PROBLEMS AT WORK
A) Health and safety
Here are some health and safety issues for people at work.
b) passive smoking
c) repetitive strain injury or RSI
d) dangerous machinery
e) hazardous substances
f) fire hazards
All these things contribute to a bad working environment. The government sends officials called health and safety inspectors to make sure that factories and offices are safe places to work. They check what companies are doing about things like: heating and air-conditioning, first aid, fire precautions.
B) Bullying and harassment
If someone such as a manager bullies an employee, they use their position of power to hurt or threaten them, for example verbally. Someone who does this is a bully. Sexual harassment is when an employee behaves sexually towards another in a way that they find unwelcome and unacceptable. The related verb is harass.
If people are treated differently from others in an unfair way, they are discriminated against.
If a woman is unfairly treated just because she is a woman, she is a victim of sex discrimination. In many organizations, women complain about the glass ceiling that allows them to get to a particular level but no further.
If someone is treated unfairly because of their race, they are a victim of racial discrimination or racism. Offensive remarks about someone´s race are racist and the person making them is a racist.
In the US, affirmative action is when help is given in education and employment to groups who were previously discriminated against. In Britain, affirmative action is known as equal opportunities.
Some companies have a dignity at work policy covering all the issues described in B and C.
8.1 Match the employees´ complaints (1-6) to the health´ and safety issues (a-f) in A opposite.
1. My doctor says there´s something wrong with my lungs, but I´ve never smoked.
2. I do a lot of data entry, and I´ve started getting really bad pains in my wrists.
3. It´s either too cold and we freeze, or too hot and we all fall asleep.
4. There’s all this waste paper but there are no fire extinguishers in the building.
5. The containers are leaking - one day someone is going to get acid burns.
6 There are no safety guards on the machines; you could easily get your band caught.