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How to evaluate an organization's occupational health & safety

The goal of occupational health and safety is to create a safe work environment. It ensures the health, safety and welfare of employees within a company.

Organizations should take occupational health and safety precautions because employees should not have to risk their health and safety while on the job, it keeps worker's compensation costs down, employees spend less time off the job and it is the law. Evaluating an organisation's occupational health and safety means reviewing the health and safety management system regularly, checking health and safety records, suggesting improvements and ensuring compliance with laws.

Gather data and information. Those evaluating an organisation's occupational health and safety should be familiar with the company's background, management structure, program challenges and goals, and the results of previous reviews, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Take into account external factors. NIOSH states evaluators need to understand there are times when it is not possible to evaluate the duration and distribution of exposure to certain elements. There also are times when it is hard to study the population of workers (due to high turnover), or relevant materials and records are inaccessible.

Be familiar with occupational health and safety challenges within an organisation. Challenges include a lack of safety and health training, high employee turnover and chronic symptoms and disease. The Oxford Journals states older workers are more likely to have musculoskeletal and psychosocial problems, along with "work-induced stress symptoms."

Know the organisation's safety goals. According to NIOSH, an organisation should design goals around the workplace's health and safety issues. The goals should be clearly defined, derived via strategic planning, related to goals set by NIOSH and other health and safety agencies, and focused on relevant problems.

Assess the steps taken to make a workplace safer, the results of those steps and how the organisation monitors occupational health and safety. An organisation should be familiar with associated workplace injuries, illness and hazards. Management should know the chemical, biological, physical, ergonomic and traumatic injury hazards and have implemented means to intervene. Intervention includes protective apparel and equipment, work organisation, safety training, safety and health policies, workplace design based on safety and an emergency preparedness plan. NIOSH states you should use this section to describe health and safety hazards along with the organisation's contributions to them (for example, not posting safety signs). In addition, assess expected health and safety impacts of the status quo.

Make recommendations. List major recommendations for occupational health and safety improvements and explain how to implement them.