SUMMARY OF WORKPLACCE SAFETY AND HEALTH 5
Summary of chapter 12: Safety and Health by Klingner et al.
In chapter twelve, Safety and Health, Klingner, Nalbandianand E Llorens, in Public Personnel Management: Contexts andStrategies, Sixth Edition, start by pointing out that publicpersonnel managers have the duty of ensuring that their employees aresafe and free from harm, injury or death while at the workplace(Klingner et al, 2010). The authors of the chapter state that thecosts of workplace violence are immense to the employers in terms ofleave days, compensation and insurance claims by the injuredemployees. The chapter has given a comprehensive and detailed legalaspect in regard to workplace safety and health. However, one legalACT that seems to be significant in regard to workplace safety andhealth is the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Act, whichwas passed by the Federal Government in 1970. It ensures that allemployers abide or comply with the set safety and health standards.
Klingner and associates also note that the OSHA Act has beeninterpreted as an Act that only applies to the private employers.However, the OSHA Act also applies to the various public sectoragencies. Due to the various cases of employees’ injuries at theworkplace, a workers’ compensation system was started. According toKlingner and associates, employers could dismiss injured employeeswithout extending any form of assistance to them. However, since theinception of the workers compensation system, injured employees areable to get compensation through established federal and states legalsystems. However, the authors are quick to point out that the systemhas been a subject of fraud and false claims from injured employeeswho conspire with health workers to swindle money from theiremployers.
Klingner et al, have also pointed out to The Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits any employer fromdiscriminating an employee based on his or her physical condition ordisability. According to the authors of this chapter, ADA Act has notbeen extremely effective in the public sector, but there areprogressive changes evident in the human resource affirmative action.The minority groups such as the disabled people and women have usedthe ADA Act to champion for their rights at the workplace. Peoplewith disability have a high risk of workplace injury than the abledpeople. For instance, the authors have pointed out to blind people ashaving an extremely high risk of injury as compared to the rest ofthe employees. Klingner and associates have stated that the employeeswith mental illnesses can be difficult to deal with and employersoften come into conflict with ADA rules while trying to control suchemployees.
The Family and Medical Leave Act was developed in 1993 to cater forthe working parents. It was meant to strike a balance between thedemands of work and those of the family such as of a sick familymember (Klingner et al, 2010). According to the authors, there areissues which are arising and making it extremely difficult to dealwith the issues of safety and health at the workplace. These includethe possibility of telecommuting where employees can work fromanywhere through computer networks. This has rendered it almostimpossible to monitor the health and safety of such employees whowork in different locations.
It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the safety ofeach and every employee in the workplace. The authors of this chapterhave cited various measures that employers can take to alleviate thesafety and health risks evident at the workplace. Risk assessment isone of the critical elements in trying to ensure workplace safety forall employees. All health hazards should be eliminated from the workplace in order to ensure that all the employees are safe (Kellough,2000). The authors also suggest that the employers have theresponsibility of designing jobs that are safe and enhance safety tworkplace. For instance, employers must ensure that the jobs thatemployees do, make use of safe equipment. Klingner et al, have alsoargued that a reward system that rewards managers and employees whoenhance safety at the workplace can go a long way in ensuring thatthere is safety in the workplace.
Klingner et al have highlighted workplace violence as a main problemin the public sector. Employees are either violently attacked byclients, fellow employees or strangers. Employers must ensure thatthere are policies in place to deal with such instances of violence.Employers must ensure that they hire people whom they have detailedbackground information from former employers in regard to workplaceviolence, drug use or other suspicious behaviors. There must be plansin place to deal with safety and health emergencies at the workplace(Klingner et al, 2010). Drug use at the workplace should also beprohibited such as smoking since it is one avenue through whichviolence emanates. It is evident that these drugs are a health hazardto all employees who use them. Lastly, the authors have also pointedout to some life threating disease such as HIV and Aids and haveargued that they are workplace health risk especially to nurses,doctors and other healthcare workers (Barstow, 2003).
The chapter on safety and health at the workplace has presentedinteresting facts that were not clear to me before. The chapter hasclearly pointed out to the various Acts that seek to ensure thatemployees are safe and healthy at the workplace. The chapter was alsoinsightful in regard to the various workplace violent activities andhow managers or employers can deal with them. It was also surprisingto me to note that people with HIV and Aids could be a threat toother employees, but now it has been made extremely clear to me.
Barstow, D. (December 22, 2003). US rarely seeks charges fordeaths in workplace. The New York Times, National news, pp. 1–8.
Kellough, J. E. (2000). The Americans with Disabilities Act: Anote on personnel policy impacts in state government. PublicPersonnel Management, 29 (2): 211–224.
Klingner, D.E, Nalbandian, J., and Llorens, J. (2010). PublicPersonnel Management: Contexts and Strategies (6th Edition). NewYork: Longman/Pearson