Employee health and safety standards have continued to pose serious challenges to many organizations. This is despite the fact that governments and other interest bodies have come up with a number of measures, policies, rules, and regulations that bind employers to provide their employees with working conditions that take into account their health and safety standards. It has been observed that employers who have a poor record of meeting employee health and safety standards are less competitive in the business environment. This is because prospective experienced employees would shun it, current experienced employees would move to competitors, a lot of money would be spent on settling medical bills just as much as a lot of man-hours will be lost by employees’ nursing injuries.
The problem with Forest International is that it has had a long history of work-related injuries. Most of the employees do not seem to be trained because jobs are offered to them by virtue of one’s parents having worked at the firm earlier. The firm managers seem to be concerned more with productivity than employee safety and would not want to see the machines stopped from running for purposes of ensuring employee safety.
Repairs are done while machines are running hence putting employees’ safety at risk. The employees also seem to glorify work-related injuries as a sign of bravery and commitment to the firm. These factors have complicated the situation, and radical measures need to be taken to take in order to reverse this worrying trend. One way of going about it is to carry out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (Katsushi 2001).
Strengths refer to the firm’s internal capabilities and resources, which give it an advantage over the competitors. Resources could be either human or material. In the case of Forest International, there is an adequate supply of human labor because of the large pool of committed and loyal employees. The firm is similarly located within the forest in Georgia, where raw materials are plentiful. However, serious injuries keep many employees out of a job for long periods, which lowers productivity and gives competitors the opportunity to snatch their market share. The CEO of Forest International could be advised to reverse this trend by minimizing the rate of accidents in order to keep most of the employees in employment and reduce medical bills.
This is a measure that could be taken internally. Measures could include training employees to observe safety standards, coming up with policies that ensure employee safety, securing moving parts of the machine from access by employees, and so on. They could also be taught that an accident is a setback and should not be celebrated. Fewer accidents will win employee confidence in the firm (Haddad and Ishakat, 2007).
Weaknesses refer to the internal inadequacies of an organization that makes it less competitive. These inadequacies include poor reputation among employees, suppliers, and customers, high cost of production, lack of raw materials, and so on. Forest International could be suffering from the high cost of production by having many employees who lose productive time nursing injuries. Customers who know the poor health and safety records of the organization could also have boycotted its products hence reducing the demand for her products and profitability. The organization also seems to value employees as machines for productive purposes and not as human beings whose safety must be a matter of concern.
The CEO could be advised to come up with measures that could change how people perceive the organization and how the organization perceives employees. Supervisors could, for example, be told that the loves of employees are more important than whether they are producing or not, and if there is a conflict between product and employee safety, the latter must be given preference. Money could also be put into programs that target employee training to make them aware of the need to operate with a mind conscious of their safety (El-Hakim 2002).
Opportunities refer to the external conditions which could be exploited in order to meet the objectives of the firm. The organization might not have direct control over the opportunities but could simply look for ways of taking advantage of them for purposes of maintaining or achieving competitiveness. Opportunities include the use of new technologies, loosening regulations, and removal of barriers. There are a number of opportunities that the CEO could exploit.
He could, for example, try to modernize the machines and secure them so that they are not inappropriately exposed to the workers. He could also work with the government in order to develop health and safety standards that expose employees to fewer risks. He could also source for health and safety experts to conduct training seminars for employees to make them more environmentally conscious. Forest International could take advantage of its location to reduce the price of its products further in order to win back customer confidence and carry out visible campaigns to let people know that it has improved it’s health and safety standards (Alberto et al. 2006).
Threats refer to variations in the organization’s external environment, which could threaten the firm’s performance. Threats have the potential of damaging the organization’s objectives. External threats could be new competitors in the local market, low pricing of goods by competitors, competitor access to cheaper channels of distribution, and the tax imposed on your products. The CEO of Forest International could reduce costs by putting in place measures that reduce accidents. This way, it can easily price its goods competitively. Location within the forest and close to its raw materials leads to reduced transportation costs, which could cushion the company if it reduces prices (Curles 2000).
Trends are concerned with the general direction the market is moving. The organization could study other organizations and establish any practices which have been put in place and which seem to be working well for it. The CEO could visit other firms, including those in competition with his and study the safety measures they have put in place. He could easily borrow from them and implement them in his organization if they are workable (Bonarz 2002).
Identification of Alternatives
I would propose that a number of alternatives are put in place in order to improve the company’s safety record and increase productivity. In the first place, it would be in order to discuss with the HR Director and put in place companywide employee safety policies. Among other things, there will be a need to create an employee safety office in the HR department to specifically deal with employee safety training and awareness. Notices could also be put everywhere where there are moving machines warning employees to beware. The office would ensure the employees adhere to the established policies.
An environmental scan could be conducted to establish the safety practices and measures other companies have put in place, with the view to selecting those which Forest International could adapt. There will also be a need to define strategic safety issues and isolate them from non-strategic ones. Strategic safety issues could, for example, include fencing off section with moving parts, writing warning notices, employee education, and so on. Those that need immediate implementation could be implemented within the available resources. We could work together to identify the critical success factors dealing with safety objective achievement and implementation of strategy, prepare operation manuals and other safety reports, and start monitoring the implementation of the results. Once the safety issues are sorted out, the company’s product and competitiveness are also likely to improve (Blais et al. 2004).
Implementation of health and safety measures in the timber industry is an expensive program, and hence, the availability of money will be a critical factor. There is also likely to be some misunderstanding between employees because whereas some employees might be willing to support the program of improving their workplace safety, others who still look at the injuries at Forest International prestigious might resist hence precipitating a conflict. The employers might continue with their previous attitude, where employees are considered productive machines and fail to take measures that improve their safety. All these are critical issues that could affect the organization’s efforts at improving employee health and safety at Forest International (Barber et al. 2001).
There are a number of measures that could be recommended in order to deal with this issue. Improvement of occupational health and safety standards within the firm encompasses all. Employee training is an important tool toward this end. It is quite obvious that the employees at Forest International need to change their attitude towards their safety at the workplace. Fencing off places with moving parts would reduce employee contact with those parts and, consequently, reduce accidents. Warning notices posted in various places within the company will be a constant reminder to employees to be careful lest they get injured.
There should be a shift in company policy where employee safety is valued overproduction, and supervisors retrained to understand that human life must be considered first in case of an accident. The company could also establish fatigue management guidelines because some accidents could result from employee fatigue. After putting in place the necessary
List of References
Alberto, G. et al., 2006. Manage Human Resources Strategic Planning, Journal of Geomapping, 32 (7), pp. 68-75.
Barber, D. et al., 2001. Manage Human Resources Strategic Planning. Potsdam: CIPA International Symposium.
Blais, F. et al., 2004. Strategic Planning in business. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
Bonarz, F., 2002. Surveying plan. New York: Routledge.
Curles, B., 2000. Implementation of health and safety measures. ACM plan, 33 (4), pp. 38–41.
El-Hakim, S.F., 2002. Forest International prestigious. Proc. ISPRS Comm. V Sym., Corfu, Greece, pp. 143-148.
Haddad, N. and Ishakat, F., 2007. Forest International could. Athens, Greece: International CIPA Symposium.
Katsushi, L., 2001. Manage Human Resources. New York: Prentice Hall.