2.2 The Importance of OSH Towards UMP Students
Many people do not realize the importance of occupational safety and health
(OSH), even some who never heard of what OSH is. For your information, OSH is defined as a
discipline of job health and safety information needed for workers to protect themselves. Beside
safety and health, OSH does focus on the environment of the workplace, whether the employees
are comfortable or not with the places that they work, in other word called ergonomic.
Furthermore, OSH does cover on ways to prevent workers from harmful effects towards their
health at the workplace. The question here is whether OSH is important for us or not and does it
affect our work. OSH specialized on the protection of employees during work from risks that can
cause harm to their health. Therefore, it can be said that the importance of OSH program are to
give students the appropriate education and training in undergoing work (Tong, 2009), improve
the worker productivity (Martonik, 2001) and lastly the efficiencies of having OSH as a subject
to be learn (Sawaqed, 2003).
By learning OSH, it can help to reduce worker’s pain and suffer because we will
learn the entire dos and don’ts while working. OSH is very important because it is mainly about
the knowledge on how to take care of our safety and health at the workplace. Without OSH,
accident might easily happen because of the shallow understanding about safety during work.
We do not want adverse events occurred only due to the less knowledge of OSH.
“A study of hairdressing students in Taiwan revealed changed attitudes toward
the safe handling of chemicals after the students received appropriate education
and training in reducing hazardous chemical exposure.”
(YU-Huei Tong, 2009, p. 468)
Therefore, it can be said that OSH is very important and is recommended to be included as a
subject educationally either in school or in colleges (Tong, 2009; Sawaqed, 2003). Since OSH is
restricting about safety, so it will also teach us on doing the right working steps which is more
efficient towards safety. The low knowledge of OSH is the main cause of accident occurrence.
Sawaqed (2003) asserts that “it is believed ergonomic deficiencies are the root causes of
workplace health hazards, low level of safety and reduced the productivity and quality of
worker.” Similarly, Martonik (2001) argues about the ergonomics deficiencies but literature of
his is more to asbestos rulemakings. Besides, OSH Act also suggests educational testing service
(ETS) during work. This is to make sure that the material we are using is safe and non
“The OSH Act itself greatly restricts the use of ETSs. An ETS must be necessary
to protect employees from ‘‘grave danger’’ from exposure to substances or
physical agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful.”
(John F. Martonik, 2001, p. 209)
If it is hazard, we should be extra careful while handling the thing. Every precaution steps should
be done to make sure the situation is fully secure and under control. Tong (2009) observes that
“Universities rarely provide adequate education in occupational health and safety.” The same
author also reveals that “many university facilities such as laboratories and workshops pose
worker health and safety hazards.”
In addition to the important of OSH, it is believed that OSH is one way of
ensuring that the company is successful, sustainable and growing economy in the long term. To
achieve a stable economy, a country must ensure their national product is produced continuously.
Sawaqed (2003) “Improving worker productivity, occupational health and safety (OHS) are
major concerns of industry, especially in developing countries.” With the existence of OSH, it is
as a guide for workers to improve their level of productivity due to it has its own standards in
handling materials. For instance,
Between 1971 and 1994, OSHA issued 2 asbestos emergency temporary
standards (ETSs), 3 major notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) for
asbestos, 3 final asbestos standards, and 31 Federal Register notices related to
asbestos regulation that address various procedural, substantive, and minor
(John F. Martonik, 2001, p. 208)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have regulated occupational
exposure to many other materials besides asbestos. This is to ensure the safety of workers
guaranteed and also leads to the producing high quality of product.
“Clearly, the nature of prescribed worker protections has become more
complex over time, changing from a simple PEL-based standard to a complex
standard comprised of mandatory work practices for specific asbestos jobs and
operations. These changes are due in part to increased knowledge of the health
effects resulting from asbestos exposure; better measurement and control
technology; pressure from labor representatives; changing regulatory policies
within OSHA and other regulatory agencies; and court decisions directing
specific regulatory actions.”
(John F. Martonik, 2001, p. 208)
Furthermore, the efficiencies of ergonomic in work system also play an important
role in improving the productivity of workers. Ergonomic is related to the science of health for
human. In other words, the right way to get the job done that includes the right positioning of our
body, the environment and also the right equipment to use.
Neglect of ergonomic principles brings inefficiency and pain to the workforce.
(Sawaqed, 2003, p. 564)
Ergonomics are applied into the system of OSH because of its highly prioritizes towards safety
and health of workers. The OSH system could be improved by applying ergonomics into the
system. For instance, a man could get his job done effectively when he can work in a
comfortable way. By increasing the health maintenance of the workers, the productivity and
quality of work can also be increase. According to Sawaqed (2003:564) “It would, therefore, be
extremely difficult to attain company objectives without giving proper consideration to
As conclusion, to include OSH as a subject educationally into the curriculum
either in school or in colleges is a very acceptable opinion in view of OSH does bring many
advantages rather than disadvantages. For example, if students learn OSH in school, the level of
safety awareness of each of the student will increase. They’ll know when and how to take
precaution steps and also be extra alert towards the environment while working. In my opinion,
due to the fact that OSH is important so I agree very much that OSH retains as a compulsory
subject of study by UMP students. Indirectly, it will teach safety awareness among UMP
students while doing their practical lessons and also as a preparation before becoming an
engineer. The importance of OSH towards UMP students is mainly to prevent any worst case
scenario to happen. As we all know, “prevention is better than cure” so it better to take
precaution steps while working rather than give treatment to accident victims.
John F. Martonik, E. N. (2001). The History of OSHA’s Asbestos Rulemakings and Some
Distinctive Approaches that They Introduced for Regulating Occupational
Exposure to Toxic Substances. Ameican Industry Hygiene Assosiation , 208-216.
Sawaqed, A. A. (2003). Worker productivity, and occupational health and safety issue in selected
industries. Computers & Indusrial Engineering , 564-572.
Yu-Huei Tong, Y.-W. L.-C.-M. (2009). Perceptions of General Education on Occupational
Health and Safety Among College Student in Taiwan. Journal of Occupational
and Environmental Hygiene , 468-474.