EFFECT OF HEALTH AND SAFETY ON EMPLOYEES PRODUCTIVITY
This study examines the relationship between health and safety regulations and productivity. The purpose of this study was to determine the health and safety standards of Nigeria Rubber Estates Limited, the effect of health and safety standards on employee productivity, the level of employee understanding of health and safety policies, the attitude of management towards employee health and safety, and the obstacles to the implementation of health and safety standards in the organization. The management and production employees of Nigeria Rubber Estates Limited were the only participants in the study. A research questionnaire and interview guide were designed and sent to a sample of 120 production and management workers. The responses came from the complete sample. The study indicated that management safety procedures and safety programs, management attitude towards health and safety, investigation of accidents, supervisors’ safety, and training of employees on the organisation’s safety standards impact employee productivity. It also indicated that health and safety requirements have a beneficial influence on productivity if they are managed efficiently. Therefore, it was suggested that organizations establish active health and safety committees with the authority to fully implement their recommendations. In addition, employees should be provided with copies of the organization’s safety and health procedures so that they are aware of the policies, rules, and safety precautions in place to reduce accidents in the workplace. Health and safety measures should also be in place, and employees should be trained on how to use the emergency facilities in the event of an emergency. Occupational health and safety policies should be reviewed continuously to ensure that businesses have current safety measures in place.
This chapter discusses the context of the study that examined the effect of health and safety regulations on an organization’s productivity and how this can lead to greater performance. The chapter also includes a summary of the problem, the study’s objective, its significance, its organization, and its limitations.
1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
Occupational health and safety is the process of ensuring that employees remain safe and healthy on the job in order to enhance their performance. Employers, labor unions, society, and the government have come to view the workplace as essential to the viability of company. The quality of the workplace environment influences the motivation and performance of employees. How effectively employees participate in
Their error rate, level of invention, and collaboration with other employees, as well as their absenteeism, are greatly influenced by their organization, particularly their immediate surroundings, and their tenure on the job is ultimately influenced by this. Organizational health and safety standards strive to promote and maintain the highest level of physical, mental, and social well-being for workers in all areas that have an impact on employee health.
In a globalized world, the relative advantage of developing nations such as Nigeria is their labor costs. Labour cost has become a significant factor in product and service development, as most businesses seek to enhance worker and equipment productivity. Lehtinen (2001) argued that health and safe working conditions increase productivity and will therefore help developing countries become competitive in the globalized world economy. As a result, many organizations are making efforts to ensure that health and safety are effectively managed on the job. According to Hughes (2007), health is the protection of a person’s body and mind from occupational sickness. Additionally, he defined safety as the protection of individuals from bodily harm. Hughes (2007) defined health and safety as the protection of facilities to sustain the health and well-being of individuals in the workplace. According to Cole (2002), safety hazards are those features of the work environment that have the potential to cause violent harm to an employee immediately, whereas health hazards lead to the gradual and cumulative deterioration of an employee’s health.
Productivity is what individuals are able to produce in a given period with the least amount of labor and resources. It is also a ratio that gauges the efficiency with which a company converts its resources into goods and services. Work environment can be thought of as the situations, influences, stress, competitive, cultural, demographic, economic regulation, and technical variables that impact an organization’s survival, operations, and growth.
According to Sundstrom et al. (1994), the majority of people spend around 70% of their lives in the workplace, which has a significant impact on their mental state, behaviors, abilities, and performance. Better outcomes and increased productivity are considered to arise from a more favorable work environment. Alternatively, literature relevant to the study of the office environment indicates that elements such as employee unhappiness, congested workplaces, and physical surroundings play a significant impact in the decline of employee productivity (Carnevale, 1992).
The objective of organizations in adopting health and safety programs is to foster a safe and risk-free work environment for employees and other stakeholders in order to maximize personnel productivity and efficiency. Due to the fact that occupational health and safety directly translates into cost savings and profitability, productivity has been a significant contribution to the success of businesses. An unfavorable work environment can have a negative impact on worker motivation, resulting in little effort and decreased performance.
The rubber company is regarded as one of the most hazardous workplaces for employees. Workers are exposed to a variety of risks, including the use of chemicals, sophisticated machines and working tools, odor, noise, manufacturing waste, unprotected machinery, poor fire safeguards, and frequently working under high productivity pressure.
Accidents have resulted in the death of a large number of employees and the infliction of injuries of varying degrees on others. Consequently, the manufacturing industry places a premium on health and safety standards. Although education and expertise are critical components of safe work and accident prevention, employees’ aptitude and approach to work are also crucial for maintaining a healthy workplace. According to Casio (1996), it is simple to avoid the safe route to work, yet this is frequently the cause of an accident.
In Nigeria, industrial safety is both a public and private concern. If personnel adhere to standardized standards, the manufacturing industry can be safe and fun. It is sad that both employees and employers have shown little commitment to improving the accident rate in their industry. Health and safety at the workplace involves the prevention or reduction of accidents and hazards such as injuries, material for production defects, and equipment frequent breakdown, which affects production, as well as the prevention of employee health issues such as emotional stress, lung diseases due to frequent inhalation of cigarette smokes, etc. Employees have the right to perform their duties in a safe, risk-free environment. However, this fundamental right is frequently infringed due to a lack of awareness regarding workplace health and safety norms. People are frequently exposed to health and safety hazards on the job. According to the International Labour Organisation (2005), around 6,000 workers die every day as a result of occupational accidents or illnesses. The International Labour Organization estimates that the total cost of such accidents and illness amounts to 4% of global gross domestic product. The old approach to workplace safety utilized the “careless worker” premise. Most organizations and accident prevention groups felt that the majority of workplace incidents were the result of employees not taking safety seriously.
Health and safety, if implemented, contribute to a decent working environment since individuals spend the majority of their time at work; therefore, their working environment should be made safe, agreeable, and conducive to increase productivity and income for both the company and the employee. Good workplace health improves the general health of employees, as well as the productivity and competitiveness of organizations. Moreover, workplace health and safety issues impose a substantial cost on social protection systems; consequently, workers must be supplied with adequate working conditions in order to improve their general wellness. According to Stranks (2000), all workers have the right to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are adequately managed. However, due to poverty and illiteracy, many individuals choose to work in any company or perform any assigned task in order to make a livelihood.
Slipping or tripping on the work floor, machine-related concerns, exposure to noise, odor, and dust, as well as exposure to a variety of chemicals, are the leading causes of injury in the firms selected for the study. Employers are required by law to take reasonable measures to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees at work in order to avoid liability for employee injury. Employers owe their employees an obligation to provide safe equipment and working conditions, as well as a safe system of work and properly trained and supervised personnel. Certain types of employees, such as disabled workers, pregnant workers, and illiterate workers, may require more attention and supervision than others.
Occupational health and safety highlights the issue of expenses. The economic cost of occupational health and safety to the company has two sides. On the one hand, health and safety measures that protect employees from workplace dangers can conflict with management’s goal of reducing production costs. In contrast, strong health and safety regulations can increase the performance of employees and the organization by lowering the expenses associated with accidents, disabilities, absenteeism, and illness. Indirect costs are also involved with work-related accidents. The indirect costs include overtime payments necessary to make up for lost production, cost of retaining a replacement employee, a wage cost for the time spent by human resource manager personnel recruiting, selecting, and training the new employee, and, in less typical cases, the cost associated with loss of revenue on cancelled or lost orders if the accident causes a net long-term reduction in sales, as well as the negative effect on worker morale, which may also lead to a reduction in sales.
In general, the costs of the vast majority of work-related injuries and illnesses to workers, their families, and employers are very significant. Three to four percent of a country’s gross national product is estimated to be spent on occupational accidents and diseases. There are a number of indirect expenses that are difficult to assess in addition to the more evident direct costs, thus no one actually knows the overall cost of work-related accidents and disorders. Investing in safety prevention would result in a large reduction in workplace accidents and diseases, saving lives, preventing immense human suffering, and conserving financial resources through employee absenteeism.
As Health and Safety standards play a crucial role in reducing workplace accidents and diseases, collaboration between employers and employees is required to establish a “self-generating effort” between “those who produce the hazards and those who work with them” (Robbins, 2004). Therefore, it is essential for businesses to take every employee’s complaint seriously and to guarantee that their employees feel safe and healthy. A healthy and safe workplace contributes to cost savings and increased organizational effectiveness. If work-related illness and accidents can be reflected on the balance sheet, the organization can apply the same management effort and ingenuity to developing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace as it does to other business aspects. According to Robbins (2004), “accident prevention can be integrated into the firm’s whole economic activity.”
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
In recent years, some workers have been temporarily or permanently disabled by work-related accidents as a result of insufficient safety knowledge on handling machines and equipment, failing to follow simple procedures when completing tasks, or management failing to provide adequate safety standards and resources for employees.
Every business is required by law to guarantee the health and safety of its employees and other individuals impacted by its operations, such as customers and suppliers. Ineffective health and safety procedures result in disease, accidents, and substantial costs to the firm. Effective health and safety measures pay for themselves and enhance an organization’s standing with consumers, regulators, and workers.
The human resource is one of the diverse production resources on which an organization relies. Therefore, an effective and efficient use of human resources will result in the organization’s overall effectiveness and efficiency. Although many organizations recognize the human resource as a valuable asset, they fail to recognize that as part of their human resource management procedures, management must guarantee that employees work in a safe and healthy environment that promotes their optimal utilization. It should be highlighted that accidents are expensive for both the affected employee and the business. Management and workers must therefore make every effort to prevent workplace accidents.
Manufacturing is one of the most physically demanding workplaces for people. Workers are exposed to several dangers and other difficulties that endanger their safety, such as excessive noise, operating dangerous/complex devices, and hazardous working conditions. Casio (1996) stated that machinery and the work environment are the leading causes of safety risks. The majority of employees care less about workplace safety precautions, their cost, effect, and benefit to themselves and the organization as a whole. This is the outcome of ignorance and disregard for the organization’s safety measures and rules.
Workers do not adhere to the precautionary measures implemented by the organization, such as the wearing of personal protective equipment, the use of machines, an inadequate system of delivery and storage of materials, inadequate information for tasks to be completed, and a low level of understanding of the organization’s health and safety policies. Accidents caused by inadequate guidance on safety standards result in widespread loss of life, injury, and property damage. This has a detrimental effect on the organization since people are not driven to perform their best on the job, which is necessary to stimulate performance. Thus, resources that would have been utilized to grow staff, provide incentives, or expand corporate operations would instead be needed to pay for medical bills, temporary workers, compensation, and court-related difficulties, all of which have an impact on the organization.
Even though Management and employees are making efforts to maintain workplace safety, workplace accidents continue to rise, indicating that the work environment is still unsafe. In this context, the study examines the impact of health and safety standards on the organization’s productivity in Nigeria Rubber Estates Limited, as well as the impact on employee performance, and makes recommendations about the health and safety of employees in the organization.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.3.1 General objectives:
The primary purpose is to assess the influence of staff health and safety standards on production.
1.3.2 Objectives specific:
Among the specific objectives of the study are:
establish safety and health standards at Nigeria Rubber Estates Limited
determine how health and safety impacts employee productivity.
Examine the extent of employee understanding of the organization’s health and safety policies.
Evaluate the management’s approach to the health and safety of employees.
Identify the organization’s health and safety standard challenges
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were employed to meet the study’s aims.
These consist of:
What are the safety requirements implemented by the organization?
How have health and safety regulations affected employee output?
What is the level of employee comprehension of the organization’s health and safety policies?
What is the management’s stance on the health and safety of employees?
What problems do the organization’s health and safety standards present?
1.5 Significance of the Research
One of the key objectives of organizations is to maximize human resource in order to achieve predetermined goals. Health and safety concerns inside organizations are crucial to the completion of tasks. Accidents and illnesses in the workplace account for one of the highest portions of lost production time in the sector, and these injuries have provided a significant problem to the majority of manufacturing businesses. Companies have endured long periods of production shortfalls, compensation payments, insurance premiums, and legal battles as a result of injury, decrease in quality of life, family problems, and decrease in life expectancy, as well as other effects whose qualitative cost on the employee, organization, society, and nation as a whole is incalculable.
The health and safety of workers is a moral obligation in our society that is not solely dependent on productivity standards inside a particular organization, but can also have grave consequences for individual workers, society, and the nation. By gaining a deeper understanding of the organization’s health and safety standards, it is hoped that the study would enhance the morale of employees and guarantee their job security at all times. The study would also aid employees in complying with organizational health and safety regulations, thereby reducing workplace accidents and injuries and boosting employee performance and productivity.
This study would serve as the foundation for raising awareness of health safety, identifying the flaws of the various techniques adopted by employers to improve health and safety standards, and recommending alternative solutions for their improvement. Employers would value the cost of providing workers with appropriate protective clothing and standards to maintain an accident-free workplace.
The findings and recommendations should not only contribute to the current scholarly research, but also provide important insights and guidance for improving the health and safety of employees in organizations.
1.6 DIMENSIONS OF THE STUDY
The research was conducted at Nigeria Rubber Estates Limited, a manufacturing company with the country’s largest industrial rubber plantation. The research was conducted at the Utagba Uno site in Delta state.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
As with many human attempts, there were flaws in the research. Some of the requirements in the questionnaire were sensitive company information, and as a result, employees and employers were hesitant to respond to questions that were crucial for providing the necessary response for the study, as they believed that providing the correct answers could have a direct or indirect impact on them.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE EXPERIMENT
The structure of this dissertation consists of five chapters. The first chapter explains the study’s context, problem statement, and objectives (both general and specific). In addition, it describes the research topics, significance, and limits of the study. The second chapter covers pertinent literature on the themes and core issues of the study, while the third part describes how the research was conducted. Methodological considerations include the study design, study population, sample size and sampling technique and instruments, data sources, and data analysis and presentation procedures. Chapter four reviews and analyzes the study’s findings, while chapter five provides a summary, recommendations, and conclusion.
EFFECT OF HEALTH AND SAFETY ON EMPLOYEES PRODUCTIVITY