OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

SAFETY AND SELF- SECURITY IN THE WORKPLACE.

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Safety and security, though interrelated, are two different subjects that are often ignored until a crisis occurs. At this point, it might be too late as persons may fall prey to robbery, rape, assault, sickness or even death. Since the occurrence of the hallmark terrorism act of September 11th, 2001 on the World Trade Centre, there has been a heightened awareness of safety and security. Security is a broad topic, and covers a range of areas such as company assets, the property itself, employees’ and customers’ personal belongings and valuables, life, personal and job security (Belilos, 2001). For the purpose of this blog, self or personal security in the workplace will be discussed.

Since the bombing of the towers in New York, the presence of increased security was quite evident in many countries. The impact of the loss of thousands of lives not only caused governments from many countries to implement new and tighten existing measures, but management from organizations also responded. This however was not transcended in the Caribbean, more specifically our twin island republic, Trinidad & Tobago. Many businesses in this country are guilty of not taking responsibility for employees’ and customers’ personal belongings and valuables. This is can be seen through disclaimers in car parks such as our very own UWI, and in more populated places like Trincity Mall and Movie Towne.  Employees and customers alike must feel a sense of protection while on the job site. This is necessary not only for improved efficiency and productivity, but for employees and customers to feel a sense of personal security and protection for their belongings and most importantly their lives. It is therefore left up to management to provide this sense of protection for their workers by ensuring that proper security measures and policies are implemented to avoid any possible loss of life or belongings.

Let us look at UWI, St. Augustine campus again. The presence of physical external crimes such as robberies and break-ins do occur as in the cases of students’ cars being stolen despite the presence of security on the campus. There have also been reported cases of rape of students by non- UWI members who had free access to the campus. What impact have these events had on the university? Well organizations who are not prepared to prevent such occurrences from happening suffer badly as some employees tend to leave and some customers carry there purchase elsewhere. In this case, the customers, us students, enrolled in other tertiary level institutions despite the reputability of UWI, which provided a safer environment to study.

 In response to these physical security hazards, a number of mitigation strategies have been identified. First and foremost is the employment and training of suitably qualified security personnel. Although there are security guards present, that does not necessarily mean that they are aligned with the objectives of the campus, i.e. the security of staff and students. Secondly, operational policies regarding the security of public areas need to be undertaken by management. Security officers should be strategically situated on the compound round the clock to ensure worker’s and students’ safety. In so doing, theft, vandalism or physical harm/ injury can be minimized as well as the presence of presence of “shady characters” and criminals. This can be aided by effective supervision and control procedures through the use of burglar alarms and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, in order to have proper coverage of all daily activities that occur on and off campus. Placement of barriers and a ticketing system for tracking and regulating the access of cars in and out of the compound should be implemented whereby any car entering the campus should receive a signed and dated slip from the security guard at that access point, which must be presented to the security guard upon exiting. Should management ignore these preventative measures, the organization runs the risk of being held accountable and further tarnishing the image of this prestigious university.

In looking at safety, we also use the university as our case study. It is the duty of management to ensure the safety of staff and students in areas such as the university’s structure, installations and fixtures such as electrical and air-conditioning, as well as public work areas such as classrooms, bathroom facilities and safety of furniture and equipment. To add to this, the safety from physical, chemical, electrical ergonomic, biological and psychological hazards are also of paramount importance. For physical hazards in the UWI setting we looked at slip, trip and fall, fire and natural disasters. For the latter which may present themselves unexpectedly, evacuation routes, alarms and sound drill and muster points must be in place. Workers and students both need to be assured that if such occurs, there are measures in place to ensure their safety while on campus. It is always best therefore for management to have proper guidelines for employees and students to follow for these types of events. Implementation of fire alarms and provision of proper fire extinguishing gear in vital areas that are easily accessible. Clearly labelled and easily identifiable evacuation routes to a muster point should be created and given awareness to new members and training through regular drills.

REFERENCES

  • Belilos, Claire. “Safety and Security in the Workplace, CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services.” Safety and Security in the Workplace. 2001. Accessed October 20, 2015. http://www.easytraining.com/safety.htm.

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3 thoughts on “SAFETY AND SELF- SECURITY IN THE WORKPLACE.

  1. Your topic is one with a lot of potential, but deeper and wider evaluation and commentary is called for. What aspects should be addressed? To what extent are these aspects satisfied in practice, and where is the institution falling short? It was good to see some general areas for OSH improvement being noted in your article. Given your detailed analysis done in support of this article, the article should include your specific recommendations in order to make a positive change through your article.

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  2. Safety and security are of paramount importance in and outside the workplace. I agree with the point that following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, there has been a heightened sense of security. This new paradigm has been seen and experienced globally, even within the Caribbean region. The way organisations function were also impacted, resulting in rising operational costs.
    From this blog, I gathered there were some passionate feelings regarding this topic, as a number of assumptions/perceptions were made which required some supporting facts for effectiveness. It is important that each individual demonstrates a consciousness of safety in their professional and personal activities. This blog is a good medium to continue the dialogue about safety and security, and to help build awareness.

    Student ID# 813005975

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  3. Hello Safety Warriors,

    I must commend you on your blog which was a simple and informative read on safety and security in the workplace. This was a very important and interesting choice of topic where many pertinent points were touched on. The way in which you introduced the topic of safety and security, from identifying other important areas under this broad topic to using the September 11, World Trade Center terrorist attack as an example was definitely a strong point in the Introduction. Using a real life example such as this was very helpful in introducing and bringing across the topic which was engaging and encouraged me to read further.

    With reference to the point on protection of persons and their belongings at different establishments, the example of the physical crimes such as robberies, vehicle theft and cases of rape occurring in UWI was used. This was a good point in the blog as in addition to this being relatable to some, a recommendation was given with several suggestions and solutions to reduce or prevent these issues from occurring. However I felt that a more detailed recommendation should have been given and this should have also been supported with applicable sections of the law from the OSH Act. Also in addition to this point I felt that many other areas on security in the workplace could have been explored, as this topic is very broad, which gives an opportunity to conduct research and use several cases thereby making more specific recommendations.

    Additionally the points identified on safety in the workplace were salient however I felt that it would have been more comprehensive if the hazards were listed/defined and more details were given on each to help the reader better understand. Also mention should have been made of the OSH Act with regards to safety in the workplace. Examples and visual aids such as pictures and videos to support examples would have also been engaging for the readers and may help some to visually identify with the examples.

    Overall many key points were identified, and the structure and writing style was organized, clear and concise. This was indeed a great attempt.

    Best Regards,
    816010655

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