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Examining safety and health issues in the modern workplace

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In the past there have always been dangers in the workplace, much caused by the demand for more production in less time, carelessness and sometimes a simple lack of knowledge. The litigation costs became so intense that employers formed a plan to compensate workers from a fund which they provided, i.e. Workers' Compensation. Today there are a vast amount of safety problems that are much more subtle than methane gas in coal mines (though that hazard still exists) from exposure to asbestos in buildings to carpal tunnel syndrome in employees who use LSM machines in the Post Office and more commonly in the constant use of computers. Many of these problems have been addressed by the Center for Disease Control and are discussed here.

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Solution Summary

This problem discusses the challenges that modern employers must face to maintain safety in the workplace. It discusses government involvement in requiring safe conditions for workers, the origin of workmens' compensation and a variety of dangers and solutions to safety for workers today.

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Control over workplace safety discussed

Wherein Does Control Over Workplace Safety Belong?

Reading this interesting blog about workplace safety it struck me, is the issue of safety an HR function? When you think about it, the HR department may or may not be directly involved in so many aspects of product production and distribution such that I puzzle about the limits of the Human Resource Departmentâ's ability to deal with safety issues. In a factory setting, how easy is it for HR directors, sitting in the corporate offices, to understand and then direct safety issues from the comfort of their desk. This is a caricature of course. The online article that centers this case muses that HR directors need to be more proactive than reactive, though 'more proactive' seems tautological to me; you are either are proactive or you are not - are there degrees of proactivity? Maybe.

Evaluate the article linked below and look at each recommendation. Don't try to hit every recommendation as there is not enough room to do so.

Pick two, or at most three, of the recommendations and explain why you think the issue is vastly more complex and more difficult than the author makes it seem. Or you may agree and expand on why the author is actually correct.

Be very clear about the role human resource departments play in this process. The goal here is to push the limits of the HR function and ask ourselves when that type of department will hit its limitations in dealing with workplace safety issues. Workplace safety is a 'human' issue, and one dealing with humans as a resource. But HR is also an administrative function not typically directly attached to the production of the product where, in safety terms, the rubber meets the road. So please critique two or three of these recommendations, explain what you think makes sense and what does not with an eye towards the organizational structure.

Be sure, of course, to put this in terms of the MORAL point of view. This is not simply a question of 'can HR get the job done', so much as, does the modern corporate structure, where HR often is the center of workplace safety policy, protect employees' right to a safe workplace and provide for the greater good. Keep the focus on the moral outcome of the function.

Role of Management in Improving Workplace Safety and Health


Be sure to keep the focus on the moral point of view and show why the recommendations do or do not promote the common good and respect the right to a safe workplace.

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