Occupational Health and Safety: Long Working Hours And Workplace Violence

Working Long Hours Has A Detrimental Affect On Workers in A Variety of Industries!

A UK food production centre was charged last week after a workplace amputation went beyond Working Time Regulations hundreds of times throughout a few months.

The discovery was made after the food giant Bakkavor’s prosecution for safety breaches that resulted in a worker losing the tip of his finger from an unguarded machine at their pizza factory.

Between July and September 2013, workers were denied the legally required 11 hour rest break between shifts– a shocking 647 times.  The Pizza factory in question, Harrow, employs upwards of 800 people and is one of the UK’s largest pizza manufacturing sites.

The reason we highlight this company’s prosecution today, is that a company this size has the resources required to ensure that their workers’ occupational health and safety standards are upheld. A result of the prosecution, the bullion dollar company has been called to release a full disclosure of all records pertaining to work hours. Past attempts by the union to compel the company to disclose their hours has resulted in Bakkavor simply assuring them that the issues were being tackled. However, the union has responded to their assurances stating, these “processes are simply not working and somebody must be held accountable.” It certainly would make consumers think about whether you really want to eat pizzas produced by this company.

Long Hours and Workplace Violence a Topic of Concern for 2014.

About a quarter of workers will suffer violence in AUS workplaces throughout their career, costing millions of dollars per year.

Recently released findings revealed over 2,000 serious injury claims were filed as a result of workplace assaults at work in 2010 to 20111. This cost an average of A$6,400 each, with three weeks off of work.

In excess of 4,5000 claims attributed to mental stress as a result of exposure to occupational violence were successful in the three year period between 2008-11. Nearly 60 per cent of the claimants were female and the majority of the groups most vulnerable were those working alone at night handling cash such as retail workers, emergency workers, healthcare workers, teachers and prison officers.

Employers need to take heed and uphold their responsibility in ensuring staff are safe, while constantly reflecting on workplace risk factors. Assessment must be done, considering all the possible risks, solutions, and measures that need to be taken to ensure safety. Therefore, quality safety training must be provided to all employees working in a risky environment.

Source: Julie Amour

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