essay on health and safety

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Essay on health and safety


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Type of paper: Essay. As per the mandates by the government every company, organization and enterprise, irrelevant of its size has to take proper precautions to ensure that the health and safety of the employees is safeguarded. To save the interests of the workers and make this responsibility of the employers bound by law, the government in all the countries has established the Health and Safety Act.

This legislation provides and sets the rights and obligations of both the employers and the employees in a workplace and also provides for penalties and fines in case of any breach of the health and safety legislation. This act or law applies on every person who is associated with a workplace in some manner or the other. It applies to all employees including the fixed term employees and the employees who have been hired for a temporary period and even the self employed persons in their own workplaces.

The act which governs the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees with regard to the health and safety at the workplace is updated from time to time and new legislations added to it frequently so that there are no loopholes in its governance. This law or legislation also applies to all the industries and sectors like information technology, manufacturing, healthcare etc.

For the purpose of this essay, the implementation of the health and safety legislation in the health care sector would be evaluated and studied. Therefore, it becomes necessary and even critical to implement this legislation to avoid any accidents or long term illnesses to as much of an extent as possible.

The first aspect of the health care industry in which the health and safety legislation is implemented is the physical workplace itself. Most of the places in which health care workers carry out their tasks and jobs are a great variety of hazards, which can be seen in any hospital or clinic that one visits. Making sure that the workplace is safe from such hazards is the first area in which the legislation is implemented.

This is generally done by marking out areas where there are dangerous objects or where potentially harmful things are stored. Only authorized personnel are allowed entry into this area so that other people might not wander in by mistake and expose themselves to this danger.

Other threats related to a health care workplace that can be observed are biological risks such as infections caused because of needle stick injuries, chemical risks which can be caused because of handling of drugs and disinfectants, physical risks, ergonomical risks and even psychosocial risks which can be caused because of violence at work or due to any other reason that causes stress or trauma.

Once these risks have been identified, every health care institute or workplace management is liable to implement the health and safety legislation and take suitable steps to make sure that the staff is protected from them.

Trainings and orientations are a major part of this initiative where doctors, nurses and caregivers are told about the correct procedure to handle patients and surgical procedures so that they put themselves at minimum risk. Communication of the policies, systems and procedures which are related to workplace health and safety is very important. This is the duty of every employer to communicate the Health and Safety mandates to the employees.

This includes both verbal communication as well as graphical communication. Verbal communication would encompass spreading the message through word of mouth and by face to face interactions. Graphical communication involves the signs and boards which are placed throughout the premises which inform the people about exit doors, exit strategies etc. Workers, even inside hospitals and health care facilities are most of the time not familiar with the appropriate actions that must be taken in the face of an emergency like a workplace accident or injury.

Workers should also be made aware of the risks that they face by at the workplace and about emergency action plans. Even written communication can be very effective which involves sharing information with the employees through notice boards, emails, circulars and drafting of memos. Employees must also be familiar with the control measures and the chain of command or reporting.

The management should also be aware of its own responsibilities towards the employees. The first priority should be to maintain a psychosocial work environment wherein there are provisions for the employees to be able to adjust to the changes that keep happening at the work place and what its impact can be on their health and safety; work life balance is also a part of this. The management can also intervene from time to time especially when it is felt that stress at work place has increased or if there is any physical or mental violence.

The second priority for the management should be avoidance of any musculoskeletal disorders. The management should also develop proper methods or evaluation techniques, intervention methods and also take precautionary measures in this regard. The third priority for a health care organization should be hazardous and dangerous substances.

Employees should be prevented from exposure to such materials and biological agents, nano-particles and ultrafine particles etc. The next priority of the management should be OSH management. This should include cost assessment for implementing an OSH plan in the organization and its expected impact on the quality of work. Assessment of the workplace from the point of view of potential hazards and dangers is a very effective method of drawing strategies which can help prevent harm to the employees.

Information which is gained from these risk assessments help the management and the planning authorities to identify areas which have been left unsupervised or for which no appropriate method of monitoring has been developed. By ensuring that a risk assessment of the workplace is carried out by experts periodically, the management will be in a much better position to evaluate where it is following the correct procedure and where the measures taken by them are still lacking.

A risk assessment might reveal that although a list of hazardous substances has been drawn and shared by the employees there is still not supervision on its use which can be a cause of concern. So the management can now implement a suitable method to monitor the use of such substances. They have an impact on not just the employees and the workers but also on the customers who come to such organizations.

One such aspect which is always kept in check is preventing employees from coming to the workplace after they have consumed alcohol or have taken any kind of drug. From the point of view of the organization this one aspect of health and safety is followed very strictly because it endangers not just the person who has consumed it but also those around him. Especially in case of the health care and social industry, the employees are the caregivers who look after the customer or the patients. Also the person who has consumed and is under the influence of such substances loses control over his or her own behavior which is another violation of the health and safety act.

It is because of these reasons that such conducts on the part of the employees are taken very seriously by the management. Systems in Focus, 2. This often results in dilemmas about the correct course of action which leads to improper implementation of the policies. However, the correct approach would be to leave out no loopholes and to safeguard the interest of the customers and the employees.

For example, in case of a health care center, relatives and visitors are often a problem and in many cases there are reports about assaults on employees by relatives of the patient. In such cases, although these is a dilemma because visitors cannot be stopped from coming in to the facility, proper steps and measures can be taken to ensure that the employees are safe and not exposed to any threats.

The management should consider this first as the health and safety of the employees is its first responsibility. This can be done by imparting proper training to all staff in conflict management so that they are in a position to diffuse violent situations, ensuring that all procedures are followed and also by providing the staff with alarm systems which can ensure a rapid response in case of emergencies.

Such instances of non-compliance have drastic and long term effects which can even cause employees to be put at very serious risks of permanent damage. These damages can be of a physical nature where the body or organs of an employee get affected. This can be due to an accident at the work place, excessive load on the musculoskeletal system or violence at the workplace. In other cases the damage can be caused due to exposure to a dangerous and harmful substance. Apart from an individual, even masses can be exposed to potential threats if proper care is not taken about health and safety.

Apart from the damage that will be caused to an individual in the form of physical and mental trauma, the organization might face numerous lawsuits for violation of the health and safety codes where the management might be fined, penalized or even imprisoned for non-compliance.

The image of the health care facility might be impacted and it might lose its goodwill among the people. Regular review of the policies and procedures is necessary so that the organization or the health care center can have an effective response system in place and so that the employees can be provided training and orientation accordingly.

Successful health and safety management, 3. Some of the methods by which these practices can be promoted are encouraging participation of the employees in improving work organization, regular exercises and physical activity to keep them fit, active involvement in implementation of these policies and consulting the employees as well. This makes the employees aware of not just the measures being taken by the organization but also their responsibilities which make for a healthy work culture.

Regular exercise before and during work has been encouraged to avoid muscular strain and trauma. The substances might not just be hazardous to employees but to the environment, the Health and Safety at Work Act attempts to reduce the amount of harmful emissions that are given out into the atmosphere.

The employer of the organisation is responsible for committing to the regulations of the Health and Safety at Work Act and maintaining the use of the risk assessment throughout the work place, mainly by creating a specific written safety policy that can easily be understood by employees which shows suitable precautions on the risk assessment. It is the duty of the employer to provide the correct training for all members of staff to ensure everyone has a strong understanding of the health and safety regulations.

The appropriate training can be given from attending health and safety courses; also the employer has to give the staff the equipment that they need to be safe in the workplace including protective equipment as precautions to reduce the risk of the hazard. The workplace must be considered as a safe environment by the government; this means that the organisation must provide emergency procedures like fire drills and specific first aid facilities if a hazard did harm an employee.

Most organisations ensure that his happens by using safety signs indicating things like fire exits and reminders of precautions to take when using certain equipment or substances [4]. Furthermore the employer has to make sure that materials and resources are stored properly in safe environments to stop anything getting contaminated or broken.

Substances need to be controlled to make sure that the risk of explosive or high flammable substances from causing a fire is reduced as much as possible. The transportation of the materials is also important to ensure nothing is damaged during transfer and that there is a place to safely unload to materials at the workplace. The final roles of the employer is to ensure that if any new materials or processes are introduced in the workplace that they are added to the risk assessment to keep it updated to that health and safety regulations can always be kept to.

The employees also have many roles in the workplace to help keep to the Health and Safety at Work Act. They must have a sensible relationship with their employer so that they can report any issues with the risk assessment or report the behaviour of other employees when using the equipment or material. Ensure that other employees are being safe and help make sure that everyone understands what they need to do in certain situations like fire drills.

However the employees are not allowed to interfere with anything that relates to the providing of health and safety equipment or clothing protection as this up to the employer [4]. The regulations involves looking into the different aspects of the workplace and evaluating how everything hazard and risk can affect each member of staff by looking capability in health and safety situations — for example an older employee could struggle to get down stairs quickly if there was a fire; instead the employer could move the employee to an office or laboratory on a lower floor.

Overall this management of the issues and the precautions that can be used to avoid hazards, the following list shows the 30 sections to the Management of Health and safety at Work Regulations:. Citation, commencement and interpretation 2. Disapplication of these Regulations 3. Risk assessment 4. Principles of prevention to be applied 5. Health and safety arrangements 6. Health surveillance 7. Health and safety assistance 8. Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas 9.

Contacts with external services Information for employees Co-operation and co-ordination Capabilities and training Temporary workers Risk assessment in respect of new or expectant mothers Certificate from registered medical practitioner in respect of new or expectant mothers Notification by new or expectant mothers Protection of young persons Exemption certificates Provisions as to liability Exclusion of civil liability Extension outside Great Britain Regulations to have effect as health and safety regulations Revocations and consequential amendments.

The person responsible for the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is the employer, who must assess any possible risks and manage them in a professional method so that the employees are safe from injury, when undertaking specific tasks. They must ensure that employees have the correct training and knowledge for emergency situations.

Furthermore the employees must comply with the regulations created and attend any training or instruction sessions. Also the employees must feel that the person in charge of health and safety is approachable so that they can communicate any concerns they have about the health and safety of other employees and report anything they sense could be potentially dangerous or harmful [7].

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is no longer seen as a requirement for an organization to abide by [8]. The regulations were created so that organisations would address dangerous situations to control the risk of the hazard and prevent the employees getting seriously injured or killed due to a piece of equipment in their method of work. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations applies to any employer even if they are self-employed and complies to anyone in the organisation who uses the equipment at work; these regulations do not cover the use of equipment by the public as this comes under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This means that all equipment should be regularly test so that it complies to the safety regulations of the CE mark [10]. It is up to the employers and employees to stick to the regulations and ensure that the equipment is:. Safe for use and suitably maintained The equipment used should be safety checked to see if it is totally safe to use in the process so that it is not likely that the equipment with cause a hazard.

For example machinery should be regularly checked so that it could not cause a fire. Also the maintenance of the equipment means that things are regularly cleaned so that in, for example, a biological lab there is no spread of bacteria or organisms between samples. Used by people who have received training This literally means that employees need to be qualified and educated in the used of the equipment so this could involve going on training courses or reading instruction manuals so they have good knowledge of what to do it the equipment breaks or how the equipment could cause injury to an employee which would reduce the risk of the hazard occurring.

Accompanied by suitable protective devices, warning and instructions This is mainly the role of the employer to provide safety signs or instructions near the equipment to reminder employees of how to reduce the risks. Also when using chemicals it is vital that the correct clothing is provided like lab coats, safety goggles and protective goggles so that the chemical cannot harm the employees.

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