Job Evaluation With Health And Safety

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Graham and Bennet (1998) define job evaluation as. "The process of placing jobs in order of their relative worth, so that employees may be paid fairly." They also go on to say that "it is concerned with the demands and conditions of the job and not with the personal qualities of the individual who is occupying the job."

CIPD talks about job evaluation as a method of determining on a systematic basis the relative importance of a number of different jobs. It also states that job evaluation is a useful process because at times, job titles can be misleading, that is, either unclear or not specific.

It is a systematic process for defying the relative worth or size of jobs within an organization in order to establish internal relatives and provide the basis for designing an equitable grade and pay structure, grading jobs in the structure and managing relativities. Job evaluation can be analytical or non-analytical (Michael, 2005).

2 Principle

Clearly defined and identifiable jobs must exist. These jobs will be accurately described in an agreed job description.

All jobs in an organisation will be evaluated using an agreed job evaluation scheme.

Job evaluators will need to gain a thorough understanding of the job

Job evaluation is concerned with jobs, not people. It is not the person that is being evaluated.

The job is assessed as if it were being carried out in a fully competent and acceptable manner.

Job evaluation is based on judgments and is not scientific. However if applied correctly it can enable objective judgments' to be made.

It is possible to make a judgment about a job's contribution relative to other jobs in an organisation.

The real test of the evaluation results is their acceptability to all participants.

Job evaluation can aid organisational problem solving as it highlights duplication of tasks and gaps between jobs and functions.

(, 2000)

3 Job evaluation schemes

3.1 Analytical

These are schemes in which decisions about the value or size of jobs are based on an analysis of the extent to which various defined factors or elements are present in a job. These factors should be present in all the jobs to be evaluated and the different levels at which they are present indicate relative job value. The Equal Pay (Amendment) Regulations (1983) refer to 'the demands on a worker under various headings, for instance, effort, skill, decision'. The most common analytical approach is a points-factor scheme where there is a 'factor plan' which defines the factors and their levels and attaches scores to each level. Following job analysis, scores for each factor are awarded and then totaled. On completion of an evaluation programme, the total scores for jobs indicate their rank order. This type of scheme can meet the requirements of equal value law as long as it is not in itself discriminatory either in its design or application. To ensure that equity considerations are catered for in an organization, it is preferable to use only one scheme which must therefore be designed to cover the key features of each category of job at every level.

3.1.1 Points Rating

This is the most commonly used method. The key elements of each job, which are known as 'factors', are identified by the organisation and then broken down into components. Each factor is assessed separately and points allocated according to the level needed for the job. The more demanding the job, the higher the point's value is. Factors usually assessed include (ACAS, 2008):

Knowledge and skills

work experience


external qualifications

specialist training 

People management

human relations skills

ability to deal with work pressure

supervisory responsibility

Communication and networking

social skills

presentation skills


Freedom to act

depth of control

supervision received




analytical ability

Working environment

knowledge of special working practices

breadth of management skill required

Impact and influence


impact on customers


results of errors

Financial responsibility


This scheme has the following advantages:

it provides a rationale why jobs are ranked differently

it may be entered as a defence to an equal value claim

it will be seen generally as less subjective than non analytical techniques.

However, it is time consuming to introduce and can be complex and costly to undertake. In addition it can be seen to be an inflexible form of job evaluation in times of rapid change and can imply an arithmetical precision which is not justified.

3.1.2 Factor Comparison

Factor Comparison is similar to Points Rating job evaluation scheme, being based on an assessment of factors, though no points are allocated. Use of the Factor Comparison method of job evaluation is not as widespread as the Points Rating systems, because the use of points enables a large number of jobs to be ranked at one time.

3.1.3 'Tailor Made' or 'Off the peg'

A prime consideration in deciding which analytical job evaluation scheme to select lies in the choice of factors and weightings. The benefit of proprietary 'off the peg' evaluation schemes is that they normally have been well tried and tested and there is therefore a saving in time. In addition, many schemes are linked to mechanisms for checking salary levels. The benefit of 'tailor made' schemes is that the factors and definitions more accurately reflect the range of jobs to be evaluated and are arrived at through consensus; consequently they are more likely to be acceptable to the workforce. The Hay Guide Chart-Profile Method is the most widely used evaluation scheme.

3.2 Non-analytical

3.2.1 Job Ranking

Ranking is the process of comparing whole jobs with one another and arranging them in order of their perceived value to the organisation. Job ranking is a simple process which reflects what people tend to do when comparing jobs, but:

there are no defined standards for judging relative worth and there is therefore no rationale to defend the rank order - it is simply a matter of opinion

ranking is not acceptable as a method of determining comparable worth in equal value cases

it may be hard to justify slotting new jobs into the structure or to decide whether or not there is a case for moving a job up the rank order, i.e. re-grading

3.2.2 Paired Comparisons

This is also a relatively simple technique. Each job is evaluated as a whole with each other job in turn, and points (0, 1 or 2) awarded according to whether its overall importance is judged to be less than, equal to, or more than the other jobs. Points awarded for each job are then totalled and a rank order produced. This method of job evaluation has all the advantages of job ranking and is slightly more systematic. However, it is best limited to organisations with a maximum of 30 jobs in a particular job population and, like job ranking; it does not involve any analysis of jobs nor indicate the extent of difference between them. Paired comparisons is not acceptable as a method of determining comparable worth in equal value cases

3.2.3 Internal Benchmarking or Job Matching

Job evaluation by Internal Benchmarking or job matching simply means comparing the job under review with any Internal Benchmark job which is believed to be properly graded and paid and slotting the job under consideration into the same grade as the benchmark job. The comparison is usually made on a whole job basis without analysing the jobs factor by factor. Internal benchmarking is a simple and quick method of job evaluation, but:

it relies on judgments which may be entirely subjective and could be hard to justify

it is dependent on the identification of suitable benchmarks which are properly graded and such comparisons may only perpetuate existing inequities

it is not acceptable as a defence in equal value cases

3.2.4 Job Classification

Job classification is the process of slotting jobs into grades by comparing the whole job with a scale in the form of a hierarchy of grade definitions. It is based on an initial definition of the number and characteristics of the grades into which jobs will be placed. The grade definitions may refer to such job characteristics as skill, decision making and responsibility. Job classification is the most used form of non-analytical job evaluation because it is simple, easily understood and at least, in contrast to whole-job ranking, it provides some standards for making judgments in the form of the grade definitions (Ashworth Black Limited,2005). But:

it cannot cope with complex jobs which will not fit neatly into one grade

the grade definitions tend to be so generalised that they may not be much help in evaluating border-line cases

it fails to deal with the problem of evaluating and grading jobs in dissimilar occupational or job families where the demands made on job holders are widely different

grade definitions tend to be inflexible and unresponsive to changes affecting roles and job content

the grading system can perpetuate inappropriate hierarchies

it does not provide a defence in equal value cases.

4 Implementing a scheme

When introducing job evaluation for the first time, it's important to communicate with employees. A suggested process is:

(Richardson, 2007)

5 Reason for using job evaluation

Respondents believed strongly that the main reasons for using a formal approach to job evaluation were (Michael, 2005):

1) to provide a basis for the design and maintenance of a rational and equitable pay structure;

2) to help manage job relativities;

3) to assimilate newly created jobs into the structure;

4) to ensure equitable pay structure, and

5) to ensure the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

6 Cons and pros for job evaluation

6.1 Pros

The case for properly devised and applied job evaluation, especially analytical job evaluation, is that (Michael, 2006):

it can make the criteria against which jobs are valued explicit and provide a basis for structuring the judgement process;

an equitable and defensible pay structure cannot be achieved unless a structured and systematic process is used to assess job values and relativities;

a logical framework is required within which consistent decisions can be made on job grades and rates of pay;

the factor plan and the process of job evaluation can be aligned to the organization's value system and competency framework and therefore reinforce them as part of an integrated approach to people management;

analytical schemes provide the best basis for achieving equal pay for work of equal value and are the only acceptable defence in an equal pay case;

a formal process of job evaluation is more likely to be accepted as fair and equitable than informal or ad hoc approaches - and the degree of acceptability will be considerably enhanced if the whole process is transparent.

6.2 Cons

The case against job evaluation has been presented vociferously. Critics emphasize that it can be bureaucratic, inflexible, time-consuming and inappropriate in today's organizations. Opponents such as Nielsen (2002) take exception to the fact that job evaluation is not concerned with external relativities, which, they claim, are what really matter. Schemes can decay over time through use or misuse. People learn how to manipulate them to achieve a higher grade and this leads to the phenomenon known as grade drift - upgradings that are not justified by a sufficiently significant increase in responsibility. Job evaluators can fall into the trap of making a priori judgements. They may judge the validity of a job evaluation exercise according to the extent to which it corresponds with their preconceptions about relative worth. The so-called 'felt-fair' test is used to assess the acceptability of job evaluations, but a rank order is felt to be fair if it reproduces their notion of what it ought to be. These criticisms mainly focus on the way in which job evaluation is operated rather than the concept of job evaluation itself. Like any other management technique, job evaluation schemes can be misconceived and misused. And the grade and pay structures developed through job evaluation seldom last for more than a few years and need to be replaced or adjusted to remedy decay or reflect new ways of working. Those who criticize job evaluation because it is only concerned with internal relativities fail to understand that job evaluation exists to grade jobs, not to price them. Of course, when developing the pay structures superimposed on grade structures it is necessary to take account of external relativities and this will mean reconciling the different messages provided by job evaluation and market rate surveys. If the latter indicate that attracting and retaining good quality staff is only feasible if rates of pay are higher than those indicated by the grading of the job, then it may be necessary to pay market supplements, but to avoid claims that equal pay is not being provided, these must be objectively justified on the basis of evidence on competitive rates.

7 Impact of equal pay legislation on implementation of job evaluation

The focus of the EU and EOC guidance in respect of implementing job evaluation is to ensure that all significant features of jobs carried out by women as well as those undertaken by men are first 'captured' as part of the process, and then fairly evaluated. The methods recommended for achieving this are:

Use of a detailed job questionnaire: job evaluation on the basis of a traditional organizational job description is likely to be unsatisfactory, because it leaves evaluators to use their own experience or make assumptions when assessing jobs against factors for which no information is provided. The preferred approach is to collect job information from jobholders and their supervisors or line managers by means of a structured questionnaire, which asks specific questions, requiring factual answers, under each of the job evaluation factor headings. This pre-analysis of job information, although time consuming to do properly, also makes for more efficient evaluation by reducing the time evaluators spend identifying the information they need and debating what is relevant. Fully computerized schemes (Michael, 2005) also adopt this approach by asking specific questions under each factor heading.

Training in avoidance of bias for job analysts/facilitators and evaluators. This both assists in avoiding discrimination in the implementation of job evaluation and demonstrates to others that efforts have been made to avoid bias.

Avoidance of traditional 'slotting' techniques: in even a mediumsized organization, it is time consuming to evaluate the job of every individual employee separately. In a large organization, it is impossible. Historically, therefore, it was common practice in larger organizations to evaluate only a benchmark sample of jobs and to 'slot' other jobs against the benchmark through some form of whole-job comparison. However, in its decision in the case of Bromley & Others v H.&J. Quick, the Court of Appeal said that the applicant and comparator jobs which had been 'slotted' in this way had not been analysed and evaluated under the scheme in question, so were not covered by the 'job evaluation study' defence. There was not such a study 'where the jobs of the women and their comparators were slotted into the structure on a 'whole job' basis and no comparison was made by reference to the selected factors between the demands made on the individual workers under the selected headings'. This decision has significant implications for job evaluation in large organizations, as it implies that all employees should be attached to a job description, which has either been analysed and evaluated, or, at minimum, has been matched to an evaluated benchmark job, using an analytical process. (Watson, 2005)

Monitoring of outcomes: the initial job evaluation exercise and subsequent appeals should be monitored for their impact on maleand female-dominated jobs. Other things being equal, one would expect a new job evaluation scheme to result in some upward movement of female-dominated jobs, particularly those that show typical features of work carried out by women, relative to other jobs, as historical pay discrimination is eliminated. (Egan ,2004)

8 Organisation analysis

Conclusion of job evaluation


Introduction of Health and Safety


Stress and Burnout

Stress is a biological term and it ranges from psychology to physiology, also it could be positive that is that which is needed for us to move forward and negative that which leads to illness. It could be referred to as a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. However we could identify various types of stress which include:

Eustress which is positive and leads to long term improvement and functioning of our very being, also we have

Work stress which comes from our employment and this we encounter on a daily basis at our jobs, which can be called organisational stress. There are 5 stressors describe below:

Supervisor: petty work rules and relentless pressure for more production are the major stresses that employees associate with supervisors.

Salary: salary is a stressor when it is perceived as being distributed unfairly

Security: employees experience stress when they are not sure whether they will have their jobs next month, next week, or even the next day.

Safety: fear of workplace accidents and the resulting injuries or death can be stressful for many workers. when pressure for production is increased, this fear over workplace safety can increase to a point that production may decrease rather than increase

Organisational change: Changes made by organizations are often stressful, because they usually involve something important and are accompanied by uncertainty.many changes are made without advance warning

Finally we have chronic stress which could be considered a ''sister'' to burnout, looked as excessive stress (

Burnout is a phenomenon closely associated with job stress. Experts define burnout as the total depletion of physical and mental resources caused by excessive striving to reach an unrealistic work-related goal. It does not just spontaneously appear instead of building gradually (Gary, year, p.667).

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

The following are the signs and symptoms of stress (, April 2008)

Loss of sex drive

Abusive use of alcohol and drugs

Social withdrawal

Stomach problems

Loose interest at work

Concentration problems

Feeling anxious, irritable or depressed

Muscle tension or headache.

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

Emotional exhaustion





Being trapped




Note should be taken that if burnout manifest itself as depression, we always want to sleep and due to irritation we snap all the time.

According to a study by The Work Foundation nearly a third of working men say that the demands of their jobs interfere with their private life and nearly a quarter feel that their work has caused them to neglect their children.

(Robin et al, year, page-187)

Differences between stress and burnout

In recent times a Health and Safety Executive survey carried out showed; one in six of all working individuals in the UK reported their jobs being very stressful. However note should be taken be take that work-related stress accounts for the largest causes of sick leaves. It could be as a result of

Deteriorating work conditions

Inflexible work hours

Too much - too little responsibility

Poor job description.

Stress and burnout may seem the same but in actual fact do differ on a number of aspects, below are some of the differences;

Stress vs. Burnout

Source:Stress and Burnout in Ministry



Characterized by over engagement

Characterized by disengagement

Emotions are over reactive

Emotions are blunted

Produces urgency and hyperactivity

Produces helplessness and hopelessness

Loss of energy

Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope

Leads to anxiety disorders

Leads to detachment and depression

Primary damage is physical

Primary damage is emotional

May kill you prematurely

May make life seem not worth living

Reducing Stress

Dr. Karl Albrecht suggests the following way for person to reduce job stess:

Build rewarding,pleasant,cooperative relationship with colleagues and employees.

Build an especially effective and supportive relationship with your boss.

Find time every day for detachment and relaxation

Find reduce unnecessary noise.

Limit interruptions

Take a walk around the office to keep your body refreshed and alert

Make a constructive "worry list"that includes solutions for each problem

(Gary, year, p.665-666)

Preventing Burnout

Suggestions for the burnout candidate what to do:

break your patterns

get away from it all periodically

reassess your goals in terms of their intrinsic worth

job description - better and constant update of job description. This will enable you eliminate and point out that some of the things you are expected to do are not or do not apply to your job

request a transfer - if the organisation is large enough escape a toxic environment by requesting a transfer to another department or plant

ask for new duties - same thing done for a long time, ask for new duties

(Gary, year, p.667)

Organisational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA)

OSHA assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes (Public law 91-596, January 2004)

Workplace Inspections 

To enforce standards, OSHA is authorized under the Act to conduct workplace inspections.

To enter without delay and at reasonable times any facility where work is performed by an employee or employer. . .

Inspect and investigate during regular working hours. . .


Citations inform the employer and employees of regulations and standards alleged to have been violated and of the proposed length of time set for their abatement.

The employer will receive citations and notices of proposed penalties by certified mail.

The employer must post a copy of each citation at or near a place a violation occurred, for three days or until the violated is abated, whichever is longer.


De Minimus

No penalty or citation issued.  

Other than Serious Violation:

A violation that has direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

A proposed penalty of up to $7000.00 for each violation is discretionary and may be adjusted downward by as much as 95%, depending upon the employer's good faith, history of previous violations and size of business

Serious Violation:

A violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. A mandatory penalty of up to $7000.00 for each violation is proposed. This penalty may be adjusted downward based on the previous reasons.

Willful Violation:

A violation that the employer knowingly commits or commits with plain indifference to the law. Penalties of up to $70,000 may be proposed for each willful violation with a minimum penalty of $5000 for each violation. A proposed penalty may be adjusted downward.

If an employer is convicted of a willful violation of a standard that has resulted in the death of an employee, the offense is punishable by a court-imposed fine or by imprisonment for up to six months, or both.  A fine of up to $250,000 for an individual, or $500,000 for a corporation, may be imposed for a criminal conviction.

Repeated Violation:

A  violation of any standard, regulation rule, or order where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation can bring a fine of up to $70,000 for each such violation

Failure to Abate Prior Violation:

Failure to abate a prior violation may bring a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each day the violation continues beyond the prescribed abatement date.

Additional violations for which citations and proposed penalties may be issued upon conviction:

Falsifying records, reports or applications can bring a fine of $10,000 or up to six months in jail.

Violations of posting requirements can bring a civil penalty of up to $7,000

In addition to civil penalties, the following may result in criminal penalties:

Willful violation causing death

Giving unauthorized, advance notice of an inspection

Giving false information

Killing, assaulting or hampering the work of an OSHA inspector

(can u make it up by giving book references at least?)

Organisational analysis

OSHA seeks fines against 2 Birmingham companies

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Leeds, Ala.-based M&B Metal Products Co. and its subcontractor, Oak Mountain Construction Co., have been hit with more than $166,900 in penalties.

The fines, proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are related to a roof collapse at M&B in May.

In a statement Friday, OSHA inspectors cited M&B for 42 serious safety and health violations. M&B is one of the nation's largest makers of clothes hangers.

Oak Mountain was cited for two safety violations, including exposing employees to falling hazards. The construction company was performing repairs on M&B's roof when it caved in.

The agency said the companies have 15 working days to contest the citation and penalties.

(The Associated Press | 17 Nov 2008 | 11:51 AM ET)

Fatal fall from elevated forklift platform leads to over $50,000 in proposed penalties

OSHA has cited a Georgia agricultural services company for exposing workers to fall hazards at the company's bulk fertilizer warehouse. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $51,250.  "Falls are preventable," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director. "This tragic accident would not have occurred if management had used safety equipment readily available."

OSHA began an investigation on August 26 after being notified that a worker had died from injuries sustained in a fall from an elevated forklift platform. According to the OSHA investigative report, the employee was struck by a piece of electrical conduit as it was being removed from overhead beams, causing him to lose his balance and fall eight feet to the floor below.

The company received one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for failing to provide standard guardrails on the pallet or fall arrest equipment for the employee. A "safety cage" equipped with standard guardrails was available in the warehouse. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

OSHA also issued two serious citations unrelated to the fatal accident, with total proposed penalties of $2,250, for failing to have a "lockout-tagout" program that would prevent workers from being caught in or struck by energized equipment during repair or maintenance, and for operating a forklift with a defective safety signal.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

(lacking references)


GEORGETOWN, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Eufaula Pulpwood Company, Inc. and proposed penalties totaling $80,150 following a fatal accident at a Georgetown, Ga., job site.

OSHA began an inspection in response to an accident on April 2 which resulted in the death of an employee who was pulled into the rollers of a chipper machine and crushed. The chipper was turned on while the worker was inside the feed-in section of the machine replacing its chains.

During the inspection, OSHA found that company officials had received training from a forestry association about lockout/tagout procedures which require that a machine be de-energized during maintenance and repair. Additional training on safe operation and maintenance of the chipper, including locking out the machine during maintenance, was provided by a manufacturer's representative.

OSHA cited the company for one alleged willful violation of "lockout/tagout" standards and proposed a $49,000 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

"This employer received extensive training on lockout/tagout requirements," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Savannah area director. "Additionally, numerous warning signs warned of the danger of not locking out the machine. Following all the safety precautions would have prevented this tragic accident."

The remaining $31,150 penalty was proposed for nine serious safety violations, including failing to provide equipment for eye and face protection; not developing a lockout/tagout program; failing to follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions; not providing proper railing on the machine platform; failing to develop and implement a hazard communication program, and not providing employees job hazard training or training in first aid and CPR. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Eufaula Pulpwood, which employs 80 workers, has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

(09/19/2001, Region 4 News Release)

Federal OSHA Issues Third Largest Fine in History Following Sugar Refinery

SAVANNAH, Ga., July 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Occupational Safety and

Health Administration (OSHA) today issued citations proposing penalties totalling $8,777,500 against the Imperial Sugar Co. and its two affiliates alleging violations at their plants in Port Wentworth, Ga., and Gramercy, La. OSHA initiated the inspections following an explosion and fire on Feb. 7, 2008, at the Port Wentworth refinery that claimed the lives of 13 employees and hospitalized 40 others. Three employees still remain hospitalized. The proposed penalties against Imperial Sugar represent the third largest fine in the history of OSHA.

Meanwhile, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations proposing penalties totalling US$8 777 500 against Imperial Sugar and its two affiliates alleging violations at their plants in Port Wentworth and Gramercy.

OSHA initiated the inspections following an explosion and fire on 7th February at the Port Wentworth refinery that claimed the lives of 13 employees and hospitalised 40 others. Three employees still remain hospitalised. The proposed penalties against Imperial Sugar represent the third largest fine in the history of OSHA.

OSHA's inspections of both facilities found that there were large accumulations of combustible sugar dust in workrooms, on electrical motors and on other equipment. The investigation also determined that officials at the company were well aware of these conditions, but they took no action reasonably directed at reducing the obvious hazards.

Asda guilty of multiple safety offences

Supermarket giant Asda has been fined £22,000 after a worker was buried under a mound of chilled chicken and another suffered an electric shock. Both incidents happened at the Kingswood store in Hull in 2003, the city's magistrates heard. One worker was pinned to the floor when a trolley overloaded with chilled chickens fell on her and another suffered an electric shock cleaning a cabinet. Asda pleaded guilty to four health and safety offences. The first incident happened in March 2003 when a worker tried to demonstrate to a supervisor that the trolley carrying the frozen birds was unstable. The trolley had previously been taken out of use because it was defective, but then used again without any repairs having been carried out, the court was told. In the second incident four months later a female worker who had not been trained in cleaning display cabinets or switching them off before wiping them down with a damp cloth suffered an electric shock. The company was fined £10,000 for that incident and £6,000 for the chicken trolley accident. It was also fined £3,000 for two further counts of failing to maintain the trolley and another of failing to carry out a risk assessment for moving the chickens around. Asda's US parent company, Wal-Mart - the world's largest retailer - has attracted controversy for a string of safety and employment offences at its stores in Canada (Risks 198) and the USA and for safety standards at its suppliers in developing countries (Risks 214).

UK giant BP faces flak over £12m safety fine deal

UK headquartered multinational British Petroleum (BP) is facing union criticism abroad after receiving the USA's largest ever workplace safety fine, over US$21m (£12m), in a secret deal with safety authorities. The settlement agreement between US safety watchdog OSHA and BP resulted from an OSHA inspection of the BP Texas City oil refinery after the 23 March explosion and fire which killed 15 and injured 170 (Risks221). Last month, an official report into the blast called on BP's London-based global board of directors to institute an urgent, independent enquiry into the company's failing safety culture (Risks 220). US steelworkers' union USW welcomed the US$21,361,500 (£12.1m) OSHA penalty but said it was wrong the matter was settled behind closed doors between the company and OSHA before any safety citations were issued. USW president Leo W Gerard said the "settlement should have happened after a citation, not before," the more usual procedure which allows workers and the public to scrutinize the alleged safety offences. Where a company contests a citation, workers and their union have a right to participate in the process. In the BP case, the settlement talks took place in private and the union was excluded. "We will never know what OSHA traded away to get the settlement," said Gerard. "The families of the victims, workers in the plant, and the surrounding community deserve to know all the problems OSHA uncovered. And the workers who face those hazards every day on the job should have had a voice in the settlement talks."Gary Beevers, director of the USW's Region 6, said: "Penalties are supposed to hurt, and this one represents less than half a day of BP's corporate income. It doesn't even cover what BP saved by not making the safety improvements that would have prevented the March 23 explosion."

Asbestos widow gets six figure payout

A Worcestershire woman whose carpenter husband died after being exposed to asbestos dust at a jail is to receive a six-figure payout from the Home Office. Barry Price, 67, died in 2002 from the asbestos related cancer meso the lioma, which he contracted through his job at Hewell Grange Prison in Redditch. His widow Gladys agreed an out-of court settlement over the death. Mr. Price, who worked at the open prison from 1973 to 2000, was regularly exposed to asbestos dust but was not made aware of the dangers, said lawyers Russell Jones &

Walker. Adam Wilson, from the law firm's Birmingham office, said:

"This was a particularly sad case where public sector employers simply failed to protect Mr. Price with disastrous and fatal consequences. At the time he worked for them Mr Price's employers knew, or should have known, of the dangers of working with asbestos and the seriousrisks of being exposed to asbestos dust." He added: "The law was already in place to protect Mr. Price and his employers, the Home Office, should have provided masks, clothing and equipment to remove the dust but they neglected to do so."

(Risk issue no. 226, 1/10/2005)

(From Yang Yang - need references) Safety and accident prevention concern managers for several reasons, one of which is the staggering number of work-related accidents. for example, 6026 U.S. workers recently died in workplace incidents, and there were over 6.2 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting from accidents at work-roughly 6.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in the United States per year. many safety experts believe such figures actually underestimate the true numbers. one study, published in the Journal of the american medical association, said workers actually suffer an estimated 13.2 million nonfatal injuries, and 862200 illnesses annually, for a total cost of $171 billion each year. many injuries and accidents, the theory goes, just go unreported.

the act created the occupational safety and health administration (osha) within the department of labor. osha's basic purpose is to administer the act and to set and enforce the safety and health standards that apply to almost all workers in the us. the department of labor enforces the standards, and osha has inspectors working out of branch offices around the country to ensure compliance. This is not organisational analysis, need to redo this !!