Learning about and understanding the reasons for health, safety and fire research - very important steps to achieving Healthy and Safe workplaces
Work-related injuries and illnesses are, regrettably, all too common. The ILO has estimated that, worldwide, more than 2.3 million people die from work-related accidents or diseases each year. Hundreds of millions more people, to a greater or lesser extent, suffer ill-health or disability as a result of their work. (1)
Nothing can replace the urgent task of trying to reduce the safety and health risks of work.
The ILO says:
The pace of global socioeconomic development over the past 50 years, together with scientific and technical progress, has brought about an unprecedented volume of research and knowledge concerning risk management in general and the control of public and workplace risks in particular. Moreover, the advent of computer, internet and other electronic communication systems has made this knowledge easier to access globally. Such knowledge has been translated into a massive compendium of international, regional and national regulatory frameworks, as well as technical standards, guidelines, training manuals and practical information covering all the different aspects of occupational safety and health (OSH) for all branches of economic activity.
Yet, despite this formidable expenditure of effort and resources, a plateau seems to have been reached when it comes to achieving decent, safe and healthy working conditions in reality. The latest ILO estimates indicate that the global number of work-related fatal and non-fatal accidents and diseases does not seem to have changed significantly in the past 10 years. This discrepancy between the level of efforts and results has many reasons, many of them brought on by the globalization of the world's economies. A closer look at the statistics shows that, although industrialized countries have seen steady decreases in numbers of occupational accidents and diseases, this is not the case in countries currently experiencing rapid industrialization or those too poor to maintain effective national OSH systems, including proper enforcement of legislation
Factors influencing research
The need to keep abreast of new and fast changing technologies together with societal concerns about the acceptable level of risk in work activities are the key drivers for new research.
Research is undertaken to help meet each country's business objectives. It plays a key role in:
- Improving our understanding of fire, health and safety risks and how to control them
- Improving our understanding of how people behave and organisations respond to risks
- Supporting enforcement activities e.g. developing analytical techniques
- Ensuring that fire, health and safety regulations, standards and guidance are technically sound and cost effective
There are many research organisations worldwide that have integrated science and research programmes which address both generic and specific fire, occupational health and safety issues across the complete spectrum of regulatory responsibilities in their own countries.
The research work to achieve the health and safety performance targets will involve:
- Taking action where significant improvements in fire, health and safety are needed
now. Priority areas may be:
- musculoskeletal disorders
- falls from heights
- fire risk management
- fire protection equipment and training
- workplace transport
- health services
- Ensuring that an effective regulatory regime exists in the major hazard sectors
- Ensuring compliance with the fire, health and safety legislation
- Meeting the requirement to modernise and simplify the regulatory framework, provide information and advice, promote risk assessment and technical knowledge and operate statutory schemes.
(1) ILO (2011), ILO Introductory Report: Global Trends and Challenges in Occupational Safety and Health, XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, Istanbul 11-15 September 2011
Knowing where to look for research results
The outcomes of research projects and efforts are usually well displayed in the various research organisations' websites and newsletters. But FIREINF and OSH UPDATE are your first easy steps to up-to-date information. To see a list of research organisations in different countries look further in www.oshworld.com and in particular take a free of charge trial of OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and www.fireinf.com that have thousands of research reports indexed in the various databases. Both collections are constantly updated.
If you need further information on workplace good practices, guidance and advice then have a look at OSH UPDATE which is a unique electronic collection of information sources collected together in one place - www.oshupdate.com! Available for a 15 day free trial!
More information on all aspects of health and safety at work - not only from Europe but from around the World, can be found by checking out the OSH UPDATE electronic collection of 20 information databases containing over 830,250 full text and bibliographic records that are constantly updated.
Information seekers will find a wealth of authoritative and validated advice from these global sources. Full text documents and references on research results, best practices, case studies, journal articles, reports, advice and guidance, legislation, accidents and incident reports and much more are in OSH UPDATE.
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