New Zealand Factory Incident
The main aim of this study is to determine whether organizational safety measures are exercised. The study was initiated after a series of major incidents around the country were reported. These ranged from minor to major injuries sustained at different work places. The will also seek to find out whether these accidents occur as a result of employees’ ignorance or no proper structures are in place to deal with such situations. The study will give a bigger picture of workers’ safety in New Zealand. The study will use an incident that occurred as a case study.
The incident used as a case study happened in one of the biggest manufacturers of cement in New Zealand. The outcome of this incident was very devastating. The victim suffered a broken ankle on his left leg.
The incident happened in a cement factory in New Zealand. The victim was hit on his left ankle by a bag of cement. The victims worked at the quality inspection unit, where the final checks on the bags were made. According to witnesses, the victim was at his work station when the accident happened. He was doing some paper work on the inspection table. Just behind his work table, finished bags of cement ready for inspection are stacked by means of a forklift. The forklift driver stacks the bags so that they are checked for any damages or improper packing. At the time of the accident, the victim was facing away from the stacked bags and, therefore, was caught unaware. The forklift driver pushed the bags too close to the victim, therefore, smashing his ankle on the table. According to the forklift driver, he was just trying to get the bags as close as possible to the victim for inspection. The driver also indicated that he immediately called for help when he realized that he had knocked the victim down. According to him, the response was good. The victim was taken to the hospital and reports indicated that he suffered a broken ankle on the left leg. He could not work for the next three weeks and was given a sick leave. The company also compensated the victim and took care of the medical bills.
After this incident, the company launched investigations into the matter. Every witness was interrogated and they all gave their accounts. Mark, a colleague of the victim said that the forklift driver pushed the bags without, first, checking if someone was at the work table. On his side, the driver said that he didn’t see anybody at the table and that he was only getting the bags as close as possible to whoever would inspect them. The driver was also taken for a drug test to see if he was sober during the incident, but the results came out negative. The driver’s competency was not also in question as he had worked for the company for 15 years. Asked whether he had witnessed a similar incident before, he indicated that there had been a similar incident, but no victims were reported.
The introduction of occupational safety and health (OSHA) at organizational level was mainly to address incidents such as the above (Forastieri, 2001). It has positive impacts in reducing the occurrence of hazards. This document has been adopted by most governments around the world. This document has practical guidelines that define the safety of everybody in a factory setup. It should be adopted by all those who have the responsibilities of both occupational health and safety. It clearly outlines how the work place should be set up to ensure the safety of everyone (Kelloway & Cooper, 2011). In the above incident, it is clear that there is no proper work place organization. The bags of cement are piled just close to where there is a workstation, putting whoever is at the inspection table at a high risk. The floor is not also marked appropriately to show virtual boundaries that the forklift driver could have used to avoid an accident.
Such incident like the one discussed above happen almost on a daily basis around the world. The OSHA document that clearly defines the safety management systems in a factory should be adopted by all companies and organizations industrial processes. The above incident reveals that there are still many companies in New Zealand that still don’t comply with guidelines in the Organizational health and safety document. The government should impose stiff penalties to those companies found in breach of OSHA guideline. The workers should also be constantly reminded of the organizational health and safety guidelines. This will make more responsible and, therefore, work in a safe environment. The health officials in every company also bear great responsibilities in enlightening other workers about safe working environments.
Forastieri, V. (2001). Children at Work: Health and Safety risks. Geneva: International Labour Office.
Kelloway, E. K., & Cooper, C. L. (2011). Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.