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A Proposal On Effects Of Health And Safety On Employee’s Productivity In Ghana


Occupational health and safety is a process of ensuring that people stay safe and healthy in the workplace to increase workers capacity to perform. The workplace has become an integral part to the viability of business for employers, labour union, the society as well as the government. The quality of the workplace environment has an impact on the level of employees‟ motivation and performance. How well employees engage with the organisation, especially the immediate environment influences to a great extent their error rate, level of innovation and collaboration with other employees as well as absenteeism and ultimately affect the number of years they stay on the job. Health and safety standards instituted by organisations is aimed at the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, social well being of workers in all sectors that have an impact on the health of employees.


In the globalised world, the relative edge of developing countries such as Ghana lies with the cost of labour. Labour cost has become an important consideration in product and service development as most firms aim to maximize productivity from their workforce and equipment. Lehtinen, (2001) argued that health and safe working conditions improve productivity and will thus, help developing countries become competitive in the globalised world economy and that is why many organisations are making efforts to ensure that health and safety is managed at the work place effectively. According to Hughes, (2007), health is the protection of the body and mind of people from illness resulting from work. He also defined safety as a protection of people from physical injury. Hughes, (2007), however explained health and safety as, the welfare of people at work that is, the protection of facilities to maintain the health and well-being of individuals at the workplace. Safety hazards according to Cole, (2002), are those aspects of the work environment that have the potential of immediately causing violent harm to an employee whilst health hazards slowly and cumulatively lead to deterioration of an employee‟s health.

Productivity is what people can produce at a given period with the least effort and resources. It is also a ratio that measures how well an organisation put resources into goods and services. Work environment can be seen as the circumstances, influences, stress, competitive, cultural, demographic, economic regulator and technological factors that affect the survival, operations and growth of an organisation.


According to Sundstrom et al, (1994), most people spend about seventy percent of their lives within the work environment which greatly influence their mental status, actions, abilities and performance. Better outcomes and increased productivity is assumed to be the result of better workplace environment. Alternatively, various literature pertaining to the study of the environment of work indicated that the factors such as dissatisfaction, cluttered workplaces and physical environment are playing a major role in the loss of employees‟ productivity (Carnevale, 1992).

The goal of organisations in instituting health and safety programs is to foster a safe and risk free work environment for the employees and the stakeholders at large to ensure efficiency of personnel and the end result to maximize productivity. Productivity has been an essential contributor to corporate success due to the fact that occupational health and safety has a direct translation of it into cost savings and profitability. An unsatisfactory work environment can have an adverse effect on worker motivation that tends to make minimal effort towards work thereby lowering performance.


As Health and Safety standards play a vital role in working environment to reduce levels of occupational accidents and diseases, it relies on the cooperation of both employers and employees to ensure a „self-generating effort‟ between „those who create the risks and those who work with them‟ (Robbins, 2004). It is therefore important for organisations to treat every employee‟s complaint seriously and to ensure that they feel safe and healthy. A healthy and safe work environment helps to reduce costs and improve organisational effectiveness. If work-related illness and accidents can be transposed on to the balance sheet, the organisation can apply the same management effort and creativity to designing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace as managers customarily apply to other facets of the business. As Robbins, (2004), stated „accident prevention can be integrated into the overall economic activity of the firm‟.


2.     Statement of the Problem

In recent years some workers have temporarily or permanently been disabled by work related accidents as a result of inadequate safety knowledge on handling machines and equipment, neglecting to follow simple procedure in accomplishing task or management not providing the right safety standards and resources for employees.


Every business has the legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of employees and other people affected by the business activities such as customers and suppliers. Poor health and safety practices lead to illness, accidents and significant cost to the business. Effective health and safety practices pay for themselves and improve the reputation organisations have with customers, regulators and the employees.


The human resource is one of the versatile resources an organisation depends on for production. Therefore, an effective and efficient use of the human resource will translate into the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation. Although, many organisations accept the human resource as an important resource, they fail to realize that as part of their human resource management practices, there is the need for management to ensure that personnel in the organisation work in safe and healthy environment that will promote their optimum utilization. It should be emphasized that accidents are costly both to the affected worker and the organisation. Therefore, every effort should be made by management and employees in order to avoid occupational accidents from occurring.


Although Management and employees are making efforts to ensure safety in the workplace, accidents at the workplace keep on increasing which indicate that work environment is still unsafe. It is in this vein that the study has chosen to examine the effect of health and safety standards on the organisation‟s productivity in Accra Rubber Estates Limited and how it can boost higher performance of employees and make recommendation on the health and safety of employees in the organisation.


3.     Research Objectives

General objectives:

The main objective seeks to evaluate the effect of health and safety standards of employees on productivity.


Specific objectives:

The specific objectives of the study include to:

  1. identify health and safety standards in Accra Rubber Estates Limited
    1. determine the effect of health and safety on employees‟
    2. examine employees‟ level of understanding of health and safety policies of the
    3. assess the attitude of management towards the health and safety of
    4. identify the challenges of health and safety standards in the organisation


4.     Research Questions

The following research questions were used to achieve the objectives of the study. These include;

1 What are the safety standards put in place in the organisation?

  • How has health and safety standards affected employees‟ productivity?
  • What is the level of employees understanding of health and safety policies of the organisation?
  • What is the attitude of management towards health and safety of employees?
  • What are the challenges of health and safety standards in the organisation?

5.     Significance of the Study

One of the primary goals of organisations is to optimize human resource to achieve set targets. Issues of health and safety within organisations are critical in the accomplishment of tasks. Industrial accidents and illness make up one of the largest part of loss of production time in the industry and these injuries have posed a major challenge to most manufacturing industries. Companies have suffered long spells of production shortfalls, compensation payment, insurance premiums and legal battles due to injury, reduction to the quality of life, family problems and decrease of life-span and other effects which is impossible to evaluate its qualitative cost on the employee, organisation, society and the nation in general.


This study would serve as the bases for increasing the awareness of health safety as well as identifying the weaknesses of the various strategies that employers adopt to enhance health and safety standards and recommend the possible ways of improving them. Employers would appreciate the cost of equipping employees with the right protective clothing and standards to ensure accident free environment.

Findings and recommendation offered should not only add to existing literature for academic purposes, but also provide useful insights and guidelines for enhancing the quality of health and safety among employees in organisations.


Conceptual review

The Concept of Occupational Health Safety (OHS)

Safety involves more than the typical dictionary definition of “free from accident”. The World Health Organisation, (1999) defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.   Thus health and safety refer to the preventing and protecting people from injury and occupational disease in any form due to hazards and risk that may harm, injure, cause unsafe environment to people or damage equipment or the facilities put in place at the workplace.


The World Health Organisation, (1999) defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus health and safety refers to the preventing and protecting people from injury and occupational disease in any form due to hazards and risk that may harm, injure, cause unsafe environment to people or damaged equipment or the facilities put in place at the workplace.


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