Occupational safety and health


Approximately 145 million workers in the U.S. and several billion people around the world everyday face with the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses that can cause serious immediate or long-term health problems. With the rise of injuries and deaths because of lack of precautions and instructions for preventing work-related accidents, most governments in the world have started to work on legal decisions and laws to determine Health and Safety Laws for employees and employers. Members of the Occupational Health and Safety Section are involved in order to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, disabilities and deaths through research, training, treatment, advocacy and policymaking. Unfortunately, for now just the developed countries give enough importance to occupational health and safety of the employers and to the responsibilities of employees to ensure this. Some developing countries are also try to work on this issue, but unfortunately there are decades for the underdeveloped states to care about the safety and health of the employers. Construction is said to be the most dangerous sector in the world, incurring more occupational fatalities than any other sector in both the United States and in the European Union. Agriculture, service sector, mining, oil and gas extraction, healthcare and social assistance are the other risky sectors.

The United States and the European Union are leading the works about occupational safety and health management systems. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor gathers information about workplace deaths and non-fatal injuries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 14,000 workers were killed on the job in 1970 and workplace deaths were down to about 4,500 in 2010 while the workforce was doubled. It is reported that between 1913 and 2013, workplace fatalities dropped by approximately 80%.

In most countries males comprise the majority of workplace fatalities. In the European Union countries 94% of deaths were of males. The fatal injury rate declined from 2.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers to 0.6 per 100,000 workers from 1974 to 2012 in European Union countries.

In 2001, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published “Guidelines on occupational safety and health management systems” to assist organizations by introducing OSH management systems.  These guidelines aim to encourage continual improvement in employee health and safety, achieved via a constant process of policy, organization, planning & implementation, evaluation, and action for improvement, all supported by constant auditing to determine the success of OSH actions.

 

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Occupational safety and health

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