Writing on Occupational Health and Safety is a difficult task for a number of reasons. This is because, on the one hand, it is an area that is well described by regulations and standards, which must be referred to and taken into account in further analyses, which may seem redundant with previous publications. On the other hand, the task of the researcher is to seek methods to better understand and describe the laws governing reality, and sometimes to doubt the effectiveness of those used so far. Thus, it is necessary to analyze and try to improve the existing state of regulations, principles, and approaches in Occupational Health and Safety. This combination of the description of the normative-legal state with the need to constantly seek new methods is therefore also unfamiliar to the authors of the Occupational Health and Safety, 2023 monograph. This requires, as the authors themselves write, an approach - unavoidably broad, including a wide range of professions, which is another difficulty of a comprehensive approach to the subject of OHS, and which was achieved by the authors.
Nowadays in Europe, OHS activities have been structured by European Union regulations, so chapter two describes the framework for safety and health and discusses the influence of the European Union on OSH, identifying the key sources of health and safety information sources. Even a very universal approach to OHS requires reference to specific legal environments and cases, so the authors cited regulatory national legislative aspects from Romania, Italy, and Spain. This combination is intentional - these countries are united by cultural proximity on the one hand, but at the same time are characterized by different levels of development, which makes it possible to draw unified conclusions on issues affecting the state of OHS around Europe. Such issues addressed include for example, minimum training requirements in the field of occupational safety and health. Effective problem-solving in the field of occupational safety and health requires tools, which are characterized in Chapter 4 of the monograph. A valuable element here is the characterization of tools by the scope of application, which are: analytical approach, accident model, and required expertise level. This approach facilitates the selection of the right method, from a long list of risk analysis methods such as Fault Tree Analysis - FTA, Event Tree Analysis - ETA, or Management Oversight Risk Tree - MORT.
Very often, considerations in the area of OHS are undertaken without considering their performance, but the authors of the monograph do not make this mistake by addressing these issues in the chapter on health and safety performance monitoring and measuring. These issues are addressed both at the level of national legislation on occupational health and safety (OHS) as well as of ISO 45001:2018 standard. Practical aspects regarding audit and evaluation of compliance and a checklist-based method for evaluation of compliance with legal requirements are also presented here.
To ensure that the issues raised are not left at too high a level of vagueness, Chapter 6 presents a comprehensive risk assessment that includes the steps: description of the system to be analyzed; identification of risk factors in the system; assessment of occupational injury and illness risks; the ranking of risks and the establishment of prevention priorities; the establishment of preventive measures. The next one, on the other hand, refers to a very important issue from the point of view of occupational safety, which is explosion prevention and explosion protection in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Finally, the extremely important aspect of the impact of occupational health and safety on companies' general performance was addressed. This is a very important factor in today's economy, where management through ergonomics is proving to be an increasingly effective tool for bringing about changes in workplaces. For many decades, these two areas were treated separately, while the right combination of the two makes it possible to achieve an effective apparatus for influencing the work environment and business environment. This bottom-up approach and focus on ergonomic prevention and in the area of occupational hazards allow for an increase in the involvement of employees in the implementation of changes and significantly increase the likelihood of successful implementation of projects. The authors provide examples of successful programs in this regard.
Thus, it can be summarized that the monograph authored by eleven authors from 7 academic and research institutions dealing with occupational safety and health issues for years is cross-cutting and scientifically useful. Certainly, a strong point of the publication is the coverage of the latest issues applicable to OSH such as organizational resilience, management by ergonomics, and systems approach - VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) in organizational environment. The reader of the publication who is interested in the area of OSH will certainly find a point of interest and will be able to verify his or her knowledge on the OSH subject.
Department of Ergonomics and Quality Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Management
Poznan University of Technology