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Field of Research
Philosophy, Management and Sociology
The Role of a Safety and Health Training Program in Accident Reduction in the Automotive Industry: A Study of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA)
Field of Research
The rapid rise in health and safety incidents has been a significant concern in different industries globally. However, MBSA has increasingly been involved in the implementation of safety and health training not just as a requirement but also in improving their overall company performance. Indeed, the production level of the companies is highly influenced by the level of safety of the employees. It has been reported in some of the studies that was conducted, that employee accidents have increasingly resulted in the decline of employee productivity globally (Lortie et al. 2013: 961-973). Professional Safety (2011: 38) reported that the employee accidents account for numerous companies globally spending large amounts of money because of their expensive nature. The necessity for carrying out the study has been triggered by the numerous fatal and non-fatal employee accident related cases that arise yearly in various industries (Burke et al. 2012: 12; Vasconcelos et al. 2012: 4291-4296; Mason, 2013: 17-19).
Safety and health training program in accident reduction is increasingly significant since it helps in enhancing the productivity of the employees and this is the ultimate goal of every organization (Wilkins, 2011: 1017-1026; Professional Safety, 2011: 38).
Consequently, the program also serves as a motivational factor for the employees. A qualified and motivated workforce is critical to the increased productivity as well as the quality of the services provided by the organization to achieve the objectives of the organization (Amirah et al. 2013: 181-191; Dobson 2013: 152-164). The dilemma and challenge facing several managers is actually how motivation is created. Although there are several theories that surround the concept of motivation, two separate motivation areas are mixed. The emphasis of motivation is rooted on employee motivation of the job they perform (Olsen 2012: 8625-8632).
Both are critical and managers are expected to critically comprehend the impact of their different actions in both areas. Motivation is important since even individuals with the required skills, knowledge, and abilities will carry out their tasks poorly in case they are not adequately motivated to devote their effort and time to work (Underhill & Quinlan 2011: 397-420). Indeed, this is where the safety and health training program in accident reduction comes in.
The workers have different needs which their workplace should fulfill to avoid de-motivation. Workers who lack motivation often resort to the anti-work behaviors that include lateness, absenteeism, failing to meet the set deadlines, negligence of the duties, display of frustration that are all negative to the credibility and performance of the organization (Gilda et al. 2013: 314-340; Riddor 2013: 6). Effort should be made by the organization to ensure that incentives that include extrinsic motivators, intrinsic motivators, as well as performance management strategies are used to attract, retain, and increase the worker satisfaction, efforts, and commitment (Lamba 2013: 31-40; Raines 2011, pp. 36-40; Saks et al. 2010: 93-115). The extrinsic motivators are those that come outside the individual such as rewards that include while intrinsic are within the individual such as performing a task because the employee finds it exciting (Bruno and Margit 2002). One of the motivational strategies that have been employed by the Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is the safety and health training program (Mercedes –Benz South African Limited 2013: 38).
Having indicated that safety and health training among the employees is a motivational factor that improves their productivity; it is now obvious that safety and health training program in accident reduction increases productivity of MBSA (Akpan, 2011: 159-165; Stranks, 2010: 67-89). The automotive industry makes use of several techniques to ensure accident reduction and prevention of incidents (Desa et al., 2013: 1-15). Furthermore, the companies involved in the industry carry out several activities including first aid training, employer training, employees’ education, employee motivation, supervision and goal or target setting (Lamba, 2013: 34-40; Wilkins, 2011: 1017-1026). Indeed, employee training on safety and health is regarded as one of the best strategies in accident prevention. The automotive industry realized that controlling accidents must initially start with employees. Shedding more light on the significance of employee training may, therefore, be integral in minimizing accidents (Hughes &Ferrett, 2011b:150-158). The automotive industry in South Africa has employed numerous practices and operational processes that ensure safety in the industry (Mercedes –Benz South African Limited, 2013: 38). Employers in the industry are responsible in securing the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Mercedes-Benz Company based in South Africa that is used as a case study in this research proposal, is amongst the companies that run health and safety training in line with international standards such as the Occupational Safety and Health Assessment Series for health and safety management systems (Punia& Saharan, 2011: 239-250). Employees’ participation in making the workplace safer through training is founded on the theoretical basis in the philosophy of participatory education where trainers are seen as facilitators in the development of knowledge (Romano-Woodward, 2013: 21-23). Indeed, after appreciating the need for safety and health programs, this proposal will be categorically concerned with how implementation of the program within the South African Mercedes Benz Company has improved its productivity and efficiency.
SECTION 3: Context of Research
The implementation of safety and health programs in MBSA is a good strategy that will improve the productivity and efficiency of the employee. The aim of this research will be the evaluation of the ways the implementation program within MBSA has improved productivity and efficiency.
The supporting goals will include:
- Assessing the best way of offering employee training in the automotive industry by interviewing the experts in the field and the management.
- Evaluating the efficiency of fellow workers in undertaking safety measures by looking at the productivity level after implementation of the program.
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