Occupational Safety And Public Health Legislation For Accident Prevention


Complete the three exercises found in the Module 2 Topic 3 notes., namely:
Exercise 1: Look for relevant legislation in a jurisdiction of interest to you and extract from it the general statements of expectation.

Relevant legislation is legislation that is concerned with safety duties in either the occupational or public risk domains.

Extend your investigations to include a small number of relevant Regulations and Codes of Practice, including those relating to the meaning of the term ‘reasonably practical’.

Subject these to a critical analysis (in the context of the theory introduced in this Unit) of meaning, 2 definitions, logic and practicality.

Exercise 2: In 2016 a mines tailing dam in Brazil failed. See for example: http://www.abc.net.au/news/ 2017-12-22/bhp-provides-millions-more-after-samarco-dam-disaster-brazil/9282394. There is a lot of information on the www about this very high profile disaster.

This ABC article includes these comments: “…the collapse was due to a range of construction and design flaws”, and “BHP has taken multi-billion dollar write downs because of the Samarco disaster and operations remain suspended at the mine”. The article also records the fact that the Brazilian authorities were sue-ing the various companies involved for more than US$50billion.

Read up about the disaster and about the negligence concepts which I have outlined above. A search for this term on the www will unearth many sites that will expand on the ideas I have presented. How do you think the four common law tests of negligence would be argued in a court of law by a lawyer defending the owners of the mine?

Exercise 3: In the notes above this is said:
Any discussion about risk is always concerned with whether enough is currently being done to control the risk.” “… how does an organisation decide what is acceptable and to whom it is acceptable?”

In the context of the Samarco Dam failure, discuss (in about 500 words) how the process of risk assessment as described above would be or could be applied to the decision-making of senior managers on dam safety. Include in this the dynamics of decision-making on (a) the expenditure of funds to improve understanding the dam’s condition and (b) about the funds required to improve its stability by senior management at the mine.


Exercise 1

The primary Singaporean law governing occupational safety and health, the "Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH) of Singapore," has been researched and examined for this exercise (Gualmini, E. (2009).

In Part IV of the Act, Section 12, the generic declarations of expectations from employers are described as follows:

obligations of employers

1. Every employer shall take, to the extent reasonably practicable, all necessary steps to ensure the safety and health of employees at the place of employment.

2. Every employer shall take all reasonably necessary steps to ensure the safety and health of anyone (non-employees) who may be affected by any task performed by him/her at work.

3. For the purposes of subsection (1), the precautions necessary to protect people's safety and security at work include: a. Providing for individuals a safe environment free from health risks and with suitable facilities and arrangements for their welfare at the workplace.

b. Making ensuring that the appropriate safety precautions have been taken with reference to the devices, tools, equipment, or procedures utilised by individuals.

c. Making sure that these individuals are not exposed to dangerous substances resulting from setup, waste, manufacturing, storage, transit, working with, or using of materials. —

I. At work; alternatively II. Close to work, under the supervision of an employee of the employer

d. Establishing and overseeing processes for dealing with any situations that might happen while employees are at work; e. Ensuring that employees have the necessary instructions, knowledge, training, and direction to carry out their jobs.

Singapore has created Codes of Practice and subsidiary rules for industry-specific best practises.

The WSH (General Provisions) Regulations are examined here for this exercise. All Singapore establishments where workers can be exposed to hazardous substances are subject to these restrictions.

When it comes to definitions, the act gives precise definitions for phrases like dangerous material, transmission machinery, competent person, electrical equipment, permitted exposure level, and time weighted average concentration.

It addresses important duties of the employer (as specified by the primary legislation) in relation to the following areas:

I. Overcrowding: Although the law requires occupiers to prevent it, it doesn't define it because the phrase can imply different things to different individuals (McGlynn, C. and Westmarland, N., 2018).

J. Ventilation: It calls on the occupier to provide adequate ventilation at the workplace, but it also gives an exception, stating that it won't apply to a location where alternative arrangements have been made since it is impossible to provide adequate ventilation.