This statement has been accepted globally leading to people taking hygienic measures to safeguard their health from all the unwanted and unaccepted incidents. For the growth of every industry, the most crucial assets are the human resources and due to the same it becomes very important to take good care of the health of the people working and providing their intellectual skills to the industry in every sector.
However, in some working environments where the risk of health hazards are more due to volume of physical and labor work involved either while working around the heavy machines and equipments or while constructing Sky scraping buildings, it becomes the primary responsibility of the management to safeguard the health of the workers. This may mostly take place in Manufacturing and construction industries.
Before knowing the safety measures to reduce the risk of any health injury, it becomes very important to know about the risks involved in working in such environment. Here are some of the risks involved while working in such environment:
- Pollution and Dust Particles – Many diseases spread due to various pollutions in the environment which are air, water, soil or sound pollution.
- Overexertion –They are a very common type of injury among factory workers because the nature of the work requires the body to have extensive stamina and ability to work for hours as the work requires physical tasks, such as lifting.
- Repetitive tasks – Some of the injuries result from doing the same work movement. This can cause the soft tissues to start to wear out and wear down. When these tissues are damaged or provide less cushioning, you may experience significant pain and a host of other health problems.
Body movement injuries – Many injuries occur because the worker is constantly bending, crawling, twisting and reaching.
- Accidents during Transportation Activities – A significant number of factory worker injuries are attributed to transportation accidents, including those that occur on forklifts.
- Exposure to harmful substances in the environment – Inhaling or coming into contact with hazardous chemicals is a threat faced by many factory employees.
- Fires and explosions – Fires can become even deadlier when they spread to flammable and highly combustible materials located within a manufacturing plant.
The above mentioned risks results in severe injuries leading to serious health hazards. Some of them are:
- Amputation injuries from getting caught in machines
- Musculoskeletal disorders due to overexertion or repetitive motions
- Burn Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Illnesses due to toxic exposure
- Spinal cord injuries resulting from falls or machinery malfunctions
- Skin disorders
- Respiratory problems
- Food Poisoning
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
The consequences of these injuries can be devastating to a factory worker. Not only will he or she need medical care, but the injury may prevent the worker from being able to return to work and earn a living.
Maintaining Medical Treatment Kits
Even after taking so many measures for the awareness among the various industries and their management for safeguarding the health of the workers, the Government could not succeed to accomplish the goal all over these industries. There are few industries which are still taking the advantage of the poverty of their workers and are most negligent for taking any kind of safety measures to protect their workmen’s health against the risk of those drastic health hazards. It may also happen that the management has made efforts but those are not sufficient and appropriate to protect their workmen against those severe injuries. This can be either deliberate or unintentional.
Some of the negligent practices are seen by not maintaining proper medical treatment kit or First Aid box by the following means:
- Maintaining non-sterilized knifes in the medical kits maintained to treat the workers while injuries.
- Placing expired medicines to avoid expenses for fresh medicines.
- Re-usage of Injection Syringes which can lead to deadly diseases.
- Non-availability of Medical Kit or First Aid Box.
- Re-usage of cotton pads.
- Non-availability of Band-Aids.
- Maintaining high or low dosage medicines and using those interchangeably.
As it is the primary responsibility of the management to protect their workers from the abovementioned health hazards and give them a healthy life, the Management is supposed to take it not as a formality but as a need to carry their business in an effective and efficient manner.
Right of Employee
If a worker suffers an injury on the job, he/she has the right to immediate medical attention and reasonable compensation from the employer. Employee also have right to inspect the test results of health hazards in working environment.
Obligation on the part of Employer
Employers have a broad range of duties regarding workplace accidents and accident prevention. According to the Factories Act 1948, employers must eliminate hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Even though it is duty of employers must keep the work environment safe, they may not always have legal liability for an accident.
For example: – If an employee Negligence/Misconduct resulted in a workplace accident, the employer is not held legally responsible for the event. The employer is still responsible for ensuring that the employee receives medical treatment, however. If an event occurred due to a workplace hazard such as exposed wiring, the employer is directly responsible and possibly legally liable for failure to maintain a safe working environment.
To make sure employer meets the legal obligations employer ensure appointment of Inspectors, Surgeons, Welfare officers, Safety Officers. A compensation scheme should be maintained to reimburse the expenses of employee.
Insurance on the name of employee should be maintained by employer for ensuring the compensation is received despite of availability of funds with the employer and it also gives an assurance on the part of employee and increases his morale and loyalty towards organization.
Employer should ensure cleanliness of environment to make sure employee does not meet with any health issues. It is also the obligation on the part of employer to make sure there is enough ventilation and free flow of air. Toxic disposes also to be filtered to the maximum extent and employee is to be provided with enough equipment to make sure he is not exposed to any radio active elements.
Ample temperature is to be maintained to make sure employers can work comfortably; this applies especially in industries where Blast Furnaces, High Temperature equipments are used. Exhausting machines are to be fitted wherever necessary.
Special allowance is to be made for employees working in harmful environments and employers should make sure that TRAINING is received before sending employees to harmful environments.
Employees should be trained for EVACUATING premises in case of accidents and employer should maintain labels and indicators to ensure easy identification of Fire exits, Extinguishers. Also Employer should automate a system where emergency conditions are informed to Fire brigades, Ambulances in case of any unfortunate events.
Non maintenance of any of the above will result in devastating effect on employee health and thereby result in goodwill of business and may also cause closure of business.
Some of disasters that world can’t forget due to Employer Negligence:
- Benxihu Colliery disaster in Benxi, Liaoning, China. 1,549 workers died, in the worst coal mine accident ever in the world. Where dust explosion happened and due to non-planning of proper EVACUATION STRATEGY many Chinese workers are trapped underground and suffered a tragic death.
- Binhai, Tianjin, China. Two explosions within 30 seconds of each other occurred at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China 173 people died as a result. This occurred due to Overheated container where NITROCELLULOSE is maintained by storage in charge without proper safeguard.
Hence it is suggested that Employers should maintain an attitude that “Health of Employee is the wealth of Organization”