Exploration of safety climate in Nigeria: a study of organizations in Onne oil and gas free zone

Ukpong-Udo, Emmanuel Effiong (2022) Exploration of safety climate in Nigeria: a study of organizations in Onne oil and gas free zone. Masters thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Background: In Nigeria, issues of occupational safety and health (OSH) practice are still in early infancy and hence, apparently poor OSH behaviours are common coupled with an underlying varying safety climate. Work-related accidents and death rate in Nigeria are reported to be among the highest in the world, with Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone (OGFZ)hosting most of the organizations with high-risk operations. This critical safety climate is affected by a range of internal and external factors. This study seeks to understand the nature of the safety climate, within the Nigerian context, through an exploration of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, which is the largest conglomerate of multinational companies in Nigeria and a host to 170 oil and gas companies together with construction companies. The nature of work within this site is recognised as being high-risk and therefore the underlying safety climate has increased criticality. More so, there is no known safety climate study on the organisations, thus the study would help close the gap of limited or lack of data on workplace safety, and guide safety policy decisions which are needful and vital for building a good safety climate profile for organizations in the OGFZ, and other organisations in Nigeria.

Aim: The study aimed to identify internal and external factors that influence the safety climate and in so doing explore the overarching climate of the OGFZ.

Methods: Organizations were selected from the 170 companies operating within the OGFZ based on past and current health, safety and environment(HSE) performance data; and were divided into 2 distinct groups of peak and low performing companies. The companies were identified using the OGFZ annual safety assessment reports. A qualitative methodology was employed involving focus group discussion and in-depth interview techniques with employees drawn from twelve (12) companies comprising six (6) good and six (6) poor safety performers. The qualitative data for the study, mainly data from focus group and interviews, were analysed using thematic analysis procedures. The thematic analysis involves identification of key concepts or themes, grouping or categorization of similar concepts or comments, and coding of identified themes or concepts. Data were analysed using NVivo software, which enabled coding of texts and identification of themes in the data from participants’ responses. Results of the thematic analysis are presented in tables and appendices showing identified themes and participant responses from which the themes emanate.

Results/Findings: The study found that compliance to safety rules and procedures, employee (personal) commitment and competence are among the factors that keep employees safety at work. Major causes of workplace safety risks and injuries were found to include employee-specific factors such as poor communication of safety information among workers and negligence; management-specific factor such as poor staff training, poor supervision, and provision of inadequate safety equipment and work materials; job-specific factors such as unsafe mechanical and physical conditions and equipment failure; natural factors such as unfavourable weather or climatic conditions.
The findings indicate major internal factors that characterize workplace risks and injury within an organization; such as ineffective safety management in the study area, particularly, poor management commitment to safety standards, especially when involving organization’s finances or other resources; and identify negligence or conscious violation of safety standards by organizations’ management, employee attitude to safety directives and equipment failure. With highlight on cultural issues, poor motivation or incentives, job insecurity and employee attitude as one of the critical factors that directly influence organizational safety climate and safety performance; the study also identified various factors that influence employee attitude to include: management factor, employee decisions, welfare, experience, belief system, family concerns and health condition of employees. The findings also show that client pressure, economic situation, government policies, insecurity, community influence and family issues are among the most prominent external factors influencing safety climate in the organizations under study. The organizational characteristics affecting safety climate in the study area include management commitment, finance, supervision, disciplinary measures and incentives. However, factors identified as part of the measures taken by organizations to keep people safe at work included training, safety management systems and standard operational procedures and communication as well as motivation, supervision, monitoring, incentives for work performance and policy enforcement.

Conclusion: This study has identified that safety issues in the OGFZ, and by extension, Nigerian organizations, are influenced by local “Nigerian Factors”, especially culture and belief system, as well as various internal and external factors that shape the behavioral pattern of their workers. The possible ways to improve the existing safety climate in the OGFZ are thus suggested to include broadly improved management commitment towards safety; employees proper management of stress factors and adherence to laid down safety policies, regulations and procedures; government improved oversight function of ensuring compliance with standard safety regulations by organizations; and non-interference of host communities with organization’s safety climate.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 36870
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 11:42
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2022 12:30
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/36870

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