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Element 1: Foundations in Health and Safety

Outline the scope and nature of occupational health and safety.

Health and safety practitioners need to be familiar with:

• Chemistry/physics/ biology.

• Engineering.

• Psychology.

• Sociology.

• Legislation:

– Standards which apply.

– Strengths and weaknesses of options.

Outline the Barriers to Good Standards of Health and Safety

1. Complexity of the workplace.
2. Conflicting demands:
– Timescales.

– Standards.

– Budgets.

3. Behavioral issues:
– People failing to act as

desired or making mistakes.

• Health​ – absence of disease

or ill-health.

• Safety​ – absence of risk of

serious personal injury.
• Welfare​ – access to basic
facilities. [ Drinking water, toilets

Wash and rest areas, first aid]

Environmental Protection

Prevention of damage to air, land, water and living organisms.

Why might the management of an organization not consider health and safety to be a priority?

Key points include:

• Competes with other business aims:

– Requires time and resources.

• Seen as a “cost” to business:

– Ignorance of true costs of injury/illness.

• Ignorance of legal duties.

• Ignorance of hazards.

• management showing lack of concern and care

Reasons for Maintaining and Promoting Good Standards of Health and Safety

Moral reasons.

Legal (or social) reasons.

Economic (or financial) reasons.

Global statistics from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) SafeWork Programme:

• 270 million accidents and 160 million diseases a year due to work. [ Over 800 people injure or
become sick every minute]

• 5800 people die every day due to work related accidents and ill health.

• World economy loses 1.5 trillion dollars every year

An employee at your workplace has been seriously injured in a workplace accident.

In groups, as indicated by the tutor, list the possible effects and implications of this accident on the:

• Injured employee.
• Company.

• Line manager.

Key points include:

• Injured employee:

– Pain and suffering, lost time/wages, impact on family, on-going impact on work.

• The company:

– Payment of sick pay, overtime cover for employee, recruitment costs for replacement,
insurance claims, fines/prosecutions, increased insurance premiums.

• The line manager:

– Loss of skills from team, time and cost of retraining replacement, effect of overtime
cover on shifts.

Who's Responsible for Health and Safety?

Everybody​ – but most of the responsibility lies with the ​employer​ to provide:

• Safe place of work.

• Safe plant and equipment.

• Safe systems of work.

• Training, supervision and competency of staff.

Accidents and ill-health cost money.

Costs may be:

– Direct​ – measurable costs arising directly from accidents.

– Indirect​ – arise as a consequence of the event but may not directly involve
money. Often difficult to quantify.

– H&S failure can affect the broader economy as well as individual companies.

An employee has been injured at work.

Identify potential:

– Direct costs of the accident.

– Indirect costs of the accident.

Direct costs include:

– First aid treatment, sick pay,

lost production time.

– Fines and compensation.

Indirect costs:

– Lost time for investigation.

– Lost morale and damaged worker relationships.

– Cost of recruitment of replacements.

– Lost reputation.

Insured Costs

• Fire.

• Worker injury/death.

• Medical costs.

• Compensations

Uninsured Costs

• Loss of raw materials due to accidents.

• Sick pay.

• Overtime.

• Loss of image and reputation

• Loss of clients and future business

• Loss of management time.

Role of National Governments and International Bodies

International standards from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

A country’s own health and safety standards.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

• Agency of United Nations.

• Most countries are members.

• Sets international standards for

H&S by publishing:

– Conventions.

– Recommendations.


• Create binding obligations or policies to implement their provisions.

• No legal authority, unless ratified by the member-state into its own legal structure.


• Provide guidance on policy, legislation and practice.

Examples of Regulatory International Frameworks

Regulations adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO):

Occupational Safety and Health Convention (C155) ​– a goal setting policy for companies and nations.

Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation 1981 (R164)​ – supplements ​C155​ and gives more
guidance on how to comply with its policies.

We'll talk about these a lot during the course!

Article 16 ​of ​C155 ​identifies obligations placed on employers to:

• Ensure that workplaces, machinery, equipment and work processes are safe and without risks to

• Ensure that chemical, physical and biological substances and agents are without risk to health
when protective measures have been taken.

• Provide adequate protective clothing and equipment to prevent risks of accidents or adverse
health effects.

Article 10 ​of​ R164:

• Provide and maintain​ workplaces, machinery and equipment and use working methods that are

• Give necessary ​instruction, training ​and​ supervision​ in application and use of health and safety

• Introduce ​organisational arrangements​ relevant to activities and size of undertaking.

• Provide PPE and clothing ​without charge​ to workers.

• Ensure that work ​organisation​, particularly ​working hours​ and ​rest breaks​, does not adversely
affect occupational safety and health.

• Take reasonably practical measures with a view to ​eliminating​ excessive ​physical ​and​ mental

• Keep up-to-date​ of ​scientific ​and​ technical

knowledge​ to comply with the above.

ILO has also published Conventions associated with specific hazards:

• C115 – Radiation Protection (1960)

• C162 – Asbestos (1986)

• C167 – H&S in Construction (1988)

• Safe place of work ​–​ ​and safe access and egress.

• Safe plant and equipment ​–​ ​the need to inspect, service and replace machinery will
depend on the level of risk.

• Safe system of work ​–​ ​should be safe in all circumstances – appropriate review,
planning and control ensure continued safety of methods.

• Training and supervision to ensure competency​.

What is “Competence"?


S​ – Kill


A​ – Uthority

Apart from employees, who else must the employer protect?

Anyone ​affected by their business activities:

• Visitors.

• Invited/uninvited.

• Lawful/unlawful (law differs from country to country).

• Contractors.

• YouMembers of the public​.

Workers’ Responsibilities

Article 19 ​of​ C155 ​also places obligations on workers, expanded in ​R164​ as follows:

• Co-operate with their employer, by following the Safe System Of Work

• Report any work related accident or ill-health

• Report any situation which could be dangerous

• Own safety and that of others who might be affected by the thing they do and the things that
they fail to do.

• Safety equipment to be used in a proper way


Workers’ Rights

• Given adequate information on actions the employer has taken to ensure safety and health.

• Given the right to the necessary training in safety and health.

• Consulted by the employer on all matters of safety and health relating to their work.

• Given the right to leave a workplace which he has reason to think presents an imminent and
serious danger to his life or health, and not be compelled to return until it is safe.

Enforcement Agencies

• No harmonised global standard.

• Country-specific agencies may include:

– H&S Enforcement Agency.

– Fire Authority.
– Insurance companies.

• Police may be involved in enforcing H&S law in some countries.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Breach of H&S legislation is usually a ​criminal​ offence leading to:

Enforcement action:

– Improvement.

– Prohibition.


– Organisation may be fined.

– Individuals may be fined or imprisoned.

Claims for Compensation

Fault-Based Compensation Systems

• Worker brings claim against


• Civil legal system.

• Must prove employer was negligent and therefore to blame for injury/ill-health.

• UK and USA.

No-Fault Systems

• National or regional schemes.

• No need to prove negligence.

• Decided by a panel of experts.

• No lawyers or courts.

• New Zealand and Sweden.

Discuss the criminal and civil law implications of the following:

• A technician escapes injury by diving under a bench when a vessel blows up as a result
of a design defect.
• A 12-year-old boy breaks his arm falling into a pit whilst playing on an unfenced building

• A machine operator is blinded in one eye by a colleague trying to help him remove a
jammed machine part using a hammer. There is a safe way to remove the jammed part
which does not involve the use of a hammer and the area they are in is a mandatory eye
protection zone.

• A scaffolder is electrocuted when the pole he is carrying touches a live overhead cable.
The scaffolder works for a company contracted to a roofing company, in turn contracted
to a factory owner.

International Organisation for Standardisation

World's largest developer of management standards, for example:

– ISO 9001 – Quality Management

– ISO 14001 – Environmental Management

– ISO 12100 – Safety of Machinery

These standards are not "law", they're good management practice.

They lead to a worldwide common approach to good management.

Other International Standards

Internationally-recognised standard for Occupational Health and Safety is

OHSAS 18001

Compatible with ​ISO 9001 ​and ​ISO 14001​.

Sources can be:

• internal, or

• external

to the organisation.

List all the internal and external sources you can think of and discuss them.


• Accident records.

• Medical records.
• Risk assessments.

• Maintenance reports.

• Safety inspections.

• Audit reports.

• Safety committee minutes.

• External

• National legislation.

• Safety data sheets.

• Codes of practice.

• Guidance notes.

• Operating instructions.

• Trade associations.

• Safety publications.