Legal, Safety, and Regulatory Requirements in the Workplace
Workplace safety refers to the mechanisms put into place by organizations to minimize risks, illness, or injuries of their most important asset- employees. Workplace safety in any organization is assured by implementing such relevant strategies as appropriate working procedures, suitable policies, and proper hazard control systems to control or eliminate the risks. It is the responsibility of the Human Resource Management to ensure that the organization is adequately equipped with the right mechanisms that guarantee the safety of all employees. The HRM devises appropriate policies and procedures that are then incorporated into the firm’s overall administrative and management processes. Appropriate working procedures entail establishing defined job task procedures designed to ensure the safety of the employees while working with or around hazardous equipment or environments. The established policies and procures involve accountability requirements to ensure that certain recommended requirements are observed and that the safety of employees is guaranteed. The HRM is responsible for monitoring the safety of the employees; it ensures the safety of the workforce by applying well-defined hierarchy measures to purge or regulate specific workplace hazards.
Some of these measures include; the substitution of some of the existing equipment or processes that may be more hazardous with new ones that are less hazardous. Some workplace safeties are regulated by implementing proper administrative controls that may include limiting specific hazardous areas only to the authorized personnel. Another strategy employed is the use of protective devices to ensure that employees working with specific equipment or those that are working in certain places put on the right equipment such as gloves or glasses to reduce their exposure to hazardous materials (Armstrong, 1999). The old concept of using compassion in the workplace to manage safety issues in the workplace has been replaced by modern appropriate mitigation measures in many companies and in particular, in the United States.
Thus, all human resource personnel is required to adequately comprehend the human resource law and to become acquainted well with their roles and responsibility as human resource managers to effectively serve the company. The 1970 Act of Occupation Safety and Health was enacted to make sure that employers provide their employees with safe and healthy working conditions. It also ensured that employers become liable for the safety of their workers. The Act has resulted in the implementation of a lot of regulations that are anchored by civil and criminal laws. These regulations are aimed at ensuring that workers are not subjected to hazardous working environments or hazardous types of equipment that can endanger their lives. Lack of proper litigations or regulatory actions in the old days was noted to cause many employers not to act according to their implied moral obligations in instances of accidents and injuries of the employees while working (Garber, March 2011).
In the old days, many organizations employed the concept of compassion to respond to instances of hazardous situations in the workplace. Compassion entails an empathetic emotional response to someone else painful experience. This action is aimed at easing the individual painful situation to help such a person move on with his/her life. The use of compassion in the workplace may include the employer opting to pay the hospital bills of an employer who has been injured while working in the organization. This was the situation that was being used in the former days before the implementation of the Act of Occupation Safety and Health in the U.S. Many employers did not take appropriate moral obligations when their workers were injured at their workplace and the few that did only managed to pay a small fraction of the medical bills of the injured. The enacting of the Safety and health bill ensures that employers, in addition to paying the medical bills of workers injured at the workplace, also compensate them accordingly. In addition, the bill has ensured that employers establish safe and healthy working environments for their employees. Moreover, most companies are currently offering safety training programs to their newly recruited employees to help them learn safety procedures. This program has highly enabled these companies to greatly cut down a lot of their costs in terms of compensation, property damage, and time wasted while recovering. In the old days, there was prevalent discrimination in the workplace in terms of job recruitments and promotions. Many employers used the strategy of compassion to offer jobs and promotions in the workplace, but the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ensures that in the U.S. there exist fair employment opportunities for all despite their race, disability, sex among others (Kanov, Maitlis, Frost, & Lilius, 2003).
The strategy of using the concept of compassion in the workplace while compensating the injured, promoting employees, recruiting new staff is long gone following the introduction of more efficient and effective strategies that guarantee the safety and health of the workers which also ensure equal employment opportunities for all.
Armstrong, M. (1999).Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. London: Kogan Page.
Garber, J. (March, 2011). Introduction to the Human Resources Discipline of Workplace Safety and Security. Web.
Kanov, J., Maitlis, S., Frost, P. & Lilius, J. (2003).Compassion in organizational life. American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming.