Small businesses have become a major sector in the economy of many countries in the world. Currently, small manufacturing industries with less than 100 employees offer bigger employment opportunities to the residents than any other sector. Many employees in these small manufacturing businesses encounter various work related injuries and other illnesses as compared with employees in larger businesses.
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At times, fatal accidents occur resulting into lose of lives. The government has set up various requirements which must be met to ensure the health and safety of all the workers in the small and large manufacturing industries is maintained. Health inspectors conduct routine inspections on these industries to ensure safety standards and regulations are met and followed at all times. In addition, employees also have the right to ensure compliance with the regulations by the industries before signing contracts to work with them.
A Kent industry is a small manufacturing business started in 1997. It specializes in the manufacture of cooking oils, soaps and various detergents. This industry has successfully continued in outdoing its competitors and has 110 employees in total. In the current financial year, it has recorded a profit of one million pounds before tax.
Lately, Kent industry has reported an increased number of accidents and work related illnesses which decreases its productivity. This project is intended to review the health and safety standards undertaken by the industry and give relevant recommendation on improvement to reduce the number of accidents.
The specific objectives of the project include the following;
- To determine the safety and health systems in place at the industry
- To assess the major causes of accidents and the emergency care procedures in place at the industry
- To assess the condition of the working environment for compliance with health and safety standards
- To determine the working condition of the equipments and machines at the industry
- To recommend an effective strategy for improvement of health and safety of all workers
The occurrence of accidents in work places is dependent on behavioral characteristics of the employees and also the quality and condition of their working environment. According to Brosseau and Yahui (2005, p. 20), not much is known on the determinants influencing the owners intentions accorded to safety and health at the work places. These researchers found out that positive attitude towards safety by owners of small businesses makes the employees healthier and thus their productivity at work is improved.
Many of the accidents occurring in small factories occur due to lack of following the proper procedures which ensure safe work by the employees who are ignorant of the procedures (Gardner et al., 1999, p. 6). Also, the machines in use may not be guarded sufficiently and thus the employees accidentally encounters with the machines causing physical injuries.
In addition, the condition and design of machines will also be determinant in the number of accidents caused. If a machine is in bad condition, it is liable to cause more accidents than one which is in good condition.
Many small industries due to their capital base have inadequate resources that are essential to increase levels of safety. This includes human resource, technical resources and economic resources. Thus, they employ few workers who are overworked leading to fatigue which can contribute to injuries at the workplace.
Their technological resources are also less compared to large enterprises which have access to modern technology in terms of machines and also human resources. According to Champoux and Brun (2002, p. 306), the health and safety methods formulated for large industries cannot be directly applied to smaller industries.
The project will employ qualitative methodology to meet the objectives of the study. A qualitative study deals more with theoretical analysis of data, but does not pay more attention to the quantities of samples and data.
An evaluative case study approach was settled at in this project. A case study method is used by researchers to learn about a complex situation based on the objectives and the hypothesis of the study. A researcher has an understanding of that particular instance and intends to provide comprehensive analysis and description of that situation basing it on one particular area. Evaluative case studies are essential where broad and to some extent complex questions are to be answered.
In this case, issues pertaining to health and safety in workplaces will be tackled. It also provides solutions for difficult circumstances during the research work. Basing on qualitative approaches, case studies allows for investigation of a real intervention by focusing on the reasons that caused a certain intervention to succeed or fail. This study will focus on health and safety interventions available at Kent industries.
The following data collection tools will be employed to meet the objectives of the project
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The research questions to be used will be based on an in-depth evaluation of the research objectives and the targeted industry which is Kent Industries. Open ended questions will be used to give a chance for respondents who will be employees of the industry to give personal opinions about health and safety.
Random sampling method will be greatly employed owing to its effectiveness in eliminating bias and that it offers a better representation of the population. In this effect, the questionnaires sent to employees of the industry and management staff will be distributed to them randomly.
To further supplement these questionnaires, the researcher will utilize other online journals, books, written articles and magazines on health and safety issues in the process of collecting data (Rigas, 2001, p. 56). The choice of this method will be based on the fact that through it the researcher will be able to link theoretical perspectives with research purposes, and that the data to be collected will elicit the findings of the analysis (Greengard, 1999, 8).
Sample size and the sampling strategies
Purposive sampling strategy will be employed in identifying the sample population which is all employees of Kent industry. Hence, in the final synthesis as well as data collection sampling, the researcher will divide sample population into different subgroups to simplify the sampling process.
Moreover, random sampling will be made use of tremendously, because of its effectiveness and efficiency, in addition to its superiority in obtaining sample from population (Preston, 2008, p. 150). Furthermore, due to the significance of this research, the research intends to adopt stratified sampling technique, though in rare occasions, so that enough samples are used and classified in vital variables.
Moreover, the main reason for the adoption of stratified sampling will be aimed at ensuring that sub-groups are included in the sample, without being omitted based on the assumption of concept of representation. As a result, the researcher will be able to foster the representativeness of samples no matter the quantity of the sample, thus obtaining better estimates of the overall population.
Data analysis and presentation
Raw data will be coded and then analyzed using descriptive statistical measures such as ratios and percentages. The result will then be presented in form of text, tables, graphs and pie charts.
Brosseau, L. and Yahui Li, S. (2005) Small business owners’ health and safety intentions: A cross-sectional survey. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 4 (23), 4-23.
Champoux, D. and Brun, J. (2002) Occupational Health and Safety management in small size enterprises: an overview of the situation and avenues for intervention and research. Safety Science, 41 (4), 301-318.
Gardner, D. et al. (1999) Mechanical equipment injuries in small manufacturing businesses. Safety Science, 33 (1-2), 1-12.
Greengard, S. (1999) Putting HR software to work: human resources management. Workforce, 78 (9), 4-8.
Preston, L. (1986) Business and public policy. Journal of Management, 12 (5), 261–275.
Rigas, D. (2001) The Business of Airline, The Twenty First Century. England. New York, Routledge.