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Sunday, February 04, 2007

HRD Should Familiarize Itself with Occupational Safety and Health

Often, I've seen workers' safety and health taken for granted all in the name of higher production and the almighty profit.

This is glaringly evident in the lack of study conducted by many companies regarding the potential physical and health risk in the nature of work conducted in their plants and offices. This phenomenon is most evident in many small and medium scale companies. It is also evident in the utter lack of appreciation if not knowledge of many supervisors and managers on the basics of workplace safety much less the implementation of it in the workplace.

This is the primary reason why I think HRD should intervene to a certain extent. In many situatons, workplace safety is assigned to a safety officer if there is one, their presence in the company however do not guarantee safety . The reason, lack of power to reinforce.

As the defacto guardian of employees' wellbeing in our respective organizations, HRD should look at the potential health hazards present in the workplace. I'm not just talking about workers getting their hands caught in the machine or debris falling from the sky. There are also so many health risks present in the knowledge-based workplaces that require employees to sit, stare and type away at computers for a very long time everyday. Count carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, hypertension, and gaining too much weight the number of health risks that are abound in this type of work. These types of illnesses are "less spectacular" compared to others that are also being endured in some work places like pulmonary complications, back injuries and workplace accidents that render victims incapacitated.

We spend a lot of time, effort and money thinking about protecting employees when such eventualities as accidents or illness occur. We have the health care programs composed of both mandatory and company initiated insurance, HMO and medical expense reimbursement, but little attention is given to prevention of work related injuries and diseases. I think its about time we focus our attention on this area.

The important first step if I must suggest is to familiarize ourselves with Occupational Safety and Health. A good resource of information in the Philippines is this website:

I had the pleasure of meeting OSHC Executive Director Dr. Dulce P Estrella-Gust. I am echoing here her sentiments about the need to give as much attention to prevention as we give attention to compensating employees in time of illness. Their office is open to those who wish to seek their help in keeping their workplace accident and illness free.

The Occupational Safety and Health Center, an agency under the Department of Labor and Employment is the one responsible for providing various safety awareness programs to companies who are concerned about the health and welfare of their employees. They can also help you in assessing the safety issues present in your workplace. Their recommendations can valuable in improving safety in your workplace.

HRD Should also see to it that employees from all rungs of the organizational ladder are aware and appreciative of the Safety and Health practices that the company must implement. I've seen a good number of instances when despite the presence of policies and training, people continue to ignore safety. HRD Should be firm about imposing discipline on those who violate safety policies and practices. Better to have people disciplined than have them suffer from injuries and work related sickness.

Keeping the employees healthy can easily translate to higher job satisfaction and higher productivity. This is a responsibility that is undeniably HR.

See you next post!

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