health and safety

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Is that aspect of human resource management concerned with identifying hazards and risks to health within work processes and taking steps to minimize or remove those risks. Given its importance and given the fact that there may be financial and operational pressures on managers to neglect health and safety, it is an area of the employment relationship that is closely regulated by law. The European Union has adopted a series of directives on health and safety, whilst in the UK the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, with its associated health and safety regulations, provides a legal framework to guide management action (see risk assessment). Significantly, health and safety law provides for the appointment of both safety representatives and health and safety inspectors to ensure that the law is adhered to and that companies develop good practice in health and safety management. Despite regulation, workplace death continues to be a feature of hazardous industries, such as fishing, agriculture, and construction, and workplace injury and disease are major problems that blight the lives of thousands of workers and impose a heavy cost on business (see accidents at work). Job stress, repetitive strain injury, and violence at work are amongst the issues that have come to the fore in health and safety management in recent years. In the UK, the Health and Safety Commission and its operational arm, the Health and Safety Executive, have overall responsibility for monitoring and improving health and safety at work.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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