Occupational Health and Safety Workplace and Employee Term Paper

Pages: 13 (4960 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Disease

Occupational Health and Safety

Workplace and Employee Health:

There is a widespread relationship between work and our health which is seemingly not perceptible to many. The duties we perform the settings in which we work and the different aspects of the labor market experience, and health services delivery, have major impact on the work and health relationship of individuals. This is a crucial issue as work constitutes a major portion of our lives. Majority among us will devote almost 40 years or more in individual work atmosphere for five days a week, eight hours daily which translates to nearly a third of our lives spent on the job. Although the nature of work has undergone changes remarkably in last half a century, the present day workplace has spawned new forms of morbidity and disability. Current research findings reveal that one out of five claims for lost time constitutes for work associated repetitive stress injury. (Building Healthier Workplaces: Institute for Work & Health Annual Report 2001)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Occupational Health and Safety Workplace and Employee Assignment

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders -- WMSDs are the major cause of disability in the workplace in N. America. Roughly, 85% of the working population will fall victim of back pain at some stage of their work life. Hence, these new realities of workplace create special challenges for deterrence, detection, medical cure and compensation. The costs, both direct and indirect in case of workplace injury and sickness are increasing. In 2000, $5.7 billion in workers' compensation benefits were given away across Canada as compensation to injured workers and to provide them with healthcare treatment and rehabilitation and in excess of $2.3 billion in compensation was meant for Ontario only. Motivating people to return to work following injury can be even challenging as the detection of WMSD. Of late, changes in policy in Ontario have transferred the responsibility for the primary and secondary prevention of disability to workplaces. Research at the Institute of Work and Health, an independent, philanthropic research organization whose activities endeavor to minimize illness and disability in the Ontario working population, will investigate the effect of these changes. It will also evaluate what factors guarantee return to work in the most efficient manner for injured workers. (Building Healthier Workplaces: Institute for Work & Health Annual Report 2001)

In the opinion of Scientist Dr. Renee-Louise Franche, the core area of their research happens to be the contribution of work accommodation for injured employees and the Institute is aware that work accommodation can play an important role in resumption of work following treatment of the injury in the most efficient manner. The manner in which work is organized, i.e. At the individual, job, department and corporate levels can have deep impact on the health of the person. A slew of risk factors starting from the physical, ergonomic concerns like positioning of the workstation, to the workplace organizational factors like employee recognition and job control, comprise the work-associated health issues including WMSDs. Work organization has been an additional research theme at the Institute of Work & Health. Previous work with General Motors, Canada and current research with the Toronto Star have put in place the basic work for a series of research studies that evaluate the manner in which work organization shapes biomechanical and psychological work exposures. The Employee Survey of Working Environment, a web-based survey, is credited to be the first online tool developed by the Institute which will assist organizations to look for stress-associated matters in their workplaces corresponding to norms prevalent in Canada. (Building Healthier Workplaces: Institute for Work & Health Annual Report 2001)

Among the various projects in progress, the most interesting on this subject is an extensive account of work-associated musculoskeletal disorders -- WMSDs in Ontario. A sequence of research under this gamut will give an account of WMSDs and the variations in injury and functional recovery across various regions, ranked by provider type and the seriousness of interaction as also the variation between the genders, and across industries and professions. A lot of forces are there at the societal level which impacts the working lives and the health of people. (Building Healthier Workplaces: Institute for Work & Health Annual Report 2001)

Within the gamut of research theme of labor market experience and health, research professionals are evaluating the association between upstream labor market experiences associated with the availability of work like unemployment, rank in the occupational hierarchy, inequality of income and the type of work and the manner in which these factors put an effect on the health of individuals. The findings of the research work spearheaded by Scientist Director, Dr. Cameron Mustard evaluated the manner in which position in the occupational hierarchy may be a determinant in the seeming health status. The studies found that the employees serving in the lowest rung in an organization possessed an increased risk of a decrease in apparent health status. In case of men, this might be explained in part by the workplace organizational factors or participation in health risk behaviors. (Building Healthier Workplaces: Institute for Work & Health Annual Report 2001)

Gender Issues in Occupational Health & Safety:

Gender segregation of the working population is responsible for gender differences in working atmosphere leading to gender differences as regards exposures to hazards and health outcomes. Following corrections made for the number of hours contributed to work, men continue to sustain more accidents and injuries at work compared to women. It has been found that women complain more of upper limb disorders and stress. Occupational cancer is more widespread among men compared to women, however some professions such as food service and certain manufacturing industries wherein women have been reported to have higher rates. Asthma and allergies seem to be more frequent among the women workers than men. (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work)

The main causes of respiratory exposures in women's work come from cleaning agents, sterilizing agents and gloves having latex dust used in the healthcare sector and also dusts in textile and production of garments. Women are more prone to skin diseases, for instance because of working with wet hands in professions like catering, or due to skin contact with cleaning agents or hairdressing chemicals. On the other hand, men have problems from hearing loss due to noise compared to women, because of noise pollution of production machinery and tool operation; however women in garments and food production can be exposed to high decibel levels also. Women working as nurses are more susceptible to infectious diseases. Women complain more disorders of the upper limb and increasingly more cases are seen in certain high frequency repetitive work undertaken by women like light assembly work, in which they have scanty control in the manner in which they work. In case of both the genders, high stress levels due to exigencies of work has been seen which is not just a women's problem. (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work)

Nevertheless, there are some stress factors to which women are more prone to exposure due to the job they normally perform. These comprise work where there are greater demands on emotion like acting in the movie industry in which they have scanty control on the nature of work they perform. Besides, discrimination and sexual harassment at workplaces too comprise causes of stress injury which women encounter increasingly compared to men as also the stress of unpaid domestic work in the household. It is a fact that women workers experience higher public contact in their strategic roles like Receptionist, Help Desk, Telecallers and as a result they are increasingly exposed to violence related to work. Thus gender differences in social and employment conditions which impact the occupational safety and health cannot be overlooked. Since gender inequity inside as well as outside the workplace can impact the occupational safety and health of women, it must be included in the mainstream into equality programs. (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work)

The negligible participation of women in all stage of occupational safety and health consultation and decision making will also outcome in less attention accorded to their OSH requirements, and low assessment of risk, in case they are not consulted in an efficient manner. Enough substantiation is available that assuming a gender-neutral approach to occupational safety and health is responsible to sustaining of differences in knowledge and to less effective prevention. For instance this leads to (i) gender differences being ambiguous or ignored (ii) giving lesser attention to certain research areas that are more about women (iii) lack of adequate estimation as regards the degree of risks to women (iv) lower participation of women in occupational safety and health decision-making, since affirmative action fails to be taken to guarantee that they are covered (v) the most preventive solution are not being chosen. (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work) number of enactments, instructions on gender equality have been passed, however the approach of directives on occupational safety and health is usually gender neutral. This implies that Occupation Health and Safety -- OSH approach does… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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