Stone Crushing And Block Making Industry Construction Essay

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Stone Crushing and Block Making Industry is an important industrial sector in Mauritius as it is engaged in producing crushed stone of various sizes and concrete blocks which are used as raw material in the construction industries. United Basalt Products is one of the major producers of such raw materials in Mauritius. The Stone Crushing and Block Making industry involve various hazards to the Safety and health of the employees. One of the major hazards is the production of noise. Noise is generated both continuously by vibratory screen and conveyor belt and intermittently by the crusher during time of crushing and by the unloading and loading operations. By far, long and frequent exposure to noise affects the hearing capacity of the worker over the long run. Another major hazard is the production of fine particles of dust, large enough to enter into the respiratory tract and get stuck into the lungs. Long time exposures to irrespirable dust can cause respiratory problems, pneumoconiosis, cancer and stress. Other Safety and Health hazards are; Manual handling of heavy equipment, being hit by heavy vehicles, getting caught in the rotating or moving parts of machinery, fall from height, being crushed by moving objects, electrical hazards such as electrocution, psychosocial factors etc..

Workers in the Stone Crushing and Block Making Industry are at risk everyday and therefore it is most important for the employer to manage the Safety and Health issues effectively so as to eliminate and/or minimise the risks they are exposed to. In addition, the Industry is bound to abide to the safety and health requirements imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005 and as such, this implies a good management of the Safety and Health risks from the various activities and processes involve in the crushing of stones and the making of concrete blocks. It is to the benefit of the company to management health and safety effectively as this implies higher productivity rate and decrease in losses due to accidents.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to assess the level of compliance with the relevant Safety and Health Law (OSHA 2005) and the Management System in place in a Banking institution to prevent or minimise work related accidents or injuries.

The objectives of this study are:

To assess employees' perception of OSHMS

To determine the level of involvement of employees on Health and Safety matters

To identify the OSHMS factors in the Banking Institution

To assess the Management System for continuous improvement in the field of Safety and Health

To assess the need for improvement of the OSHMS

Literature Review

Overview of OSH Management Systems

Safety and Health has changed considerably during the last two decades. This change is due to various factors such as the use of new technology, the introduction of legislation and regulations in this area, the increase in professionalism in Safety and Health, the awareness of employers that a safe working environment increases productivity and the pressure exerted by groups of workers and by society (Susana García Herrero et al. 2006).

Managing Health and Safety should be done in a systematic way to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Warwick Pearse described OSHMS as a framework for systematically managing OSH activities with focus on continuous improvement. Liz Bluff (2003) noted an increasing consideration in taking systematic approaches to the management of OSH as an overall organisational strategy for the continuous prevention of work related injury and ill health.

OSHMS are intended to provide a framework for managing OHS activities in a systematic way which also encourages continuous improvement (Warwick Pearse). It has been realized over time that whatever is being managed, it should be done in a systematic way to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore it is not surprising to find an increasing interest in systematic approaches to the management of occupational health and safety, as an organisational strategy for the ongoing prevention of work-related injury, ill health and death (Liz Bluff, 2003).

In 2001, the International Labour Office (ILO) published the Guidelines on OSH Management Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) based on internationally agreed principles. The guidelines are considered as a practical tool in assisting organisations in achieving continuous improvement in OSH Performance and in addition they encourage OSH Management Systems integration with other management systems.

In 2002, an Agency Report from The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work stated that OSHMS are widely recognised as essential components in creating healthier and safer working environments. The concept of OSHMS is quite complex to understand as there is no specific comprehension of the concept and gives rise to various debates (Helmut Hagele 2002).

Most research done into occupational health and safety has shown that the rate of injury is high in workplaces where there is poor or non-existent OSHMS (Davis and Tomasin, 1999). Managing Occupational Safety and Health effectively can lead to a safer working environment and reduce work related injuries or diseases.

There is a considerable difference in the way the core elements of OSHMS are developed and implemented. Liz bluff (2003) denoted, despite certain similarities in the core structures and processes of the various OSH Standards and guidelines, that different approach were taken to their implementation.

There is considerable variation in the approaches taken to developing and implementing the advocated core elements of OSHMS (Liz Bluff, 2003). The various OHS standards, guidelines, corporate and proprietary models provide a set of systematic components (structures and processes), which comprise a framework for managing OHS. While in broad terms there is some agreement about what these core structures and processes should be, there is considerable variation in approaches to their implementation. The core elements do not represent a straightforward formula or recipe for successful management of OHS. On the one hand, while individual elements may seem intuitively to have value, there are debates about each element and how it should be implemented.

It is striking that despite large socioeconomic differences, similar concepts of OSHMS are applied in different countries and industries. Kazutaka KOGI, 2002. There are four different kinds of national approaches:

(a) mandatory OSHMS in specified undertakings with regulatory measures (Indonesia, Singapore);

(b) nationally applicable voluntary OSHMS standards with the support of certification systems (Australia and New Zealand, China, Thailand);

(c) promotion of national OSHMS models through guidelines issued by a statutory OSH body (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea); and

(d) encouragement of the voluntary adoption of OSHMS without nationally applied models (India and Malaysia).

Despite the differences in approaches, the main components of OSHMS being promoted are similar and most countries promote nationally adapted OSHMS standards or models that are in conformity with the international guidelines.

OSH Management System: The definition

Lynda Robson et Al. (2005) discern a lack of consensus on the definition of OSHMS. There is no unique definition for this Management System. The International Labour Organisation (ILO, 2001) defined OSHMS as:

"A set of interrelated or interacting elements to establish OSH policy and objectives, and to achieve those objectives."

The Australian/ New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4804:1997 defines OHSMS as follows:

"Occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS)-that part of the overall management system which includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the OHS policy, and so managing the OHS risks associated with the business of the organisation."

OSHMS now figure heavily in the thinking and strategies of the OHS jurisdictions and the management of many organizations. The lack of consensus on the definition of an OHSMS and how it might be distinguished from other occupational health and safety programs was a challenge and in 2005, a review team on the effectiveness of OSHMS, after reviewing the various definitions in different literature in many countries devised the following definition:

"An OHSMS is the integrated set of organizational elements involved in the continuous cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation, and continual improvement, directed toward the abatement of occupational hazards in the workplace. Such elements include, but are not limited to, organizations' OHS relevant policies, goals and objectives, decision-making structures and practices, technical resources, accountability structures and practices, communication practices, hazard identification practices, training practices, hazard controls, quality assurance practices, evaluation practices, and organizational learning practices."

Key distinguishing features of Management Systems

Evaluating/ Measuring OSH Performance

Past research has shown that an effective way of measuring the safety performance of a company is by using a combination of both quantitative and qualitative safety measurements (Jaselskis, 1996). To improve construction safety performance statistical data and various management elements need to be analysed. Quantitative measures include; lost time and severity rates, and experience modification rating (EMR), i.e. a measure used to calculate insurance premiums of companies. Qualitative ratings consist of outstanding, average, and below average project performances, as determined by OHS assessors.

Jaselskis (1996) recommended that companies should set OHS benchmarks; his methodology was based on collecting, demographic, occupational data, Lost Time Accident Rate and information about the company's safety policy to determine OHS performance. Other research by Garza (1988) compared safety standards using four indicators, these were; Experience Modification Rate, Recordable Incident Rate, the Lost Time Incident Rate and the Worker's Compensation Claims Frequency Indicator.

Mendez (1999) commented that organization needs to measure performance in three areas:

To lead the entire organization to a desire direction

To manage the resources needed to achieve its direction

To operate the processes that make the organization work

Redinger et al (2002) also commented that there is little attention given on the effectiveness of measurement despite the development in standard-based OSHMS structure. This is due to the fact that it is challenging and difficult to determine the detail performance measurement. This statement was also supported by Petersen (2001) with the comment that "measuring the effectiveness of an organization's safety system has been a particularly difficult problem for all organizations."

Continual Improvement

The continual improvement of occupational safety and health is a standard topic. In connection with the evaluation outcome measures are usually demanded in order to encourage further development or improvement of the organisation, if necessary introducing new processes by which to achieve this. Motives for the introduction of a process of improvement are the results of the regularly-occurring system evaluations, current incidents (such as accidents at work), modifications of the work organisation, and changes in the production process, etc.

Continual improvement in OSHMS is vital if management systems are to be effective (in the sense that the results achieved are what's required) and efficient (in the sense that the resources used are sustainable in the long term). With continual improvement built into an OSHMS, opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency are systematically identified and action is taken. Often this can be done at low cost as part of the preparation for, or response to, other required changes.

Management Review

Management reviews evaluate the overall performance of the OSHMS. The OSHMS is analysed in relation to the overall organisation and to the environment or third parties. This also involves assessing the OSHMSs' ability to correspond to the needs and requirements of the employers, the employees and the inspection. The system audit assesses the performance of the OSHMS, its structure and the results achieved. The compliance audit reviews the compliance of public and legal obligations in the field of occupational safety and health.

The variable of management review is often dealt with in connection with continual improvement or the evaluation. The evaluation process and the procedure of continual improvement are in these cases more concise and more differentiated.

Integration

Integration refers to those actions and measures taken by the organisation in order to link occupational safety and health and the OSHMS to other management systems or even to integrate them. Successful integration could mean, for example, that the OSHMS becomes part of the organisational culture. In this way, the occupational safety and health objectives become business objectives and the management has thereby included aspects of occupational safety and health in daily work routines.

There are three degrees of integration:

no integration: if the partial systems have only a few or no links (additional type);

semi-integrated systems: if there exists various links and common elements of occupational safety and health and environmental protection, e.g. a common handbook;

fully-integrated systems

Typical Systems of OSHMS

Over the past 25 years, many OSHMS have been published, some of which offer third party certification while others are just guidelines to help in achieving a successful system. There are three well known OSHSMS and these are (IOSH, Guidance on OSHMS, 2009);

HSG65

The HSG65 (Successful Health and Safety Management) was published in 1991 by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and is based on the traditional PDCA principle. The framework was characterised by five key elements:

Policy

Organising

Planning and Implementation

Measuring Performance

Audit and Review

The first edition of the HS (G) 65 Framework was more focused on compliance with legal requirements than on continual improvement which was quite a weakness for the system as compared to others. This was later reviewed and issues such as managing of change, communication and continual improvement were added.

Fig. 1 Flowchart based on HSG65

OSHAS 18001

Based on the BS 8800 model, OHSAS 18001 was formulated and published in 1999 by international certifying bodies. This framework provides a basis for certification of occupational health and safety management systems and is focused on Continual improvement. This standard is considered as very effective and is used worldwide.

Fig. 2 Flowchart based on OHSAS 18001

ILO - OSH MS Guidelines 2001

The ILO- OSH MS Guidelines have been established in 2001 by the International Labour Organisation which is a tripartite United Nations Agency and is considered as authoritative. These guidelines have been derived from a review of over 20 Management Systems around the world. The ILO Model is not subject to certification standard, it is a guide for organisations to evolve continually and find new ways of managing the different OSH activities.

Fig. 3 Flowchart based on ILO guidelines

Elements of an ideal OSH management system

In 2002 Mr. Helmut Hägele, in an Agency Report for the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, determine five key elements for an ideal OSH Management System. These elements are: Initiation (OSH Input), Formulation and Implementation (OSH Process), Effects (OSH Output), Evaluation (OSH Feedback) and Continual Improvement and Integration (Open System Elements).

OSH Input - Initiation

The OSH input factor is very important and includes the following four content variables:

Management Commitment and Resources

Management Commitment to OSHMS is a crucial element. Early studies of OHSMS in organisations found out that Management Commitment has an impact of the OSH performance (Liz Bluff, 2003).

Organisational structures should be established to support managers and employees in their OSH duties.

Senior Management should be responsible for overseeing the proper functioning of an OSHMS.

Sufficient resources should be allocated for the proper functioning of an OSH programme or management system

Regulatory Compliance and System Conformance

Compliance with legal provisions and their conformance with the OSHMS is of high priority.

Accountability, responsibility and authority

The accountability, the responsibility and the authority are important elements which must be clarified in each enterprise. The employer should have overall responsibility for the protection of workers' safety and health, and provide leadership for OSH activities in the organization.

The employer and senior management should allocate responsibility, accountability and authority for the development, implementation and performance of the OSH management system and the achievement of the relevant OSH objectives.

The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC, 1998) of Australia identified different organisational roles in OHSMS;

Senior managers - Responsible for establishing, maintaining and evaluating an organisation's OHSMS

Line managers and supervisors: Responsible for implementing and monitoring policies, procedures and programs.

Workers: Responsible for following policies and procedures to protect their own OHS and avoiding affecting others.

Mechanisms for ensuring accountability are an essential aspect of designating responsibility (Liz Bluff, 2003).

Employee Participation

Employee participation is an important element of an OSHMS. Employees tend to be more aware of hazards in the work place than employers and therefore should be involved in the safety program. They can relate more easily to the safety program if they are involved. It has been shown that regular meetings held on site help to find OHS problems and solutions and improve accident prevention (Hinze, 1988). Employees can participate either directly in the various issues of OSH or indirectly through their representatives.

The employer should ensure that workers and their safety and health representatives are consulted, informed and trained on all aspects of OSH, including emergency arrangements, associated with their work.

The employer should make arrangements for workers and their safety and health representatives to have the time and resources to participate actively in the processes of organizing, planning and implementation, evaluation and action for improvement of the OSH management system.

The employer should ensure, as appropriate, the establishment and efficient functioning of a safety and health committee and the recognition of workers' safety and health representatives, in accordance with national laws and practice.

Most analysts agree that worker participation is likely to be beneficial in improving the prevention of accidents and ill-health in all workplaces. Employee representation is one form of worker participation that can be shown to provide tangible results in improving health and safety in industry as a whole, suggesting that initiatives that explore its use in small enterprises may be a positive development (David Walters, 1998).

OSH Process - Formulation and Implementation

OSH Policy

A well-formulated OSH policy forms the basis for the objectives in the field of occupational safety and health, the measures to be taken and the relationship these measures have to other company objectives.

The employer, in consultation with workers and their representatives, should set out in writing an OSH policy, which should be:

(a) specific to the organization and appropriate to its size and the nature of its activities

(b) concise, clearly written, dated and made effective by the signature or endorsement of the employer or the most senior accountable person in the organization

(c) communicated & readily accessible to all persons at their place of work

(d) reviewed for continuing suitability

(e) made available to relevant external interested parties, as appropriate.

Davies and Tomasin (1999) suggest that the company policy statements issued by employers should be clearly understood by their employees. Policy statements should indicate how the company is organised with respect to the health and safety responsibilities of the management, and should further state the managers' commitment to providing safety information, training and advice to employees.

Performance Measures

The ability to measure performance, and as a precondition for this the development of measurable indicators that can be derived from the goals and objectives, is regularly discussed. The necessity to make such measurements is highlighted.

It is possible to identify proactive measures of OHS performance which address preventive activities, processes and conditions that prevent occupational injury and disease. Some examples are indicators based on hazard reporting and control action implemented, or achievement of required OHS competencies by managers and workers. It is crucial that indicators genuinely reflect positive performance

System Planning and Development

This covers the explanations relating to the development of, and in particular the modifications to, the OSHMS. Most of the material deals with these issues in detail and the further development of OSHMS is often a central topic.

Baseline Evaluation and Hazard Assessment

To conduct a baseline evaluation and a hazard/risk assessment is a prerequisite to the introduction of an OSHMS. It is necessary to identify the existing practices as well as the hazards and risks in order to be able to develop an OSHMS for the organisation that adequately meets its specific requirements. OSHMS concepts as a rule deal with the topics of baseline evaluation and hazard assessment.

OSHMS Manual and Procedures

Structures and processes established for OSH should be documented to ensure they are communicated, repeatable and can be implemented consistently. Similarly, documentation of planning activities, responsibilities, resources and other action taken to develop, implement, evaluate and review OHSM can help to provide evidence of OSHM development (Liz Bluff, 2003).

Implementation

These basic elements of implementation are:

Training System

The necessary OSH competence requirements should be defined by the employer, and arrangements established and maintained to ensure that all persons are competent to carry out the safety and health aspects of their duties and responsibilities.

The employer should have, or should have access to, sufficient OSH competence to identify and eliminate or control work-related hazards and risks, and to implement the OSH management system.

Nishgaki (1994) and Garza (1988) both suggest that educating workers about all aspects of work safety and giving them the skill to look after themselves is the right thing to do.

Hazard Control System

Process design, emergency planning and response system, and hazardous agent management system

Preventive and Corrective Action System

This system element refers to actions taken in response to, or in anticipation of, system breakdowns or high hazard/risk events. Central to an effective system is the decision as to which actions should be as regarded as likely. Safe working procedures and practices are key elements of this system.

Procurement and Contracting

The purchase of products is an issue considered frequently in OSH management systems.

Occupational safety and health aspects should be considered as early on as at the time of purchase. This should be guaranteed by taking the relevant organisational precautions, e.g. information about the effects of certain products on health, or the involvement of safety experts in the purchase.

Contractors are to be understood as external organisations or individual persons having a contractual relationship with the enterprise or the organisation, e.g. in working groups, as external companies, etc. Cooperation with contractors is regulated in a different way.

Cooperation on worksites is one of the most essential requirements in the field of occupational safety and health.

OSH Output - Feedback

The element 'OSH output' plays an important role. In particular, the description of the measuring and assessment of the output and the development of operational criteria to measure performance have to be sufficiently concrete that they can be applied in practice by those responsible at enterprise level. However, the output variables, their operational implementation and the way of measuring can differ considerably.

OSH Goal and Objectives

There is often a strong focus on the achievement of the formulated OSH objectives.

Illness and Injury Rates

Illness and injury rates are features that are pointed out in many OSHMS concepts. There is no marked difference in relation to the significance of these indicators. One could also consider a form of 'benchmarking' with other enterprises related to these rates.

Workforce Health

General health and the well-being of the employed, unless expressed as 'illness rate', is used on a considerably lesser scale.

Changes Inefficiency

The improvement of the enterprises' efficiency is sometimes a subject of an OSHMS concept. Direct increases of efficiency, expressed by higher productivity or indicators indirectly referring to improvements, e.g. increased motivation of the workforce, are however regarded as an exception.

Overall Performance of the Organisation

The overall performance of the enterprise is only exceptionally or indirectly addressed

OSH Feedback

The Communication System including the document and Record Management System

Regardless of the communication channels (verbal, written or electronic) communication is of central importance. Communication tasks include the drafting, dissemination, updating and checking of documents.

The evaluation System with its elements of auditing and self inspection, the incident

The second aspect of the OSH feedback consists of the evaluation system including the sub issues of 'auditing and self-inspection', 'incident investigation and root-cause analysis' as well as 'health/medical programme and surveillance'. In general, the evaluation and the two aspects of 'auditing and self-inspection' and 'incident investigation and root-cause analysis' are considered to be important. The aspect of 'health/medical programme and surveillance' is sometimes considered in relation to preventive check-ups of industrial medicine. Health promotion at the enterprise level that goes beyond the workplace is not practised.

Open System Elements

The open system elements in the OSHMS are responsible for the continual improvement of occupational safety and health, for regular overall management reviews and the integration of occupational safety and health tasks and activities into other management systems and into the business processes.

Continuous Improvement

The continual improvement of occupational safety and health is a standard topic. In connection with the evaluation outcome measures are usually demanded in order to encourage further development/improvement of the organisation, if necessary introducing new processes by which to achieve this. Motives for the introduction of a process of improvement are the results of the regularly-occurring system evaluations, current incidents (such as accidents at work), modifications of the work organisation, and changes in the production process, etc.

Management Review

Management reviews evaluate the overall performance of the OSHMS. In this context the OSHMS is analysed in relation to the overall organisation and to the environment or third parties. This also involves assessing the OSHMSs' ability to correspond to the needs and requirements of the employers, the employees and the inspection. The system audit assesses the performance of the OSHMS, its structure and the results achieved. The compliance audit reviews the compliance of public and legal obligations in the field of occupational safety and health.

The variable of management review is often dealt with in connection with continual improvement or the evaluation. The evaluation process and the procedure of continual improvement are in these cases more concise, more differentiated and in full detail.

Integration

Integration refers to those actions and measures taken by the organisation in order to link occupational safety and health and the OSHMS to other management systems or even to integrate them. Successful integration could mean, for example, that the OSHMS becomes part of the organisational culture. In this way, the occupational safety and health objectives become business objectives and the management has thereby included aspects of occupational safety and health in daily work routines.

Benefits of an OSHMS

A Fact Sheet from European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2007) stated that an Occupational safety and health Management System

helps demonstrate that a business is socially responsible

protects and enhances brand image and brand value,

helps maximise the productivity of workers,

enhances employees' commitment to the business,

builds a more competent, healthier workforce,

reduces business costs and disruption,

enables enterprises to meet customers' OSH expectations

encourages the workforce to stay longer in active life

Fig. 4 Benefits of good OSH

Research carried out in many organisations that have adopted an OSH Management System have provided evidence that employee motivation and productivity increased with implementation of the system (Helmut Hägele, 2001). A reduction of accidents has also been noted in these companies.

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