The Workplace Health and Safety (2015) emphasizes the significant impact of risk assessment procedures and practices in any business enterprise terming it as a strategic organized framework to implement control measures in ensuring the successful achievement of business objectives. When adopted by a particular organization, it ensures that any unacceptable change or hindrance to the seamless execution of business operations is successfully mitigated or foiled to encourage productivity and organizational success. In terms of Occupational Health and Safety considerations, risk assessment procedures ensure that the workplace safety is augmented thus providing a safer and non-hazardous working environment to the workers and employees.
The Health and Safety Executive in its Guide, Managing Contractors (2001) clearly states the organizational need to implement a comprehensive framework for Health and Safety at the workplace for which particular emphasis has been placed on the selection and adoption of an effective Risk Assessment Methodology. This ensures that all possible hazards, risks and negative influences associated with a workplace environment can be identified and addressed accordingly. The Canadian Center for Workplace Health and Safety (2015) identifies it as a strategic five step process for the successful implementation of occupational safety measures. These steps include:
There are various legislation and legal entities directed at ensuring the organizations adherence to the HSE policies and guidelines in The UK. Similarly, various successfully established and implemented legislations exist in the US, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1970. There are similar workplace safety regulations for nations across the globe to promote worker's safety and health. Organizations must then, conduct a thorough risk assessment of their workplace to ensure that their HSE policies are compliant with the established legislation. The British Standards BS8800 and BSI 2004 provide the technical details and guidelines for the implementation of occupational health and safety for organizations in the UK. As stressed by the Workplace health and safety (2015), the risk assessment process ensures that the organization is aware of the entities at risk such as employees, visitors, cleaning staff, contractors and other stakeholders.
Through a comprehensive assessment procedure, effective corrective strategies can be then devised to reduce and eliminate the impact of these hazards and security threats. The British Standards Organization and the British guide, 'Occupational health and safety management systems' provides guidelines on how to prioritize risks and establish appropriate mitigation strategies in retrospect of the evaluated severity levels and probability of occurrence. It is also recommended to regularly review and monitor the risk assessment to ensure that the occupational health and safety plan is executed as planned.
Risk Assessment procedures are highly productive and useful in ensuring the workplace safety of the employees in practical terms. In the construction Industry, such practical measures are extremely necessary to provide a safer site environment for engineers, contractors and employees working in difficult and risky areas in the field, as such risk can cause serious damages as well as death of the occupants. Legislation further elevates the occupational safety assurance through guidelines on refining an organizations existing OSH plan and policy for a safer workplace environment, and how to actually implement them. HSE also executes sites visit to ensure that these plans are being implement by the management. Therefore, risk assessments in the workplace must implemented practically on the site of interest, and it must not be considered as a mere paper exercise to satisfy health and safety legislation.
The particular Article highlights research findings for the effectiveness and impact of worker engagement on a construction site for the promotion of health and safety at the workplace. As the research depicts, safety measures and OHS procedures implementation can significantly benefit from a well trained staff who is equipped with the essential knowledge required to effectively contribute to improvements in occupational safety. A significant role is that of the OHS Manager or site supervisor who has to influence behavioral safety and worker engagement through lucid and conspicuous communication skills. For this purpose, it is mandatory that the manager is trained for successfully imparting workplace health and safety guidelines to the workers.
Communications and face-to-face interaction is the key element in such workplace situations especially with regards to the construction project as it leads to enhanced employee morale and increased level of trust that is a boon to meeting OHS objectives. As the research suggests, daily interaction with the workers on the construction site and discussions relative to the safety queries can prove productive. Further, follow-up on worker's safety feedback and efforts to address such issues highlighted by workers can facilitate the refinement of existing OHS practices and can greatly influence worker participation for further improvements. Such a system can prove beneficial for ensuring effective workplace health and safety policies with the only drawback being a lesser focus on documented procedures. There should be some 'paperwork' to provide a means for monitoring and evaluating existing OHS procedures.
As suggested by the Health and Safety Executive in its Guide, Managing Contractors (2001), it is beneficial for organizations to provide necessary training to their contractors, workers and employees regarding workplace safety measures. There are guidelines for managing subcontractors that state the importance of communicating the contracting company's health and safety policy clearly including terms that cover behavioural safety aspects for the subcontractor to all relevant stakeholders at the initiation of a project or certain endeavor. This is also important as it is highlighted by established OHS guidelines and organisational policies must conform to such safety measures to avoid legal hassle and unproductivity.
In the construction industry, it is highly important to clarify safety practices and standard set of procedures (SOP) with the subcontractors including provisions of essential training to ensure conformity to legislation and OHS policies. This is also considered to be very important as there is likelihood that the human resource of the sub-contartcor or the contractual employees may not consider safety as priority, or they may have not been trained properly in their previous scope of works. Such practices, if not implemented can result in significant losses for the organization including impacts like:
Accidents or incidents relative to occupational safety can prove detrimental to the contracting organization with negative impacts on competitive-edge and brand value including the risks of legal action, penalties, reimbursements or compensation to pay and a tarnished company image. As per a recent HSE survey, workers who paid consideration to enhanced OHS practices including safe working with the subcontractors reported higher benefits of doing so and enjoyed a higher workplace security satisfaction level.
Figure 1: OHS for Contractors (Managing Contractors, 2001)
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