This is “Safety and Health at Work”, chapter 13 from the book Beginning Management of Human Resources (v. 1.0).
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As the HR manager of a large construction company, your workers’ health and safety is of paramount concern. Last week, you reported an incidence rate of 7.5 accidents per 100 employees to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When you compared these numbers to last year, you found the number had significantly increased, as it was 4.2. This is concerning, because you know an unsafe workplace is not only bad for employees and bad for business, but it could result in fines from OSHA. You ask your operations managers to meet with you about the situation. When you bring this to his attention, he doesn’t seem at all concerned about the almost double increase in accidents over the last year. He says the increase in accidents is a result of scaffolding falling during a building project where several workers were hurt. He says this one accident skewed the numbers. He mentions that the supervisor responsible for the scaffolding had been let go six months ago for other reasons, and he assures you that there is no reason to be concerned. A few weeks after this conversation, two of your workers spend time in the hospital because of a falling scaffolding injury. Again, you approach the operations manager and he assures you that those employees were just new and he will implement proper procedures. You know the incident will result in another high incident percentage, even if there isn’t another accident the rest of the year. You consider your options.
You look back over ten years of accident reports and find there are three areas for which your company seems to have 90 percent of all accidents. You decide you will develop a training program to address these safety issues in your workplace. You refer to your HRM textbook for tips on how to prepare and communicate this training to your employees. When you present this option to your operations manager, he says that employees don’t have the time to take from their jobs to go through this training and suggests you just let it go. You are prepared for this response, and you give him the dollar figure of money lost owing to worker injury in your organization. This gets his attention, especially when you compare it to the small cost of doing a two-hour training for all employees. Both of you check your Outlook schedules to find the best day of the week to schedule the training, for minimum impact on employees’ work.
The author introduces the chapter on workplace safety and health.