Assessment of the occupational health and safety programmes in the Health Institutions: The case of the University Teaching Hospital

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Nkhowani, Jessi
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The University of Zambia
ABSTRACT This study was based on a research conducted at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka. The research was as an assessment of the occupational health and safety situation in hospitals, taking UTH as a case study because of its large size and representativeness, since it has almost all sectors in the health delivery system. In this study both primary and secondary data were used. The instruments used in data collection were questionnaires, interviews, observation and documentation. The research findings indicate that the UTH has put in place an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Programme for its employees and little has been done for clients. The study found that many measures have been put in place such as protective clothing, housekeeping, sinks for hand washing, and procedures for disposal of health care waste, among others. However, the findings also indicate that despite the measures put in place: i. Management was not so involved in ensuring that the OHS provisions of the programme were enforced. ii. Very little had been done to educate workers, especially those that are not medical professionals on issues relating to OHS. iii. Clients were rarely given any awareness about the hazards associated with the institution and how they can prevent any infection, while seeking attention or treatment at the institution. The greatest weakness in the implementation of the programme is lack of knowledge and stress. The researcher recommends measures (such as training on OHS, development of a good record and reporting system, risk and hazard assessment, putting up warning signs, recruitment of OHS officers, improving labour supply, and most importantly management involvement) that management can take to make more effective improvement of the health and safety situation at the hospital. The researcher also recommends that the institution puts in place programmes such as work place counseling and redesigning some of the jobs to reduce the workload and help in dealing with stress, as well as involving employees in decision making concerning OHS at the institution. Above all there should be genuine commitment to the implementation of the OHS programme.
Occupational Health-Zambia , Health Promotion-Zambia , Zambia.Occupational Safety , Zambia.Health and safety in employment