Identifying key organisational factors influencing the safety behaviour of employees in the chrome industry
It is key for the mining industry to ensure that “zero harm" is targeted. Organisations will have different strategies to achieve their specific goals to achieve zero harm. The three factors identified in literature contributing to accidents and injuries can be classified as firstly the working environment the place or area in which the employee will work, and this will include all the equipment, structures and material found in the physical workplace. Secondly we have the employee (person) with a certain level of knowledge, and experience as well as a unique personality. Lastly the behaviour of the employee is mainly driven by attitude and perceptions of hazard in the workplace. All the above factors will determine the safety performance of the organisation. The safety performance is measured in different ways, and the standard measurement of lost time injuries per million man hours is used in the industry to determine the overall safety performance of an organisation. Unfortunately, this is a reactive measurement and not a proactive measurement. The aim of this study was to identify organisational factors that can be adjusted or managed to influence the safety behaviour of the employee to ensure safe behaviour in the workplace. This is a more proactive approach to ensure zero harm. Therefore, the question is: What organisational factors can positively influence safety performance or have the ability to assist management to achieve zero harm in the organisation? This study identifies nine organisational factors and their correlations with safety behaviour in the Chrome industry. It is the responsibility of the leaders in the mining industry, representatives of organised labour and the regulating bodies to monitor, investigate, understand and commit to improve the working conditions of the worker. If management can understand the drivers behind the safety behaviour of employees, they can align their strategies to influence and control these drivers to install a positive influence on employee's safety behaviour and ultimately safety performance. This will not only reduce their losses but improve their productivity in the long run. Questionnaires were drawn up with specific reference to the nine organisational factors and the questionnaires were sent out to the workforce. Interviews were conducted with members of the executive team to have a better understanding of the safety culture in the organisation. The responses of the employees were analysed to determine whether any correlations exist for the specific factors. The results confirmed that certain correlations do exist among some of the organisational factors that were investigated. Out of the nine organisational factors investigated five indicated a positive relationship among each other and specifically in terms of safety behaviour. Safety leadership for the organisation is critical to drive safety commitment and compliance through the whole organisation. Communication is the key factor influencing many of the organisational factors and one needs to ensure that communication is clear and open. For the leadership team it is clear that taking care of its workers is important, showing their commitment to safety at different levels. The management team of the organisation believes in “Zero harm" and it is recommended to the leadership of the organisation to further investigate safety leadership and safety communication as key factors for safety behaviour to understand their safety culture better and to be able to manage the safety culture more effectively.