Original Research

Assessing the effectiveness of an occupational health and safety system in a selected automotive assembly organisation in South Africa

Robert W.D. Zondo
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 24, No 1 | a3553 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v24i1.3553 | © 2021 Robert W.D. Zondo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 February 2020 | Published: 26 January 2021

About the author(s)

Robert W.D. Zondo, Department of Entrepreneurial Studies and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: It has been established that high levels of safety performance are achieved by strong and positive safety climates. Good safety, health and environmental practices reduce the cost of overall healthcare delivery while increasing general productivity. These sentiments underpin the concept of an occupational health and safety (OHS) system.

Aim: This study assesses the effectiveness of an OHS in a selected automotive assembly organisation in South Africa.

Settings: The automotive organisation that participated in the study has adopted an OHS system. Prior to its implementation, the company experienced an increase in the rate of occupational diseases and injuries.

Methods: The study objectives were achieved by examining Health and Safety (H&S) related experiences in the company. The collection of data was carried out in two phases, namely the collection of pre-OHS and post-OHS results from company records for H&S compliance, occupational diseases, as well as workplace injury rates. The pre-OHS results were quarterly data reflecting the company’s H&S performance over the 3-year period prior to the implementation of the OHS system. This company operates in the eThekwini District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

Results: The OHS system has no influence on occupational diseases, or on the workplace injury frequency rates. However, H&S compliance plays a role in the maintenance of the OHS system.

Conclusion: In order to maximise performance, a comprehensive OHS policy must be developed that aligns management commitment to the OHS system. Thus, the study uncovered the strengths and weaknesses of OHS in this automotive assembly organisation in South Africa.


Keywords

automotive assembly organisation; employee compliance; health and safety; occupational disease; workplace injury; workplace safety.

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