Employers’ Responsibility Under OSH Regulations

February 14, 20203:21 pm444 views
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“Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace that does not have serious hazards, and that follows all occupational health and safety standards.”

According to ILO data, there are approximately 2.78 million work-related deaths every year, of which 2.4 million are related to occupational diseases. This work-related death is associated with costly impact for enterprises, countries, and the world. The losses in terms of compensation, lost workdays, interrupted production, training and reconversion, and healthcare expenditure represent around 3.94 percent of world’s annual GDP. For employers, they also face costly early retirements, loss of skilled staff, absenteeism and high insurance premiums. 

See also: ASEAN Community Effort on Improving Health and Safety at the Workplace

Many of work-related death and illness, however, can be prevented. To reduce, prevent, and eliminate the cause, ILO suggested employers making changes in working conditions rather than just relying on masks, gloves, earplugs or other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to get rid of and/or minimize risks. 

Here are other important changes employers should do, according to ILO review

  • Inform employees about hazards through training, labels, alarms, colour-coded systems, chemical information sheets, and other methods
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Perform a test in the workplace, such as air sampling required by Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards
  • Provide hearing exams or other medical test required by OSH standards
  • Post OSH citations, injury and illness data, and the OSH poster in the workplace where workers can see 
  • Notify OSH within 8 hours of a workplace incident in which there is a death or three or more workers go to a hospital
  • Employers must provide a working environment free from any hazards due to air pollution, noise, or vibration by technical measures or by supplementary organisational measures provided by OSH. 
  • Not discriminate or retaliate against an employee for using their rights under the law 
  • Employers cannot take adverse action against employees, such as firing, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, or reducing pay or hours, for engaging in activities protected by OSH’s whistleblower laws 
  • Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirement. 

“Safety and health at work do not merely mean preventing workers from being exposed to workplace risks and hazards and to protect them against these. It also involves being proactive in promoting healthy lifestyles and practices.” – OSH, ILO 

Read also: Risk Factors of Safety & Health at Work for Young Workers