The health and safety of workers are important across the board. In this blog, we look at the benefits of having occupational health and safety regulations in place and some solutions for emerging risks.

What is Occupational Health and Safety?

 

Occupational health and safety (OHS) or Occupational safety and health (OSH), depending on where you find yourself in the world, are rules and regulations that a worker, as well as the workplace, should follow and adhere to for a safe working environment. You will find OHS in different sectors, but let’s focus on hospitals.

Health and safety in hospitals are of extreme importance for every single person who works there, from the administration staff, cleaning staff, nurses, and doctors to the technicians working on the different hospital equipment. Working with patients requires hospital staff to make sure they always follow all health and safety protocols. This is done through wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), proper cleaning of instruments and machines and the correct disposal of medical and other waste.

Why is it good for a workplace to have OHS protocols?

 

Obvious as this question may seem, it is not always that obvious to people why OHS protocols should be in place and fully understood – even if it seems like nothing can go wrong in the hospital (workplace). Damage control is far worse than being prepared for anything that could go wrong.

Having OHS protocols in place, especially in times like today can also be economically beneficial to a company (hospitals/clinics etc.). Less money is spent on damages and accidents. These protocols lead to better performance from all staff members and profitability for the company. [1]

Apart from economical benefits, a safe work environment is created, and staff members (technicians, doctors, nurses, admin staff, etc.) are fully aware of how to act in all matters related to health and safety. These matters include preventing injuries on duty, emergencies such as evacuation due to a fire as well as the correct cleaning and maintenance of all hospital equipment.

Emerging risks and possible solutions

 

Due to the ever-changing world and companies learning how to cope with new technologies being introduced regularly as well as the effect of the coronavirus, occupational health and safety took the forefront. Even though there are already rules and regulations set out, these need to be studied and revised continuously.

EU-OSHA has been working on identifying any emerging risks in OHS. They are working on evaluating the effects of new technologies and new ways of working on workers’ safety and health.

Not only are they working on identifying risks but also anticipating changes that could have an impact on the workers and the workplace as well. [2]

It is also a good idea to introduce occupational health and safety in education, starting as early as possible. For this, training needs to be provided to teachers to ensure that it is thoroughly taught. [3]

Including OHS at a university level remains a problem as not all fields go into depth or even touch on occupational health and safety. Introducing OHS as a compulsory subject/module for all students could also reduce the risk of workplace accidents.

Hospitals cannot rely on their employees to have had any OHS training and should therefore include said training regularly for all staff members, full-time, part-time as well as contract workers.

It is important to always follow health and safety regulations for a better and safer work environment.

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