Occupational Health Hazards and Management Plans
OCCUPATIONAL HELATH MANAGEMENT PLAN
People working anywhere in the world are exposed to several kind of health risks. Workers involved the pharmaceutical industries exposed to several types of health risks depending on the service in which they are employed. Different researches studied different kind of occupational health hazards in concern with pharmaceutical industry. Bhowmik et al (2014) in his research explored the recent trend in the pharmaceutical industries and the measures that can be implemented to reduce the occupational health hazards. They mentioned that following types of risks are involved in the pharmaceutical industries like mechanical, physical, chemical, biological, psychological, and health hazards. Common health hazards in the pharmaceutical industry are dust, noise, motion disorders, exposure to formaldehyde, and exposure to ultraviolet radiations. The study performed by Islam, Hossain and Siddique (2017) mentioned the safety measures and practices adopted by the tannery industry in Bangladesh. The assessment of health hazards in any industry is important for efficient productivity and long-term services of the employees. There are several factors that were found responsible for affecting the health of the employees.
Vodanovic et al (2017) introduce the concept of occupational health hazards as occupational diseases or health disorders that are resultant of work or working condition. According to them the profession has a pronounced effect on the health of the employees. the occupational health hazards are considered to have multifactorial origin. The occupational hazards or health issues are found to have influence by several factors like age, gender, type of profession, working condition, environmental condition, geographical factors, etc. These may include biological hazards, biochemical hazards, biomechanical hazards, physical hazards, psychological hazards, etc. They also mentioned the preventive measures that can be adopted in order to reduce the risk of occupational disease like education, awareness, and self-satisfaction in some conditions.
Occupational Health Hazards and risk assessments
Ader, Farris and Ku (2005) explored the roots, application and future of the occupational health hazard categorization and compound handling practices. The roots of occupational health categorization and handling practices system was laid by a group of pharmaceutical companies which were Syntex Inc., Merck and Co., Inc., Eli Lilly Co., Abbott Labs, and The Upjohn Co. These companies after assessing the critical condition of the health of the employees decide to introduce some kind of safety management system. They mentioned that different handling practices are required for a core industry. The approach made by UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and International Labour Organization (ILO) result in the development of different safety systems. In their research they also mentioned the health plan proposed for the employees in the pharmaceutical industries.
There are numerous health hazards associated with the working environment of a pharma industry. Gathurur et al (2015) in their research conducted an intense research in which they evaluated the efficacy of the drugs produced in the company and how these drugs inversely affect the health of the workers in the production unit. The study was a chronological analysis of the health hazards and their impact over the health of the workers. The mortality rate of the workers in the industries were evaluated. The report concluded that in general the workers were reported to have high mortality rate but they were also diagnosed with several organ dysfunction like liver diseases, asthma, poor reproductive health, cancer, etc. This study proved highly efficient for the industries in the Asia region as this will allow the industries to introduce some preventive measures against such health hazards causing diseases. Currently, most of the pharmaceutical industries have some regulatory standards to prevent their workers form the occupational health hazards. Special focus is given to the workers in the manufacturing units.
The introduction of the safety plans by the pharmaceutical industries at industrial level encouraged the government all over the world to take some measures against the hazards. The control measures in any industry depend on the sections it has like sales, manufacturing, research and development, outsourcing etc. Previous researches proved that the workers in a pharmaceutical industry can be affected by severe health problems (Gathuru et al, 2015). Goossens and Hulst (2011) in their study mentioned the occupation induced skin problem that is not a common health issue in any pharma industry. Along with the controlled analysis the researcher added some measures that the company can take in order to reduce the risk of such health problems. They mentioned that safety and control measures like dust control session, installing closed filter equipment, and training and educating the workers regarding the potential hazards associated with the working environment. Proper training must be given for handling of chemical compounds in the labs and stores.
Harris, Mayho and Page (2003) explored the occupational health risks affecting the lives of the sales persons of the company. Occupational health hazards in case of sales employees are driving, violence in workplace, ergonomic issues, and use of mobile phones. The study concluded that there are some other health issues also that are associated with the sales workers in pharma industry like substance and alcohol abuse, work and family stress, etc. The companies must take some measures to control the risks and the adverse effect of these risks. The employer must focus on the mentioned issues and introduce some kind of plans for reducing the life risks of the workforce.
Control measures for occupational hazards must not be limited to health issues, they must also consider other factors like mechanical, physical, chemical, psychological, etc. The employer must look into the concerned matters of the employees in order to reduce the fatal health problems. Safety measures are needed at all the steps in an industry (Bhowmik et al, 2014).
The Control Banding (CB) strategy was taken from the initiative that was taken by the Health and Safety Executives (HSE) in United Kingdom (UK). The aim of the program was to protect the enterprises form the exposure of the chemical substance, and for this they introduced a plan known as Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). Their plan was divided into several steps like taking control measure against the toxicology, predicting the exposure and its control, etc. The validation for the program was taken from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA). Different CB models were introduced in favor of the health for the workers and they were implemented by the companies time to time (Zalk and Nelson, 2008).
Management plans are essential for those companies who have some consideration for their employees. The companies who want their employees to excel in their productivity and live a long health life must introduce some kind of safety program. But for the successful introduction and implementation of the program a define management is also needed.
Before introducing any kind of plan, it is necessary to have a detailed knowledge about the company like its working conditions, number of employees, location, and type of product. In a pharmaceutical company names Zeon Pharmaceuticals, the employees count is 500 in different units viz. production, storage, quality control, research and development, and sales team. The company is located out of city in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, India. The company deals in production and development of different medicines and nutraceutical products. The production unit is spread in a large area where the machines were installed and working 14 hours a day. The employees are working in shifts in production unit. The other units work only for 12 hours. Only 50 female workers are there in production unit who work during the day shift. The company follow strict safety guidelines and face few emergency cases.
Table: Health Management Plan
|Occupational Risks||Impact||Likelihood||Control measures||Plans|
Antibiotic Allergies, Fungal Infection, Toxic Effects, Headache, Unconsciousness, Coma, Death, Heart Problems, etc.
|Both low and High depend on the intensity of exposure||Likely||Educational trainings, wearing gloves, masks and goggles, Limiting exposure time, Awareness Programs, etc.||Conducting educational trainings, introducing control measures for safe handling of raw materials and products.|
|Fire and Explosion||High||Unlikely||Training and awareness sessions, Maintaining proper ventilation||Regular assessment, vaccination, informative sessions, fire safety guidelines and appliances. Emergency Evacuation plans.|
|Chemical Hazards||High||Unlikely||Regular assessments, safe handling and storage, adequate safety exits, etc.||Introducing emergency plans, Check for chemical spills.|
|Electrical Hazards||High||Unlikely||Review and classification of risk prone area, using standard products, etc.||Introducing emergency evacuation plan.|
|Machine Hazards||High||Unlikely||Maintenance of machines and equipment.||Introducing regular check for instrument and machines.|
|Transport||High||Unlikely||Training to logistic section employees, improving storage facilities, etc.||Insurance of raw material and product both, establish new transport facility.|
The company can introduce several health safety plans like insurance plans for the employees in the organization to ensure their safety up to an extent. The safety guidelines must be introduced and these must be revised at a fixed interval.
For the exposure to medicines and related products following controlling measures can be adopted by the industry- using HEPA filters respirators, wearing gloves, masks and goggles, wearing lab coat, and washing hands every time before leaving the work area.
The employer must look into the lifestyle of the employees in order to reduce the occupational health hazards. The lifestyle of an employee will surely affect the living working conditions like his habit of smoking, and alcohol. These habits will induce some negativity in the employee and he might act in wrong way and creating conditions like violence at workplace. There must be a counselling session for such workers in the industry (Islam, Hossain and Siddique, 2017 and Harris, Mayho and Page,2003).
In most of the pharma industries workers are highly exposed to chemicals that directly or indirectly affect the human system. The employers must take initiatives like introducing some safety measures to protect workers from the harmful effect of the APIs (Heron and Pickering, 2003).
The industries must introduce some standard protocols that must be followed by the workers every time they enter the working arena. The protection must be taken by the employees as well as the employers.
According to the previous researches and the latest health reports of the workers in industries it is mandatory for employers to introduce some health plans. The health plans that would guide the workers in order to get full protection from the occupational health hazards. The occupational hazards for the workers in a pharmaceutical industry are mechanical, physical, psychological, fire and explosion, health problems, chemical and electrical problems. All these hazards can affect the life of the workers in many ways. Several studies reported that the lifestyle of the workers is also have profound effect on the working efficiency.
The employers must take some preventive measures to reduce the risks involved in the working conditions. The environment of the working area must be free from all kind of pollutants, dust, chemical gases and related compounds because these cause deathly diseases. The studies proved that the unhealthy environment result in the diseases like cancer, asthma, heart problems, skin diseases, allergies, muscle and skeletal problems, and metal illness. The mental illness not only affect the life of the worker but also the workplace. The poor health might result in the conditions like violence, increased risk of vehicle as well as industrial accidents.
The company has introduced occupational health plan for the workers in the industry. The health plan focuses on all the type of hazards and how these hazards can be reduced to protect the workers form the lethal health problems. The company must follow the guidelines provided by the International Labour Organization in order to protect the workers from any kind of harm. They must insure the secure and healthy environment for the workers. The Health control banding must be adopted by the industry that was introduced initially in the United Kingdom (UK) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The plans and measures adopted by the industry must be revised by the administration at regular interval of time to ensure the safety of all the employees and employers in the industry.