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Reasons for Promoting Workplace Safety

Reasons for Promoting Workplace Safety

Reasons for promoting workplace safety are numerous. Poor workplace safety can have serious business costs, human costs and legal costs. In addition, the need to protect people from injury and disease while they are at work has a strong moral reasoning. Every year, accidents at work cost the Irish industry millions of euros. The effects of the injuries sustained vary from needing an extended period of time off work, never being able to work again, to sometimes unfortunately, injuries being fatal.

 

Four Main Reasons for Promoting Workplace Safety

There are many reasons why accident prevention in the workplace is worthwhile. For the purpose of this text we will discuss four:

  1. The cost of human suffering. The physical and mental pain, and hardship in general resulting from death and disability is impossible to quantify. The disruption to lives of workers and their families it causes is far reaching with lasting consequences.
  2. Moral reasons. Societal development raised public awareness about quality of life at work and its importance. Workers safety, once seen as unimportant or marginally important business activity is now expected by the society in general. The business is viewed by the public through its treatment of its employees. This might directly influence employee attraction and retention rates and business profitability or lack of one.
  3. Legal reasons. The statute law details steps to be taken and objectives to be met in terms of workplace health and safety. Compliance is not optional – it is mandatory. Non compliance might result in serious legal prosecutions, or other enforcement actions. In addition, the civil law enables injured workers and others to gain compensation either as a result of breach of statutory duties or because a reasonable standard of care was not provided under the particular circumstances.
  4. Financial reasons. To ensure the continuing financial health of a business and to avoid the costs associated with accidents, implementation of accident prevention is a must.

 

Health and Safety Legislation

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the statutory body in Ireland responsible for the enforcement of occupational health and safety law. The HSA reports directly to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Health and Safety legislation in Ireland is designed to secure and improve the Safety, Health and Welfare of people at work. Specifically, this is done by advocating a risk assessment approach to managing workplace safety. For additional information about risk assessments, please see eLearn Safety blog entry from 12th January 2024 titled Workplace Risk Assessment.

The main health and safety regulations in Ireland are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and Safety, Health and welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007. The Act 2005 applies to employers, employees and the self-employed. Indeed, this is done in the interest of securing a preventive approach to occupational health and safety. In addition, the GA Regulations 2007 outline the specific workplace safety matters.

 

Achieving Workplace Safety

There are many obstacles to the achievement of safe working conditions. Specifically, most common obstacles are the pressure of production or performance targets, financial constraints and the complexity of the organisations. Unfortunately, these obstacles are sometimes blatant disregard of basic health and safety regulations and poor health and safety management practices.

In difficult economic times, organisations need to reduce their costs. This often impacts on the management of health and safety. For example, training of workers in safe systems of work or plant equipment maintenance could be neglected. One way to keep staff informed about workplace safety is eLearn Safety fully online Workplace Safety – Level 1 course. This course is ideal for every employee in any workplace that’s subject to Health and Safety Legislation. In other words, safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. In particular, it provides all employees who participate on this course with information on how to identify hazards and carry out simple risk assessments.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Display Screen Equipment (DSE), also referred to as a Visual Display Unit (VDU), may cause a number of health problems. Display screens cause many instances of eye strain, wrist strain, back problems and headaches. When seeking solutions to address these issues, a common mistake is to look into display equipment and the technology associated with it. However, to adequately address the issue of health problems associated with the use of DSE, we must understand common work activities ergonomics and the ill-health conditions associated with inadequate ergonomic design.

 

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and the Relevant Legislation

The main legislation that addresses Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The main purpose of this legislation is to ensure and promote a preventive approach to occupational health and safety. However, a specific piece of legislation covers use of DSE specifically. The Safety, Health and Welfare at work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Chapter 5 of Part 2: Display Screen Equipment outlines the responsibilities of the employer with regard to the workstation of employees.

 

What the Term Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Covers (and What Does Not)

Schedule 4 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 sets the minimum requirements for all Display Screen Equipment (DSE) that should be in place for workstations. The Schedule covers a number of elements, such as:

The following are not covered by the regulation:

 

Basic Health Hazards Associated with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

The basic health hazards associated with the use of DSE are:

 

Addressing the Issue – Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

To address the staff knowledge gap issue when working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE), eLearn Safety developed a fully online VDU/DSE training course. On completion of this VDU training course, participants will be provided with the information necessary to ensure current legislation is complied, risk assessments are carried out and all employees are competent to adjust their work stations to provide a safe place to work in.

All employers and staff who use VDU workstations for any length of time should do this course to learn how to avoid the range of adverse effects on the arm, hand and shoulder (WRULD’s) and other parts of the body.

Another useful course is Workplace Safety – Level 1. This course is ideal for every employee in any workplace that’s subject to Health and Safety Legislation. Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. It provides all employees who participate on this course with information on how to identify hazards and carry out simple risk assessments.

For additional information about workplace ergonomics, please see eLearn Safety blog entry from 23rd June 2023 titled Ergonomics in the Workplace. In addition, Display Screen Equipment – (DSE/VDU) – Frequently Asked Questions by the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) provides useful information to tackle the issue of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) use.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

Work Related Stress and Mindfulness

Work related stress and mindfulness are those workplace topics that are very often overlooked by both employers and employees. However, employers have a duty under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to protect all employees from hazards which can lead to injury.

 

Work Related Stress

It is believed that a significant work downtime is due to sick leave brought by work related stress. This may be due to various personal reasons, or the physical and emotional challenges of the job. Work related stress, however, is not only this invisible ‘illness’. Stress can manifest itself by causing stomach and skin conditions, heart disease and depression.

There are a number of factors that can influence stress in the workplace. Some of these factors include poor working conditions, overwork, job insecurity, personal reasons (such as ‘imposter syndrome‘), peer pressure (such as harassment), unrealistic targets, lack of leadership (not knowing what to do) and poor management.

 

Identifying Work Related Stress

No person is exactly the same and stress will affect people differently. There are a number of factors which may affect how an employee will cope with stress. Some of the examples are employee skills and experience, age and disability, etc. Employees should be encouraged to report stress and management should be trained to recognise the causes and symptoms. By talking to employees, an employer can identify the signs of stress, and importantly they can prevent and reduce workplace related stress.

 

Mindfulness

Prevention is one of the most important steps of any successful risk management. One of the ways to prevent stress is raising awareness about work related stress. For this purpose eLearn Safety has designed and developed a number of relevant fully online courses. For example, the Workplace Stress course is designed to suit a diverse range of workplaces. It deals with topics such as how to define workplace stress, which safety legislation applies to it, how to identify common causes of workplace stress and stress management.

Another beneficial course is a fully online Working Safely course. Working Safely is a 2 hour online course for people at any level, in any sector, that will boost business performance and staff motivation. Simply by showing how everyone can enhance their safety, health and wellbeing through everyday behaviours. The topics include importance of working safely, definitions of hazards and risks, common workplace hazards and how to improve safety performance.

 

Additional Resources

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has a number of useful resources that can be used in managing work related stress. One of these resources is WorkpositiveCI. WorkpositiveCI has been developed by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), State Claims Agency (SCA) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Network Ireland. It is a free, easy to use, innovative, confidential, psychosocial risk management process that provides feedback on workplace stress, employee psychological wellbeing and critical incident exposure in the workplace. It is designed to deliver structured guidance enabling organisations to develop an action plan to mitigate against these stressors.

In addition, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a number of useful guidance, publications and resources on workplace stress.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

work-related-stress-and-mindfulness

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

Ergonomics in the Workplace

Ergonomics is the study of working interactions between humans and machines/workstations and the factors that affect those interactions. Stemming from the Greek words ‘ergo’ & ‘nomus’ (workflow) it is in simple terms ‘fitting’ the job to the person as opposed to fitting the person to the job.

 

Origins of the Ergonomics

Ergonomic practitioners draw upon a number of different disciplines. Some of these are ‘biomechanics’ (the study of human movement and the associated laws) and ‘anthropometry’ (the study of human measurements). These disciplines assist ergonomic practitioners in identifying ergonomic risk factors.

 

Importance of Ergonomics in the Workplace

Failure to apply the principles of ergonomics within the workplace i.e., a busy office environment or warehouse can result in chronic or acute musculoskeletal injuries. If left unchecked can result in functional limitations. Employees working in such environments are also susceptible to RSI ‘repetitive strain injuries’ and WRULD ‘work related upper limb disorders’.

When designing workstations ergonomic considerations are of significant importance. An ergonomic risk assessment can help to identify issues with existing workstations. However prior to conducting a risk assessment a task analysis should be conducted. A task analysis is conducted in order to get an appreciation of an employee’s daily routine. A task analysis will highlight current or potential issues for the employee, time spent at the work station, breaks, and shift work. All these should all be taken into consideration. In addition, biomechanics and anthropometrics will also play a part at this point.

 

Ergonomic Tools

Ergonomic practitioners can utilize a number of tools in order to assist them in rating the risks accordingly:

In addition, eLearn  Safety offers a full online VDU/DSE course. This course is fully online and can be taken 24/7. On completion of this VDU training course, participants will be provided with the information necessary to ensure current legislation is complied, risk assessments are carried out and all employees are competent to adjust their work stations to provide a safe place to work in.

Furthermore, a task analysis will help to identify if an employer is compliant with current legislation under the SHWW Act 2005. An office employees’ display screen is in essence a visual display unit. Therefore an employer must adhere to the guidance document within the general application regulations pertaining to VDU’s and display screen equipment.

 

Ergonomics in the Workplace Recommendations

Where office workers should be afforded the option to conduct his/her work both in the seated and standing position, employers must ensure chairs and VDU’s have the ability to be adjusted to suit all employees and consider frequent breaks and job rotation where practicable. Employers should also promote good working practices. For example, encouraging staff to make recommendations based on their working environments. If working in a warehouse or on a manufacturing line, workers should use appropriate equipment. A proper equipment will aid them in their jobs. Some of the examples are foot stools, foot rests, anti-glare eye protection, etc.

Employers should always be cognizant of the fact that ‘one shoe does not fit all’ when it comes to ergonomic assessments. For example a tall employee may feel cramped in a small area whereas a short employee may be uncomfortable if constantly reaching for items or if their feet are not supported when sitting.

Thus, structuring the working environment in order to suit the user is a step away from Taylors’ method of ‘scientific management’. Such a method, regardless of body shape and size or indeed the work being undertaken, was standardized across the board and the worker had to adapt him/herself to the factory conditions or face the prospect of dismissal and future injuries as a result.

 

Ergonomics Assessments

Ergonomic assessments are not difficult to undertake, and when carried out effectively can help to reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries and pain. In turn, this will help to motivate employees, allowing them to be more productive and happier in the working environment. Employers should always be aware of their responsibilities to their employees under the SHAWW Act and take the necessary steps to create risk free working environments where possible. Employees must also be aware of their rights and support any safety initiatives the employer wishes to implement, as the saying goes, ‘the rising tide floats every boat’.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie