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Bellatrix's avatar

How well managed is 'workplace health and safety' at your place of employment or your home if you work at home?

Asked by Bellatrix (21228points) December 1st, 2011

Inspired by this horrific news story

Workplace health and safety is now a very important part of workplaces in Australia (and other countries I am sure). There is now significant legislation to ensure people are safe in their workplaces, but how does this legislation and all that policy translate at a grass roots level?

How safe is your workplace? Is safety something you (and your work colleagues) think about consciously and take seriously? What areas have you identified that are not safe in your workplace and do management take it seriously or is it really just given lip-service?

Please provide examples of good and not so good practice if you like.

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6 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

In the past, I’ve worked places where it was definitely more about getting the job done than it was about getting it done safely. OSHA, or at least the insurance companies, would’ve shit bricks if they’d have seen me and my buddy as roofers or when I was climbing free-hand around 30 foot industrial shelving looking for inventory to fill orders in a warehouse.

Nowadays it’s as safe as my house, whatever that implies, unless I’m on site. With that, I’ve worked some pretty unusual/dangerous locations but in them safety has been a priority to the extent possible and site management was surprisingly responsive to safety concerns (though sometimes I suspect more to protect their investment/career than their people).

Sometimes though, all you can do is warn people and hope they’ll think before they act. To paraphrase a conversation I had once: If you’re dumb enough to be wandering around the test range during live fire analysis, despite the signs, sirens, and cacophonous gunfire, there’s only so much to be done.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve worked as an OSHA trained internal safety auditor for a company that was EXTREMELY safety conscious.
I volunteer at the local “sheltered workshop”, training the clients on simple safety. I use a DVD from a Canadian company aimed at children under the age of eight.

I’ve had several friends and acquaintances killed or severely injured in work place or home environments.

JLeslie's avatar

When I worked in retail safety was very important, but laws were broken all the time. During October as we received tons and tons of merchandise the stock rooms were so full, racks of clothes were in the aisles and sweaters were piled on the floors. Multiple firecode breeches. We also literally climbed shelves to get things out of reach. They also gave us crappy office chairs, but retail managers are generally not in their offices much.

But, we did insist employees wore shoes with a back. People who did heavy lifting in receiving were given belts to help support their backs. We were instructed to always pick up stray items on the floor as they are a slipping hazard, also to never leave a rack that sticks out without clothing on it, even if it is just one item on the end while we did a floor move. There were basic precautions taken.

However, we were worked to death at times, especially during the holidays, not sire that comes under OSHA.

wundayatta's avatar

I sit at a desk all day as does everyone else on my floor. We don’t have treadmills to walk on as we sit around all day and thus we grow ever fatter and less healthy.

In addition, sometimes the urinals overflow and the bathroom floors are covered with water. That’s not very safe. But it never occurred to me to complain about these things.

Bellatrix's avatar

I work in a similar environment @Wundy (minus the overflowing urinals (I think!!!)). Where I work we have safety officers and have to complete annual safety survey to make sure we understand our responsibilities. I am not greatly at risk where I work.

Workplace health and safety is a big issue over here now. We have ad campaigns from our governments reminding us to take care at work. And when my husband had an accident at his work (crushed his hand in a press), within fifteen minutes I had officers from the government department in charge of occupational health and safety department on the phone to him wanting all the details before he even left in the ambulance. That was a bit crazy. He was in the ambulance on morphine and they were harassing me for the details. I had literally just arrived and answered his ringing phone. Still I would rather them be on-the-ball than not so.

Still, when you read about three people dying in a day at work, it does make you realise how important safety at work is and it made me wonder if the emphasis is a. universal and b. upheld in workplaces.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Nullo's avatar

Pretty well. We’ve had three associate injuries worth noting this year (I don’t count my 1st-degree burns since I work with an oven, and burns kinda come with the territory): two falls (one shoulder injury, one broken ankle) and a near miss with a band saw (which was, fortunately, just a really deep cut instead of an actual severance). Of those, only the band saw incident could have been avoided. Not too bad, overall.

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