Carrying out your case study
Your first task is to select an appropriate case study (publicized or your own experience) in which sufficient information is available in order to carry out the steps of this assessment. You may also need to manage uncertainty around information that is not available in your response. The case study can involve a chemical, physical, psychosocial or biological hazard.
PLEASE ENSURE that if you select a personal experience, you do not breach the privacy or confidentiality of the workplace where it occurred. Detailed information on exposure is not required. Use a pseudonym rather than the actual name of the workplace.
Once you have selected your case study, you should proceed within the following context.
Case study scenario
You are the recently appointed Senior OHS officer in the location of your selected case study where a hazard has been identified. You won the position largely because you highlighted the postgraduate studies you are currently undertaking. These studies are advancing your research skills and knowledge in OHS, as well as your communication and interpersonal skills. There is media interest in the situation, which is causing concern throughout the workplace.
You have just been called into the company’s board meeting convened specifically in response to the identification of the hazard. You are told that the Board is extremely concerned about the situation, both reputational and financial risks involved, and the members have selected you to lead the response.
They have asked you to write a report on the hazard, which includes the following:
• Clarification of avenues of potential or actual exposure in the workplace setting and possible immediate and latent impacts on the health and wellbeing of the workers, considering underlying vulnerabilities, and if applicable, others potentially affected. (Brief, 10%)
• Evaluation of the level of risk to the workers in relation to the health and wellbeing impacts mentioned above using currently available site-specific information if it exists.
(whatever is publically available in the case study you have chosen, this may be only qualitative). (Brief, 10%; not a formal risk assessment)
You must then identify an Immediate Plan of Action and make recommendations that address the following issues:
• Outline immediate actions required to manage the current situation (In depth, 20%)
• This may include describing how to communicate the risks to potentially exposed workers and their families, noting any psychosocial or cultural considerations
• Identifying any immediate prevention mechanisms needed to ensure workers are not further exposed in the current situation
• Implement the most appropriate surveillance approach to enable assessment of current levels of exposure and identify any future exposures across the workforce (what measures will be used, how frequently, how will the information be communicated) (In depth, 20%)
• Provide rehabilitation and support for any affected and/or more vulnerable workers (and families if applicable) (In depth, 20%)
• Guide the company in further steps to ensure prevention of future exposures to this particular hazard as well as to any other work related hazards that may arise in future, that is steps of risk mitigation. (10%)
• Demonstrate to the public that the company is committed, not only to the prevention of worker exposure to hazards, but also to the promotion of health and wellbeing of workers, families and the broader community. (10%)
The Board has emphasised that it is your responsibility to ensure that the matter is dealt with in the most transparent and effective manner possible using the latest methods and research evidence available.
The company is proud of its record of openness and integrity in its duty of care towards their workforce and is keen to be able to respond to the media honestly and in a manner that demonstrates accountability and expertise on all OHS matters.
The Board emphasised to you that they will be publishing the final version of your report on their website and, due to copyright issues, will be submitting the report through Turnitin to ensure they are protected from allegations of plagiarism from other authors and institutions (not including yourself for this assessment – but remember you cannot ‘recycle’ assessments from previous units).
As this is your first major opportunity to be noticed in your job, you are very keen to demonstrate to the Board your own skills and knowledge, as well as the benefits of having direct OHS expertise in the company.
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