Safety is the state of being safe; the freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss; the quality of averting or not causing injury, danger, or loss.
A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, but also has quite a lot of benefits like, it reduces absenteeism and turnover, increases productivity and quality, and boosts employee morale. Safety further lowers injury/illness costs. Generally, safety is good for business and also, the right thing to do.
Both the International and national laws seek to protect, uphold and promote the right to safety at work as indicated below,
THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH CONVENTION, 1981 (NO. 155) AND PROTOCOL OF 2002
The International Labor Organization has come up guidelines on the development of occupational safety and health management systems. These guidelines were designed as a practical tool for assisting organizations (a company, operation, firm, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution or association, or part of it, whether incorporated or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administration) and competent institutions as a means of achieving continual improvement in occupational safety and health (OSH) performance.
THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA 2010
Worker’s safety is also a constitutional right, under Article 41 (2) of the Constitution while speaking to every person’s right to fair labor practices, provides for the worker’s right to reasonable working conditions. Therefore, if the worker is not guaranteed a safe working condition, then the employer is contravening their constitutional right.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT NO. 15 OF 2007.
The purpose of this Act, outlined under section 3, is to Secure the safety, health and welfare of persons at work; and to Protect persons other than persons at work against risks to safety and health arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work.
Occupational safety and health (OSH), including compliance with the OSH requirements pursuant to national laws and regulations, is the responsibility and duty of the employer. In this Act, an “occupier” is defined as the person or persons in actual occupation of a workplace, whether as the owner or not and includes an employer.
Under section 6 of the Act, it is the duty of every occupier to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all persons working in his workplace.
There are considerations that are essential for employers and occupiers to take into account when managing health and safety and assessing the risks in their workplace provided for under this the OSH Act.
THE WORK INJURY BENEFITS ACT, 2007
This Act is very detailed in its provisions on reporting accidents, provisions on compensation, occupational diseases and medical aid. This Act acts as an insurance for both employers and employees, a reprieve policy that covers the employees of the insured whilst on duty and engaged in the execution of the Insured’s business &/or any project undertaken by the Insured, against accidental bodily injury, disablement or death.
It is worth noting that the biggest proponent of workers’ safety is the cases that the workers themselves bring to litigation over varied claims. Variety of cases have lain precedents embedding the right to safety as “not merely to warn the employee against unusual dangers known to them…. but also make the place of employment as safe as the exercise of reasonable skill and care would permit.”
Where employees perceive safety communication, safety systems and training to be positive or good, they seem to comply with safety rules and procedures than voluntarily participate in safety activities. However, since work pressure has a direct negative effect on safety behaviors and management commitment to safety strengthened the relationship, safety interventions or programs must focus on assisting organizations to develop and implement policies, structures and
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systems that will create a culture aimed at curbing work pressure and assure safety.