Barriers for good standards of health and safety

What are the barriers for good standards of Health and safety in an organisation ?

This is the question which has to be dealt by every employer and safety representative of all the workplaces.There are many barriers to good standards of health safety.

Complexity of the workplace is one of them. A workplace can be a very complicated area, different people performing many different activities with co-ordination of each other.if we require a solution for any particular health and safety issue will be complicated and create hazards for other workers performing a different activities.

An Extensive knowledge about consequences of various course of option that are available, will be required.

Another significant barrier could be a conflicting and competing demands which is often placed upon an organisation or individual. A common conflict of interest is demanding service or a product at an appropriate speed so as to make a profit and the need to do so safely without health risk.

Another conflict can be created by need to comply with different standards at a same time like health and safety standards as well as environmental protection laws.

The last but not the least which is very commonly seen in every workplace is behaviour of the workers. Good standards of health and safety often rely on perfect behaviour of the individual and people some time do not behave is this ideal way.

Solution to health and safety problem usually requires a worker to behave in particular way e.g a worker on the construction site has to wear his hard hat to protect himself from dropping objects but people are not robot they do not behave all the time as they are suppose to behave.

Some time they make mistakes they do the wrong things thinking that they are doing the right thing at other time they deliberately do the wrong things, knowing that it is the wrong thing to do but doing it anyway. Fact is that human behavior is have a significant role in good standards of health and safety.

Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work Book from ILO

Why are chemicals important in the workplace?

The production and use of chemicals in workplaces around the world present one of the most significant challenges in workplace protection programmes. Chemicals are essential to life, and their benefits are widespread and well-recognized. From pesticides that improve the extent and quality of food production, to pharmaceuticals that cure illnesses, and cleaning products that help establish hygienic living conditions, chemicals are key to healthy living and modern convenience. Chemicals are also a critical part of many industrial processes to develop products that are important to global standards of living. However, controlling exposures to these chemicals in the workplace, as well as limiting emissions to the environment, are tasks that governments, employers, and workers, continue to struggle to address. What create the dilemma are the risks associated with exposure to these chemicals. The pesticide that helps grow food by producing more and better crops may result in adverse health effects in workers involved in producing the pesticide, in applying it in the fields or exposed to their residues.

Residues of pesticide production and use may also cause adverse ecological effects persistent in the environment for many years after use. The pharmaceutical that saves the life of a patient with a serious health condition may produce adverse health effects in the workers exposed while producing or administering the chemical. The cleaning products that create good hygiene can also adversely affect those who work with the products, and are exposed to them daily. Chemicals pose a broad range of potential adverse effects, from health hazards such as carcinogenicity, and physical hazards like flammability, to environmental hazards such as widespread contamination and toxicity to aquatic life. Many fires, explosions, and other disasters result from inadequate control of their physical hazards. Over the years, chemical safety has been one of the areas in which more work has been carried out in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH).

However, even if significant progress has been made in recent years concerning the regulation and management of chemicals; and governments, employers and workers continue their efforts to minimize the negative effects of the use of hazardous substances both at national and international levels, it is still insufficient. Serious incidents continue to happen and there are still negative impacts on both human health and the environment. Workers who are directly exposed to hazardous substances should have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, to be properly informed, trained and protected.

Overview of EMS & ISO 14001

What is ISO?

International Organization for Standardization – Not an acronym

“ISO” is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning “equal.

From “equal” to “standard”– line of thinking that led to the choice of “ISO” as the organization’s name.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Worldwide federation of national standards bodies from over 100 countries, one representative from each country.

Non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 1947, located in Switzerland.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is US representative to ISO


1987 –

World Commission on Env. & Development (WCED) published “Our Common Future”

First use of “sustainable development”

Called for the development of effective env. management systems by industries

1989 –

Creation of Strategic Advisory Group on the Environment (SAGE)

Recommended that a new ISO Technical Committee (TC) be formed to develop standards for EM

January 1993 –

ISO creates TC 207 (TC 176 over QMS standards – ISO 9000)

Fall 1996 –

ISO 14001 adopted

ISO 14000 Standards Family

Management System standards EMS, auditing, EPE (14030)

Product standards LCA (14040), labeling (14020)

A series of guidance documents and standards to help organizations address environmental issues.

14001: Environmental Management Systems

14004: EMS general guidelines

14010: Guidelines for Environmental Auditing

14011: Guidelines for Auditing of an EMS

14012: Auditing – Qualification criteria

14020: Environmental Labeling

14030: Env. Performance Evaluation (EPE)

14040: Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) ISO 14001 is the specification standard that is a model for an environmental management system. ISO 14004 is the guidance for the EMS specification 14001 is the only specification standard in the ISO series.

Becoming ISO 14001 certified

Registration body examines EMS for conformity to the ISO 14001 standard Not a compliance audit, an EMS audit Facility awarded registration Does NOT mean that products are more environmentally friendly.