Essay on Occupational Health and Safety

OCCUPATIONAL HEATH AND SAFETY MEASURES IN TENESSE

It is common knowledge that certain occupations carry an increased risk of developing certain health conditions. People in such occupations are normally exposed to such risk factors in high concentrations such as those working in textile industries while in others; the risk comes with prolonged exposure to such risks. It is because of such that there exist Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that sets the rules and regulations to deal with injuries or illness that arise from the workplace.

Obligations

The industries have certain obligations that they need to fulfill to themselves, the employees and the community at large. Obligations to itself include ability to make profits and sustain itself or improve itself. To the employees, the industry has obligations to offer adequate payments and compensations, good and secure working environments, agreeable periods of work and freedom from discrimination based on any condition. To the community, the industry offers job opportunities; some can engage in construction of social amenities such as schools and hospitals and also owes it to the community not to pollute the environment (Friend & Kohn, 2014).

Parts of Codes of Federal Regulations

Significant differences may exist in the occupation health and safety standards in different states. OSHA aims to provide uniform standards that most states need to adhere to and these regulations are contained in many parts including but not limited to the following:

Part 1910 that covers Occupation Health and Safety Standards: Under this part, employers are required to provide suitable working environment to the employees that is free from injurious materials. Also, the employer is required to be able to provide employees with access to the medical records maintained by the industry including those that detail potential exposure to injurious substances.

Part 1904 which covers recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses aims to determine whether an injury can be classified as work related in order to attract required compensation.

Part 1926 covers Occupation Health and Safety topics for Construction. These standards spell out the safety requirements for workers which include provision of sanitary and non-hazardous working conditions, setting minimum wages in accordance with those prevailing and accepted by the department of labor. According to this regulation, it is the employer who holds the responsibility of ensuring that activities in the worksite and machinery are in compliance with the set standards. Personal protective equipment is also to be provided to each employee including gloves, goggles and respirators.

Hazard Communication is covered in Part 1910 and section 1200. In this regulation, industries that manufacture, distribute or import products that have the potential of being hazardous must evaluate such products thoroughly. If such products are found to be hazardous in any way according to the regulations of OSHA, then such information must be properly labeled on the containers. Additionally, the employees of those industries must be taught and trained on how to identify and handle such products without exposing themselves to greater risks.

Even though OSHA is meant to cover all states, in some instances, it might not be adequate for all the states and these states might endeavor to have extra standards and regulations that are approved by OSHA. These are called OSHA state Plans but they are not available in some states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Tennessee however, has an OSHA approved state plan which means workplace health and safety standards must be set that are as effective as the ones provided by OSHA.

Unique standard in Tennessee Approved State plan

There are a few unique standards included in the Tennessee approved state plans that are different from the ones in OSHA. An example of such is the Tennessee’s Sharps Injury prevention law that requires all users of needles to keep a Sharps injury log that lists the type and brand of needle in use when the injury occurred.

Top cited standards

In the Construction section, the three most cited standards from first to last are standard 1926.501 in section titled fall protection. This covers lack of protection when a worker is exposed to a fall that is more than six feet, lack of protection from falls around holes including skylights, during roofing activities and lack of guardrails or a safety net during residential construction when one is exposed to heights of six feet or more. The second most cited standard is 1910.1200 which deal with hazard communication. This entails the provision of a written hazard communication in any form including placards or signs. Containers that contain chemicals should have identification labels for the chemicals in forms such as pictures, words or symbols. Safety data sheets and proper training on product handling is also required. Lastly, the standard 1926.454 covers scaffolds which entails rules regarding lack of training by qualified persons for those employed to work on scaffolds, disassembly, moving, operating and inspecting scaffolds.

In the healthcare section, the first cited standard is 1910.1030 (d) (2) (i) that deals with engineering controls and provides rules and regulations on the lack of use of safer medical devices. The second standard is 1910.133 (a) (1) which documents regulations on lack of face and eye protection when exposed to hazards that can harm such body parts. The third in this sector is standard 1910.1030 (c) (1) (v) which describes lack of documented proof of solicitation from employee input on the selection of safer medical devices for use.

The top three in the public sector are: 1910.303 which describe electrical equipment that are not free from recognizable hazards, standard 1910.1200 also describe hazard communication in this sector as in the construction sector. The third standard in this category is 1910.157 which deals with whether portable fire extinguishers are mounted, can be located and easily identified, maintained and fully operable.

The top cited standards in the general include 1910.1200 which deals with hazard communication, 1910.212 which provides for machine guarding and standard 1910.147 that deals with energy control procedures.

Other topics covered by OSHA regulations

Rules concerning OSHA access to employee medical records locate in part 1913. It provides that employees be granted access to their medical records as captured by the organization. It also details which persons can get exposure to such records. One way of proving that the organization has complied with this regulation is when they have a database with all employee medical records and these employees are able to log into a system with personal identification numbers and access their records. Such a system enables an organization to keep track of their employees that have health issues who can be replaced of given leave.

Medical and first aid topic is covered under standard 1910 subpart K. The organization benefits more when employees can be kept productive for the majority of their allowed periods. Minor accidents that may occur in the workplace not take long to manage when first aid is available. Evidence of this can be seen when there are many first aid boxes that are fully stocked and located at vantage points that the employees can easily access. Also, occasional employee training on basic first aid skills can also be used as evidence for compliance with this regulation.

Fire protection standard is found in part 1910 subpart L and deals with rules regarding outbreaks and management of fire. It is no secret that when fire breaks out in an organization, rapid containment is the only way to reduce the damage caused to both property and people. To provide evidence illustrating compliance to this regulation, the organization can install multiple fire extinguishers that are fully loaded and working in many locations. They should also have fire assembly points where people can aggregate in case of fire to avoid fatalities.

References

Friend, M. A., & Kohn, J. P. (2014). Fundamentals of occupational safety and health. Bernan

 

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