Health and safety in working places

The health act of 1970 also commonly known as occupational safety and health act was established to reduce labor related injuries which were on the rise in the country. Since its inception, different changes had to be adopted by organizations to ensure complacency with the regulations.

This act was however the most controversial acts by the federation.  It covers all the employed persons and also their employers in all the states. The aim of this paper is to establish the factors which affect compliance with the acts standards and also the measures which an organization can adopt to ensure compliance.


The occupational safety and health act formulated in 1970 was an act meant to reduce injuries at work places by setting standards in the work places. Negligence at work places and also laxity by employers to protect their employees was a major contributor to the enactment of this act by the federal government in 1970. This act covers all workers in the public sector and also most private sectors.

This act led to major changes in the running and the operations of the organizations so as to comply with its requirements. Some of these requirements involve guarding the moving parts of a machine to reduce injuries at work places.

Guards had thus to be deployed to ensure that those in contact with moving machines did so with a lot of caution. Personal protective equipments had also to be given to workers to reduce injuries caused by exposure to chemicals and other toxic materials. Also, permissible exposure limits were set to reduce over exposure to harmful chemicals.

Air sampling and buddy systems were also introduced by this act to reduce suffocation in confined places. Process safety management was also required among other requirements. Controversy arose due to the high cost involved in implementation of this act. These costs were high while the workers output due to reduced injuries did not increase (Haynes, Shackelford & Black, 2007).

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study is to establish the different ways an organization may adopt to ensure a healthy and safe working environment for the workers.

This paper would also seek to help managers in maintaining conducive working environment to ensure maximum productivity of the workers.

Literature review

The main mission of OSHA is to ensure that all workers are protected from injuries and diseases which arise due to exposure to health hazards in the job market. Since its introduction, it has led to tremendous reduction in job related injuries. The agenda of this act was to impose a limit of the risks a worker should be exposed to. This act was based on the assumption that the workers only have limited information on the risks a certain job may have on their health.

It also argued that job related risks had negative effects on the individual and could lead to death. Protecting the workers from these detrimental effects was thus the motivating force behind the act. Critics of this act however argued that OSHA aimed at reducing risk thus reducing high risk jobs. This could reduce the potential of workers who like undertaking high risk jobs thus leading to less productivity for the organizations (Ackerman, 2006).

The effects of OSHA of reducing injuries were realized almost after its introduction. A study carried out in 1971 after its implementation showed that injuries and illnesses occurring due to work related complexities reduced with 40%. The work force also registered a growth of almost 50% within that year.

By the year 1998, injuries in the work force were recorded at 5.9 million in America which was a decrease by 200000 from 1997. The injury rate in 1998 was at 6.7% which was a 25% decrease form what was recorded in 1993. A 3% decrease on fatality rate was also recorded within this period. This is a great achievement for this act and which has led to its acceptance in the workforce by the employers (Zarsky, 2002).

A study which was conducted in mid and west Wales fire and rescue service established that maintaining a healthy and safe working environment had led to a huge decrease in insurance liability amounting to 100000 pounds, a 50% decrease in absence relating to job related sicknesses and a 50% of injuries over a period of 3 years.

This translated to an increase in profitability of the firm. Safe and healthy working environment should thus be maintained not only because it is a legal requirement but due because of its benefits.

Why organizations should be concerned with health and safety standards for their workers

Since the inception of safety and health act in 1970, stern rules and regulations were imposed by the government regarding the safety standards in organizations. Deviations from the acts standards lead to criminal acts referred to as demeanor punishable under the law. Also, calls for higher charges by workers rights activists to ensure compliance should raise concerns with the organizations.

Penalties from non compliance may be higher than those of compliance thus all organizations should strive at ensuring a safe working environment. Labor unrests have been reported in organizations where there is no or low compliance to health and safety standards. Labor unrests leads to disruption in production processes in an organization thus should be avoided. Also with the increasing calls for social responsibility and workers awareness campaign, need for safety provision in an organization is essential (Hawthorne, 2007).

Apart from costs which may arise due to poor working conditions, good working conditions raised the morale of workers. The assurance of safety by an organization can act as a motivating factor to employees thus increasing their productivity. A firm purported to have a safe and healthy working condition gets the benefits related to corporate image from customers and investors.

Good and safe working conditions for workers leads to a higher reputation of an organization and is viewed as being socially responsible. The competitive advantage of the organization is improved thus profitability (Zarsky, 2002).