Reflection Paper on Sexual Harassment

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Workplace wellness is a concept or trend that is relatively new and concentrates on overall employee health and wellness. It includes the blending of health and safety programs to enhance overall worker well-being (physical, mental, emotional, social, and economic health) and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. In recent times, many companies have had an increased focus on wellness as they have realized that a healthy ecosystem in the workplace leads to productivity, securing and keeping talent at the top level, and the overall success of a company that is beyond just workplace safety. The Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jamaica through the minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton has also changed its strategic focus and renewed its mandate which is “To ensure the provision of quality health services and to promote healthy lifestyles and environmental practices”. My organization The University of Technology, Jamaica, through the HR department and in collaboration with the staff union has developed a health and wellness program in which staff members pay a minimum monthly fee and both staff members and their families can participate in the weekly sports programs (swimming, tennis, etc) offered. Additionally, the union has a weekly exercise program (Slim possible) that facilitate all staff member.

The concept of workplace wellness emanated from Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). OSH emerged from capitalism (18th-19th Century/1st-2nd Industrial Revolution) with the evolution from agronomy to factories (cotton). OSH ‘s primary focus is to control hazards and the general environment and to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Prior to OSH, industries were created mainly for maximum production with little regard for employee well-being and safety. The coal/mining industry and cotton industry were two examples that were mentioned which exposed workers to injuries and even death in some instances. This created health hazards and environmental deficiencies which affected the communities in which people lived.

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Subsequently, through the International Labour Organisation,(ILO) and Regulatory reforms introduced in many industrialized countries, the traditional, prescriptive approach to occupational safety and health (OSH) issues stimulated the development of OSH management. OSH management became popular in the 1970s and 1980s on the basis of experience. OSH regulations have changed from a prescriptive style to a more ‘self-regulatory’ and ‘goal-setting’ model (Frick and Wren, 2000; Bluff, 2003) and have established a general framework for systematic OSH management that is proactive, participative, and better integrated with companies. Presently many companies have taken OSH more seriously, although there is a cost hazard that drives up production as mentioned by Oniel Samuel. In addition, many organizations (primarily exporters) pursue ISO certifications that complement the Jamaica Occupational Safety and Health Act, JOSA, which was tabled and is expected to be passed in Parliament by December 2019. Also, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the National Regulatory and Compliance Authority (NCRA) are closely associated with organizations in which it monitors, promote, and encourages standardization in relation to commodities, processes, and practices. Bernard Campbell also suggested that most companies must be ISO-compliant in order to conduct business internationally.

During the discussion, it was emphasized that ILO data shows an estimated 2.3 million death-related accidents or diseases each year and that most occur in third-world countries where OSH standards have not been adopted. Rosemarie informed the class that JPS is one institution that operates with international standards and takes staff health and wellness seriously due to the nature of the business. She explained that staff members are given Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, which is part of the general employment framework that must be worn by staff. When there is non-compliance, staff members should be cited by the organization, and disciplinary action is taken. JPSCO was referenced for their Basic Behavior Safety Observation (BBSO) to hold team members accountable and an example where OSH is practiced at international standards Workplace accidents/injuries are largely underreported in Jamaica as many operations are informal. (eg Welding, Auto Repair, A/C installers, Block factory, Sand Mining). It was again reiterated that one primary reason safety does not conform to international standards and best practices is due to prohibitive costs. It was suggested that in organizations where risk is high a safety culture should be encouraged. Additionally, international states can influence OSH practices by means of common, legislation and regulation, code of practices, and policy documents.

Other areas discussed were ergonomics, sociotechnical systems, and sexual harassment in the organization. Ergonomics is defined as the science of fitting a workplace to the users’ needs with an aim to increase efficiency and productivity and is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines (computer screens etc) and equipment to reduce discomfort. Ergonomics is a fundamental part of occupational health and safety and productivity in many organizations based on the three spears; physical, psychological(cognitive), and organizational. In my organization (Utech, Ja) there is an Environmental Health Officer employed by the HR department whose duties include, ensuring that matters that may affect employees' health and wellness are dealt with by the organization. These include ergonomics, air quality, and work hazards. Jamaica National was another company cited as having special ergonomic chairs which provide lumbar support and restrict unsolicited movement for staff. These issues highlighted if not dealt with strategically will cost companies millions in health-related compensation.

Sociotechnical systems popularized by Emery at. el (1960) were the first to model the organization which looks at the social and technical aspects of an organization. The sociotechnical system focuses on the goodness of fit between people and technology and concentrates on procedures and related knowledge. Like ergonomics and health and wellness, the focus must be placed on sociotechnical systems in the sense of workplace balance in which workers feel safe and perform optimally. Many organizations such as FLOW and Sagicor have implemented flexible-schedule in which people can work from home or come to work at a particular time.

Adding to the discussion is the issues of sexual harassment in the organization and its impact on the workplace. Sexual Harassment is defined as the unwelcome sexual advances which the harassed individual finds offensive. Victims of sexual harassment can become traumatized by the experience so much so that they become physically sick resulting in increased sick leave and reduced productivity. Human Resource professionals are urged to establish a sexual harassment policy at the workplace and ensure that it is communicated to every member of staff. He/she should ensure that there is a grievance procedure in place and that the aggrieved person can register his/her complaints in a non-threatening environment. In Jamaica, The Sexual Harassment Bill was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 9) by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange. The Bill outlines the types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment and prohibits certain related conduct.

In closing, I am happy that this topic was discussed and these areas were highlighted. As a staff, I recognized that if things in an organization do not affect us directly we do not pay attention to them, therefore, the human resource does not feel the need to implement them. Employee health and wellness should be every organization's priority and include the blending of health and safety programs along a range of organizational, personal, and occupational ( sexual harassment, ergonomics, etc) activities to enhance overall worker well-being and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.

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Reflection Paper on Sexual Harassment. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Reflection Paper on Sexual Harassment.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023,
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