CHAPTER 2: DETERMINING THE THEORETIC AND METHODOLOGICAL BASIS OF THE SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS
The tasks which are solved in this chapter have the following goals:
– based on the formed main directions of the policy for safety and health as well as on the principles presented for providing them, the nature and the role of the safety culture has been analysed.
– methodological instructions for the control system of safety and health at work are presented and through analysing them the essence and its effects are determined herein.
– the responsibilities of the parties involved are revealed in a managerial approach to the safety and health at work.
– an approach for assessment of the workplace and assessment of the risk has been formed and adequate actions are undertaken for its reduction. The commitment provides grounds for a proposal to be made of a model for health and safety at work.
2.1. Basic concepts
►Health and safety at work.These are material conditions that eliminate or limit the adverse effects of the labour process on the workforce. They do not cause occupational diseases and accidents at work and create preconditions for complete physical, mental and social well-being of the working people. The concept consists of two elements:
►Healthy working conditions (labour hygiene). These are working conditions that allow normal functioning of the human body. They are expressed in required conditions concomitant the labour process. The goal is the adverse consequences of the working environment to be avoided. For instance, minimum standards for lighting, % dust content etc. are foreseen.
►Safety working conditions (occupational safety, technical safety). They ensure the protection of physical and mental integrity of the human body and prevent the external adverse impact on it. Unlike the healthy working conditions, the safety ones set requirements for handling with the instruments of work. The machines shall be secured and personal protective equipment is provided, etc.
2.2. Basic principles of ensuring safety and health at work.
The basic principles of ensuring safety and health at work-fig.2.1- are as follows:
►principle of prevention– the risks are removed pre-emptively and preventively before they have caused any disabilities to workers or consumers;
►principle of hierarchy:
– first level: the highest level of effectiveness of the protective measures to remove all the dangers, giving rise to any risks.
– second level: The risk can not be avoided and appropriate protection measures – such as safety of work equipment, shall be provided. It is related to:
•applying with priority of the means of collective defence;
•adapting the work to the individual physical and psychological characteristics of people;
•substitution of hazardous materials, equipment and production with safety or less dangerous less dangerous one.
– third level:
•measures for regulated behaviour of workers and strict adherence to the procedures for performance of the job in a safe way;
•personal protective equipment, protective clothing and footwear;
•signs and signals for safety.
►principle of integration – integration of the activities for accident prevention and protection of the environment.
►principle of a leading responsibility of the managing person for ensuring safety and health at work: the management does not allow the activities on Safety and Health at Work to be subordinated to purely economic considerations and on this basis these activities to be neglected.
►principle of information, consultation and coordination of the actions for ensuring safety and health at work. Cooperation is conducted throughout the whole chain: identification of hazards, risk assessment, training and knowledge for pending development of safety measures and their implementation and compliance. It is necessary safety culture of the staff to be achieved.
►principle of reasonable sufficiency, offering optimization of expenses. It expresses the notion that the optimization of safety depends on the social and economic factors. It is based on assumption that zero risk does not exist and that every human activity involves some risks.
►principle of labour medical service of the employees – not for treatment of workers, but rather for the treatment of workplaces and creation of skills, habits and culture to protect their own health and safety.
2.3. Safety culture
A determining role in ensuring the safety and health at work deserves the safety culture (SC). It is a core value and top priority in people’s behaviour during operation and is an important element of the organizational culture.
Safety culture. Definition. This is a complex of characteristics of the operating organization and built conscious behaviour of the employees to observe the rules and the safety requirements.
In the contemporary conditions the high safety culture is defined by the characteristics referred to Fig.2.2.
Increasing the safety culture is in three aspects:
*developing and maintaining values that promote a positive safety culture;
*conducting a self-assessment of safety culture;
*systematic and continuous improvement of safety culture.
It is especially useful to develop a methodology for self-assessment of safety culture and create a team for work on maintaining and increasing it. Self-assessments of safety culture. Conducting periodic self-assessments of the safety culture is a key part of its continuous improvement.
The purpose of self-assessment is to establish a clear picture of the state of the safety culture, to assess and promote the strong points and to define the areas for improvement in the processes and in the behaviour of the staff by identifying specific implementation measures. The individual aspects of three-tier model of safety culture – fig.2.3, and the place of culture in stimulating results – fig.2.4.
Fig. 2.3. Fig.2.4.
Safety culture includes four aspects above the surface to the actions:
*management to ensure and enhance safety – a formal framework;
*activities or practices – internal reaction;
*emotions and feelings – internal reaction;
*shared understanding of reality.
The foregoing displays that:
► the definition of culture focuses mainly on two aspects: a) pattern of behaviour and interaction ; b) way of thinking.
►the notion of culture is associated with the following phenomena:
a) above the surface: the visible aspects of culture – actions, behaviour, talks – we can observe them.
b) beneath the surface: the attitudes, norms, values – we can examine them
A systematic approach to analysis of safety
While the analytical approach to safety emphasizing technical
Factors (if the technology works and the facility is safe), the systematic approach identifies the interaction and mutual influence of the factors related to individuals, technology and organization
The systematic approach to safety means complete determination of:
a) the interaction of the individuals at all levels of technology;
b) the organization and reporting on the human factor in it.
The analysis of a number of events occurring in the equipment imposes the conclusion that the safety culture, leadership, interaction between individuals, technology and the organization are key factors to ensure the safety of the facilities.
Importance of leadership for safety culture
To determine the importance of leadership for safety culture it is necessary to assess what defines human behaviour and modifies it – fig.2.6. The dialogue is the means of the leader to change the culture by creating a common, shared understanding of reality – fig.2.7. To achieve a change of the organizational level, decisive is the role of the leaders to create a shared space in which people through dialogue could build up shared understanding.
The nature of the relationship influences the extent to which individuals are willing to cooperate, learn and focus on common goals. The shared space, which is recognized, promotes learning of the organization, extracts knowledge and experience and assists for the attainment of the shared understanding by all. The shared understanding of safety leads to behaviour and work to maintain and enhance the safety – to strong safety culture.
2.4. Government policy for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions
The government policy for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions
is formed on the basis of:
►Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which:
– “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
– “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment”.
►European Social Charter, according to which “the right to safe and healthy working conditions” requires:
– to determine, implement and periodically review the overall national policy on safety and occupational hygiene;
– to issue rules on healthy and safe working conditions
– to conduct these rules by oversight measures;
– the employees to participate in the determination and improvement of working conditions and working environment in the enterprise.
The main goal of social policy : protecting the lives, health and employability of people in their employment.
Basic principles of the policy for safety and health at work.
This policy is aimed at ensuring well-being at work, taking into account changes in the labour market and the emergence of new risks.
The basic rights, obligations and responsibilities of the participants in the labour process – the state, the employers and the employees, are defined in the Law on Health and Safety at Work. A system of standards, specific requirements and obligations is made for ensuring the safety and health at work. The minimum requirements that employers must comply with for ensuring the safety and health of their employees are stipulated herein.
It is obligatory medical monitoring of the employees and the provision of necessary information and appropriate training to be provided.
The national policy for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions is formed and implemented on the basis of cooperation at national, sectoral and regional level. For achieving an equitable distribution of the social insurance burden between the different employers and motivation to safe and healthy work, a system for determining a differentiated contribution rate for occupational accidents and disease, dependent on the degree of risk in different sectors of the economy has been developed .
Evidences of general improvement of the activity for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions are available. The number of enterprises that invest in safety technologies and working equipment is constantly increasing.
Significant experience is gained in the preparation of risk assessments and this is reflected in their better quality; the share of enterprises that have implemented programs to eliminate and minimize manufacturing risk is expanded.
In the implementation of basic directions of policy for Safety and Health at Work, there are also a number of weaknesses:
*economic and social changes create new challenges for the protection of employees;
*in most of the small and medium enterprises the knowledge of health and safety at work are often insufficient or missing;
*there is a trend towards an increase in working time and work intensity, which leads to increased stress in the workplace;
*although there is a renewal of the technical and technological equipment in many economic activities part of the production is realized with outdated machinery and equipment that generate hazards and dangers.
For achieving the policy objectives of safety and health at work measures are implemented in the following key directions:
*ensuring an uniform and effective enforcement of legislation and improvement of the labour inspection;
*enhancing the capacity of small and medium enterprises for implementing the legislation;
*adapting the legal framework to the changes in the workplace and restricting and eliminating of administrative obstacles for the business development;
*improving the methods for identifying and assessment of the new occupational risks in the workplace;
*development of the bipartite social dialogue.
2.5. Organization of activities for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions
In order to achieve effectiveness in the activity of making OSH the companies build their own corporate policy on health and safety, in which the management of OSH occupies a leading position.
2.5.1.Methodological guidelines for management systems of OSH. They are practical instructions and a model for building a corporate system for OSH management in order to meet obligations under ensuring the health and safety deriving maximum benefit from them. They include:
– general principles and conditions of the safety and health (OSH) management system.
– specificity in the training of the employees ;
– participation of the different parties in the processes of OSH;
– corrective and preventive measures in the activities on health and safety at work.
At the base of methodological guidelines is the principle of continuous improvement, based on introspection, self-evaluation and appropriate measures for improvement. This principle is implemented through the instruments of continuous improvement – internal audits, monitoring of processes and products, corrective and preventive actions. With these instruments the organization itself analyсes the situation, identifies opportunities for improvement, performs and reports their effectiveness. Such management can be more effective by observing the different legal requirements to achieve:
• improving the quality of labour and competitiveness of the companies;
improving the company image as a result of the reduction of the occupational risk;
• prevention – by reducing the risk of occupational accidents and diseases and the related to them costs and losses;
• functional social dialogue.
2.5.2.Contents of the management system for the safety and health at work.
The management system of health and safety, regardless of
the organization, consists of five main sectors-fig.2.8-: policy, organization,
planning and implementation, evaluation and improvement actions.
126.96.36.199. Company policy for ensuring safety and health at work
The company policy for health and safety at work requires establishing a system for continuously detecting and analysing the reasons for admission deficiencies in work and develop and implement effective approaches to achieve specific targets. The contemporary corporate policy is based on the principles of the national policy on health and safety and with the obligatory participation of the workers. It is the basis of the system for the management of health and safety and defines the directions that the organization should follow.
Company policy for OSH includes: •internal legislative acts on health and safety; • appropriate organization; • participation of workers in the management of OSH; •strategy of education and training;•organization and report on measures OSH; • пimprove the effectiveness of SU??? Of OSH; • preventive and control measures in the company.
A guarantee for the implementation of the policy and the objectives set is the support of the employees.
188.8.131.52. Organizing of the activity on the safety and health at work
The creation of a flexible and actively implemented management organization of labour in the company is a necessity that must be understood and used by the employers and employees. Developing a document defining the internal work order in the enterprise shall be rationalised and perceived as “company labour code”. The organization of the company includes elements of responsibility and accountability, competence and training, documentation and communication. It provides the actual participation of the management and its responsibilities for implementation of the policy on health and safety. The company’s labour code focuses on:
applying the principles of business management;
– creating an organization for identification removal and hazard control and occupational risks;
– strengthening of health at work;
– ensuring timely and effective training and indoctrination of the employees.
184.108.40.206. Planning and implementing the activities
General provisions. In general, the corporate OSH program is aimed at preventing occupational accidents and diseases and has the following basic parts:
• Alignment of the responsibilities for the safety and health at work.
• Identification of the hazards.
• Assessment and management of risks.
• Training and consulting staff on OSH.
• Monitoring and evaluating of the effectiveness of the program for OSH
Planning activities on OSH is a key element in the management of the companies. The goal is the development and acceptance of resource-backed programs for the realization of the objectives and tasks which shall ensure:
*integration of all the elements, types of operations and actions ensuring safety and health;
*minimum requirements for OSH in accordance with requirements of the legislation and the objectives of company policy;
*continuous sustainable improvement of activities on ensuring of OSH
The company programs must cover the directions of a risk analysis. Their structure must comply with the general requirements for ensuring OHS and take into account the nature of the activities of a particular enterprise.
The main directions of these programs are:
►Integrating activities to ensure the health and safety at work in the overall business policy of the company and directing it towards the development of industrial relations.
►Development and implementation of a system for OSH management, covering internal rules for safety and health at work:
– the obligations of officials, workers and employees for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions
– Functions and tasks of the different units in the management of the enterprise;
– creating a deployed system for training and information.
►Aligning the workplace and work equipment in accordance with the requirements of the legislation. When developing this part of the program emphasis should be placed on fighting the risk at the source of its occurrence.
► The employer shall provide labour medicine services to the employees.
Preparation for the development of the program. Preparation is connected with organizing and conducting analysis and evaluation of the correlation between the actual state of activities of the enterprise and the legal requirements for OSH. When carrying out the analysis measurement data of individual elements of the working conditions should be used as well as assessments, opinions and recommendations of the control authorities and analyses of the causes for work accidents.
The development of assessment of occupational risks is the basis for realization of the planned work in OSH in companies. Basically this is an assessment of conformity of working conditions with the requirements of the legislation. Risk assessment is the process of decision-making related to the presence of specific hazards to life and health of workers based on research, analysis and determining the level and degree of acceptability of the resulting risk. The assessment should cover the actual state of:
•organization of work; •organization of activities on ensuring OSH;
•the technologies used and raw materials; •the working equipment;
•various elements of working conditions; •the workplaces and traffic routes; •the qualifications of the participants in the labour process; •the internal controls conducted; •the implementation of specified norms and obligations; •the provision and use of personal protective equipment; •effective operation of the means of collective protection; •proper clearance and record keeping.
Planning of activities. Elements of the planned activities-fig.2.9- are:
► measures for prevention, forms to maintain readiness and resources for carrying out specific activities in emergency cases, which should be in conformity with the type, nature and size of the enterprise and ensure:
•conducting the necessary prevention and implementing control over the appearance of various risks, ensuring the necessary technical means and personal protective equipment;
•training of all the members of the enterprise and holding regular workouts on activities foreseen for prevention and liquidation of emergency situations.
•the necessary coordination, information and internal communication in order to protect all the people in case of emergency;
•communication with the competent authorities;
The key to success in the enterprise is the ability to control its processes so as to create reliable and consistent quality products and services. This
► communication strategy events, intended to inform and persuade, to win confidence and generate stability, to examine different perspectives for the provision of OHS, to have a unified model for messages and enable the formation of a positive public attitude. It is necessary to pre-formulate answers to questions about what we want to achieve as priority goals, which are the target groups, what messages should publicize, what information mechanisms will be used, how to understand if there are any results and what they are. On this basis a work program has been developed in which the communication techniques for maximum impact are determined precisely.
► events for managing changes. It is necessary periodically the impact on OSH of the internal changes carried out to be assessed, including an increase or reduction of staff, introduction of new production processes, organizational structures, materials and more. It should be assessed also the impact of changes occurred regardless of the enterprise which have or may have an impact on it. These are usually changes in the national legislation and the external economic environment. Before applying a specific decision to change, we need to provide information and, if necessary, to ensure training of relevant personnel groups of employees.
► overall activity on the evaluation of the occupational risks, including performance of related measurements. The national legislation defines a framework obligation of employers to regulate their own approaches, scope and the timing of realization of this workload. The creation of this internal order must be consistent with the accepted by the employer stages for performing the risk assessment. This obligation derives from HSCWA as well as from the manner and frequency for performing risk assessment. It has specifically been regulated by the minimum requirements for safe and healthy conditions at workplaces and the use of the working equipment and it covers:
– the required measurements are carried out in accordance with applicable regulations and with the frequency determined by the employer for the risk assessment;
– establishing the conformity of the working environment, the labour process, the technology used and the work equipment with the standards and requirements for OHS is implemented through the approaches, methods and forms for the risk assessment;
– the classification of the various occupational hazards and the measures applied for their limitation;
– the specifics and the conditions under which the relevant work activity is carried out;
– the generally accepted regulatory requirements.
220.127.116.11. Monitoring, measurement, control, assessment of the results
Monitoring, measurement and assessment of the results are used as a means of determining the degree of implementation of OSH policy and for timely and qualitative implementation of the specifically assigned functions, tasks and obligations as well as control over the appearance of occupational risks. It is necessary the procedures for continuous monitoring, measuring and documenting the results associated with the implementation of OHSMS to be developed, implemented and periodically reviewed.The choice of criteria for assessing the results must comply with nature of the business in the enterprise, as well as its objectives for OSH.
It is necessary active monitoring which covers all elements of a modern system for OSH, i.e. an activity by which it shall be checked whether preventive and protective measures for hazards and risks at work, as well as implementing provisions of OHSMS are implemented and whether their implementation complies with the specified criteria. This monitoring should include all the elements of the system as well as:
*monitoring the health of the workers through appropriate forms of monitoring and tracking in order to detect at an early stage signs and symptoms of disabilities mainly from labour activity so that effective measures for protection be defined and implemented;
*regular inspection by OSH specialists in the enterprises of the systems for work, the working premises, the work equipment, the workplaces, the labour process, the behaviour of the workers, etc.;
*the implementation of specific plans, of the established performance criteria for efficiency and the set objectives.
The control over the overall activity must be systematic and not accidental. It should be conducted on the basis of the existing company organization for management of the activity at periodic intervals and direction, associated with the events and the assessed level of existing professional risks.
This creates a need for drawing up provisions for conducting periodic audits to determine whether OHSMS and its components function properly and efficiently and whether they provide the intended protection of workers and prevent accidents. An audit is a systematic, independent and documented procedure for collecting data and their complementary assessment aims to establish to what extent certain criteria and set tasks are met.
18.104.22.168. Preventive and corrective actions for constant improvement
Through the internal regulations conditions for continuous improvement of the individual components and overall management system for safety and health at work shall be created. It is appropriate forms for preventive and corrective actions to be developed and implemented as a result of the control, monitoring, measurement and assessment of results of the management system. In the case that the evaluation of OHSMS or it is established otherwise that the preventive and protective measures concerning the hazards and risks are inadequate or likely to become such, they should be promptly reviewed in accordance with the established hierarchy of preventive and control measures, and completed and documented in the established order. In developing the provisions for continual improvement of OHSMS as a whole and of its separate elements the following issues are taken into account:
*the results from the monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of OHSMS;
the results of the identification and assessment of the hazards and risks;
the objectives of the enterprise for the provision of OHS;
*the investigation of work-related injuries, cases of ill health, diseases and incidents and audit recommendations;
the changes in the national legislation, programs and collective agreements engaged in by the company;
*the results of the assessment of the functioning of OHSMS;
results of the program for the protection and promotion of health;
*recommendations for improvements delivered by the committees and/or groups of workers and all workers in the enterprise;
*the information about “good practice”.
“Good Practice” and the results of its implementation can be perceived and assessed only in the realization of labour activity. These results should consequently be compared with the results of the leading companies that have similar strategies for Safety and Health at Work. On such a basis new ways to improve performance and maintain competitiveness should be be sought.
As a form of prevention and motivation a connection could be performed between the degree of carrying out the obligations to ensure the standards and requirements for safety and health at work and the amount of remuneration of the participants in the labour process.
2.6.Managerial approach to safety and health at work
Crucial for improving the safety and health are three basic principles of the management:
• effective and strong leadership;
• involvement of workers and employees and their real engagement;
• ongoing process of assessment and review.
2.6.1. Effective and strong leadership
The preventive approach can produce results only if it is supported by the management. The presence of a strong and visible leadership and committed leaders at all levels can provide the necessary guidance and resources for the implementation of this approach. This means that:
• the management is committed to the health and safety as a core value of the organization and bring this fact to the attention of the workers and employees;
• the managers have an accurate picture of the profile of the organization with regard to the risks;
• the management gives the employees a personal example and demonstrate leader’s morality, always respecting the rules of OHS ;
• the functions and responsibilities of participants in the prevention and management of risks to the safety at the workplace are clearly defined and planned; • visiting the workplaces for talks with the staff on health and safety, creating concern (workers may not only identify problems but also to propose solutions);
• taking personal responsibility and demonstrating personal commitment;
• leadership through personal involvement;
• release of funds and time, as much as possible.
2.6.2. Involvement of workers and employees and their real engagement
The benefits of this culture of cooperation include decreasing the number of accidents, finding effective cost solutions and enhancing the productivity of the workforce. These results could lead for its part to a reduction in number of absence from work and more effective control of workplace risks. The contribution of employees is particularly important on the stages of: • risk assessment;
• development of policies and measures; • exposing actual observations within the training activities and implementation.
2.6.3. Ongoing process of assessment and review
The monitoring and reporting tools are vital for improving the safety and health in the workplace. Management systems that provide reports on the effectiveness of the policy on health and safety could draw attention to the existing problems and improve safety and health in the workplace. The elements of an effective system for assessment and review include:
• procedures for fastest reporting of significant failures in health and safety to the Management Board and the owners;
• systems for the collection and reporting of accurate and timely data on accidents, for instance for the number of accidents and illnesses;
• mechanisms for documenting and reporting the opinions of workers;
• periodic reports for the impact on OHS of the prevention schemes;prevention schemes;
• regular audits of the effectiveness of control measures and risk management;
• assessing the impact of changes such as the introduction of new work processes, procedures and products on health and safety;
• effective procedures for the application of new or amended regulations.
2.6.4. Working environment and working conditions in the organization. Each workstation is characterized by an environment that influences the way employees perform their duties in achieving organizational goals. The workplace is often a source of physical and psychological stressful situations which cause emotional disorders and decreased effectiveness in terms of functionality. It is a centre where an employment relationship is implemented and where people carrying out different roles and functions interact all the time. The foregoing shows that the workplace is a complex system of different tasks whose implementation is sometimes subjected to contradictory orders from the governing body .
Working conditions. They are the main reason for differences as regards the health – poor working conditions are a factor for reduced life expectancy, the direct cause of fatal accidents or diseases, or indirectly as a prerequisite for the overall impairment of the health of employees in the organization. Improved working environment motivates employees and leads to better results. In the organizations that have built effective working environment a higher productivity, creativity and financial stability hasve been observed there. The environment may be considered in terms of physical and behavioralcomponents that can be divided into separate independent variables. The physical environment of an organization and its working conditions have a significant impact on the employees behaviour at the workplace. It has been proved that improving physical working conditions can result from 5% to 10% increase in productivity. The physical environment affects to a great extent all the people who are in this system. It affects the way in which the staff carries out its obligations, as well as its success and achieving organizational objectives.
Formation of working conditions. The working conditions are formed by interaction of employees with organizational climate-fig.2.10-a,b. This includes
Creating a work environment in which the productivity of the employees is with high growth and is essential for any organization. The connection between work, workplace and working conditions becomes an integral part of the work itself. Ensuring appropriate working conditions is important for generating a greater commitment and productivity by the employees. The focus is on those working conditions that directly influence the behaviour, the operations and job performance of the staff in the organization such as: organizational culture, management style, workload, staff training, workplace stress- Fig.2.11.
2.6.5. Organizational culture. The essence of the organizational culture is revealed in the interaction between basic shared values, typical for the organization. They define the perspective and the direction in which the managеment of the organization perceive the reality, actions and events, thinking that they are based on indisputable truths. In its essence, the organizational culture is a system of convictions and values detected, identified and developed by a certain group in the process of dealing with the problems of external adaptation and internal integration and accepted as valid by all members of the organization as the correct way to perceive and solve these problems .
The organizational culture provides a way of perception of the facts and gives a sense of understanding and interpretation. It helps for the creation of a sense of identity with the organization from which everything else follows for its progress and development. It is a prerequisite for enhancing the social stability, for giving sense, guidance and control of the organization, and through the establishment and acceptance of the same cultural values by everyone in the organization.
It should be noted that the organizational culture is not to be confused with the organizational climate.
2.6.6. Organizational climate.
The term „organizational climate” refers to how people feel their work environment, how well they carry out their work. The organizational climate is the way that shows the employees in the organization which is important for achieving organizational effectiveness. It is the feeling as to how and how many employees care about the organization, it’s an emotional state shared by members of the system. This state may be formal, quiet, protective, cautious. The organizational climate can be viewed as a a sense expressed by physical parameters by which employees interact a way by which members of the organization are managed. The organizational climate –fig.2.12- can be divided into:
– an organizational level (organizational climate). The Organizational climate a totality of people having unified perception of the organization.
– an individual level (psychological climate). The psychological climate is a way in which individuals give meaning to organizational policies, practices and procedures in a psychologically meaningful way.
The employees in an organization achieve satisfaction with the work when their achievements are recognized and appreciated. When matching the convictions of the employees with the principles of the organizational culture this encourages their productivity. Every manager can create a motivating environment in the organization only based on good knowledge of the peculiarities and uniqueness of every employee and of the recognition and credibility to him.
2.7. Rights, obligations and responsibilities of participants in the labour process related to ensuring healthy and safe working conditions.
For the safe and healthy realization of the labour process it is essential the participants to be well familiar with their rights, duties and responsibilities. The rights and obligations of the participants in the labour process are defined in the laws, regulations and acts.
The participants in the labour process are the following categories:
1. an employer – everyone who assigns work and takes overall responsibility for the enterprise, cooperative or organization;
2. Safety and health authority at work– an official or specialised department for organizing the implementation of activities related to the protection and prevention of occupational risks in the enterprise;
3. authorised persons, who according to their job descriptions are engaged in activities related to the provision of safe and healthy working conditions;
4. workers and employees – the main participants in the labor process whose safety and health is the main purpose and meaning to of the obligations of the employer, the authority on health and safety at work, as well as the entire state policy and legal provisions in this area.
2.7.1 Employer’s obligations and responsibilities for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions
The primary obligation of the employer is to ensure for the employee normal arrangements for implementing the work agreed in the employment relationship, including health and safe working conditions, according to the established health regulations, requirements and health status of the person. Health and safety at work are working conditions that do not cause occupational diseases and accidents at work and create preconditions for complete physical, mental and social well-being of the working people.
When in the process of working a serious and imminent danger to life and health of the employee appears, he has a legitimate grounds to refuse work or to cease its implementation. In such cases he shall be entitled to compensation. The employer is obliged to ensure healthy and safe working conditions, so that the dangers to life and health of the employee to be eliminated, restricted or reduced. This activity is regulated by legal acts of the executive authorities, who within the limits of their powers carry out the state policy on ensuring healthy and safe working conditions.
Based on the established legal base and taking into account the specific conditions of the enterprise – the employer develops and validates the rules of safe and healthy working conditions in the enterprise. All workers and employees are instructed and trained in:
1.General rules and requirements for the safety and health at work in the enterprise (introductory and regular briefing).
2.Safe methods of implementation of particular tasks at work.
Workers whose work involves the use of machinery and other technical equipments as well as employees engaged in activities which create danger to health and life, must be instructed, trained and pass an exam on the rules for providing healthy and safe working conditions. The machines, equipments and technological processes with increased danger are serviced only by qualified workers and employees. Their certification shall be governed by special regulations. It is not allowed persons to be employed without the necessary knowledge, skills and competence that are foreseen in the rules for ensuring a healthy and safe work in the enterprise; That knowledge and skills are acquired in targeted training .
The behaviour which the employer has in defending the rights, obligations and responsibilities to ensure healthy and safe working conditions, is made up of individual components and is shown in fig.2.13
The participating components in fig.2.13 refer separately to the obligations as follows;
Medical and sanitary behaviour
* Creating conditions for sanitary and medical services
* Free food for employees exposed to high risk
* Periodic medical examinations, as the company keep confidential the health status of the worker.
Attitude towards the technical equipment
* Adaptation of the work to the worker – the design of the workplace, equipment, etc.
* Replacement of dangerous with safe equipment and upgrading to the standards of technical progress.
* Indication of existing hazards and sources of nuisances.
* Special work wear and personal protection equipment.
* The use of the collective and personal means of protection and giving instructions.
* Carrying out monitoring and control on the implementation of the measures undertaken for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions.
Communication with the workers and employees
* Information about the norms for ensuring the healthy and safe working conditions
* Targeted training and periodic briefings on labour safety
* The worker is entitled to refuse the execution of work when there is serious danger threatening life and health, and immediately notify his immediate superior, who in turn is obliged to take the necessary measures to eliminate the threat.
* The employer shall consult his employees about :
– the acceptance of all measures referring to their health and safety ;
– designation of the employees who will carry out activities relating to the healthy and safe working conditions first aid, fire fighting and evacuation of the workers;
– planning and organization of training of the workers and employees in healthy and safe working conditions.
* The employer is obliged in the event and probability of occurrence of a serious and imminent danger to the health and life of the workers, to inform them of the actions to be undertaken in connection with their defence, to ensure the cessation of work and evacuating them to avoid resuming operation until the danger removal .
Conduct in the occurrence of risks and accidents
* Reducing and removal of potential occupational hazards and their avoidance.
* Reducing the number of risks at the source of origin;
* Establishment, investigating, registration and mandatory reporting of each labour accident and occupational disease. Every employer must keep a strict reporting of the occurred occupational accidents and diseases.
* Taking measures to prevent the harmful consequences in case of emergency according to the specifics of the activity and the size of the enterprise, providing organization for the eradication of the danger, for rendering first aid, for fire prevention and for ensuring evacuation conditions of the workers and the employees.
* In existence of a threat to life and health of workers, the employer must insure them for “work accident” risk. All costs related to ensuring the healthy and safe working conditions, shall be borne by the employer.
2.7.2. Responsibilities of the safety and health at work authority
The authority shall carry out activities on Safety and Health at Work presented schematically on fig.2.14
The separate components include:
* It organizes the development of projects, programs and specific measures to prevent risk to the life and health of workers.
* It organizes the preparation of emergency plans;
* It organizes the dissemination of information and promotion of measures;
* It organizes and keeps proper clearance of the required statutory and regulatory documentation;
* It coordinates the work of the officials and management units of the enterprise in the implementation of their obligations to ensure healthy and safe working conditions;
* It examines the opportunities and quality of services offered by the units included in the national infrastructure in order to assist the employer;
* It coordinate the activities in carrying out the obligations for providing safety and health at work during joint operations of workers from different enterprises;
* It informs the employer at any violations ascertained or breach of obligations appear and proposes appropriate measures.
* It interacts with the fire departments, civil protection services, the Regional Health Directorates and “Labour Inspectorate”.
Requiring and controlling activity
* It requests from the officials concerned an establishment of work organization, without any damage to their health and safety;
* It requires the development and implementation of operational action plans aimed at ensuring safety in areas with a high level of professional risk;
* It requires the implementation of facilities for collective protection and ensures adequate personal protective equipment;
Organizing and participating in activities
* It organizes and participates in the work on identifying and evaluating occupational risks;
* It organizes and participates in the development of Rules of procedures for the internal work order concerning the obligations of the officials and employees
* It organizes and participates in the preparation of assessments and opinions regarding compliance with safety and health at work;
* It organizes and participates in the development of company regulations for safety and health at work;
* It organizes and participates in the development and implementation of programs for training, retraining and instructing of employees;
* It organizes and participates in the investigation of the caused labour traumatism
* It organizes and participates in conducting surveys of the views of employees;
Consulting and supporting activity
* It collaborates and supports occupational health services in the performance of their functions and tasks;
* It consults officials and workers and employees;
* It supports the implementation and participates in social dialogue between the partners in the enterprise;
2.8. Healthy workplaces model.
The main benchmarks in the development of the system of health and safety
working conditions are presented as follows:
– in 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) formulated a Global Strategy on „Health at Work for All“;
– in 2007 a Global Action Plan was approved named: „Health for All“. Pursuant to the latter a Global framework suitable for any workspace has been developed. They are updated with maintenance activities, which are essential for providing healthy workplaces.
2.8.1 Characteristics of the healthy workplaces initiative
Ethical conduct. The norm for ethical conduct implies not causing harm to others, it means improving the conditions and organization of work so that they do not damage the health of workers, implies safe and healthy workplaces for all workers, regardless of the country in which they work, their race and sex.
Legislation. The legislation in the area of health and safety at work is
synchronized with the legislation in the European Community. It requires from the employer to ensure a safe and healthy working conditions for the workers.
Economic interest for the business. Ensuring healthy and safe working conditions is crucial for a successful business. Employers should have in mind several factors:
a) costs for prevention compared to costs for accidents;
b) financial consequences related to violations of the law in
the area of safety and health at work;
c) the health of workers is a factor for successful business. It is an indisputable fact that “The success of the business depends on the health of the employees”.
Dangerous and unhealthy working conditions -fig.2.15 – either directly or through the stress at work increase the risk of accidents, work-related diseases, dissatisfaction with labour, depression, violence in the workplace. On the other hand, the stress at work is a prerequisite for behavioural changes towards more unhealthy lifestyles, which together with the stress at work contribute to a higher incidence of chronic diseases. All this is connected with more absence from work due to illness, disability, costs for health insurance, claims for compensation of workers, trade union actions, more labour turnover. This leads to increased costs, decreased productivity, reduced product quality and generally more unsuccessful business.
Fig.2.15. Safety working conditions and business
2.8.2.Aspects for improving the protection of the workplace. Analysis of the aspects.
Aspects for improving the protection of the workplace are-fig2.16:
* health and safety at work with regard to working conditions;
* health, safety and welfare in terms of psychosocial
factors, including organization of labour and workplace culture;
* individual health resources in the workplace;
* taking measures for improving the health of the employees, their
families and the community.
The working conditions include the air, machinery, furniture, products, chemicals, materials and processes that may have an impact on the safety, health and welfare of the workers. In cases where workers perform activities in vehicles or outdoors, these vehicles or the work outdoors also forms a part of the working conditions. The dangers related to the working conditions have the greatest potential to harm workers’ health. They include:
– Physical dangers (e.g. noise, radiation, vibrations, overheating micro climate, nano particles, etc.)
– Chemical dangers (e.g. solvents, pesticides, asbestos, tobacco smoke);
– Biological hazards (e.g. hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, mould, lack of clean water, sanitary facilities);
– Ergonomic dangers (e.g. significant physical exertion, lifting loads unfavourable working posture,);
– Mechanical hazards (for example, risks associated with welding machines,
risks of pinching, injury, fall from height, slipping etc.);
– Electrical dangers (e.g. high voltage, inadequate insulation);
– Driving vehicles (for example, during a storm, or poorly
The dangers related to the working conditions should be identified,
controlled and assessed. They can also be influenced by the following activities:
– Removal or substitution: eliminating the use of toxic
chemicals, or their substitution with other less toxic chemicals;
– Engineering solutions: installation of ventilation system for removal
of toxic gases, installing insulation; safety pins and
lifting devices of patients in healthcare;
– Administrative control: maintenance of good order, safety training at work; maintenance of machinery and equipment; introduction of smoke-free workplaces;
– Personal protective equipment; respirators for workers in conditions of dust,
helmets and protective footwear for the workers in the construction, etc.
Upon return to work. What is needed is greater protection of the worker after
occupational accident or disease in terms of physical, chemical, mechanical, biological and other factors of the working environment to prevent the risk of re-injury.
Psychosocial work environment factors
Psychosocial factors include the organization of labour and the organizational culture:
-Problems in the organization of labour (for example, low or high demands of the labour task, lack of time, lack of opportunity for decision-making, rewards and recognition, support from the manager, insufficient communication, shift work, etc.);
-Organizational culture (for example, lack of policy for preserving the dignity
of each worker, violence, discrimination, lack of tolerance to the
the differences, lack of support for a healthy lifestyle, etc.);
-Management style (lack of dialogue, consultations, constructiveness);
– Lack of support for balance between work and personal life;
-Fear of loss of employment in mergers, reorganizations or shrinking of
the labour market.
Psychosocial work environment factors can be influenced by the following actions:
* Removal or modification of the source:
– labour reorganisation to reduce the workload;
– support for the managers to improve their communication skills;
– zero tolerance policy towards violence and discrimination;
* Reduction of the adverse impacts on the workers:
– support to the workers;
– introducing flexible working hours;
– providing timely, open and honest communication;
* Training of the employees: in conflict resolution
in the workplace, coping with night shifts changes and others.
Upon return to work. What is needed is a higher employee’s protection after an accident at work or disease in terms of psychosocial factors in the workplace in order to prevent the risk of re-injury.
Private health resources
Private health resources means health services, providing the company with
options and flexibility to sustain healthy lifestyle,
monitoring and strengthening the health of workers. Following are some examples:
* Lack of physical activity due to extended shifts, costs for
fitness and equipment, lack of flexibility regarding breaks at work;
*Unhealthy diet as a result of offering unhealthy snacks, lack of time for meal breaks, no refrigerator to store healthy snacks, lack of knowledge;
*Smoking may be permitted or prohibited in the workplace;
*A number of diseases can remain undiagnosed due to problems in
the primary health care;
*insufficient knowledge on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and others.
* Insufficient knowledge about the health risks related to a number behavioural factors or dismissive attitude toward these risks.
The enterprise may support health of the employees by providing medical services, information, training, financial support, flexibility and programs for healthy lifestyle. Here are a few examples to improve individual health resources in the workplace:
* Providing centres for fitness for the workers or financing their sports
activities elsewhere or buying equipment for sports;
* Providing and subsidizing healthy foods;
* Introducing flexibility in terms of timing and duration of
the breaks during work, so that they can be used for exercise, too;
* Implementation and ensuring the application of policy for the workplaces without
* Providing involvement of the employees in programs to stop smoking, and
* Providing confidential medical services (examinations, tests, including treatment, too).
Upon return to work. Further training of the employees, providing information materials and appropriate working conditions upon return to work is necessary in relation to the cause of the absence of worker due to sickness or accident at work.
Interaction enterprise – society.
The enterprise undertakes or is actively involved in the improvement or
building of living conditions and social advantages in the relevant settlement that will lead to improved health and safety and enhance the welfare of workers and their families. They may refer to local and to more global issues:
*Polluted air or water in the settlement;
*Lack of assessment or knowledge about the risks to health and safety
in the settlement/populated place;
* Lack of access to primary health care for workers and their
*Lack of national or regional laws for protection of the rights of
the vulnerable groups and/or failure to apply them;
*Illiterate workers and families;
* Infectious diseases (e.g., hepatitis, etc.)
The enterprises can assist the settlements/populated areas through:
* Free or subsidized primary health care for the families of the employees;
* Policy of gender equality in the enterprise;
* Opportunities for literacy and improving the qualification;
Example activities and assistance for Safety and Health at Work for SME in
* Control of pollutants from the enterprise;
* More stringent criteria in terms of carbon emissions from those in the legislation;
* Supporting the settlements/populated areas for construction of walking paths,
bicycle lanes, etc.;
* Subsidizing the public transport.
Building of healthy workplaces.
The process of building healthy workplaces has a number of critical
perspectives. WHO model includes all the important elements and provide system stability over time. The model foresees continual improvement of the safety and health at work. It includes the following steps – Fig. 2.17:
Fig. 2.17 WHO model for building healthy workplaces
1. Mobilizing. It is necessary data on people’s needs to be collected.
2. Gathering a group working for healthy workplaces
If at the enterprise a committee responsible for the working conditions has been established a committee working conditions, it may
take on additional functions in building healthy workplaces.
The assessment is based on different types of data:
– Basic data from the checks carried out, previous assessment of hazards and risks;
– Health of the employees: data on absences due to illness, accidents at work;
– Desired development of the enterprise.
4. Conclusion of priorities
It is important the priorities to be brought out, taking into account a number of factors, but
the most important priorities should be selected regarding the health of workers by limiting
the exposure to occupational hazards. Other factors can be taken into consideration
– Ease of the changes introduced in order to motivate and encourage further actions;
– The risk for the employees (severity of exposure and probability of exposure).
5. Planning of activities.
The next step is the development of a health plan. The plan is based on
The brought up priorities, necessary actions and deadlines for implementing them.
6. Carrying out activities
The planned activities should be carried out according to the plan.
It is necessary the effect from the internal changes carried out to be assessed as well as whether their implementation does work.
This last step of the cycle can be considered as the first step of
a new cycle. It is important that the progress made should be noted and also
a recognition to be testified to the persons who have made the changes.
For a successful building of healthy workplaces it is necessary a few basic principles to be be observed:
* Commitment of the management;
The program for healthy workplaces should be integrated into the business plan and policy of the company so you have to attract and ensure the participation and support of the responsible factors by the management.
* Participation of the employees and their representatives;
* It should not be simply reported to the workers and their representatives of the upcoming changes, but they should be a part of these changes. They must be actively involved because they know best what the problems are and what needs they have and can give useful tips on making changes.
*Analysis of the state;
* What is the situation now compared to some ideal conditions and filling
the gaps between the two.
* Accepting the experience of others;
* It should be noted that not everyone, including specialists in health and
safety at work have all necessary knowledge and therefore the experience of
the others is very important.
* Ensuring the stability of the changes.
Assessment and continuous improvement are the keys for integrating healthy jobs to the overall company policy of enterprises.
The analysis made shows that the health, safety and well being at work affect hundreds of millions of workers. The problem goes beyond the workers and their families. It is also important in terms of productivity, competitiveness and business sustainability, the communities, national and regional economies.
1. The theoretic and methodological basis of the healthy and safe working conditions have been presented herein. The concepts of occupational health and safety are revealed in a comprehensive plan. The basic principles in ensuring safety and health at work are set out herein, too. The culture of safety has been considered as well as the guidelines for development.
2. Presentation has been made of a systematic approach to analysis for safety taking into account the interaction of individuals at all levels with technology and organization involving the human factor. The leadership role in safety culture has been described. The state policy for ensuring healthy and safe working conditions has been indicated, too. For achieving the policy objectives of safety and health at work, measures have been undertaken for its realization.
3. Organization for activities in ensuring health and safety at work and methodological guidelines for the management system has been presented which covers: company policy, organization, planning and implementation of activities, assessment of the results and activities for its constant improvement. A managerial approach to safety and health at work and presence of leadership participation as well as that of the employees has been shown herein.
4. The working environment and working conditions has also been analysed. The contents of the organizational climate has been clarified. The responsibilities of participants in the labour process are defined, too. The workplace and the risk upon performance of duties has been estimated. A model of healthy workplace with its distinctive features has been suggested. The latter include psychosocial factors, health resources, measures to improve workers’ health.