Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka (Inc.) Chartered Qualification in Human Resource Management
Competency Batch Level
HRM and Administrative Expertise DP-21-ON-E-81 DPHRM
Subject Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare
Assessment mode Case Study 02
Handing over date 18th April 2022
Submission Date 08th May 2022 (Before 05.00pm)
Word Count 1500 words
OBJECTIVES OF CASE STUDY
By doing this case, the students will gain a practical perspective of how theory is applied in the
“Work environment”. The theory to practice exercise will reinforce better comprehension and learning of this module and Workplace Safety.
Oshin Perera is a health care worker in her forties. She caught her foot in a piece of torn stair carpet and fell. She was initially diagnosed with a broken finger.
However, she subsequently developed a neurological condition and lost most of the use of her left arm. She has not returned to work and had to retire as a result.
She tells her story;
I’ve worked for over twenty years in this job in the same residential care (Home for the elders).
I’ve enjoyed my work immensely, and I don’t mind telling you I was known for my dedication, service and friendliness.
Over the years, I’ve raised thousands of rupees for the care home through well-wishers and similar initiatives. At 7 am one day in 2017, I was coming to the end of my night shift. I had been up and down the stairs of the care home countless times that night. I had passed the torn stair carpet without any incident up until that point. I had one more job to do that shift: to get the residents up for their breakfast. The torn stair carpet had been known for about months, but requests from our Health and Safety Committee to have the carpet repaired or replaced had gone unheard.
Our staff repeatedly taped up the torn section, but contractors had removed the covering during renovations earlier that week. So that morning, I began to walk up the stairs to get the residents up. As I walked up the first flight of stairs, I tripped on the torn section of carpet and fell forward. I put out my left hand to brace my fall. As I got up, I didn’t feel anything. However, when I looked down, I saw that the top of my ring finger above the knuckle was now snowwhite in colour and bent upwards towards me. I knew straight away that I had broken my finger.
I wasn’t in pain at that point, and I remember thinking that I have to get the residents up for their breakfast. So, with the help of a colleague, I just took my wedding rings off, bandaged my finger and continued the job of getting the residents up.
At 9.00 am, I finally left and took a three-wheeler myself to my (GP) family doctor. He told me to go to the nearest government hospital, so by 9.45 went to the hospital accompanied by my husband; I received treatment at the hospital. I was given two injections into my hand, and I remember the blood spurting out of the punctures made by the syringe. It was then that I started to feel pain in my finger and hand. The doctor made a splint for my finger and sent me home.
Two weeks after the accident, I began to feel pain in my shoulder and my finger. Then I started to lose the strength in my arm slowly. I went back and forth to my GP, consultants and physiotherapists, and all the time, my hand, arm and my left shoulder were getting worse. During one visit, they found out that I must have dislocated my shoulder during the fall. Then
I was finally diagnosed with synthetic reflex dystrophy (A chronic condition characterized by severe burning pain). I’ve been off work since. That’s over a year now, and I’ve been told I will not be able to go back to work.
I have no strength left in my left arm now, and I can keep my arm in my lap. My hand is always swollen. It’s red and purple and feels cold all the time. I can’t lift my arm far without using my other arm to pick it up. I cannot even wear my wedding rings anymore. My arm will not be getting better; it’s going to be like this forever. It might even get worse, and I’m left with this disability permanently.
This accident has turned my life upside down physically, emotionally and financially. In physical terms, I can’t do the things I was able to do. Simple things like making the bed or using the Hoover are now beyond me. I used to enjoy knitting, but that’s gone now. I can’t shop, and I get other people to buy all my drinks and bottles at the supermarket as they are too heavy for me to carry now. Emotionally the accident has affected me greatly. I loved my work.
I enjoyed the company of my workmates and the residents. Now I don’t see them anymore. I can’t bring myself to go to see them. The loneliness and isolation I now feel because I have no work. I’m still in touch with my workmates, which is so important to me now. I still remember the residents too.
When I was working there, they were always looking for my assistance; they were like family. I was always looking out for them and them for me. It makes me so sad to think I had another eight years left before I was to retire. And now I’m just left here, forgotten, after all those years of dedicated work and service. Financially, I’m a lot worse off now. I got my gratuity and EPF payments, but I’ve lost all the extra payments I used to get. So all my overtime payments, night work payments, money for working long weekends and bank holidays, that’s all gone now. Also, I have to visit the consultants and physiotherapists, and the expenses are very high. All my savings are now gone. I need to buy a car with the automatic gear change, but how can I afford that? The doctors have told me I won’t be going back to work, so now I have to live on what I get. Sometimes I feel so sad, but sometimes I feel so incredibly angry.
No one from management has come to see how I am or how I’m getting on. They have done nothing for me. All this pain and suffering because of a torn stair carpet. Management knew it was torn and did nothing about it. They even said the carpet was too expensive to replace and thought that I used to raise money for the home. Now look at me; I’m just left here with my disability.
CASE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. How will you apply the ‘Hierarchy of Controls’ to this case?
2. Are there any recommendations to improve the Hazard identification and Risk Assessment of this organization?
3. If there was effective management of occupational health and safety, what would be the business benefits? Discuss in the context of the relevant case study.
4. Critically discusses the management responsibilities that can be identified in the context of the case study. Is there any employee responsibilities that can be identified for deliberation?
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