According to Gomex-Meja, Balkin and Cardy (2010), statistics by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicate that more than 4.1 million people got injured or hurt in 2006 while 5,488 were killed in 2007 during their normal operations while on their job duties. However, the authors note that they are laws and regulations that are in place to promote and standardize safety in the work place. They note that organizations that have adopted extensive safety programs have been able to reduce the number of accidents, lawsuits, have decreased workers’ compensation and have very few accident related expenditures. This paper will discuss the effects of the legal, safety and regulatory measures in ensuring that employees’ safety is guaranteed in their places of work. The paper will also divulge into other employee related and regulatory requirements that pertain to human resources especially in light of preventing litigation costs.
Gomez-Mejia (2010) asserts that the purposes of the safety changes that have happened in the business world are due to many employees being injured or due to the illness resulting from the workplace. These safety requirements were first proposed in the 1970s when the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA, act was passed. Prior to the passing of the OSHA act, there was the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act passed by the government to assist in the safety and health of miners. This was due to the death of miners in an explosion in 1969. In 1911, a fire had claimed more than 100 women in a work place prompting the passing of workers compensation law. The reasons why the safety programs are passed is to ensure that accidents are reduced within the place of work.
The aim of workplace safety campaign is to help in eliminating or reducing the risk of injuries or illnesses to employees. It also aims to provide safety for employees, as well as reduce the organization’s expenses. Many experts and managers in the field of human resources have implemented strategies to conform to regulations (as per the federal government) to ensure employee safety in the place of work. As mandated by the by the government, all organizations have the responsibility to offer their employees the assurance of a working environment that is free from any health hazards. That is why the OSHA and compensation laws are two of the most important laws in the workplace at the federal level (Gomez-Mejia, 2010). The HRM departments thus need to put policies that will comply with the federal laws to ensure that its employees are safe.
Compensation laws require that the employer covers for the employees’ medical coverage and a wage loss, if an employee loses his/her job due to injuries or become ill as a result of the job. The HR department is mandated to create policies like Workers compensation insurance that is paid by the employer and that incase an employee is injured in the course of his/her duties will be compensated in higher premium payments. The OSHA act does not compensate for employees injured during the job, but encourages organizations to ensure that workers are provided with protection and there are safety measures. They do this by inspecting an organization’s premises, give an organization fines for violating safety protocol, and talking to employees. Gomez-Mejia asserts that for a working environment to be considered safe, it must accomplish the safety programs that are set up by the organization. Managers and supervisors should therefore follow the safety procedures and demonstrate safety procedures while keeping employees aware of the organizations safety protocol. This can be achieved by trainings and arranging for the safety meetings. For purposes of motivation, the HR department should award those departments that follow the safety protocols and have no employee injuries within a certain given time. This is because when an employee is injured or gets ill in the work place, the organization may then be subjected to a legal suit by the employees. According to Srinivasan (2002), when the HR department is recruiting, the HR manager should ensure that the person hired has the qualifications, knowledge and skills for the job they are hired to do. The assertion is that if the HR manger does the recruiting correctly, then the organization should not worry of facing any law suit. However, if the recruited person is injured or ill due to not qualified for the particular job, then the employer will be liable for not only damages, but also fines, higher workers compensation and lawsuits from OSHA. Hr managers should also be careful not to hire people with a criminal background in order to avoid litigation. The HRM should instead implement policies to ensure that the organization avoids accountability of any sort that may arise like that of employing unqualified employees. All the policies and procedures involved in hiring of new employees are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Our places of work are usually very delicate environments that have all sorts of different types of people with different personalities. The different people here have different needs to feel safe, comfortable thus creating many challenges. By creating the HR department, it acts as the safety net where employees have a stable environment to feel safe and secure. Such regulatory bodies like the EEOC, DOL and ADA have removed the common sense and compassion in the work place and replaced it with litigation. This has resulted into creating a balanced and structured environment for all employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The U.S. EEOC ensures that federal laws that protect the employee (like discrimination, hereditary, disability or age) are enforced. Among the federal laws that are to be enforced there are laws that look into discrimination of employees on the basis of their religion, race, age (especially for older employees), color, sex, disability or about hereditary concerns (Dipboye, and Colella 2005). The HR department is required to comply with the EEOC by ensuring that employees are not subjected to or do not experience discrimination at their place of work. Managers therefore ought to be aware that discrimination laws apply at all times to all work situations. They should also be aware of the methods that are used to incorporate in dealing with promotions, training, hiring and educating employees.
Information from EEOC indicates that discrimination does play a very important role in satisfaction of the employee. A discriminated employee (or if the employee feels that he/she is discriminated against) can take legal redress through EEOC. EEOC will focus on preventing discrimination on training and/or education to employees. It offers laws and guidelines for employees, in a way of taking the employee out of equation. EEOC was especially empowered by the civil rights movement of the 1960s that brought a lot of changes in the work place, as far as discrimination is concerned (Dipboye and Colella, 2005 and JAN). This shows that a normal behavior can be changed over time with the acceptance of differences that exist among us. Employees need not be discriminated against, in order to maintain good morale and reduce the turnover.
Today’s organizations should have policies and regulations to guide them in covering legal aspects and safety and regulatory requirements as mandated by the federal government and state laws. The laws are meant to prevent, protect and promote the safety of employees or prevent injuries and illness resulting from work. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the workers compensation insurance are meant to protect employees by regulating and fining organizations that do not adhere to safety within the workplace. Other bodies like ADA, EEOC, DOL and DHS provide employees with the opportunity for caring their rights in the workplace and provide employees with security, safety and equality in their places of work (JAN).