The issue of safety and health of employees in the work place are an issue of major concern both at national and international scene. The idea of occupational health and safety was introduced as a way of ensuring that workers had enough protection in their places. This raises the concept of employer responsibility to provide a healthy and safe working environment to their workers. This paper will therefore look at the concept of occupational health and safety programs have been addressed in various countries.
It also look at seek to compare and contrast the programs in the selected countries. United States In the United States, issues of occupational health and safety for workers are more advanced as they have institutionalized. In 1970 a legislation known as the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 (OSHA Act)was passed and it was aimed at ensuring that workers have safe and healthy working conditions. This was to be achieved through the setting of health and safety standards which should be enforced and these were contained in the Act itself.
The Act also went on to require state governments to follow up and ensure companies in their jurisdictions complied with the provisions of the Act by providing states with education, research information, and training personnel in the field of occupational safety and health. From the provisions of the Act, the United States Department of Labor created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its mission was to enforce workplace health and safety rules. These would go towards prevention of work-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths.
The OSHA Act also made provisions for the creation of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NIOSH) and this would engage in research on how to improve on occupational health and safety. The OSHA Act has cast a wide net as it not only covers the public sector but it also covers most workplaces which fall under the private sector. The Act provides states with room to maneuver when developing their health and safety plans though it set the condition that the plans should cover public sector employees.
It also provides for protection equivalent to that provided under Federal OSHA regulations. Those states which develop and run OSH programs receive partial funding for those programs for the Federal Government, (Guerin, et al 303). Canada Like the United States, the government of Canada is involved in the protection of workers rights as it has put in place services, settings and also legislation but this is mostly applicable to employment which is subject to federal control.
Canada also has what would seem to be a comprehensive occupational health and safety program for workers. The program for the advancement of workplace health and safety and the prevention of work-related injuries and illness is the role of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), which is a state owned corporation created by an Act of parliament, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Act S. C. , 1977-78, c. 29, in 1978.
Provincial and territorial labor departments and workers’ compensation boards also assist in the advancement of workplace safety and health programs for workers, (Taylor 105). Europe The European Union (EU) has ensured that member states have authorities which have been put in place to enforce the basic legal requirements which appertain to occupational safety and health. In most EU countries there exists a system of cooperation between employers and workers of industries, factories, and company and this is purposely aimed at ensuring good Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) performance.
This is seen as being a two way street as one side the enterprise benefits as workers are more productive and produce high quality goods, while on the other hand workers benefit by having a safe and healthy working environment and thus they can work to their full potential. In 1996 the EU set up a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, this established directives on what are the minimum standards allowed on OSH. These directives are legally binding and member states are therefore required to incorporate these directives into their national legislation.
The directives emphasize that the employer has the duty of assessing the workplace risks and putting in place preventative measures which should be based on hierarchy control. This hierarchy of control has two stages; first stage is the elimination of the hazard and the second entails the provision of personal protective equipment, (Great Britain, et al 97). China China has over the past twenty years emerged as the country with the fastest growing industries in the world, the sad thing is that with the growth the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) conditions of the workers have not improved.
This can be attributed to the fact that no country in history has ever experienced this kind of industrial growth speed and thus there have been many new hazards which have emerged. Though the Chinese government, through its ministry of health, has implemented new OSH laws, workers in Chinese factories still face bad OSH workplace conditions. The workers have only been able to protect their health through trade unions and staff and workers’ representative congress which are the key institutions in their workplace.
Figures posted by the International Labor Organization indicate that the fatality in Chinese companies stands at almost triple of that of the United States. Occupational diseases have continued to increase. The rate of death of workers on the job stands at 380 deaths each day in the year 2002. Therefore despite the fact that China also has a government sponsored Occupational Health and Safety program just like the U. S. , Canada and Europe its occupational safety and health record is still getting worse. Mexico Unlike China, Europe, Canada and the Unite States, Mexico’s occupational safety and health programs are privately run by volunteers.
Maquiladoras are foreign-owned assembly plants and are the main industries in Mexico and thus they accommodate the bulk of the workers. However the Maquiladora only employ minimum wage workers who are expose to deplorable health and safety conditions in their workplaces. This takes place despite the fact that Mexico possesses a strong system of labor laws the problem is that their enforcement within the Maquiladora industry is usually lax (Sklair 94). Conclusion The issue of provision of occupational Safety and Health to workers is one of major concern from the developed countries to the developed world.
Though most countries have occupational safety and health programs they in most cases turn out to be either ineffective or poorly enforced. Most developed countries have even drawn up and passed legislation to specifically govern the sector of occupational safety and health. It is therefore evident that the developed countries like the United States have the best occupational safety and health programs though they have some flaws and hitches. Though China has become the fastest growing industrial hub in the world, it still has to do much so as to achieve the minimum acceptable occupational safety and health standards.
Works Cited Sklair, Leslie. Assembling For Development: The Maquila Industry in Mexico and the United States. New York, McGraw Hill, 2001. Guerin, Lisa, et al. Essential Guide to the Federal Employment Laws. California, Nolo, 2006. Taylor, Geoff, et al. Enhancing Occupational Safety and Health. London, Butterworth- Heinemann, 2004. Great Britain: parliament, et al. The Work of Health and Safety Commission and Executive, Fourth Report Session. London, TSO Shop, 2004.