In the present era if rapid industrial progress workplace safety has been identified as one of the major concerned of the employers as presence of occupational health hazard within a particular organization are considered as a legal offence (Osha.europa.eu, 2016). Hence in Australian scenario a number of policies and occupational safety programs are regularly implemented. With reference to the statistical data produced for the year 2015 a death of 191 workers has been reported of which greater casualty rate is evident in the sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishing, warehousing, transport and construction (Safeworkaustralia.gov.au, 2016).
In compliance with the key requirements of the given task a sincere initiative shall be shortly undertaken to identify the major and dominant occupational health hazards that are present in a particular workplace along with underpinning the presently embedded management practices within the concerned organizations as a preventive measure to reduce the occupational health hazard. Apart from this in the subsequent segment of this particular assignment an emphasis shall be given to propose an occupational health program relevant to the identified health risks in the concerned organization. However the proposed occupational health program shall align with the safety of the workers in Australian professional scenario and in parity with the legislative framework of Australian. Hence for this purpose Boral Limited which is one of the recognised Australian companies has been selected.
Boral Limited has secured a stable position as one of the multinational business firm dealing with building and construction materials and is founded in Australia. This company has its business operations in USA and Asian countries. Boral Limited has its company headquarter located in Sydney (Boral.com.au, 2016). Being one of the largest manufacturer and supplier of construction and building material this company own large plants, manufacturing units. The company being one of the most recognised construction industries of Australia has a working force of 8356 employees inclusive of employees from all the subsidiaries under the regulations of this particular business firm for the year 2015. The workforce of this company is mainly the native Australian working for almost 15-16 hours a day. However the majority of employees of this company are male with a few female employees working onsite. Boral Limited has about 14% of the workforce comprising of women and the average length of service in this organization is about 9.1 years as of the year 2014. In addition to this Boral Limited has also harboured about 4000 contractors as of the data produced in the company annual report 2014 (Ibisworld.com.au, 2016).
The core business operations of Boral Limited, Australia is specialise in manufacture and production of asphalt, road line marking, concrete, plasterboard, timber windows, quarry, landfill, transport, roof tiles, brick and cement (Boral.com.au, 2016).
The identified occupational health hazard and associated risk:
The primary risks that can be identified as occupational health and safety risks for the employees of Boral Limited are mainly associated with injury and accident risks and environmental damage risks. Apart from this the presence of extensive noise pollution, the regular expose to cement dust and other compounds used in manufacturing of the building materials can also be considered as hazardous exposure to the employees of this particular business form. Moreover due to the regular exposure cement dust the employees associated with the cement and asphalt manufacturing operational units of Boral Limited are found to be at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular impairments in the long run.
The impact faced as a result of extensive noise pollution within the operational units due to the presence of huge machineries can also be considered to be a causal agent for development of auditory impairments, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, higher level of stress and tinnitus (Beris Penrose, 2014). Furthermore as the employees of Boral Limited as also regularly exposed to cement dust and other manufacturing materials they are more susceptible towards ophthalmologic malfunctioning followed with defects in lung ventilation, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic rhinitis and laryngitis and pharynx catarrh (Selhub and Rosenberg, 2016). The exposure to cement dust have been considered as exposure to hazardous materials because a prolonged exposure cause the induction of atrophic and hypertrophic alterations in the nasal and pharyngeal mucosa along with development of chronic exfoliative bronchitis (Merenu et al., 2010).
Apart from this the regular exposure to asphalt fumes by the workers of this organization cause adverse health effects like headache, skin rash, sensitization, fatigue, reduced appetite, irritation in throat and eye, cough formation with a greater vulnerability towards malignancies mainly skin cancer (Osha.gov, 2016).
The regular exposure to gypsum dust by the employees in the gypsum operational unit of Boral Limited can also be identified as exposure to hazardous compounds. Exposure to this compound is the causal factor for skin, eye, mucous membrane and respiratory system irritation. The risk of occurrence of pneumonoconiosis and pulmonary ventilator impairment as a result of exposure to gypsum can also be considered an occupational health risk factor (Chemical Information Review Document for Synthetic and Naturally Mined Gypsum, 2006).
Presently implemented workplace health and safety measures:
Referring to the annual report 2014 of Boral Limited, Australia it is observed that the presently implemented workplace health and safety framework is inclined with the ‘zero harm’ approach wherein the emphasis has been given towards promotion of workplace health and safety for the employees of the concerned organization. It is further evident from the annual report data of the company that under the initiatives of Boral’s Group Strategy with respect to Health, Safety and Environment management or HSE the organization has already included 20 improvement programs. The key objectives of these implemented programs with respect to HSE are to incorporate capable and confident leaders along with providing effective empowerment and engagement of the workforce. Additionally the implementation of ‘fit-for-purpose’ systems, sustainable solutions and ‘fit-for-purpose’ plants and equipments are also brought into consideration that reflect the currently undertaken initiatives towards employee health and safety aspects (Boral Limited Annual Report, 2014).
The programs that has been presently implemented in the operational units of Boral Limited as a part of employee health and safety issue comprise of HSE Stewardship, Skilled4Action, Human Error Reduction, Manual Handling Intervention, Leveraging LEAN, Consequences Management, Contractor Safety, Learning Management System, Serious Harm Prevention, Incident Management System, Self Insurance, Lifecycle Analysis & Environment Product Disclosures, Occupational Health & Hygiene and Chemical Management. This particular business firm has also included a training and development program with an approach to nurture the professional skills and also to keep them informed regarding the various aspects of health and safety issues that are relevant to their respective working environment. It is under the initiatives of this organization the information are shared by circulation of online learning module. Although the company has emphasized on improving the workplace health and safety aspects but it is at present lacking of a proper and effective system inclined to restore workplace health and safety aspects (Boral Limited Annual Report, 2014).
The assessment system or techniques implemented by Boral Limited as a past of workplace health and safety issue are by following the approach of ‘recordable injury’ that has been also considered as a comparatively better indicator that ‘lost time injuries’. However apart from the above mentioned approaches that the company has implemented as a part of workplace health and safety aspect the company has not yet incorporated any effective measures to reduce the exposure of the employees towards the hazardous compounds namely cement dust, asphalt fumes, gypsum and other construction raw materials. The company introduced ‘Boral’s Environmental Policy’ and has also initiated to emphasize on reducing the environmental risks at their respective operational unit as a part of restoring employee health and safety issues. The key objectives evident in this respect are to comply with the environmental legislative framework of the country along with reduction of greenhouse gas emission and prevention of noise pollution (Boral Limited Annual Report, 2014).
Proposed occupational health program:
The key considerations of the proposed occupational health and safety program shall be inclusive of:
- Identification and analysis of the occupational hazards present (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
- Implementation of workplace safety management along with an effective surveillance system (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
- Incorporation of surveillance practices with respect to workplace health along with introduction of appropriate management practices (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
- An emphasis to lower the exposure of hazardous elements by application of safety measure and preventive technologies (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
- An effective approach of assessment and prevention towards issues that may cause danger to the employees (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
- Introduction of an effective employee training program as an approach to improve workplace health and safety along with keeping the employee informed regarding the adverse health effects on exposure to hazardous compounds in the workplace (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
Focus on reducing the exposure to hazardous materials:
Prolonged exposure to cement dust by the employees has been identified as an exposure to hazardous compound it is essential to distribute proper masks to the employees as an approach to reduce the intensity of inhalation of cement dust. Apart from this introduction of DustTrak which is a direct reading dust monitor fitted to a vertical cyclone elutriator, within the operational units of the company can be applied to monitor the amount of cement dust generated (Occupational dust and silica conditions in some Queensland construction and related industries, 2012).
Furthermore installation of local exhausts ventilation system for elimination of airborne contaminants can also be an effective approach in this respect. Improving the ventilation system of the operational units of the firm not only regulate temperature and humidity but also provide a continual dilution of the exposure to hazardous contaminants. Ventilation with multi hood system is also effective in this respect (Enger and Smith, 2010). Apart from this emphasis should also be given to improve the working practice of the employees. It is essential to include extra care while shifting of the dusty materials. However in parallel to the above mentioned measures the use of personal protective equipments (PPE) particular the use of respiratory protective equipments (RPE) should be made mandatory (Who.int, 2016).
In order to lower the exposure to asphalt fumes it should be made mandatory for the workers working in that particular operational unit of the firm to wear protective eye devices, non skid boots , respiratory masks and heat resistant garments. The employees should be made into practice hygienic habit while working in such sectors (Reducing Roofers’ Exposure to Asphalt Fumes, 2003).
Furthermore the installation of engineered asphalt pavers controlled machinery and implementation of ‘warm-mix’ asphalt technology can also be considered as an effective approach of reducing exposure to asphalt fumes (Acott, 2009). The implementation of asphalt pavers with an installed exhaust ventilation system along with a feature of minimum controlled indoor capture efficiency of about 80% can also positively contribute in lowering the intensity of exposure to asphalt fumes (Cdc.gov, 2016).
Incorporation of regular health check for the employees:
In order to embed a sustainable occupational health management system it is very essential for the concerned business firm to include employee health check up schemes within the organizational framework. Incorporation of monthly medical check up of the concerned employees can be an effective approach to restore positive health outcomes of the workforce. However in this context it is also important to consider that introduction of regular medic al check up for the employees not only shall contribute to positive health outcomes of the working force but also shall positive impact the productivity aspects of the business firm (Osha.gov, 2016).
Incorporation of strict surveillance as a part of workplace health and safety aspects:
In order to effective implemented the above mentioned initiatives with respect to occupational health management system it is also essential for the concerned organization to incorporate an effective and strict surveillance system within the operational units. The business firm may appoint additional safety officers who shall be given the responsibility of surveillance (Friend and Kohn, 2007). Moreover part from implementation of strict company rules with respect to occupational health safety aspects it is very important to monitor whether the employees are abiding the rules and regulation set in this respect. Strict actions are also recommended if an employee is found not to abide the rule sand regulation of occupational health safety system (Burke, Clarke and Cooper, 2011).
An initiative to implement an effective assessment or evaluation system:
Similar to other occupational health management program that is frequently applied within an organizational framework this particular proposal also has highlighted the significance of an effective evaluation system in order to understand the efficacy of the implement occupational health program. The implementation of dust sampling techniques can also positively contribute in evaluation of the intensity of cement dust generated. Therefore as a part of assessment the concerned organization can introduce survey based studies to find out how the proposed system is functioning (Acutt and Hattingh, 2003). Also the process of regular documentation of issues that arise related with the occupational health safety aspects can also be helpful as a part of assessment. Records of sick leaves taken the employees along with introduction of regular health check up for the working force can also be a part of an effective assessment system. Monitoring the frequency of employee illness can also be a part of assessment of the proposed occupational health management system (Scott and Browning, 2016).
Emphasis on reducing noise pollution:
As mentioned in the previous segment noise pollution is one of the major factors that has contributed adversely to the workplace health issues it is important to consider implementation of effective e noise pollution reduction and control system within the operational units of Boral Limited. In this respect it is effective if the concerned business firm initiate noise control program. Implementation of noise control program can be accomplished through incorporation of noise evaluation system, promotion of employee educational program, implementation of effecti8ve engineering strategies to lowering the extent of noise pollution. Additionally effective determination of hazardous zone, distribution of standard hearing protection devices within the employees, incorporation of annual audiometries along with initiatives towards organization of evaluation and revision of noise control systems can be considered to be effective in lowering the adverse health effect of noise pollution on the employees (Ravandi, 2009).
In addition to the above mentioned approaches the concerned organization may also emphasize for remodelling their operational unit and incorporate sound proof building materials. Distribution of earplugs to the employees along with making them informed regarding the adverse impacts of noise pollution and simple tips of reducing noise pollution can also be an effective step in this respect (Moustafa, 2014).
In consideration to the information produced in the previous sections of this assignment it is justified to convey that sincere efforts has been given to analyze the presently embedded workplace health and safety system of Boral Limited of Australia. Furthermore the presented proposal of occupational health management program has been designed aligned with the primary requirements of this company. However it is also logical to mention that the present gaps in the operational activities of the company with respect to workplace health and safety aspects has also been identified that has further helpful in designing the above mentioned proposal.
Hence understanding the working environment of the employees engaged in the different operational units of Boral Limited particularly in the cement, asphalt and gypsum manufacturing units it can be inferred that employee health and safety aspects can only be restored if the concerned firm significantly emphasize on strict implementation of workplace aspect programs and along workplace health and safety rules. Therefore on the final note it can be stated that the above presented proposal of occupational health management if properly incorporated and implemented within the organizational framework of Boral Limited can contribute to deliver positive outcomes in this respect.
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