All entries for Tuesday 12 June 2012

June 12, 2012

How far should a company go for safety excellence?

Health and safety who is actually responsible for that?

I know it would be logical to say the company but what about the individual as well. Are we not responsible for our own actions and thereby also our own safety. Of course if an employer demands an employee to do something against safety regulations it will be the employers responsibility if something happens. Clear situations like that is pretty simple to argue for who is responsible and not. But what about the lovely gray areas?

Some work routines might not be dangerous short term but instead have long term affects. Telling an employee or arguing for that an employee should change their way of working because of healthy issues long term will be difficult. Imagine to tell a person that in 20 years your shoulder might be ruined and you therefore has to work different from what you have been doing the last 10 years. The change might not make your work easier, in fact it might mean that it would take longer time for you to produce which in some incidence would mean lower salary being paid. Would he change his work rhythm? If he doesn't then he will be unable to work in 20 years and who would he then blame? the company or himself? he was warned about it?

An example would be an insurance company. A person helps another person who is stuck under a heavy item. He safe that's person life by lifting the item and thereby hurts his back. His back gets so hurt that he is unable to work anymore and therefore wants insurance to pay him for lost salary. The insurance company declines his wishes because it was his own free will that chose to help that other person and therefore not anything to do with his job. He was therefore not covered. Is that fair?

The society does not think it's fair, but that's because of his heroic action and he saved another person's life. But why should the insurance pay for heroes? why could he just be saved by the rescue people?

Where is the different in when it is the organizations problem and when it is the individual?

Is it excellence if it just always the company who is responsible? or is there a limit connected to how far a company should go?

June 2012

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