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Occupational safety and ergonomics


Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area ... health physics. ergonomics. toxicology. epidemiology. industrial relations. public policy ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Occupational safety and ergonomics

Occupational safety and ergonomics
Harry McShane
Harry McShane, age 16, 1908. Pulled into
machinery in a factory in Cincinatty. His arm was
ripped off at the shoulder and his leg broken. No
compensation paid. Photograph by Lewis Hine.
Bhopal disaster

In1984, more than 40 tons of methyl isocyanate
gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal,
India, immediately killing at least 3,800 people
and causing significant illness and premature
death for many thousands more. The accident was
casued by Union Carbide's (US) decision to cut
safety corners at its Bhopal factory had enormous
human consequences. On the night of the poisonous
gas leak, six safety measures designed to prevent
such a leak had either malfunctioned, were turned
off, or were otherwise inadequate. In addition,
the safety siren, intended to alert the
community, was turned off.

Over 200,000 residents of Bhopal were exposed to
methyl isocyanate. The accident has now claimed
more than 6000 lives, but independent agencies
estimate that 15,000 to 20,000 deaths may have
occurred from this exposure. The number of
survivors with chronic health effects has been
estimated at upwards of 50,000.
Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a
cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting
the safety, health and welfare of people engaged
in work or employment.
As a secondary effect, OSH may also protect
co-workers, family members, employers, customers,
suppliers, nearby communities, and other members
of the public who are impacted by the workplace
Cross-disciplinarity of OSH
Occupational safety and health may involve
interaction among many cognate disciplines,
  • occupational medicine
  • occupational (or industrial) hygiene
  • public health
  • safety engineering
  • health physics
  • ergonomics
  • toxicology
  • epidemiology
  • industrial relations
  • public policy
  • sociology
  • psychology

Opposing aspects of OSH
The need to eliminate or reduce the accidents,
injuries and damages that can and do occur at
work is based on two mutually opposing aspects
  • Costs of accident prevention
  • Moral regard for human life and well-being

Reasons for OSH (1/3)
Moral reason for establishing good occupational
safety and health standards
An employee should not have to risk injury at
work, nor should others associated with the work
Reasons for OSH (2/3)
Economic reason for establishing good
occupational safety and health standards
Many governments realize that poor occupational
safety and health performance results in cost to
the State (e.g. through social security payments
to the incapacitated, costs for medical
treatment, and the loss of the "employability" of
the worker). Employing organisations also
sustain costs in the event of an incident at work
(such as legal fees, fines, compensatory damages,
investigation time, lost production, lost
goodwill from the workforce, from customers and
from the wider community).
Reasons for OSH (3/3)
Legal reason for establishing good occupational
safety and health standards
Occupational safety and health requirements may
be reinforced in civil law and/or criminal law
it is accepted that without the extra
"encouragement" of potential regulatory action or
litigation, many organisations would not act upon
their implied moral obligations.
The way ahead
The scope of subject (1/2)
Part one of the course occupational safety
  • Basics
  • Legislation in EU and Lithuania related to OSH
  • Hazards and their control
  • Accidents at work
  • Investigation of accidents
  • Risk analysis and management

The scope of of subject (2/2)
Part two of the course occupational safety
  • Environments at workplace (a little bit of
  • Acceleration, falls, falling objects and other
  • Hazards of toxic materials
  • Heat and temperature
  • Radiation
  • Vibration and Noise
  • Electrical hazards
  • Pressure hazards
  • Fires and fire suppression
  • Explosions and explosives

The end of the first part of introduction
If you think that safety is expensive try to
have an accident
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