Occupational Health and Safety Management and Law
Critically appraise the different approaches to management and how these can identify and correct latent failures within organisations and ensure legal compliance
Criteria to Follow
- Evaluation of management theory, practice and process and links to occupational safety.
- Identification of forms of management failure that lead to poor standards as they relate to management practice and legal compliance.
- Critical appraisal of positive action through the development of policy and practice.
- Determination of ability to deliver safety outcomes through management processes.
- Consideration of the cost of redress and penalties on poor management practice.
The core of the essay is to answer the question “Critically appraising the different approaches to management and how these can identify and correct latent failures within organisation and ensure legal compliance “.
To do this you need to focus on 3 primary issues.
- Consider differing management/leadership approaches such as processes, practices and systems of management.
Please note this is not an essay on the history of management theory but how management/leadership and followership can aid in Occupational Health and Safety improvement.
- Consider management interventions and measurements that can be employed to monitor, evaluate, support decision making and improve Occupational Health and Safety.
Some issues with safety management include the tendency to rely on lagging data such as accidents; use of a top down approach remote from workers and work without engaged consultation; and choice of poor indicators unlinked to better proven measures of safety performance.
You also need to think about Key Performance Indicators and how they are identified and understood so that there is measurement of leading safety indicators effectively.
Discussions around management, latent failures and proactive management approaches should use the legal framework as one component to inform organisational OHS practice.
- The final criteria must consider how the threat of redress and penalties play into safety management responses.
Health and safety in an organization – in terms of sustained safe performance and ensuring legal compliance – is very hard to achieve, even though it is an integral part of any organization. Failures within an organization occurs due to various reasons but are majorly influenced by human error and the management system incorporated in the organizational structure (Mellahi and Wilkinson 2004). It, therefore, follows that for an organization to avoid failures and ensure safety and health of the employees in the workplace – according to the law – a systematic management system that would ensure the same has to be espoused. This paper critically appraises different approaches to management and how they can identify and correct latent failures within an organization, while also ensuring legal compliance. The paper evaluates management theory, practices, and process as well as links to occupational safety; identifies forms of management failures that lead to poor standards as they relate to management practice and legal compliance; appraises positive action through the development of policy and practice; determines the ability to deliver safety outcomes through management processes; as well as considering the cost of redress and penalties on poor management practices.
Management Theory, Practice, and Processes and Links to Occupational Safety
Different approaches to management has, over the years, shown outstanding growth in many organizations. Organizations adopt different management styles leading to diverse outcomes. Being a wide area, several management theories and approaches have been developed with the aim to standardize management and help put theory into practice. There are five different approaches to management including:
- The Classical Approach
The classical approach to management, which emerged during the times of war and industrial revolution was majorly developed to improve productivity, output of the employee, and efficiency at the workplace (Efthymiou and Yacoub 2016). The classical approach further results into reduced cost and achieving results in more efficient ways – thus improving the efficiency of the organization as a whole. It incorporates three major theories of management including the scientific, bureaucratic, as well as administrative theories of management.
- Scientific Theory of Management
Developed by Frederick Taylor, the theory focuses on production efficiency and productivity of employees (Waring 2016). Taylor promoted a scientific method of analyzing employee efficiency and developed standardization and specialization by suggesting that the workplace task be divided into sequences of smaller steps. His scientific approach led him to conclude that managers ought to assign workers to a job that best suited their abilities, and train them thoroughly to ensure high standards of performance. This classical approach to management ensured that individuals became experts in their areas of expertise – which reduced latent errors in the organization and ensured safety and health of the employee as the system majorly focuses on the employee doing the job right, making it safer.
- Bureaucratic Theory of Management
Developed by Max Weber, bureaucratic theory focused on rationalization, rules, and expertise for the organization as a whole (Weber 2015). Weber emphasized in setting clear roles for individuals within an organization, thus leading to efficiency within the organization. This meant that management in an organization ought to run as effectively as possible with as little bureaucracy as possible. This is effective in ensuring safety of the employees in the workplace as each individual worked in a certain line of duty, which led to specialization. In effect, the management system reduced latent failures within the organization – thus ensuring compliance with the law of the land.
- Administrative Theory of Management
This was developed by Henri Fayol, who instituted efficiency but viewing it from the managerial perspective (Fayol 2016). He focused on improving managerial efficiency by developing four functions of management including planning, organizing, leading, as well as controlling. This system of classical approach ensured that the management of an organization was responsible for various activities within the organization, including the safety of all the employees, which is legally binding.
- Quantitative Approach
This is an approach that incorporates the statistical nature of management and other quantitative methods to make better managerial decisions. This ensures that every employee is on toes and working efficiently for better results within the organization. The approach, thus, ensures that latent failures within the organization are recorded and corrected efficiently – enhancing the health and safety of the employees.
- Behavioral Approach
In this approach, the management of the organization is majorly concerned with the general welfare of an employee. As many other managerial approaches ignored employee behavior and feelings, the behavioral approach focused on the behavior of the employee and led to better treatment and motivation of the employee. This ensured the well-being of the employee as it focused on each individual who would affect the organizational behavior at large. In effect, the approach would ensure that injuries and ill-heath arising in the work place is minimized, which – in compliance with the law – ensures the safety of the employee.
- Systems Approach
This is an approach that considers all the individuals that make up the organization – the employees, clients, partners, customers, managers, and stakeholders – and take care of all their needs. This links to occupational safety in that the welfare of all those involved with the organization, especially the employees, are well taken care of.
- Contingency Approach
This approach considers every situation as unique in its own effect and approaches the situation individually without comparing it to other situations. It, therefore, deals with situations differently due to the dynamic environment that occurs in the business world. This is a flexible approach that tends to avoid mistakes arising from latent failures, which might arise from comparing situations that have different outcomes.
Identification of Forms of Management Failures
Organizational failures may arise leading to various adverse effects within the organization. For instance, organizational and management failure would easily lead to accidents experienced within the organization – both active and latent. Moreover, managerial failures can induce injuries, ill-health, and loss both to the employees and the organization at large. As much as the immediate cause of such incidents may arise due to human failure or technical errors, they usually arise due to organizational failings – which are due to managerial failings. The organization and the management at large needs to understand how human factors affect health and safety of workers since they are primarily responsible for safety and health management in the organization (Alli 2008). Some management failures that would lead to poor standards in the workplace include failure to perform risk assessments periodically in order to spot possible health and safety hazards and developing an effective risk management technique (Glendon and Clarke 2015).
Moreover, it is the management’s duty to ensure that the machinery provided at the workplace are safe for use by every individual. Failure to ascertain this would adversely affect the performance of the employees – which in turn affects their output, and thus the output of the organization. Making the workplace healthy also includes protecting employees from falling from a height or into dangerous substances, providing a clean source of water, setting aside a place where the employees can eat safely and healthily, allowing employees to take appropriate rests and a right holiday entitlement, inter alia.
Furthermore, management failure to take note and report incidents of injuries, diseases, or other dangerous occurrences lead to no action being taken against them, thus leading to poor standards within the workplace (Reason 2016). Management failures is also evident when the management has no clear and elaborate plan in case of any emergency or accident befalling anyone within the organization. This leads to poor standards within the workplace as well as in compliance with the law of the land which necessitates the employer to look over the welfare of the employee (Toseland and Chamen 2018).
Positive Action through the Development of Policy and Practice
Management failures can be averted in many ways through development and adoption of different policies in order to maintain a healthy and safe working environment for the employee. This would ensure employee efficiency and improve output, therefore, improving the performance of the organization at large. Positive action that the organization can take include the adoption of an effective leadership and management strategy that works well with the organization. For instance, it is efficient for a large organization to adopt a contingency approach towards its management in order to uniquely solve problems that may arise (Cotta and Salvador 2015). Moreover, an organization may adopt a systems approach in order to ensure that all the members responsible for the running of the organization, including all its employees, are well taken care of and their welfare met. This ensures better performance of the workers and the organization at large.
Latent failures within an organization, which is as a result of poor design of plant and equipment, inadequate supervision, ineffective communication, ineffective training, uncertainties in roles, as well as inadequate resources (Reason 2016). Organizational management, therefore, ought to work in effect to reduce the factors that lead to latent failures such as constant and continuous communication, training of employees, as well as division of labor and description of roles. Moreover, the management should work towards developing a policy and practice that would incorporate developing a working plan, thus reducing work pressure while also developing an effective emergency plan that elaborates steps to follow in case of any severe incidents. Furthermore, developing a safe working environment and constantly empowering the employees on the importance of their health leads to a health and safety culture within the organization.
Ability to Deliver Safety Outcomes through Management Processes
The organizational ability to deliver safety outcomes can be ascertained by ensuring that its management policies and processes covers key elements of a successful safety and health management systems such as planning, implementation and operation, measurement of performance, as well as auditing and reviewing performance. Moreover, the workplace should prepare an occupational health and safety program as an integral part of their safety statement, in accordance with the law. An effective management structure should be put in place in order to deliver the policy set aside leading to effective health and safety outcomes of all employees.
Cost of Redress and Penalties on Poor Management Practice
The cost of ill-health and accidents at workplace is significant as it has diverse and adverse effects both to the employees and the organization at large (Schnall, Dobson, Rosskam and Elling 2018). The high numbers of accidents resulting in deaths, ill-health, and injuries due to incidences at the workplace have penalties and costs to the employee, the employer (organization), as well as the society. Poor management practices or even non-existent policies on health and safety of employees have several expenses on the organization comprising incident costs, which may include transporting the injured individual to a hospital, providing first aid, medical costs, as well as lost productivity.
Moreover, the organization may incur damage costs, which may include time to assess and repair damage together with the costs of doing so. What is more, poor management on the same may lead to administration losses such as loss in time spent in managing injured workers instead of working, absence of the employee from work, and even – in several extreme cases – common law claim by the injured employee. These and many other costs impact the organization negatively in many ways – some effects being immediate and others being prolonged and long-term in their effect.
In conclusion, it is notable that achieving safety in the workplace – though very important – is hard to achieve. However, as illustrated in this paper, when an organization incorporates the right management system and approach, the same can be achieved. This paper has appraised different approaches to management and how they relate to the safety of the employees. The paper has identified several approaches to management including the classical approach, the quantitative approach, behavioral approach, systems approach, as well as the contingency approach. Moreover, the paper has discussed several theories of management including Taylor’s theory of management, which ensures high productivity and efficiency. Other theories identified include the bureaucratic theory and administrative theory of management – which gives the management all duties of ensuring safety and well-being of all employees. The paper also has also identified the forms of management while also providing positive action from the same, through the development of policy and practice. Moreover, the paper has analysed and appreciated the ability of an organization to deliver safety outcomes through management processes described in the paper. Lastly, the paper has illustrated the cost of redress and penalties associated with poor management or non-existent management practice related to health and safety of employee at the workplace.
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Cotta, D. and Salvador, F., 2015. 4. Emergence, transactive memory systems and efficiency: a contingency approach. Managing Emerging Technologies for Socio-Economic Impact, p.80.
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