outside the workplace.

etc. Yet this is not the case for many workers. work environments should be safe and healthy. some employers do not even know that they have the moral and often legal responsibility to protect workers. As a result of the hazards and a lack of attention given to health and safety. the . worker health and safety efforts are ongoing. since most workers spend at least eight hours a day in the workplace. it is crucial that employers. extreme temperatures. vibration.at the source whenever possible. Unfortunately some employers assume little responsibility for the protection of workers' health and safety. A. such as: y y y y y dusts. health and safety in the workplace has improved in most industrialized countries over the past 20 to 30 years. whether it is on a plantation. workers and unions are committed to health and safety and that: y y y y y workplace hazards are controlled . Accidents y In general. Every day workers all over the world are faced with a multitude of health hazards. in an office. both workers and employers are informed about health and safety risks in the workplace. factory. work-related accidents and diseases are common in all parts of the world. there is an active and effective health and safety committee that includes both workers and management. However. gases. Therefore. In fact. Health and safety programmes For all of the reasons given above.Why is occupational health and safety important? Work plays a central role in people's lives. noise. records of any exposure are maintained for many years.

accidents are often indirectly caused by negligence on the part of the employer who may not have provided adequate worker training. (Since many countries do not have accurate record-keeping and reporting mechanisms.000 of these accidents are fatal (result in death). It is estimated that at least 250 million occupational accidents occur every year worldwide. It is equally important to promote the development of occupational health services. The consistently high fatal accident rates in developing countries emphasize the need for occupational health and safety education programmes that focus on prevention. including forestry and logging. etc. or a supplier who gave the wrong information about a product. it can be assumed that the real figures are much higher than this. improved first-aid and medical facilities in the industrialized countries. including the training of doctors to recognize work-related diseases in the early stages. and construction. the cause of an industrial injury is easy to identify.y y y situation in developing countries is relatively unclear largely because of inadequate accident and disease recognition. record-keeping and reporting mechanisms.) The number of fatal accidents is much higher in developing countries than in industrialized ones. Identifying the cause of an accident In some cases. and to active participation of workers in the decision-making process on health and safety issues. y B. Some of the industries with the highest risk of accidents worldwide are: mining. This difference is primarily due to better health and safety programmes. Diseases . very often there is a hidden chain of events behind the accident which led up to the injury. However. 335. For example. agriculture.

musculoskeletal disorders such as permanent back injuries or muscle disorders. etc. and noise-induced hearing loss (caused by noise. stress-related disorders. silicosis (caused by silica. which is common in battery plants. the dose. etc. which is common in many workplaces. paint factories. Some occupational diseases have been recognized for many years. such as presses or drills. and workplaces where noisy machines. the route of exposure. including airports. etc. which is common in mining. lead poisoning (caused by lead. There are also a number of potentially crippling health problems that can be associated with poor working conditions. These numbers look small for a variety of reasons that include: . reproductive problems. etc. sandblasting. which is common in insulation. etc. Many developing countries report only a small number of workers affected by work-related diseases. including: y y y y y heart disease.). allergies.Exposure to hazards in the workplace can lead to serious illness. automobile brake linings. and affect workers in different ways depending on the nature of the hazard.). Some well known occupational diseases include: y y y y asbestosis (caused by asbestos.). are used).

Because of these reasons and others. Identifying the cause of occupational disease The cause of work-related diseases is very often difficult to determine. overall. educators. in both developing and industrialized countries. It was adopted by the joint ilo/who committee on occupational health at its first session in 1950 and revised at . These new and unknown hazards present great challenges to workers.. Since 1950. Other factors such as changing jobs. or personal behaviours (such as smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol) further increase the difficulty of linking workplace exposures to a disease outcome. By the time the disease is identified. a lack of occupational health facilities. a lack of health care practitioners who are trained to recognize workrelated diseases. it is fair to assume that in reality. 2 ) The concept of OSHA . the numbers of workers afflicted with occupational diseases are much higher. it may be too late to do anything about it or to find out what hazards the worker was exposed to in the past. Although more is understood now about some occupational hazards than in the past. the international labor organization (ilo) and the world health organization (who) have shared a common definition of occupational health. that is to everyone concerned about workers' health and the effects that hazardous agents have on the environment. One factor is the latency period (the fact that it may take years before the disease produces an obvious effect on the worker's health). and scientists.y y y inadequate or non-existent reporting mechanisms. In fact. not decreasing. the number of cases and types of occupational diseases are increasing. every year new chemicals and new technologies are being introduced which present new and often unknown hazards to both workers and the community. employers.

The definition reads: ³occupational health should aim at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical. It is this: if strategic hrm means anything. and 23 million working days were lost annually on account of industrial injury and disease. the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job. Such statistics led investigators to argue that µfor both humanitarian and .000 employees suffered injuries in varying degrees of severity. mental and social wellbeing of workers in all occupations. something like a thousand employees was killed at their work in the uk. The implication of this is that work can be made safe simply by changing the behavior of employees by poster campaigns and accident prevention training. it must encompasses the development and promotion of a set of health and safety policies to protect the organization¶s most valued asset. However. This is one reason ± together with the rising cost of health. workplace health and safety is underresearched by hrm scholars and has been largely neglected in the hrm discourse.´ Need for more research on health and safety of employees: Compared to other elements of the hrm model. the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health. Every year of that decade about 500. the placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological capabilities.its twelfth session in 1995. The changing approach to workplace health and safety: The traditional approach to safety in the workplace used the µcareless worker¶ model. and. In the 1960s. there is another important reason why hrm scholars and practitioners need to pay more attention to health and safety. to summarize. the prevention amongst workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions. new laws and the µderegulatory¶ proposals ± why more research should be devoted to workplace health and safety by hrm specialists. It was assumed by most employer and the accident prevention bodies that most of the accidents were due to an employee¶s failure to take safety seriously or to protect herself or himself. its employees.

it has been recognized that the µcareless worker¶ model does not explain occupational ill-health caused by toxic substances.economic reasons. 1972). and badly designed and unsafe of work. Training . It is safe to assume that in the recruitment process potential applicants will be more likely to be attracted to an organization that has a reputation for offering a healthy and safe work environment for employees. appraisal. a good safety record or suggestions to improve health and safety. the µshared responsibility¶ model. noise. Safe work behavior can be encouraged by a reward system that ties bonus payments to the safety record of a work group or section. injury and disease and waste must be regarded as the inevitable price of meeting its needs for goods and services¶ (robens. Moreover. there has been a growing interest in occupational health and safety. The appraisal of a manager¶s performance that incorporates the safety record of a department or section can also facilitate health and safety. Some organizations also provide prizes to their employees for safe work behavior. Since the robens report. Health and safety and the HRM cycle: The employer has a duty to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. The maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace can be facilitated in the selection process by selecting applicants with personality traits that decrease the likelihood of accident. Health and safety considerations and policy can affect the selection process in two ways. assumes that the best way to reduce levels of occupational accidents and disease relies on the cooperation of both employers and employees: a µself-generating effort¶ between µthose who create the risks and those who work with them¶ (robens. Nor does this perspective highlight the importance of job stress. 1972). no society can accept with complacency that such levels of death. A new approach to occupational health and safety. Research suggests that safety programs are more effective when the accident rates of their sections are an important criterion of managerial performance. The health and safety function is directly related to the elements of the hrm cycle ± selection. rewards and training. fatigue and poor working environments in contributing to the causes of accidents.

If work-related illness and accidents can be transposed on to the balance sheet the organization can apply the same management effort and creativity to designing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace as managers customarily apply to other facets of the business.and hr development play a critical role in promoting health and safety awareness among employees. in less typical cases and the cost associated with loss of revenue on orders cancelled or lost if the accident causes a net long-term reduction on sales. disabilities. absenteeism. The importance of health and safety: In addition to improving and reducing costs. The indirect costs include overtime payments necessary to make up for lost production. or illness. health and safety measures which protect employees from the hazards of the workplace can conflict with management¶s objective of containing production costs. Costs of health and safety of employees: Workplace health and safety raises the question of economic costs. On the other hand. The economic cost of occupational health and safety to the organization is double-edged. maintaining a healthy and safe work environment helps to facilitate employees¶ commitment to quality and improve industrial relations. One of the side effects of a proactive health and safety policy is that it leads to improved productivity and quality. There are also indirect costs associated with work-related accidents. As robens stated µaccident prevention can be integrated into the overall economic activity of the firm¶ (1972). by reducing costs associated with accidents. On the one hand. cost of retaining a replacement employee. A healthy and safe work environment helps to reduce costs and improve organizational effectiveness. Collard (1989) reports that in two foreign companies . a wage cost for the time spent by hrm personnel recruiting. selecting and training the new employee and. effective health and safety policies can improve the performance of employees and the organization.

higher levels of motivation. and the White House. the new agency took on the difficult task of creating from scratch a program that would meet the legislative intent of the Act. Attention to workplace health and safety can have a strong. 1971-1984 The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 heralded a new era in the history of public efforts to protect workers from harm on the job. effective April 28. termed it "the most significant legislative achievement" for workers in a decade. 1975-1977: Reform and Professionalization By early 1975 OSHA was in serious trouble with labor. When employees work in healthy and safe workplace. 3)History of OSHA A History of its First Thirteen Years. the Congress. injury and illness. positive effect on employee commitment. 1971. Further it is argued that employee and union-management relations can be improved when employers satisfy their employees¶ health and safety needs. a cap (cost and productivity) program was continually emphasized by top management and µone major aspect of this was the highest standards of housekeeping¶ (19849). who had helped shape the law. was that of getting OSHA out of trouble. Dunlop had . Building on the Bureau of Labor Standards as a nucleus. federal program to protect almost the entire work force from job-related death. Secretary of Labor James Hodgson.1 Hodgson's first step was to establish within the Labor Department. When employers take a greater responsibility for occupational health and safety it can change employee behavior and employees might take a less militant stance during wage bargaining if management pay attention to housekeeping.studies. performance and loyalty will result. One of the principal tasks facing President Ford's newly appointed Secretary of Labor. business. a special agency. Dunlop/Corn Administration. new provisions covering health and safety have been negotiated into collective agreements. This Act established for the first time a nationwide. In some cases. John Dunlop. the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to administer the Act.

To start off. a lawyer with experience in government environmental programs. This was because.26 During this crucial period a recently completed Ford Foundation study on the politics and economics of job safety and health circulated around OSHA and strongly influenced the direction of reform. In Ashford's view.30 As what was intended to be a capstone to their reforms. They revised the agency's internal management. The program included special training of inspectors . who had a background in business and management. Dunlop put John Stender on indefinite leave and brought in two experts Marshall Miller and Bert Concklin to provide interim leadership to OSHA while they studied its problems. such as a recent survey of Georgia businessmen which reported generally favorable responses to OSHA inspections of their workplaces.29 One of the most important changes Concklin and Miller introduced was to have OSHA concentrate more effectively on inspecting the most dangerous and unhealthy workplaces.. They pointed out that there was no solid evidence that the 80 percent of OSHA's budget that it spent on enforcement was making workplaces any safer. A firm believer in the goals of OSHA. OSHA revised its long dormant national advisory committee and sought to improve its own relations with other safety and health agencies. he recommended that OSHA be headed by a safety and health professional. developed studies of its policies. in November 1975 Concklin and Miller announced a "National Emphasis Program" which would employ a combination of enforcement and educational activities to reduce casualties in highly hazardous industries. and public relations. OSHA had not systematically aimed its efforts at the 30 percent of all workplaces which reported worker casualties. Concklin set up a procedure to publicize developments favorable to OSHA. Stender resigned in July 1975.30 years of experience in governmental affairs and was an advocate of the kind of regulatory reform Nixon had called for a year earlier. the study stressed that the problem of protecting people on the job was too massive for government to handle alone but required cooperation from all sectors. streamlined the development of standards. and sought to better inform workers and employers of their obligations under the OSH Act. OSHA chose to focus on foundries and metal casting and stamping operations. Miller. Ashford contended. Dunlop considered the agency a victim of mismanagement and was determined to reform it.I. the benefits to society would far outweigh the outlays. health was a more serious but less recognized problem than safety. While the costs of reducing hazards was not cheap. was to make recommendations on policies for standards and other OSHA programs. Rather than immediately installing a new assistant secretary.T.28 After studying the agency and its problems. despite limited earlier efforts such as the "Target Industries" and "Target Health Hazards" programs. Also. personnel.27 Written by Nicholas Ashford of M. Concklin and Miller took a number of actions designed to improve OSHA's operations and mollify its liberal critics. Miller established the policy that announcements of proposed safety and health standards would include background on the issues involved and would list the alternatives considered. In addition. Concklin. was to be concerned mainly with budget.

George Taylor of the AFLCIO commented that "the logjam appears broken." Sheldon Samuels of the AFL-CIO termed Corn's appointment "exactly the kind.31 Problems of safety and health in the workplace did not. He said.He's been tested professionally.34 Corn's nomination in October 1975 was well received. OSHA once again resumed sifting through its consensus standards to weed out nuisance rules. With special expertise in health. it called for the elimination of irrelevant standards. Many of these goals had already been adopted by OSHA's new management team. In addition to the one for lead. The most important actions OSHA took in this period were the issuance of proposed new standards for coke oven emissions and airborne lead. impressive professional credentials. proposals came out to regulate asbestos. Secretary Dunlop had secured permission from the White House to publish any proposed standards that were ready by September 30 without IIS's." The "break". but it also raised their expectations for significant progress. Their search led to a professor of occupational health and chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh named Morton Corn. though these might have to be supplied later. unions and others to achieve voluntary compliance. Senator Richard Schweiker from Pennsylvania felt that Corn's nomination was non political. Businessmen liked him because he emphasized cooperation rather than conflict among groups concerned with job safety and health. was not the result of reforms in OSHA's procedures. OSHA also committed itself to preparing a tougher standard for cotton dust and held hearings on the noise proposal John Stender had introduced. but never politically."35 . nor do I want to know them. and it urged OSHA to place greater emphasis on health problems.32 Efforts to reform OSHA in 1975 mollified congressional and other critics somewhat... most of them already under consideration at OSHA. industry. wide experience as a consultant with management and labor.and assistance to state governments.designed for the job. go away while OSHA was trying to put its house in order in 1975. OSHA issued several proposals for health standards. of course. but rather stemmed from its desire to avoid time consuming IIS's. and a record of active participation in national and international health organizations. Corn seemed well qualified for the job. Congress also ordered the agency to set clear guidelines governing which workplaces would be inspected first. but Congress was clearly putting the agency on notice that it intended to see that these goals were realized. "I do not know the doctor's politics. The departmental appropriations bill Congress passed in the fall of that year called for improvement in the professional competence of OSHA's inspectors and for more effective enforcement. Concklin and Miller were given the job of finding him or her.." but cautioned that "time will tell. Dunlop decided to follow Nicholas Ashford's recommendation that that person be a safety and health professional.33 The key to successfully rescuing OSHA from intense criticism by Congress and others was to find a highly qualified person to head the agency and guide it out of troubled waters. In an unusual flurry of activity in the fall of 1975. The new leadership had to act on a number of major issues. however. Under pressure from the unions. beryllium and a number of industrial chemicals...

I think the manner in which this agency proceeded. As he said shortly after taking the reins at the agency: "The reason I'm in this job is that."43 Corn's policy was that the period of time which industry was given in order to meet a safety or health standard could be lengthened to give hard pressed companies time to .After Corn was sworn in as the new head of OSHA in December. I had no contact with this agency in its first four years that was not accidental.. Many professionals didn't want contact with OSHA. slow paced program of developing one standard at a time... Corn told a reporter.. That obligation cannot be ignored and. in a style that professionals would not subscribe to. should be in the forefront of anything OSHA does.38 Corn also sought quick improvement in OSHA's communications with state governments.42 Controversy over OSHA's health standards had come to center around economic feasibility the cost of compliance. he proposed to investigate alternatives to the current. Corn had a definite approach to the agency. He immediately ordered an upgrading of the agency's congressional affairs staff. was ready to take corrective action..alienated so many people that the Congress."36 Corn himself had criticized the agency in the past.. Corn met with a group of state government officials who were amazed that he took the time to talk with them about their problems.we wouldn't have been given a new lease on life. His over riding goal was to focus on serious hazards in general. He felt that it had operated: ".40 Corn's seeming preoccupation with OSHA's outside relations was the result of a course of events that had made OSHA itself as much of a public issue as death. the critics gave him a brief grace period to allow him time to try to point OSHA in the right direction. He wanted to bring everyone he could into his office to sit down and talk. He was outspoken and articulate in his views and he believed that OSHA was at a crucial phase in its history. "I believe we should focus on real hazards. Dunlop and others convinced me that the very survival of OSHA was at stake that the whole Act might be repealed. Early visits to Capitol Hill scared him because of the lack of comprehension there of the agency and its mission. Although he subscribed to the policies already put in place by John Dunlop and his aides. however."41 In order to make it easier for OSHA to set standards once it determined what the most serious hazards were. Corn.. Having done that.. Just after the Senate had voted to confirm his nomination. he met with various groups and asked them about their problems and concerns. management and others.39 Even before he was officially the head of OSHA.. I've watched OSHA from the outside with great concern. and health hazards in particular.. And if it were not for promises of new procedures... illness and injury on the job.. we then must decide how we can meet that goal at bearable costs.. labor. had not really lost his perspective. to state in a standard the scientific facts what is the safe level based on the best available evidence."37 One of Corn's immediate goals was to improve OSHA's relations with groups in and out of the government. one which I feel very strongly. Corn described his position on costs and standards as follows: "I think first of all the agency has an obligation.

He also began to train safety inspectors the bulk of OSHA's inspection force in the basics of occupational health. The most important action to protect workers' health was a controversial standard OSHA issued in October 1976 for coke oven emissions after five years of development and delay. that had manufactured a pesticide called "kepone. since he had been fired. Corn's short tenure was marked by a great deal of activity and innovation. would be greater acceptance of and compliance with standards once they were promulgated. Around New Year's Day 1976 the news media gave national publicity to the poisoning of workers at a recently closed small chemical plant in Hopewell. The kepone tragedy gave added urgency to Corn's whole agenda of OSHA reform.44 Combining this type of flexibility and consultation with concerned groups. Corn believed.46 With the kepone affair as its kickoff. from start to finish. and did not recognize or follow up on the health aspect. OSHA. Rather than surprising the affected parties by announcing a proposed standard of which they had no advance knowledge.45 Shortly after Corn took over. In December OSHA proposed a revised standard for cotton dust that also required engineering controls. however. The result. Corn improved the qualifications and competence of those already on the OSHA staff through special training programs. He recognized that some companies might find it less burdensome than others to comply and he would allow for this in setting the abatement periods. particularly to a goal he had expressed at his swearing in ceremony of raising the professional competence of the agency. To deal with the "OSHA Ogre" image. To rectify OSHA's failure to provide the technical information needed in enforcing complex safety and health standards and in dealing with hazards like kepone. Corn developed a technical data center to answer questions from inspectors in the field so they could make quick decisions based on up to date information. Corn planned to involve them in the whole standards setting process. Corn maintained that in this way economic considerations could be recognized with no sacrifice of health or safety. which made it very expensive for industry to comply. To deal with the nit picking he had inspectors concentrate on the most serious hazards. a highly publicized workplace tragedy brought out in bold relief the kinds of problems that Corn had been hired to deal with. and it ended barely a year after it began when Ford was defeated in his bid for a second term. he began something called "comportment training" (known more informally in the agency as "'couth' lessons").meet the standard without suffering unduly. Besides hiring only highly qualified inspectors. . A worker from the plant had tried to file a health complaint at a local OSHA office. Corn was well aware of employers' complaints about nit picking and obnoxious inspectors. Virginia. It was disrupted at the outset not only by kepone but also by the resignation of Secretary Dunlop in January 1976 over President Ford's veto of a labor bill which Dunlop had strongly supported. though these were to be phased in over a seven year period. Corn thought OSHA should consult regularly with them during the whole drafting process. The standard required engineering controls. At congressional hearings in January it was revealed that OSHA had fumbled an early opportunity to detect the kepone danger. treated his case as one of job discrimination." A total of 29 workers were hospitalized with nerve damage.

the President announced the creation of task forces for OSHA and other agencies. The last major action was an agency reorganization that reflected the increased emphasis on occupational health and that provided greater technical support to the agency's staff. Corn sought to improve OSHA's relations with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) a separate research agency created by the OSH Act and streamlined OSHA's review of and response to recommendations from the Institute for regulation of particular health hazards. this plan limited the task force to working on the standards revision project only. organized labor monitored OSHA closely to see that it did not go too far with deregulation. "The Congress had given these agencies a job to do. it alleged. It was decided that the OSHA effort would deal with the safety standards revision project of simplifying OSHA's consensus standards. a strong critic of federal regulation." He promised he would not allow "the unnecessary and unjustified harassment of citizens" and told the group that he had ordered the agency to treat citizens as "friends. The election year politics of 1976 put great pressure on OSHA throughout Corn's tenure. On May 13."48 At the same time.50 Other than recommending technical changes in some safety standards. for a generic standard for carcinogenic substances. there was concern at OSHA and among organized labor that the task force would be used to investigate and interfere with the agency." Ford said. became increasingly critical of OSHA. In the New Hampshire presidential primary election. This angered Corn and many supporters of OSHA. with no authority of its own.51 Meanwhile. The White House yielded and withdrew the offending statements from the final draft. he said. not enemies. When OSHA announced that it would have to delay issuance of . Ford told a business audience that some businessmen wanted to "throw OSHA into the ocean. The report criticized the agency for making industry spend billions of dollars a year on safety measures which. partly because President Ford faced a stiff challenge for the Republican presidential nomination from Ronald Reagan. OSHA insisted that the task force be advisory only. in turn. Usery that the task force should be kept limited in scope. As the pace of the presidential campaign stepped up in early 1976. He wanted to have its duties spelled out in writing and its activities confined to OSHA programs already in operation."47 The culmination of the tug of war between the Ford Administration and OSHA came over a proposed White House Task Force on federal regulatory agencies. the president and business groups made the agency a target in attacks on government regulation. was to "simplify and streamline" federal regulations. In meetings with White House staff. published only after Corn had departed. had little effect on accident rates.The most innovative action was the development of a proposal. The White House.49 Corn convinced Secretary Willie J. Announced on June 11. the task force had little effect on OSHA by the time it completed its work. The idea for such a group originated in February when President Ford outlined a program for regulatory reform involving both long term legislative action and modifications in current programs in the agencies. In January word leaked out of an attack on OSHA in a draft of the annual Economic Report of the President. Their main purpose. "but they can do that job without needlessly harassing the American businessman.

53 Another issue of concern to organized labor arose when. cotton dust and other substances until after November. and so on. Lost in the controversy was a remark Corn made shortly before leaving the agency in which he conceded that OSHA had begun "the slow climb to quality. The Secretary assured Meany that he shared his concern for a safe and healthful workplace and that the delays were purely a result of the difficulty in analyzing the technical issues involved in the standards. arsenic. the problems facing OSHA.52 In a move that must have been reassuring to labor. the portion that drew the most attention was his charge that there was a lack of highly qualified technical personnel at OSHA. lead. mercury and silica to be used until permanent standards were issued. The guidelines called for relatively inexpensive measures such as medical examinations for exposed workers and use of personal protective equipment. OSHA issued a group of voluntary guidelines for lead. OSHA transferred its jurisdiction over a group of cement workers to Interior's Mine Enforcement and Safety Administration (MESA). Corn sent Usery a final report on his activities at OSHA.55 Morton Corn was not retained as head of OSHA by the incoming Carter Administration in 1977 and he left office a week before the inauguration. Staff members retorted that there were many qualified experts there but Corn had failed to utilize them. While the bulk of the report was a straightforward discussion of Corn's safety and health policies. half of whose members were affected.54 Usery responded that OSHA had no choice in the matter because MESA had the legal right to extend its jurisdiction to cover these cement workers. the whole transfer was negated in 1978 when Congress transferred all mining safety and health duties into the Labor Department under the new Mine Safety and Health Administration).new standards on asbestos. Meany considered the 1966 mine safety law that Interior enforced to be ineffective and feared that the transfer would set a precedent for reducing the number of workers protected by the Act. he told Meany that the Labor Department was taking special pains to spell out the cement workers arrangement. at the request of the Interior Department. The Cement Workers Union. (Ironically. ammonia. protested and George Meany complained to Usery. However. the OCAW immediately sued to block the delays and AFL-CIO president George Meany called for an immediate public explanation from Secretary Usery."56 .

because nothing should be more important . What this means is that we have chosen this control as an alternative to burying the cable and putting a socket in the floor . the law requires companies. If a company made safety of paramount importance. But what is the top priority for any company? You have to agree that it is to make profit. the vast majority of people instinctively answer 'True' to this question. it must be recognised that the best control. it becomes inherently unsafe and you have to manage the risk. So the example of the cable cover/protector is an illustration of how it is perfectly acceptable to 'put a price on a person's safety'. In fact the logic follows on naturally from the argument above. Notwithstanding the above. it would soon be out of business. but here we will show why the correct answer is 'False'. the safest factory is an empty one. On the other hand. it does reduce the risk to what is called an acceptable or tolerable level. but here we explain why the correct answer is 'False'. . As previously stated. it would not be 'reasonably practicable'. True or False? As with the previous question.which would be deemed to be too expensive when balanced against the risk or. such as production. To operate to the best practice. companies should make safety of equal priority to other aspects of the business. A simple example of managing a risk would be a trailing cable in an office environment that is covered by a cable cover/protector to reduce the chance of somebody tripping over it.but that does not make it the 'top priority'.The important of safety in workplace Safety in the workplace is of paramount importance. However. when managing health and safety. companies often state that employees are their most valuable asset and nothing is more important than the employees' health and safety. as soon as you bring in a machine and a person. to take into account the balance between the risk and the cost (which is what is meant by the phrase 'as far as reasonably practicable'). in legal terminology. True or False? Around 95 per cent of people answer 'True' to this question. This is also correct. because putting a socket in the floor at the design and planning stage would be no more expensive than putting one in the wall. The reason for this is that if something is 'paramount' it is the top priority. which is burying the cable and installing a socket in the floor. Employers should not put a price on a person's safety. would be reasonably practicable to implement at the design stage. Although this does not guarantee that tripping will be prevented. quality and customer satisfaction.

'common sense' and 'gut feel'. Managing health and safety the 'wrong' way not only poses potentially unacceptable or illegal risks to the health and safety of employees. that is not enough . Unfortunately. the environment and the plant itself. In the example above. . but it can also cost the company dear. Not only does health and safety training teach people about legislation and regulations. but it also teaches people how to think the 'right' way. most people answer questions such as the two above by relying on opinion.as can be seen from the explanations given here which is why formal health and safety training is essential for anybody who has any such responsibilities. an over-zealous health and safety manager could soon run up huge bills if he or she decided it was essential to bury cables and install sockets in the floor.Unless they have already had formal training in health and safety.

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