Health and wellbeing of employees are the keys to the successful and sustainable operation of any company and organization. There are numerous factors that can harm workers, such as hazardous substances, temperatures, noise, vibration, and many others (Stave & Wald, 2016). It is critically important for any organization to consider its specific hazards and make sure that no employee is harmed or injured when being continuously exposed to these occupational hazards. Therefore, national- and company-level regulations are designed to protect employees while simultaneously ensuring high productivity and reducing costs (Kavaler & Alexander, 2012).
In this short essay, the author aims at describing health and safety regulations existing in the USA and explaining why they are important and who is responsible for maintaining these safety standards in practice.
Health and safety regulations in the USA and established on several levels. To begin with, the U.S. Department of Labor, especially its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces national standards of occupational safety for all organizations. The agency was established in 1970, when the major legislation, Occupational Safety and Health Act, was enacted as the primary law regulating employees’ health and safety (Connolly & Crowell, 2017). On the company’s level, both legally mandated and self-requested inspections exist that assess companies’ health and safety standards and provide recommendations and guidance concerning risk and hazard management. Less formal yet still effective control can be performed at the department or employee level because workers more than anyone else know all potential hazards that should be addressed.
Reasons for maintaining regulations are diverse and concern both individual workers and organizations in general. Organizational focus on employees’ health and well-being is primarily driven by economic reasons because sound regulations reduce healthcare costs associated with workplace injuries and increase workers’ productivity (Stave & Wald, 2016). Thus, for example, a study by Katsuro et al. (2010) revealed that workers in companies with poor occupational health safety practices have low morale and negative attitudes to their duties. Besides, company’s reputation and competitiveness depend on employees’ satisfaction with their workplace setting, which is in turn directly related to revenues. Furthermore, organizations are driven by legal reasons because they need to comply with established federal and state regulations. Finally, there are moral and ethical reasons encouraging organizations to create the favorable workplace environment. Employers are responsible for their workers and should reduce all risks and hazards that might harm employees as they perform their duties.
Furthermore, it is important to describe people responsible for maintaining safety standards in the workplace. Employer is the primary person who should assess and manage all risks and hazards and ensure that employees are properly trained and educated to avoid hazards (Stave & Wald, 2016). However, health and safety regulations and practices should also be deeply ingrained into the organizational culture and HR strategy. In other words, all employees, managers, and supervisors should be aware of the importance of health and safety policies and work collaboratively to maintain the higher safety standards. It is not always right to blame the employer for accidents and injuries because often, workers themselves fail to comply with the established rules.
To conclude, health and safety policies are essential for successful management of any organization irrespectively of its sphere. In the USA, the main source of these regulations is the federal OSHA agency, but state and local authorities also play a critical role in ensuring workplace safety. As seen from this short discussion, maintaining occupational safety standards is justified from the economic, legal, and moral perspectives. Companies paying increased attention to this aspect of organizational management are believed to be more successful and competitive and enjoy a favorable atmosphere that stimulates productivity and satisfaction.
Connolly, W. B., & Crowell, D. R. (2017). A practical guide to the Occupational Safety and Health Act. New York, NY: Law Journal Press.
Katsuro, P., Gadzirayi, C. T., Taruwona, M., & Mupararano, S. (2010). Impact of occupational health and safety on worker productivity: A case of Zimbabwe food industry. African Journal of Business Management, 4(13), 2644-2651.
Kavaler, F., & Alexander, R. S. (2012). Risk management in health care institutions. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Stave, G. M., & Wald, P. H. (2016). Physical and biological hazards of the workplace. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.