The primary directive of the Occupational Health and Safety is illness and accident prevention. The discipline realizes that employees have the fundamental right to have a job environment that does not harm their well-being and ruin their medical outcomes. The field of occupational health and safety has various essential stakeholders who are expected to carry out the practices and ensure that the business follows the security regulations. Each active stakeholder has a crucial role to execute. Some of the stakeholders mentioned in the slides include workers, employers, and the government. Industry owners must ensure that the safety regulations are known by everyone in the company. They can pin them on the noticeboards or other visible areas. The employers must also facilitate the practice of the safety provisions by allocating protective gears and efficient equipment (Kelloway and Francis, 2011).
Throughout the documentary of McWane, several stakeholders are identified to have failed in instituting a secure job surrounding for the laborers in the firms. Sure, the owners ensured that they published McWane safety guidelines, but when it came to the actual work setup most of the practices in the book were not observed. The job environment was hazardous with overworked machines that would break down occasionally killing or injuring the employees. The culture in the corporation was one of fear limiting the laborers from making suggestions to alleviate their harsh working conditions. One of the workers says that when an employee would start talking to a manager, the individual would walk away since it was part of the McWane culture. The laborers’ mistreatment went further to the extent that they were not allowed to go to the bathroom like little children they were told to wait. Hence, some of them would help themselves where they worked (Frontline, 2016).
The fear thus prevented them from performing their tasks in a responsible and safe manner. They did not have adequate protective gear and could not report hazards and defective equipment because of the fear and strictness in the organization. The OSHA, an organization that stood for employee rights, could not bring substantial cases against McWane due to the ineffective rules that governed workplace safety. Therefore, even though cases of injuries and deaths were rampant, the laws created by the government were not sufficient enough to protect the interests of the employees. The management and workers were more concerned with production instead of safety. The community, on the other hand, only intervened when things got out of control and affected them. For instance, the public spoke out after the water and air pollution broke out (Frontline, 2016).
Barriers to Organizational Health and Safety
The barriers to organizational safety and health are evident throughout the documentary of the operations of McWane. First, as highlighted earlier the owners of the pipe making factory and the laborers were more interested in manufacturing more pipes and gaining profits instead of safety. The corporation executed a leadership system that they called disciplined management where the employees were not allowed to develop ideas. They were only expected to work tirelessly sometimes for extensive hours to increase the production of the company. The managers felt threatened by the competition from international industries that did not have to follow safety guidelines; hence, would manufacture more produce more items than them (Frontline, 2016).
During safety inspections, the supervisors would ensure that the place and employees were presentable to avoid any litigation problems with OSHA. But once, the safety inspection committee left things would go back to normal for the workers. The managers were completely ignorant of the work safety and health problems blaming most of the incidents on the recklessness of the laborers. On several occasions, after the demise of employees due to firm machinery, the leaders would blame the occurrences on the laborers instead of accepting their mistakes. The management also reduced the number of workers by two-thirds to save on money straining the employees who were left in the company. There were no alliances or safety committees that would protect the laborers as well as the environment. Hence, McWane had the free reign to do anything they wanted. If the firm encountered an issue, the executives would only throw money at the problem. The employees also lacked adequate training to control the machines and identify the equipment that had difficulties (Frontline, 2016).
Safety Involves the People
Safety and Health are joint responsibilities for everyone. All the relevant parties in a job environment should be held accountable for any non-compliance to the safety legislations. Responsibility entails the person’s obligation to handle delegated tasks. The management has both the authority and responsibility to protect the employees’ wellbeing. Authority implies the power to direct other individuals and make the appropriate choices. Both authority and responsibility can be provided to the personnel to give them the opportunities to act like superiors and feel like essential components of the company. Otherwise, the corporation will have a team of frustrated laborers and experience high turnovers just as McWane did. Suitable safety initiatives depend on the motivation, abilities, and development of individual skills (Kelloway and Francis, 2011).
The personal responsibilities and abilities refer to everyone in the firm be it the CEO or the subordinate staff member. There are three ways to fulfill individual roles. They include having the required competence and skills, adequate authority to carry out the tasks, and understanding the specific responsibilities in the organization. Human resource management comes in to strengthen the employees’ abilities and knowledge through orientation and training programs. The professionals also encourage or motivate workers through awareness and adequate compensation practices (Kelloway and Francis, 2011). The levels of safe climate and surroundings determine the security outcomes. It is vital for the human resource management to involve all the stakeholders particularly laborers in the procedure of assessing risks. The workers have the best understanding of the risks in the work area.
The corporations must actively promote employee well-being and safety. Health and security have always been a people’s issue because they affected the largest portion of the society. Take the example of McWane’s misconduct that left several families without their breadwinners and others disabled to the level that they could not carry out daily functions. The incidents also had adverse impacts on the climate and environment. People must be equipped to identify and deal with a dangerous business to limit its negative implications. Interactions should be a two-way procedure to motivate the employees and stakeholders to communicate in an open and free manner. The involvement and interactions encourage people to contribute towards the continuous safety improvements in the enterprise. The employees, in the case of McWane, were the ones in the risky situations; hence, they were entitled to have an opinion regarding how secure job systems could be established (Frontline, 2016).
There is no doubt that unsafe and unhealthy working conditions result in substantial economic and human costs. Many employers have instituted security programs such as smoking cessation and organizational safety records to control the security issues. However, the largest authority and opportunities to change the dangerous situations lie in the hands of the stakeholders. The governments in the industrial centers should create strict and adequate rules that will limit insecure jobs practices. Unlike the historical era where laborers were treated like ordinary machines, the contemporary society has a strong inclination to preserving human rights. Any institution that is identified for violating fundamental human freedoms is shunned publicly. Hence, when firms are faced with the problem of safe working conditions, they are presented with two choices, that is, to either leave the business or conform to the wishes of the contemporary community. Most governments create policies that prevent illnesses and accidents in the job environments and provide compensation to employees injured at work (Chapter 1: Introduction, n.d.).
The labor unions have also emerged to safeguard the lives and well-being of the laborers. Though the institutions are not usually in good terms with the management due to their overwhelming requests, the labor unions have managed to successfully improve the employment outcomes of millions of workers. They have changed the working hours, payment rates, job surroundings, and relationships between the employees and the executives (Chapter 1: Introduction, n.d.). Since the law-making process has been proven to be insufficient, there are several ways to enhance regulation establishment. The rules must be specific in addressing the particular safety concerns of the personnel and public. Safety and joint committees should participate in the formulation of the security rules. The policies should highlight understandable terms and positive ideologies. The reasons for the regulations should be stated alongside the laws. The rules should be made available to all stakeholders and become enforceable. They must be reviewed periodically to assess their effectiveness to cope with the rising challenges. Most important of all, the safety programs and policies should be put into practice.
Chapter 1: Introduction (n.d.). The Costs of Unhealthy Behaviors.
Frontline (2016). A Dangerous Business Revisited. Retrieved May 24, 2016 from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/mcwane/.
Kelloway K. and Francis L. (2011). Chapter 1: Introduction: Management of Occupational Health and Safety. Nelson Education Limited.