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Occupational health and safety policy is widely concerned with improving the industrial safety of workers and their health. The program is entitled to ensure that the environment is safe and free of any hazards. The program is entitled to protect the safety, health, and welfare of people in a working environment. The policy further covers employees, relatives, family members, and consumers who may be affected by the poor environment and its consequences. Occupational safety programs boost weighty moral, legal, and financial concerns. This includes protecting of workers health, lives, and legal rights, as well as involves protective, punitive, and compensation aspects of the work environment. It helps reduce injuries, sickness, infection, and related legal disputes. This may extend to psychological health, physical health, reproductive health, and all other matters that may affect the life of the employee health-wise.
The occupational health and safety programs in USA, Canada, and Mexico have both similarities and differences. The differences occur where the policies are different, while the similarities arise from similar policies, mostly based on basic human and worker’s rights, as stated by different unions that stand for workers (Stellman). The US policies sound fairer and more advanced, followed by Canada and finally Mexico. The comparison gives a clear picture of the scenario.
The OSH policies in all the three countries are bound by the International Labor Organization (ILO), published in 2001. The policies are concerned with helping organizations introduce the policies to their systems to protect their employees. This is an international policy that all workers unions through out the world are supposed to master and ensure they are implemented. Governments and departments are also bound by the policies. In all countries, USA, Canada, and Mexico included, the guidelines are expected to encourage continued improvement in employee health and safety at the work place. The process is promoted by putting in place strict policies towards the same. The organizations and departments in these countries follow up on the program by proper organization, planning, and implementation. Constant and systematic auditing is used to determine the success of the program.
The three countries have accepted the system as a measure to assist employers to keep abreast with quickly shifting and growing industrial dynamics. This includes change of competition platform, technological development, and employment policies. The three countries have further accepted the fact that the existing legislative laws cannot on their own manage and hold the OSP effectively in the absence of additional policies to enforce them (Hodson 52). The governments of the respective countries, the labor-related departments and labor unions have gone ahead and enacted acts through their legislative departments to help promote and enforce these laws and policies.
In the three countries, the laws in the act propose that employers provide safety tools, clothing, environment, rescue and treatment procedures for the employees. The policies further require that employees be insured against work place environment hazards like fire. The policies are to ensure that the employees work without fear and are at all times assured of their health and safety. The laws give directives and procedures for inspecting working environments to ensure availability and presence of safety tools and gadgets.
The three countries are bound by the International Occupational Health and Safety Management System policies. The policies were developed by London-based BSI Group and proposed to countries, which unanimously adopted them. The policies are concerned with the production and distribution of standards and their related services. The policies embrace several proposals by world leading trade bodies, international standard bodies, and certification bodies. The policies abolish involvement of third parties in offering or claiming health and safety policy related cases and claims. This is accepted in USA, Canada, and Mexico.
The policies operating in the three countries are bound by the ISO standard series. This allows it to integrate better into larger societies in a wider and better approach. They work in tandem with other organizations that promote and advocate for a better and safe environment.
The respective governments in these countries provide budgetary allocations from their net tax revenue to cater for the implementation and exercise of the OSP policies throughout the country by making strict and systematic follow-up. This ensures efficiency and reliability in the government and the industrial systems.
The application and implementation of the policies in the three countries is different in several ways. The difference arises from different laws and policies of the respective countries, the implementing bodies and the pattern of implementation. In the United States, the Department of Labor is responsible for ensuring adherence to the policies and maximum implementation of the same. The department develops the laws and channels them to the mainstream of labor laws via the government law mills. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health aligned with the Department of Labor focuses on industrial research, information, education, and training in the occupational health policies and procedures. The NIOSH has been responsible for training on industrial safety practices since the year 1971.
In Canada, workers are protected and insured through the Provincial or Federal Labor Codes. The department to cover an individual issue depends on the sector in which a worker is employed or based. Workers in mining, transport, and the federal employment are covered in the Federal Legislation. This is also widely covered with the Canada Labor Code. All other workers are covered by the extensive health and safety legislation of their respective provinces. The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, which is a government agency created in 1978 by an act of Parliament, is responsible for implementing the basic human fundamental rights. This includes the right to a clean and healthy environment. The policies set by the body ensure that the workers are free from injuries, illness, and psychological torture at the work place (Canadian Industrial Relations Association 28).
In Mexico, the laws are not so binding and the government lacks a strong and efficient body to implement the safety policies. The government widely relies on the Ministry of Labor to implement the policies. The inefficiency of the departments has seen the denial of basic human rights and continued pollution of the work environment. The employees widely depend on industrial courts to implement and follow up on cases of injuries, in which most are lost and others stay in backlog. The system lacks a systematic audit of industrial environments to ensure the laws are observed. This has brought on the importation of harmful and poisonous products into the industries, resulting in multiple and acute injuries to employees.
In the American system, the departments concerned regulate the importation, usage, and application of different technology in the industrial environment. This is done in the wide enforcement and strengthening of the existing industrial and civil laws. Claims in such matters are heard in either the civil or industrial court depending on the extent and nature of a breach.
In Canada, industrial courts are mostly concerned with the implementation and follow-up. The provincial labor departments take up the responsibility of making the claim on behalf of the employees or an individual who feels that their rights have been infringed upon. The members of the provincial jury clarify and determine the extent of damage and specify according to their laws the possible solution or compensation. In Mexico, it is quite different. The workers union takes up the case on request of the employees. The umbrella body acts in activist capacity and does not field any decisions (Cooke 229). The rights and follow-up are solely the responsibility of the industrial court, which determines the extent, nature, and manner of a breach through the evidence and arguments provided, based on the industrial and civil laws enacted in the national constitution. The acts are liable to change through an act of parliament.
In the USA, the members of the committee on labor rights are responsible for proposing any changes in the acts and policies of the safety and health policies at the work place. In Canada and Mexico, it is only an act of Parliament that does any required changes. The parliamentary changes are either done in regard to the proposals made by the Workers Union or any other concerned department.
In conclusion, it is evident that the work place safety policies are internationally recognized but differently implemented. The implementation of the laws in the USA seems more advanced and developed than in all other countries. The follow-up and implementation of the basic human rights, when combined with the regulations provided for in the internationally adopted policies, seems to work well and in an equitable manner. The Canadian system also sounds quiet efficient and reliable. The bodies assigned with the duty to make a follow-up on this appear efficient and reliable. However, it may be difficult for a worker to determine to which jurisdiction they belong or where to complain to in case of a breach. Mexico seems to drag itself into implementing the policies, making some fruitful changes, and following up. The justice and the labor departments seem to be slow and unwilling to give the workers their rights and privileges by ensuring their safety.