The Influence of Occupational Health and Safety on Employee Performance
The Objective of the Study
The objective of the study was to establish the effects of occupational safety and health programs on employee performance at Ghana Power Company.
The study aimed at finding out the following:
- To examine the influence of occupational health and safety on service delivery in the company.
- To identify any inadequacies in the hospital’s health and safety measures.
- To examine the roles of the employee, employers in the execution of health and safety programmes in the hospital.
- To assess the level of compliance of occupational health and safety practices by employers and employees.
The chapter focused on the literature review on occupational safety and health programs on employee performance. The chapter highlights the theoretical foundation, occupational health and safety, and the effects of occupational safety and health programs on employee performance.
The study used Goal-Freedom Alertnes Theory and Distractions Theory to explain the effects of occupational safety and health programs to employee performance. These two theories are reviewed below.
Goal-Freedom Alertness Theory
The Goal-Freedom Alertness Theory was developed by Kerr (1950) and it states that safe work performance is the result of psychologically rewarding work environment. Under this theory, accidents are viewed as low-quality work behaviour occurring in an unrewarding psychological climate. This contributes to a lower level of alertness. According to the theory, a rewarding psychological climate is one where workers are encouraged to participate, set sustainable goals and choose methods or safety programmes to attain those safety and health goals. They must be allowed to participate in raising and solving problems.
Goal-Freedom Alertness Theory essentially states that management should let workers have well defined goals and freedom to pursue those goals. The result is a higher level of alertness and a focus on the tasks at hand. The theory suggests that managers and supervisors should try and make work more rewarding for workers. They may use a variety of managerial techniques including positive reinforcements, goal setting participative management and clear work assignments. Heinrich et.al (1980) supports the theory by stating workers will be safe in a positive work environment. They argue that safe performance is compromised by a climate that diverts the attention of workers. They confirm that hazards divert the workers attention during work hours and thus the diversion increases susceptibility to injury. Heinrich et. al (1980) suggests that managers and supervisors can actively work to alleviate hazards in the work environment. Reaction of workers to unsafe conditions depends on the fact that whether the worker identifies the unsafe condition.
In this chapter the researcher has presented Research Design, Target Population, Sample Design,
Data Collection Procedures, and Data Analysis and Presentation
The study adopted Descriptive research design in form of a survey. The design is found appropriate because the departments and units of the organization (Ghana Power Company) are many and they will be investigated independently. According to Cooper and Schindler (2003) descriptive design are used to describe phenomena associated with a subject population or to estimate proportions of the population that have certain characteristics.
According to (Kombo & Tirop, 2011) all items in any field of inquiry constitute a population. The target population is a complete set of individual, cases or objects with the same common characteristics to which the researcher wants to generalize the results of the study (Mugenda, 2005). The target population in this study was all the employees working at Ghana Power and
Lighting Company who are both unionized and non-unionized. According to the Human Resource Department the total number of employees’ is 10,465 (Ghana Power and Lighting Company-Human Resource Department, 2021).
DATA ANALYSIS, RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter presents analysis, results and discussions. The chapter consists of four sections which were response rate, demographic characteristics of the respondents, results of occupational health and safety and employee performance which were presented through correlation and regression analysis. The findings of the study were presented in form of tables and graphs.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter gives an overview of findings, conclusions and recommendations drawn based on such findings and recommendations. The conclusions are made from the objectives of the study.
Summary of Findings
The objective of the study was to establish the effects of occupational safety and health programs on employee performance at Ghana Power Company. Data was collected by use of structured questionnaires. The findings indicate that majority of the respondents were male which had a significant difference thought did not affect the findings of the study due to the nature of work carried out in the company. This implied that the study was not influenced by gender imbalance. All the levels of employees were involved in the study with high response rate being in unionsable employees. The results have also showed that majority of employees have worked in the company between 6-10 years and therefore they had enough experience hence provide most reliable information on occupational health and safety programs in the organization. The findings revealed that majority of the respondents had Higher Diploma which meant that the respondents were knowledgeable on safety and health programs. The research found out that majority of the respondents were in Transmission and Commercial Services Department, the findings reflect that all departments and business areas were involved in the study. The findings indicate that majority of the respondents were above 45 years old which that the likely to affected by hazards, illnesses, injuries, and occupational diseases in the workplace.
The findings majority of the respondents clearly indicate that the company have Occupational safety and Health Programs. Occupational health surveillance programs is carried out by qualified, trained and experienced people, and that surveillance is in accordance with the law (OSHA). However, there is not much periodic examination and assessment of working environment is not adequate. The study indicate that Ghana Power Company has health and safety committee. The health and safety committee has not allowed participation of employees in its activities, identified health and safety issues to be addressed or make improvements hence employees are not confident with the composition of health and safety committee.
The findings also show that the employee assistance program was adapted to a moderate extent in the company. The results imply that though Ghana Power Company has employee assistance program in place though there is moderate reduction of health care costs nor decrease in marital issues and drug abuse. The findings on employee wellness program indicate that Ghana Power Company has adopted the program to a moderate extent. However, absenteeism rate has decreased accidents severity, workers productivity has increased slightly and there is no much reduction of employees’ health hazards and illness. The findings show that Ghana Power Company have to a moderate extent have a Health and Safety Policy in place. However, the roles and responsibilities of the employees and employer are not well defined as the policy does not comply with Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007. The policy has not defined the procedure for handling complaints on health and safety, and has not been made available to all employees for transparency purposes. Health and safety policy is key in promotion of occupational health and safety as part of an overall improvement in working conditions requires a well comprehensive and elaborate health and safety policy which aims at promoting and advancing at all levels of the company the right of workers to a safe and healthy working environment.
Health and safety inspections have been moderately at Ghana Power Company. However, the company does not conduct regular inspections at the workplace, the inspections have not helped in developing health and safety strategies and initiatives that are tailored to the company safety needs and also the employees are not involved in the process. Health and safety training has been adopted at Ghana Power Company moderately. The company partially conducts health and safety training to understand proper working methods, employees healthy work style, lifestyle, and explaining relevant laws and regulations. However, the company does not openly share with the employees’ information about health and safety provisions or outcomes, and there is no ongoing education on health and safety.
On employee performance majority of the respondents at Ghana Power Company strongly agreed that performance play a major role in the daily duties and responsibilities, there is measuring of outcomes in the shape of delivered performance compared with expectations expressed the agreement of role requirements, objectives and performance improvement and personal development plans. It provides the setting for ongoing dialogues about performance, which involves the joint and continuing review of achievements against objectives, requirements and plans. The findings imply that employee performance is key at Ghana Power Company with special focus is on working within pre-established goals and objectives, participation in evaluation of performance, setting of targets, identifying of work priorities, honesty and trustworthiness, time management, customer focus and service, and maintenance of high standards of professionalism. However, performance is very low in regard to ability to manage others people, delegation of duties, leadership and mentorship.
All the independent variables were found to have a strong positive correlation of above .80 except employee assistance program that has a weak positive correlation with employee performance. The study results support a positive relationship between occupational safety and health programs on employee performance in Ghana Power Company. In conclusion occupational health and safety programs contribute to performance of employees at Ghana Power Company.
From the findings and discussion most occupational safety and health programs were found to have been adopted by the organization while employee performance was a continuous and flexible process that involved all levels of staff at Ghana Power Company. Although occupational safety and health in great extent determines employee performance the company has put little effort in establishing some programs. The respondents were in agreement with certain occupational safety and health programs which were found to be strong while others were moderate. The research established that OSH programs bring about measurable improvements in safety and health in the world of work and the applications of preventive strategies therefore offers significant human and economic benefits. Total commitment on the part of management to making safety and health a priority is essential to a successful OSH programme in the workplace. It is only when management plays a positive role that workers view such programmes as a worthwhile and sustainable exercise.
Occupational health and safety must aim at both prevention and protection. Efforts must be focused above all on primary prevention at the workplace level. Workplaces and working environments should be planned and designed to be safe and healthy. Continuous improvement of occupational safety and health must be promoted. This is necessary to ensure that company health and safety policy, regulations and technical standards to prevent occupational injuries, diseases and deaths are adapted periodically to social, technical and scientific progress and other changes in the world of work. It is best done by the development and implementation of activities that align to the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Information is vital for the development and implementation of effective programmes. The collection and dissemination of accurate information on hazards and hazardous materials, surveillance of workplaces, monitoring of compliance with policies and good practice, and other related activities are central to the establishment and enforcement of effective policies. Health promotion is a central element of occupational health practice. Efforts must be made to enhance workers’ physical, mental and social well-being at Ghana Power Company. Compensation, rehabilitation and curative services must be made available to workers who suffer occupational injuries, accidents and work related diseases. Action must be taken to minimize the consequences of occupational hazards
Education and training are vital components of safe, healthy working environments. Workers and employers must be made aware of the importance of establishing safe working procedures and of how to do so. Trainers must be trained in areas of special relevance to particular departments at Ghana Power Company, so that they can address the specific occupational safety and health concerns. Clearly, some overlap exists among these general principles. For example, the gathering and dissemination of information on various facets of occupational safety and health underlies all the activities described. Information is needed for the prevention as well as the treatment of occupational injuries and diseases. It is also needed for the creation of effective policies and to ensure that they are enforced. Education and training demand information. Workers, employers and competent authorities have certain responsibilities, duties and obligations. For example, workers must follow established safety procedures; employers must provide safe workplaces and ensure access to first aid; and the competent authorities must devise, communicate and periodically review and update occupational safety and health policies.
Policies must be enforced. A system of inspection must be in place to secure compliance with occupational safety and health measures and other labour legislation. The responsibilities of top management, middle level management, supervisors and unionisable workers should be seen as complementary and mutually reinforcing in the common task of promoting occupational safety and health to the greatest extent possible within the constraints of company conditions and practice. Because occupational hazards arise at the workplace, it is the responsibility of top management to ensure that the working environment is safe and healthy. This means that they must prevent, and protect workers from, occupational risks. But top management’ responsibility goes further, entailing knowledge of occupational hazards and a commitment to ensure that management processes promote safety and health at work. For example, an awareness of safety and health implications should guide decisions on the choice of technology and on how work is organized. Management should allocate sufficient resources (financial and human) for the proper functioning of the occupational safety and health programme. Dynamic management strategies need to be developed and implemented to ensure the coherence, relevance and currency of all the elements that make up Ghana Power Company OSH system.
Ghana Power Company should set up a Joint safety and health committee that provide a valuable framework for discussion and for concerted action to improve safety and health. Cooperation in the field of occupational safety and health between management and workers or their representatives at the workplace is an essential element in maintaining a healthy working environment. It may also contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a good social climate and to the achievement of wider objectives. The establishment of joint safety and health committee and of workers’ safety delegates is now common practice, and can help to promote workers’ active involvement in safety and health work.
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