The process of industrialization has been growing rapidly in recent years. The need for goods and services has prompted many people to engage in industrialization to satisfy their wants (Tillman, 2006). This, in turn, increases greenhouse gases emission. Greenhouse gases are the major causes of global warming which is associated with many deadly impacts on earth (Aldy et al, 2003). The adoption of the Kyoto Protocol Kyoto in 1997 was one of the steps taken to cut down the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Nations have therefore identified that there is a need to ensure that many production processes should be carried out in an environmentally friendly manner (Tillman, 2007). One of the environmentally sustainable projects to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases is the use of green technology. The use of such harmful raw materials in industries requires that occupational safety and health be taken into consideration to avoid dangerous risks at workplaces (Roughton, 2002). Many industries are now turning to convert methane into electricity since it is a renewable source of energy (Koester, 2000). Employees who work in green technology industries have their lives exposed to risks because; some raw materials like methane are highly flammable, toxic, and can cause suffocation. Additionally, machinery used in such industries may fail to have occupational safety and health thereby being venerable to exploding (Roughton, (2002). This research paper will focus on the deficiencies of UNFCCC in the management of wastewater as an environmental management tool because Occupational Health Safety is not realized fully.
Background of the research
Major international organizations that are concerned with the safety of employees at workplaces have always made emphasis on occupational health and safety (Tillman, 2007). For instance, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have made such an emphasis since the 1950s (Ladou, 2006). These two organizations defined occupational health and safety as a cross-disciplinary sector whose major concern is safety and health in a work environment. On the other hand, WHO emphasizes health matters in the production processes. These processes are the production of raw material, manufacturing, retail, and consumption (Koester, 2000). However, during the application of environmentally friendly green technology in these processes, Occupational Health Safety is not taken into account (Kogan, 2002). The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established to assist particularly developing nations and small islands in matters related to climate change (Weyant, 2009). Based on the Kyoto Protocol, it is evident that the major focus is the transfer of green technology from the developed nations to the least developed nations (Keller & Ritt, 2007). Industries in the developing nations are therefore likely to adopt the most cost-effective methods of production and with only a little concern on the Occupational Safety and Health (Keller & Ritt, 2007).
The purpose of this research proposal is to examine the need for the incorporation of Occupational Safety and Health measures into the green technology process. Occupational Safety and Health education should be entrenched in green technology projects that are environmentally sustainable so that people especially those in the developing nations can be in a position to avoid risks that may arise in the course of accidents in the industrial process. For instance, the extraction of renewable energy from methane can result in explosions since methane is highly flammable. Occupational Safety and Health education can help the industries learn how they can be avoided. With adequate knowledge of the risks, industries can therefore adopt best practices to minimize such health risks (Perkins, 2006).
Statement of the problem
The use of green technology such as generating electricity from biogas is essential in promoting environmental sustainability. However, failure to employ Occupational Health and Safety guidelines leads to disastrous events (Taesler, 2000). For instance, on January 26, 2010, the News Straits Times reported that one person died and two others seriously injured when a bio-gas tank exploded at a Refinery whose project number was 198402868E in Malaysia. The three people were employees of an engineering firm based in Kuala Lumpur and had gone there to do some maintenance works at the oil refinery company when the incident occurred. The police reported that one person died instantly while the other two sustained 30-90 percent burns after the powerful explosive threw them ten meters into the air. It also reported that the Mill Manager fainted during the incident as the accident was fatal and shocking. The incident is an example of risks that are associated with a lack of Occupational Health and Safety in green technology plants in developing nations.
Safety and Health assessment will help to develop effective risk management strategies to reduce safety risks in macro and micro Green Technology plants for the sake of environmental sustainability.
Significance of the study
The study will help developers of Green Technology projects to realize the need for the assessment of health and safety risks before implementing projects. Environmental sustainability can only be realized fully when Occupational Health and Safety measures are considered in green technology projects. Therefore, the study will help to draw specific recommendations to be adopted by the agencies responsible for reviewing Occupational Safety and Health in industries.
The research will employ qualitative methods of research. Secondary data will be collected from published sources like journals and books and also from the internet. Primary data will be collected by a focus group discussion in Oil Refineries after seeking approval from the management.
The outcomes of the research will help to draw recommendations on how to entrench Occupational Safety and Health in the green technology trade.
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