Science & Technology in Action

11th Edition

Health and Safety at Work


Health and safety in the workplace is the topic of this lesson. Having underlined the critical importance of workplace incidents to economic and social wellbeing, the ‘Siemens Zero Harm’ policy is described. This highly effective strategy is the legacy of Werner von Siemens, founder of the famous global engineering company.
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Lesson excerpt

Marie Curie did not know she was signing her own death sentence when she discovered radium, and the death of unfortunate factory women painting luminous radium dots onto watches. Even when dangers were evident early technological advances were primarily directed towards productivity with little thought for safety. Now there is far greater use of science and technology in promoting safety – sensors and feedback systems in motorcars, autopilots and numerous other devices in aeroplanes, detectors for dangerous fumes or chemicals, robots to access dangerous places, personal protection from night goggles to GPS systems. Human error, lack of vision, cost, unforeseeable events and the power of nature continue to challenge - Bhopal, Fukushima, Chernobyl, Tianjin chemical blasts, still occur along with smaller equally tragic events.

“Taking care of each other and the world we live in” 
The ‘Zero Harm @ Siemens’ program has been running since 2012. Siemens believes that Zero Harm encompasses not only safety, but also the health and well being of employees and the impact of the organisation on the environment. 

Be Safe
Safety is non negotiable and there is no customer so important or deadline so crucial that Siemens will compromise on safety. The company is fully committed to ensuring that employees work safely by providing training, leadership and empowering all with the expectation that they will stop work if it is unsafe.

Feel Well
Siemens strives for a healthy work environment where physical health, mental wellbeing and work life balance is encouraged. The company assists employees by enabling them make informed choices about physical activity and a healthy diet and by providing medical screening and an Employee Assistance Programme. 

Think Green
Siemens manages its own energy resources and waste, in a manner compatible with best practice, to fully protect the environment and reduce environmental impact.

True or False?

  1. Slavery and child labour (under 9) were both made illegal in 1833. true
  2. The HSA in Ireland was established the same year as OSHA in the US. false
  3. The HSA’s most preferred treatment of risk is to substitute a less risky activity. false
  4. A hazard (as opposed to a risk) is anything with the potential to cause harm. true
  5. If there are three or fewer employees a Code of Practice can act as a Safety Statement. true
  6. The construction site is the most deadly workplace. false
  7. Manual handling triggers most non-fatal accidents. true
  8. Ireland has a lower workplace fatality rate than the EU average. false
  9. Developments in Science and Technology always improve safety. false
  10. Nearly 90% of HSA-inspected sites in 2014 had minimised handling risks.