Through engagement in the course and under the guidance of the different learning outcomes, I have come to understand various concepts of industrial safety and health management. Initially, I had considered industrial safety to be a subject that came somewhat automatically to industrial employees. I believed that in any organization with many hazards, the management had the mandate to provide safe working conditions for the employees. I also understood that employees could sue an organization in case of work related injuries. They had a right to be compensated for injuries incurred at work without any counter arguments. As such, I often failed to understand why companies waited until after being sued by disgruntled employees before taking action on work related injuries. Comparing my knowledge on industrial safety before the course and my present knowledge, I can say that the course has really increased my depth of understanding on issues pertaining to industrial safety.
The same can said about the health aspect of industrial management. The distinction between safety and health prior to the course was clear from my perspective. For instance, I was convinced that industrial health management involved taking care of those who fall ill within the precincts of the organization. Moreover, I felt it was the role of the organizational management to create suitable and reasonable procedures for addressing illness related issues within the organization. In my view, industrial health was aimed at getting optimum productivity through motivating the workers. This was to be done through portraying care towards their personal problems such as sickness. Through engagement in the course, I have come to realize that industrial safety and health are subjects that cannot be separated. There is no clear way in which one can separate the concept of safety from that of health as the two have a cause and effect relationship. Lack of safety can cause ill health in an organization due to injuries. Similarly, ill health can result in reduced safety in the organizational environment due to potential for infections, especially where the illnesses are caused by water or airborne microorganisms.
Course learning outcomes
Based on the course learning outcomes, I had expected to gain immensely in various aspects of industrial management. One of my expectations was to learn more about industrial management. I did not understand how learning about industrial safety and health could take such a long time. As a result, I assumed that I would be learning more about management that about industrial safety and health. I considered the safety and health management concept to be part of the general organizational management, and I concluded that I would understand more about the application of management in the safety concept. I could not place the legal and structural functions in an organization in their correct positions within the context of industrial safety and management. I however waited to make observations as I hoped taking the course would help me better understand my points of divergence.
In addition to my expectations on industrial safety and health connection, I also expected the course to help me identify the control points associated with the different manufacturing processes and how to identify hazards at different points. While I always considered organizational safety to be an obligation of the management in any organization, I was not aware what the extent of enforcement of the same was. I found it difficult to comprehend how an organization could be considered to have performed exceptionally in terms of safety and health management and I expected the course to help me understand the application of the same. The fourth learning outcome gave me hope about the potential for learning about the practical safety and health expectations from companies and how they can be pursued practically to ensure that an organization complies with all statutory requirements. I expected that this learning outcome would help me realize the baseline for determining the requisite safety and health measures to be taken in an organization.
I can report satisfactorily that engaging in the course has enabled be to develop new knowledge which I believe will be essential in my career both now and upon employment. One of the things that I managed to learn about is the occupational health and safety certification. While learning about this, I came to realize that the legal aspects referred to in the learning outcomes involved the implementation of safety and health requirements. I learned that there are safety standards to which each manufacturing and industrial organization must adhere. For instance, I now know that industrial companies are obliged to provide their employees with personal protective equipments as required and also based on the nature of hazards faced in the different work places. I believe that based on the knowledge I gained from this aspect of the course, I can effectively plan for PPEs for any organization as long as I understand the magnitude of hazards faced in the organization. Furthermore, I believe I can effectively train people on the use of PPEs and the benefits thereof. I also understand why some people, in spite of being provided with the PPEs, still find it difficult to use them even though they are aware of their need.
Apart from the concepts of occupational health and safety, I have also been able to learn about the work injuries benefits act, whereby an employee, having experienced an injury in the course of duty, can seek compensation or insurance cover to cater for the losses incurred. My understanding of this area has enabled me to desire to know more about the extent of organizational liability in such areas. In this way, I managed to learn more about the recommended actions upon experiencing a work related injury and also the conditions under which the organization is held liable for the same. My understanding of the course is that individuals who are working within an organizational context can only be compensated for their injuries if they were sustained while in compliance with the industrial safety requirements. For instance, when an individual sustains a head injury due to their own failure to wear a helmet in spite of being provided with one by the organization, the company may not be held liable for the same. This means that it is the obligation of the company to provide PPEs but the employee is also responsible for their own protection and safety. As such, industrial safety as a concept is a multifaceted phenomenon and must include all members of the organization.
I have learned many other aspects through the course and I can sincerely say that I have been built immensely in terms of new knowledge. With this kind of knowledge, I believe I am empowered to work as a health and safety manager in any industrial organization. I can impart the knowledge acquired to others and also apply it for my own benefit in any organization I have the opportunity to be part of. I believe that the knowledge gained through the course makes me an effective trainer and also exposes me to greater knowledge. I say this because through my studies, I have come to realize that the concepts of safety and health management are deep and have more detail that I presently have. I therefore give myself to seeking more knowledge as I believe I will be even more empowered to teach and to apply the information.
In addition to this, I also believe that my studies in this course have enabled me to understand that there are hazards in every industry and in every work place. Through the studies, I have learnt that each organization therefore needs a safety manager due to the common perceptions of industrial safety. Based on this new information, I believe I can be able to build a better work place not only through engaging the personnel in safety trainings and applying the same personally, but also through understanding that the application of the principles of safety management has to be different across different organizational settings. Others can understand the concept of safety management better from me if I use practical examples that they are in contact with each time, and which give them the most real experiences. For instance, it would be unreasonable to describe safety management using examples from the pharmaceutical industry when the information recipients work in the plastics manufacturing industry.
In undertaking the course, I can say that the major change that I have experienced is in the association of health and safety and its application in the industrial setting. Initially, I considered health and safety to be two different concepts in the industrial setting. This perception has since changed as I am now aware that they are inseparable. The course has enabled me to see the link between the two while also understanding the common points of evaluation of different companies. I understand fully that organizational management does not entail a straight forward structure and that sometimes organizational structure can be a hindrance to the maintenance of organizational safety and health management principles.
Another feature of my beliefs that has been changed significantly through the course is my perception about different industries. For instance, I initially believed that each industry has completely different processes and there is no point of commonality. I am now more aware that organizational operations revolve around units, most of which are shared across several industries. For instance, operations in an oil refinery and in a bio-fuel refinery are almost similar, centered on distillation processes. Based on this new knowledge, I came to understand that maintaining industrial safety is a common concept and that safety and health practices in one organization can apply satisfactorily in any other industry at least to some extent. Through this new knowledge, I am sure I will be able to apply what I learnt through the course in a variety of other contexts. I now believe that the knowledge I have built is not industry specific as I had thought prior to starting the course.
The perception that the knowledge gained cuts across all disciplines is all the more expanded through the discovery that most of the procedures applied in the determination of risks, evaluation and mitigation of risks and hazards are common across all industries. For instance, I have since found out that the HAZOP process (Hazard and operability) is the most common procedure across industries for the determination and reduction of risks (Albert and Others 153). Based on this procedure, I also realized some themes such as control point identification are common across all industries. This realization has made me aware of how easy it can be to make plans for safety and health management in an organization can be. After understanding the process flow and major units of operation, identifying the most probable sources of hazard in an organization is the starting point of all risk identification and reduction procedures (Albert and Others 154). While the control points and probable sources of risks may be different from industry to industry, it is impossible to control risks in any industry without the flow information. As a safety and health manager, it will be my responsibility to collaborate with others in the identification of the control points and the respective risk management measures. I also learnt that the theme of risk prevention and reduction before mitigation runs across all industries. In every risk assessment process conducted, the main objective was to evaluate the extent of risk and subsequently make plans on reducing or eliminating the risk. Mitigation plans are only prepared in case the risk escalates unfortunately, and its potential for resulting in harm is also increased. These are common procedures across different industries and I believe the main rationale for reviewing operations in different industries was to help us, the students, to understand the role of safety and health management in the general industrial setting.
The knowledge absorbed about different industries has not only enabled me to understand the differences in operations across industries but also instilled in me the knowledge about differences and similarities in hazard control procedures. Exposure to a variety of settings has made it possible for me to develop depth in my understanding of hazard control. Each of the industries reviewed provided different pieces of information pertaining to hazard identification and control. The variation of hazards by industry could not have been understood through any other way except by comparing industries. Furthermore, by comparing different industries, I also realized that as much as there may be similarities between many industries in terms of the sources and types of hazards, the intensity of the hazards differ across the industries. A specific hazard may be high risk in one industry and only low risk in another. Apart from this, a hazard may be present at a single control point in one industry but be existent in many control points in another. From my studies, I have come to realize that the most important practice when it comes to such instances is to ensure that the hazard and operability study process is rigorous enough to help in identifying all nodes and all sources of hazards therein.
After an evaluation of all that I have learnt through the course, I believe that if I were to begin the course again, I would take a deeper outlook into the industrial process details. I would make an effort to understand every aspect of operations in each of the industries. I have come to realize that industrial safety is a subject that requires great attention. Failure to check each of the control points effectively can results in unforeseen and uncontrolled hazards. I therefore believe that the key to effective and sustainable hazard control is to understand the entire process in all its details. The concepts learnt through the course have already been developed effectively and applying them will require great practice on my part.
The course itself has been very informative in terms of delivery. The clarification of the learning outcomes at the beginning of the course did a lot to push me towards the objectives of undertaking the course. Through the different course teaching approaches, I believe that it was delivered efficiently and in the best possible ways. For instance, understanding industrial safety and health begins with an understanding of the industry itself. I can confidently say that within the scope of the course, the delivery of industrial process reviews was conducted effectively. The exemplification was also informative and constructive towards accomplishment of the course learning outcomes. As a continuing student, I can say that this is one of the best and probably the most applicable courses towards my efforts to become a health and safety manager in the industrial context. Furthermore, the course provided me with sufficient information not only for practice but also for training others. I therefore believe that with greater effort on my part, I will be able to develop more intrinsic knowledge in the area of industrial safety and health. While most of the aspects of the course were comprehensible easily, the most difficult concepts were in relation to the industrial processes. For those who are already trained on the basics of various industries and/ or have experience in the same, the entire course can be enjoyable and also easily comprehensible. On the other hand, those who have no past experience in industrial operations may need to dig deeper into the operation principles of various industries. Personally, I will have to engage in greater
To further enhance my skills in the studied area, I will take the initiative to further my knowledge in both industrial processes and in industrial safety and health procedures. One of the ways in which I will do this is to practice some of the concepts I learnt in the work place. For instance, in every industry I get access to, I will make an attempt to identify the critical control points, the variable parameters and the hazards associated with the process. I will also make an effort to attend various seminars and conferences on industrial safety as well as on industrial processes. With the technological advancements, I believe changes in industrial technologies will also result in changes or modifications of the presented hazards. I will therefore learn as much as possible about the new technologies used in different industries. I believe this will help me to develop my skills on industrial safety and health management. In addition to this, I will also try to work within groups as I realized that it is easier to identify all risks and hazards in an organization when working as a group than when working individually.
Albert, Alex, Hallowell, Matthew and Kleiner, Brian. Emerging strategies for construction safety and health hazard recognition. Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research 10, 2(2014): 152- 184.