Under federal law, every individual is entitled to a secure workplace. The health, safety, and happiness of employees are crucial for employees’ survival at the workplace. For an organization to be declared as a safe workplace, employers should ensure that employees are working in an environment that is free from health hazards. The Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensure that organizations are complying with enforced standards to enhance workers’ safety and health in their workplaces (Land, 2014). Additionally, the surrounding communities should also be protected from dangers that could result from the organization’s activities. An injury-free workplace may not qualify as a safe workplace because it can still pose risk to other individuals who are not part of the organization.
In a case where fire broke out in an oil refinery in Ohio but no employee was injured, such an incident cannot qualify a workplace as safe because the company may have failed to conform with safety rules, thus resulting in the fire. Every unsafe condition is as a result of poor management system. According to OSHA standards, employers must establish a fire prevention program that lists all major fire hazards, and how to handle and store hazardous materials. According to Lutchman, Maharaj and Ghanem (2012), an effective safety management system should cover beyond personal safety to incorporate process safety management, which ensures continuous improvement.
A workplace cannot be safe if a fire breaks, and employees survive miraculously. There may be no recordable injury when a catastrophic incident involving chemicals occurs in a company, but security against hazards is missing. How secure employees are affected in their productivity. Under OSHA regulations, a recordable injury is a damage that necessitates medical treatment after receiving first aid (“Legal and Regulatory,” 2012). In a situation where an accident has occurred but no OSHA recordable injuries, the workplace is yet to qualify as a secure environment because employees are not assured of their safety. Regulatory compliance guarantees safety results, but being compliant and having a safe workplace are two different things.
Companies should ensure that the surrounding community is also free from hazards that could erupt as a result of company’s operations. It is relatively ethical for organizations to mind about the welfare of others through corporate social responsibility. Workplace safety incorporates protection of health and wellbeing of all employees, the environment, the company’s assets, as well as the company’s image and sustainability (Lutchman, Maharaj & Ghanem, 2012). In a case of a Texas plant releasing chemicals to the surrounding environment and causing fire that exposed people to hazardous materials, such a company does not offer a safe working environment because its workers may be part of the affected community. Companies should avoid creating a haven in their compound while they are releasing all the toxic materials to the surrounding environment.
A workplace can be considered as safe if it can guarantee security and wellbeing of its employees, as well as other people who reside nearby. OSHA regulations enhance personal safety in case of accidents or exposure to hazardous materials, but do not guarantee psychological wellbeing. Any unusual incident in the workplace affects employees’ morale, hence, interfering with their working environment. A workplace is not safe if the company’s reputation is ruined through environmental accidents. The surrounding communities are also a stakeholder in the company; hence, any decision that the company makes affect them.
Land, M. (2014). Security management for occupational safety. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Legal & Regulatory: What is a recordable injury for purposes of OSHA reporting? (2012, Dec. 11). SHRM. Retrieved on 13 April 2016 from https://www.shrm.org/templatestools/hrqa/pages/whatisarecordableinjury.aspx
Lutchman, C., Maharaj, R., & Ghanem, W. (2012). Safety Management: A Comprehensive Approach to Developing a Sustainable System. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.