INFLUENCES OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY MANAGEMENT ON EMPLOYEE’S JOB COMMITMENT
Organization safety management is a function that hinges on the human resource department of every organization in the current realities of business life. This study looks at how safety management is used not only to promote workers well being, but as a way of increasing their efficiency towards their work and to motivate them in putting their best into their work and also to bring about all round improvement in their performance as related to productivity. This study also examines the impact of labour laws and legislation on the practices of occupational safety in the workplace and how best organizations have been adhering to the labour standards and factories Acts. A survey research method was adopted using Wempco Ltd, Lagos as a case study. Questionnaire was the major instrument used for the study. A sample size of one hundred and fifty-two (152) was selected using stratified sampling procedure. Four hypotheses were used at 0.05 alpha level. Data were analyzed with the use of Regression analysis. The findings show that, there is a significant relationship between occupational safety management and employee’s job commitment. Among the sub-variable of independent variable, safety training has a strong significant effect on employee’s job commitment. It was however, recommended that management should intensify efforts towards creating an enabling environment that is hygienic, safe and comfortable to employees.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Safety and health principles are universal, but how much action is needed will depend on the size of the organization, the hazards presented by its activities, the physical characteristics of the organization, products or services, and the adequacy of its existing arrangements. Many of the features of effective safety management are analogous to the sound management practices advocated by proponents of quality management, environmental protection, and business excellence. Commercially successful companies often excel at safety and health management as well, precisely because they apply the same efficient business expertise to safety and health as to all other aspects of their operations.
On an average day, 17 US workers are killed and 16,000 are injured in work- related accidents, resulting in a cost to industry of more than USS 110 billion annually (Barr, 1999). This injury rate is increasing. Traditional safety efforts have focused on the engineering aspects of safety; however, relatively few accidents (10%) are a consequence of unsafe mechanical or physical conditions. While most on-the-job accidents and injuries appear to result from employees’ unsafe acts, incidents typically are not caused by single operator errors, but are end-events in a chain of interacting factors on several systems levels (Wilpert, 2004). While many unsafe acts are committed, very few will penetrate an organization’s defenses to result in accident or injury (Reason, 2004).
It is becoming increasingly apparent that it is restrictive to discuss failures of large- scale technological systems solely in terms of the technological aspects. Individuals, their organizations, groups, and cultures are all-important factors in the design, construction, operation, and monitoring of technological systems. Until recently, this issue has been described in the related literature of error.” While human error does contribute to accidents, the behavioral causes of failure are often found to be far more subtle when incidents are of a technological system (Pidgeon, 2011). Many expectations are built into the current Nigeria health and safety 1e2islation that specifies the responsibilities of managers and employees with regard to safe working practices. These suppositions are more likely to be fulfilled if a positive cultural attitude toward safety exists. The costs of failure to comply with these expectations are increasing.
As workers become more educated, they are more likely to expect safer working conditions; a more safety and environmentally conscious public is increasingly willing to express its disapproval of companies that are perceived to behave carelessly. This public reproach was evident during the American consumer boycott of Exxon gasoline following the Valdez oil spill (Turner, 2001). Researchers have found that safety performance is affected by organization’s socially transmitted beliefs and attitudes toward safety (Ostrom, Wilhelrnsem, & Kaplan, 2009).
The concept of safety culture (Pidgeon,20 11) was developed as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which focused attention on the human and organizational elements contributing to the unsafe operation of technological systems. The goal of a safety culture is to develop a norm in which employees are aware of the risks in their workplace and are continually on the lookout for hazards (Ostrom et al., 2003). A safety culture motivates and recognizes safe behavior by focusing on the attil4ides and behaviors of the employees. It is a process not a program; it takes time to develop and requires a collective effort to implement its many features (Ban, 2008).
In order for employees to be active participants in a safety program, they must receive occupational safety training. Several issues affect: the perception of risk levels and should be understood when training employees in occupational safety. People tend not to use the likelihood of injury in their judgments of product safety; rather, the severity of injury plays the foremost role in decisions to read warnings and act cautiously (Young, Brelsford, 2007). In today’s competitive world, every organization especially construction company is facing new challenges regarding occupational safety and creating committed workforce. Organizations can perform at peak levels only when employees are committed to the organization’s objectives. Hence, it is important to understand the concept of commitment and its feasible outcome (Wogalter, 1990). Vredenburgh and Cohen (2005) found that the level of perceived danger increased compliance to warnings and instructions; therefore, it is critical that all employees are trained to identify the hazards associated with their workplace. Finally, experience and knowledge of issues in workers protection have led to a greater appreciation of how safety management is directly related to employee’s job commitment.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Safety management as a practice is very sacrosanct for the functional well being of any organization. Often times, it has been observed that occupational hazard is surprisingly common in all sectors of the economy. Studies in the past have revealed that organizations do not (or partially) take proper consideration of the well-being of its employees, and it has led to lower commitment from the workers. Usually, this is a result of insufficient safety measures in factories and lack of personal protective ‘equipment and there has never been a form of payment to the injured employees. Also, there has never been any form of programmes regards to safety training which will enable individual employees or workers to be conscious of any occupational hazardous as related to their operations at the workplace.
The effect of the job related injuries go far beyond the economic loss to the organization and extend to long-term consequences toworkers, their families and their friends. Instead, they were focusing or seeking for more profit margins at least cost. When the workers have known that their lives are not secured in terms safety and well-being, they would not be able to exert more effort to their jobs or not frilly committed to their jobs.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of the research is to examine the relationship between occupational safety management and employees’ job commitment in WEMPCO Industries Limited. The specific objectives are:
1. To examine the various approaches in achieving the wellbeing of employees by managing the work environment.
2. To find out organizational efforts towards hazard control and management.
3. To examine the relationship between safety practices and employee’s job commitment.
4. To offer suggestions on how well the safety of staff at work could be managed towards enhancing the employees’ job commitment.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions should guide this research study:
1. To what extent does occupational safety management affect employee’s job commitment?
2. Does safety training influence employees participation?
3. Would occupational safety policies have impact on employees’ job commitment?.
4. To what degree does a safety practice affect employees’ job commitment?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses will be tested to verify the relationship between the subject matters variables under consideration;
H01: There is no significant relationship between occupational safety management and employee’s job commitment.
H02: There is no significant relationship between safety training and employees job commitment.
H03: There is no significant relationship between occupational safety policies and employees’ job commitment.
H04: There is no significant relationship between safety practices and employees job commitment.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study aim towards enabling organizations to entrench s principles in a way that will reduce the large numbers of serious and fatal accidents and cases of which occur eve year in the construction Industry. There are many organizations with many workers in their employ, yet maintaining little or haphazard attention to safety program. They may see such program as a wasteful venture without considering the negative cost implications of such perception. This Research revealed that greater percentage of organizational success is based on the maintenance of effective safety management system. Therefore, to enable management reduce hazards, accidents and effect of disasters in the work place, in order to reduce costs associated with unsafe work environment in organizations, recommendations will be made in this study which will help management develop a safe place of work and effective safety policy and ensure its effective implementation within the organization.
Also, it would enable employers and employees know their rights and responsibility within the workplace in relations to safety management. Therefore, the findings of this study will be of significant to policy makers especially government and its agencies in charge of labor administration and productivity in Nigeria. Besides, the study will be relevant to organization development and change agent who may conduct similar studies in the future on safety management and on how it should be effectively managed.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The coverage of this study will not extend beyond the occupational safety management as related to employees’ job commitment. The study is however limited to WEMPCO Industries Limited located at Ibafo along Lagos-express way, as a case focus.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: An unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, causing damages or injuries or death at work place.
EMPLOYEES’ JOB COMMITMENT: It is a force that binds an employee to a course of action at work. It entails the level at which employees are committed to their jobs in an organization.
OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD: It is anything that causes harm electricity, nail etc.
HUMAN ERROR: An act or condition of ignorance or imprudent deviation from a code of behavior in a given task or sub element of task.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY MANAGEMENT: This is an area concerned with protecting the safety of people engaged at work effectively.
RISK: It is the chance, large or small, of harm actually being done by the hazard.
SAFETY: It is the state of being certain that adverse effect will not be caused by some agent under defined conditions.
SAFETY CULTURE: This is an organization’s norms, beliefs, roles, attitude and practices concerned with minimizing exposure of employees to workplace hazards.
SAFETY TRAINING: It can be described as a short term systematic process through which an employee acquires technical skills and consciousness of being safe at workplace.