Discussion7: Safety, Health, and Risk Management
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Even though the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries has decreased by more than 60% since the inception of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, there are still 3.6 million serious job-related injuries and more than 5,000 workers killed on the job each year.
As an HR manager at an ophthalmic medicine research lab at a major university, you provide safety guidance for about 400 faculty and staff. These 400 people are actively engaged in research that involves chemicals, sharp tools like scalpels and needles, easily-broken glassware, and machinery that cryogenically and deep-freezes biological and chemical materials.
Safety concerns for the lab would include fire and being able to safely extinguish it; proper use of chemicals that follow biohazard rules, use of them in properly vented areas, and careful procedures for use of radioactive materials; safely operating all machinery; and proper use and disposal of “sharps,” which include needles and syringes, scalpels and the like. Safety and risk management are a large part of your job as the HR manager.
The director of the safety department just approached you to investigate OSHA’s resources. He’s looking for a recognition program for workplace safety that would work well for the lab. Particularly, the director is proud of the work his team has done to instill safety into the workplace and wants them to get some official recognition. Using the resources provided to you in this module, determine which of OSHA’s offerings might be best suited to what the director is looking for, and what next steps you’d recommend.