A continuous improvement strategy for an occupational health and safety culture
Peens, Elsie Cornelia
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Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are employed today either by the private or public sector in conditions that breed ill-health and I or are unsafe. Traditionally health and safety management philosophies and practices have resulted in reductions in accident, incident and illness rates over the years, but it appears that further reductions will require new ideas. A shift in the way we think about health and safety is the answer. It is necessary to develop a workplace culture where health and safety is treated as an everyday dimension, not something you design a system for and then relegate to a manual. To ensure that a company's occupational health and safety culture continually improve a holistic approach is required. The concept of an occupational health and safety culture has been studied by various researchers. A health and safety culture could be described as ideas and beliefs that all members of the organization share about risk, accidents and incidents. The purpose of this mini-dissertation is to determine the occupational health and safety culture of an organization within the petrochemical industry in South Africa. Seven critical success factors were identified as criteria for measuring the occupational health and safety culture, namely; risk taking of self and responses to risk-related behaviours of others, complacency, commitment, accountability and involvement, management style and communication, job satisfaction, responsibility and risk awareness. The results obtained from the empirical study enabled the velopment and recommendation of a continuous improvement strategy that, if implemented, it is possible to uplift Company X's occupational health and safety culture to an Interdependent state.