Critique of Health and Safety Impacts

1223 words | 5 page(s)


Over the last several years, the aerospace industry has been expected to increase their productivity while decreasing the amount of money they spend to create products. This has been an area of difficulty as this approach could actually cost more money by increasing the hazards to health and safety of workers within the industry. According to Bourcier (2011), ‘the degree and type of hazard posed by composite materials depends primarily on the specific work activity and degree of resin cure’ He also states, ‘the release of these components tends to be greater in elevated temperature conditions or in poorly ventilated work areas and may range from trace to moderate levels’ (Bourcier, 2011).

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There are a vast array of chemical agents that can cause serious health problems to workers and therefore, affect their overall safety. These include dust from metals such as cadmium, chromium and nickel in addition to gases such as ozone and hydrogen cyanide. There can also be reactions from organic compounds, from the use of plastics and dusts produced while components are being created. An example is the use of asbestos in older aircraft and also the incorporation of tungsten carbide in precision tool making. Bourcier also points out there are substances emitted even from wood, that have yet to be examined as to if they produce any detrimental effects to health or human safety.

As this aerospace industry does pose significant risks for health and safety, these issues should be constantly monitored. They definitely are and overall it appears half the problem is recognizing the dangers before taking proper steps to minimize any risks. Also, if the trend towards higher productivity, while spending less money continues, serious problems could develop if corners are cut on health and safety conditions. This and the fact there are many materials used in this industry where the impacts are not determined, this could cause major problems in the future.

The marine environment is an essential component to all economies, nations and people around the world. As marine litter increases each year despite the concerted efforts internationally to reduce it, the problem will only continue to become more apparent in future years. The term marine litter includes any number of substances found in this planet’s oceans and includes plastics, metals, broken equipment, fuel, nets, fishing line, hooks, etc. The aquamarine industry itself actually does not produce anything that significantly affects health and safety according to a report published in 2010 by kimointernational.org. The health and safety impacts effect economies from not being able to use areas of coastline for recreation or industry, damage to native habitats for ocean residents and pollution.
The primary health and safety impacts marine litter is responsible for include navigational hazards, injuries to users and the leaching of poisonous chemicals (kimointernational.org, 2010). Unfortunately, the damage sustained by vessels and other accidents linked to marine litter go largely unrecorded, so there is no definitive record to establish what exactly would be effective to reduce or eradicate health and safety concerns. Therefore, the industry and world governments must conduct extensive research to determine what needs to be done about marine litter and why. It is an issue that will not abate over the coming years and the funds spent on research may save money in the long run.

As mentioned earlier, the incidents where people and animals are placed in danger from marine litter is often not duly noted. According to kimointernational.org, in 2005, ‘a Russian submarine became entangled in derelict fishing nets 600 ft below the surface off the Kamchatka Peninsula and was trapped on the seabed for 4 days until an international rescue effort managed to cut it free (kimointernational.org, 2010). A passenger ferry travelling off the west coast of Korea in 1993 became entangled in 10mm nylon rope, which coiled around both propeller shafts and the right propeller, causing the vessel to suddenly turn, capsize and sink with the loss of 292 of the 362 passengers (kimointernational.org, 2010). These examples demonstrate that marine litter poses navigational hazards to all kinds of vessels and can result in extremely serious consequences, including loss of life (kimointernational.org, 2010). This is in addition to the risks associated with marine litters and divers, swimmers, etc. This is an issue that must be addressed in the near term to improve the health and safety impacts it presents.

Technology such as robotics and computer controlled machine tools have certainly minimized the health and safety impacts of the automotive agency, but the International Labor Office (ILO) still retains concerns pertaining to this technology. Of primary concern to this organization is the implementation of health and safety measures only after workers are injured or become ill from this technology. In addition, the ILO is taking a wait and see approach with how the incorporation of new technology could produce greater health and safety risks or simply develop new issues in that realm. While realizing they cannot entirely eliminate all health and safety risks, the ILO feels that more in depth communication with workers in the industry, research on chemicals used in this field and intensive monitoring is the best approach to alleviating health and safety risks.

What is interesting about the increased use of technology in the automotive industry and how it will impact health and safety problems, the presence of workplace stress. The ILO cites this a major area of interest for them as stress in the workplace has increasingly become problematic with the advent of scientific advances in our modern world. The organization feels this can never be eradicated but should be taken into consideration when assessing anything related to health and safety concerns. This is interesting because with the ingestion or inhaling of more than 200,000 toxic chemicals by workers (Linsenmayer, 1985), stress in the workplace received quite a bit of attention. It should not be surprising though, as stress is known to affect a person’s overall physical and mental health. Examples of stress in the automotive industry include long hours, contending with machines that constantly need repair and the chemicals they are exposed to. What is helpful to this industry’s health and safety concerns are the multitude of laws in effect that regulate and monitor these issues.

In regards to these three industry sectors, each one contains its own specific health and safety impacts that are entirely unique to that particular field. Also, all three have legislation, regulations and international cooperation on how to assess, as well as protect against health and safety issues. However, they are vastly different in how the future of these impacts will be pursued or considered highly relevant. For example, the automotive industry appears on much more solid ground to reduce these problems because it is established and professionals in the field are highly concerned. Not that there is not concern amongst the other two industries, but there are too many unknown variables about exactly what those risks completely encompass. Therefore, more research must be conducted.

  • Bateson, Lozano, Mouat. (2010) ‘Economic Impact of Marine Litter.’ Kimointernational.org. Web. Retrieved on August 4, 2014 from http://www.kimointernational.org/
  • Bourcier, Denis. (2011) ‘Controls and Health Effects.’ ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety. Web. Retrieved on August 9, 2014 from http://www.ilo.org
  • Linsenmayer, Tadd. (1985) ‘ILO Examines Impact of Technology on Worker Safety and Health.’ Foreign Labor Developments. Web. Retrieved on August 9, 2014 from http://www.bls.gov

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