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Findings from Interviews

Discuss about the Work Place Inception for WonderJoy Steel Industries in Zimbabwe.

In Africa, the low social economic status of the people has been found to contribute to a high rate of rural to urban migration. There is a common belief that life in the town is better as compared to the life in the rural areas. Moreover, there are many job opportunities in towns as compared to the rural areas. Therefore the people move to towns in search of jobs both in the formal and informal sectors. There are situations where people move from one country to another in form of better job opportunities. However, not everyone can fit into the formal employment due to varying levels of education among the job seekers while others are not educated or trained at all (Barrios et al., 2006).

The rapid increase in immigrants in Zimbabwe labor market over the past several years has been documented. Therefore a group of the job seekers finds themselves as laborers in the informal sector. In some industries, the operations continue for twenty-four hours in a day while there is a lot of manual work to be done. Therefore the employers can agree to hire laborers on a part-time basis. For normal job operations to be carried out efficiently, the employers agree to hire some laborers during the day and a different group during the night. This trend is common in both urban and semi-urban regions of most African countries (Greiner & Sakdapolrak, 2013).

The day laborers are engaged or hired for jobs such as construction sites, landscaping, maintenance of homes and factories. This automatically means that the job that these laborers perform is very demanding in terms of both energy requirement and could sometimes be dangerous to their health. In fact, construction activities like moving loads and roofing and landscaping are the most common types of day time jobs. This means that there are higher chances of occupational injuries occurring to the day laborers although the exact rate at which this occurs may not be fully quantified (Phung et al., 2013).

A national survey of day laborers indicated that approximately one in five-day time laborers had at one time or the other suffered work place injuries which actually needed medical care (Burgel et al., 2015). Another study carried out on non-agricultural  Latino immigrant laborers reported a high rate work place injury (Fernandez-Esquer, 2014). Some of these injuries go uncompensated because the agreement between the laborers and the employers is informal. Furthermore, some of the people working as day laborers are desperate and could easily engage in dangerous jobs so that they can earn a living. This means that they have either few or no legal and traditional benefits which are enjoyed by other workers. Some of these benefits include receiving the correct pay for the number of hours worked and provision of a safe working environment (Burgel et al., 2015; Olsen & Hasle, 2015).

General Findings from Workplace Inspection

Therefore these and other protection rights are not provided for day time laborers and can be hard to be enforced. In most cases, one can note that majority of the laborer's abuse drugs, suffer mental illnesses and could be sometimes homeless (Gubernot et al., 2015). These and other factors make the day time laborers to be unable to lobby for their rights financial, discriminatory and physical abuses. Other studies by Schlick et al. (2014) have indicated that most laborers are exposed to very dangerous safety and health conditions which otherwise results in a high number of fatal injuries among them.  Therefore there is every need to carryout evaluations regarding the health as well as safety concerns on the day time laborers. Limited evaluations of this category of employees are as a result of a common trend of generalizing them as a uniform group although in the real sense there are many differences in terms of demographic characteristics and their organization into various work stations (Angle, 2014). Using these features, therefore it is possible to mediate the occupational health and safety of these people.

Therefore this survey was designed to come up with a detailed understanding of the hazards, injuries, health protections and safety that the daytime laborers are exposed to. Moreover, the results of this evaluation were intended towards providing help and providing measures that can help to reduce the number of injuries experienced by these workers at their places of work. Since the survey was carried out on different laborers working in varied locations there was also the need to determine the reactions and experiences from different day time laborers.

This workplace inspection involved conducting interviews to the workers at WonderJoy factory and making direct observations of the facility was done. There were 150-day time workers who were surveyed to determine their perception of the safety of their places of work. Findings from this study are intended to the situation of the working conditions in terms of health and safety and the various methods that can be used to improve the safety of the working conditions. The day time workers were distributed across several types of jobs which ranged from constructions to working at home sites.

A total of one hundred and fifty-day laborers were recruited but twenty of them dropped from the survey due to lack of consistency in the interview and language barrier because some could not speak in English. The majority (80 %) of the day time laborers were males aged 38 years on average. About 80 % of these laborers reported having completed their high school. Workers also had a high level of education on with 83% reporting at least a high school education but they were not able to proceed with further training.

Summary

All of these recruits reported that the reason as to why they did not attend college education to acquire training was due to lack of school fees linked to high. The majority of these laborers were reported to be from Zimbabwe while a few others were immigrants from Kenya, Southern Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. English language proficiency was varied among the recruits because some Burundi was raised up speaking French while a few more others were only conversant with their vernacular. A large fraction of the subjects reported receiving some training on health and safety on the job.  Of those that  reported  some  training,  15 % reported that  it  was provided  by the  employer, followed  by 15 %  received such training from  other employment  agencies.

The only channel of accessing the facility was the use of the main gate. This means that in the case of a fire accident or any other emergency, several people can be trapped in the facility because there is no secondary route of escape.

  1. There was no site evacuation protocols, and the staff was not trained about such measures.
  2. The stores were not covered by the site continence program as indicated by the depressurization of the fire protection system. Moreover, the fire extinguishers had not been inspected for s period of two years meaning that they could not be effective in the case of fire accidents.
  3. The store was also found to have extremely high temperatures because the ventilations were few and the source of lighting was poor. This means that the staff is prone too accidents from falls as they perform their duties.
  4. There was no sight and fire alarm system for use in case of an emergency at the workplace.
  5. The carpets on the pavements and corridors were worn out indicating that the staff was likely to stumble as they move around the factory.
  6. Some daytime workers did not have face masks and other protective clothing for handling the chemicals.
  7. The waste bins were not labeled in terms of the chemical and risk categories for waste disposal to indicate which wastes were hazardous or not.

Health and safety at the workplace are very crucial due to the number of complaints that have been raised by several workers. Despite this, there are little evaluations which are carried regarding the risks that the employees are exposed to. More emphasis needs to be laid on the employees who are about to be hired in the informal sector. The social context of day  laborers  is  largely responsible for their health and safety experience and therefore labor organizations should put measures in place to sensitize the various companies and places of work on the need to train their employees during inception. Moreover, training on the issues of occupation and health safety should be carried out to the employees periodically to ensure the safety of employees. It is crucial that the employees within the same category are offered the same benefits even though the employer might put them in different locations.

Marginalization of the casual laborers by the employers should be minimized at all costs and hence should exercise their full work place rights, safety, and health at their places of work.

The law requires that the employers provide a conducive working environment, provide safety equipment's and clothing, take insurance plans for the workers, access the risk at the work place and take the relevant control measures and provide safe mechanisms for handling dangerous substances like chemicals (Reese, 2015). These measures might be costly during work place inception especially in the installation of safety equipment like fire extinguishers but on the other hand, failure to do this might make the business to incur higher costs. Apart from the costs, any employer who does not observe the requirements of the workplace safety and health runs the risk of being fined and prosecuted by the relevant authorities (Goetzel et al., 2014).

Legal Obligations

 On the other hand, it is the duty of the workers to ensure that they do not injure=re themselves intentionally, they avoid placing their colleagues at risks of being injured, the follow the safety instructions given to them and they use the protective equipment provided to them

It is crucial for all employees including the daytime laborers to be trained before being hired on matters pertaining their health and safety at the work place. This is through identification of hazards that are related to their jobs so that they can be able to protect themselves. Training of employees before inception at the work place enables them to device safe methods of performing their task yet producing quality outputs, but remaining safe (Ulubeyli et al., 2014). Training at inception could involve laying emphasis on following the government regulations on matters of safety at the work place and use of protective garments and equipment.

Secondary gates should be constructed for use by the employees in case of a fire emergency. The old carpets and marts should be replaced with new one avoid tumbling and falls. The stores should be installed with enough ventilations and lights to reduce accidents. The fire extinguishers should be inspected and serviced regularly to ensure that they are always in good condition. Moreover, fire alarms should be installed and the protocols for fire evacuations should be installed. Workers also need to understand their rights, as well as the  limitations  of their  right. This means that when the workers realize a certain job is likely to threaten their lives, then they have the full legal rights of refusing to engage in such type of work. In case such refusal makes the employer angry and he or she attempts to sack the respective employees then the employees can seek help from various authorities. The authorities who  can help the threatened employee include the voluntary and government organizations which ensure that good working conditions are provided for the laborers (Basok et al., 2014).

It is also advisable that at work place inception, the employees are provided with reliable sources of information regarding the manner in which they can promote good health and their safety. The resources available for enhancing safe working conditions and working protocols should be emphasized on employees. On the other hand, the workers should make sure that they are covered under the worker's compensation scheme of the insurance cover of the owners of homes that they work in so as to be safe in case injuries take place at the places of work (Brom, et al., 2015). That said and done, it is not employers who need to be blamed. In fact, the employees also need to help the employers in providing a safe working environment.

Recommendations

The worker's support centers should keep watch on the work conditions of the workers and ask the employees to go against the employers who have poor records. Agencies also need to be cautious so that they can be careful to avoid  potential threatening or discriminatory  enforcement  procedures. For the small informal employers, the government needs to conduct awareness campaigns and offer other support services which enhance the safety of working conditions (Huff, 2013; Baron et al., 2014).

When work place health and safety are provided, the employer will get the following benefits: maximize the productivity of employees, retain the staff, and reduce the costs associated with compensating for the injured workers, meeting the objectives of the company or business and minimizing injuries at the work place.

Conclusions

In this evaluation, the employees reported being exposed to various risks such as working at high heights, noise, exposure to chemicals and dust. Even though some employees said that they had access to protective  equipment  or  provided  their own, this equipment was not always available and if available they were not frequently used. Although a substantial number of employees had some level of training about occupational health and safety at the workplace, the adequacy and depth of such training were not very clear. There were other work place risks which were linked to the discrimination of employees especially the immigrants from other countries by the employers. This would result in some day time employees being exposed to risky tasks than others, for instance working at very high height in the construction industry.

References

Angle, J. S. (2014). Occupational safety and health in the emergency services. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Baron, S. L., Beard, S., Davis, L. K., Delp, L., Forst, L., Kidd‐Taylor, A., & Welch, L. S. (2014). Promoting integrated approaches to reducing health inequities among low‐income workers: Applying a social ecological framework. American journal of industrial medicine, 57(5), 539-556.

Barrios, S., Bertinelli, L., & Strobl, E. (2006). Climatic change and rural–urban migration: The case of sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Urban Economics, 60(3), 357-371.

Basok, T., Hall, A., & Rivas, E. (2014). Claiming rights to workplace safety: Latin American immigrant workers in Southwestern Ontario. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 46(3), 35-53.

Brom, S. S., Buruck, G., Horváth, I., Richter, P., & Leiter, M. P. (2015). Areas of worklife as predictors of occupational health–A validation study in two German samples. Burnout Research, 2(2), 60-70.

Burgel, B. J., Nelson, R. W., & White, M. C. (2015). Work-related health complaints and injuries, and health and safety perceptions of Latino day laborers. Workplace health & safety, 63(8), 350-361.

Fernandez-Esquer, M. E. (2014, November). Prevention Program to Reduce Injury Disparities among Latino Day Laborers. In 142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15-November 19, 2014). APHA.

Goetzel, R. Z., Henke, R. M., Tabrizi, M., Pelletier, K. R., Loeppke, R., Ballard, D. W., & Serxner, S. (2014). Do workplace health promotion (wellness) programs work?. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(9), 927-934.

Greiner, C., & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013). Rural–urban migration, agrarian change, and the environment in Kenya: a critical review of the literature. Population and Environment, 34(4), 524-553.

Gubernot, D. M., Anderson, G. B., & Hunting, K. L. (2015). Characterizing occupational heat‐related mortality in the United States, 2000–2010: An analysis using the census of fatal occupational injuries database. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 58(2), 203-211.

Huff, J. (2013). Industry influence on occupational and environmental public health. International journal of occupational and environmental health.

Olsen, K. B., & Hasle, P. (2015). The role of intermediaries in delivering an occupational health and safety programme designed for small businesses–A case study of an insurance incentive programme in the agriculture sector. Safety science, 71, 242-252.

Phung, D. T., Nguyen, H. T., Mock, C., & Keifer, M. (2013). Occupational injuries reported in a population-based injury survey in Vietnam. International journal of occupational and environmental health.

Reese, C. D. (2015). Occupational health and safety management: a practical approach. CRC press.

Schlick, C., Joachin, M., Briceño, L., Moraga, D., & Radon, K. (2014). Occupational injuries among children and adolescents in Cusco Province: a cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 14(1), 1.

Ulubeyli, S., Kazaz, A., & Er, B. (2014). Health and safety perception of workers in Turkey: a survey of construction sites. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 20(2), 323-338.

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