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PROJECT TOPIC: INFLUENCES OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY MANAGEMENT ON EMPLOYEE’S JOB COMMITMENT

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

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.


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