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In recent years, sharp rise in the trends of industrialization and globalization in third world countries raised new challenges to the safety and security of workplaces. According to Duijm et al (2008), both developed and underdeveloped regions are facing the consequences to the massive workforce. The establishment of safety culture is one of the major challenges due to the complexity and influence of multiple environmental factors. However, a secure and healthy environment is one of the prime needs of the workforce in large and small industries, as only healthy individuals can serve the larger purpose to the industry and society. In this context, Zohar and Luria, (2005) argued that the rapid increase on the hazards and accidents at the occupation sites raise a serious concern to the authorities to establish and monitor the safety of environment and monitoring of standard working practices.
In theory, the definition of occupational accidents is considered as the occurrence of fatal or non-fatal injury during the course of work at a certain organization (ILO,1997). The lack of attention to this important issue can have multiple reasons such as exploitation of labour rights, local governments’ insensitivity, safety measures insufficiency, lack of workforce awareness and proper educational contribution (Powell, 2007). Also, occupational accidents occurrence is also high in workplaces due to lack of training, knowledge, supervision, and rules implementation. In addition, Tharaldsen et al (2010) pointed out that variety of human errors due to negligence, carelessness, and lack of monitoring creates more occupational accidents. Hence, the impact of these factors is significant in establishment of safety culture to reduce occupational hazards.
Moreover, it is important to evaluate the significance of imperative factors’ contribution the occupational hazards in various industries. Oil and gas industry is one of the largest and important industries globally. The industry caters large number of workers and complex working and operating conditions. In oil rich countries, this industry is not only important to bring in foreign exchange but also as a provider of major source of employment and necessary infrastructure to the country.
As a major oil producing country, Iraq, which has been selected as focus of this study, has a large oil and gas industry. Blanchard (2009) stated that oil and gas industry economic performance is very prominent in Iraq, however it is also a large contributor of occupational accidents. In Iraq, oil and gas sector contribution is 90% in state revenues and 74% in GDP, along with the status of largest employment provider of the country (Blanchard 2009; Khdair et al 2011). Further, Mearns and Yule (2009) and Kane (2010) argued that this sector possesses high risk in workplace safety and important parameters to establish safety culture is required severely.
The Iraqi Congress document (2008), indicates that the oil and gas accidents prompts through negative technological know-how, employee misbehavior towards protection regulation ,insufficient instruments, lack of precautions, negative organizational management, lack of sufficient services, and inadequate training. However, Al-Moumen, (2009), contends that the due to global sanctions imposed on Iraq and the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, entire infrastructure has been damaged and oil and gas accidents appear inevitable. The safety quandary within the oil and fuel enterprise in Iraq is very main when Iraq’s dependence on oil production and exports is considered, whilst such outside explanations are largely authentic. Furthermore, one hundred fifteen billion barrels of established oil reserves has been possessed by Iraq (Jaffe 2006). Thus, after Saudi Arabia, it ranks 2nd in oil inventories worldwide. It is indicated by the Iraqi Congress document that in the oil sector it is presently working with a production potential of 45% and continued incidents in the production of oil and gas are the justified with this considerable production (Kalha 2009). The question that arises here is that whether the government of Iraq and the oil organizations are equipped to manage safety effectively and be able to diminish occupational accidents?
Therefore Iraq can be considered as an important case study for evaluating occupational/industrial accidents selected in this research. The motivation of this research comes from the fact that since Oil and Gas industry is the source of the major revenue for the residents of this community, how can the health and safety concerns of this industry could be enhanced, especially given the troubles this part of the world has been going through for the last many years. Review of current conditions, analyzing the details, comparing with safety standards accomplished across the globe, and providing key factual based recommendation is the focus of this research.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the safety measure taken by the oil and gas industry in Iraq to assure safety culture in organizations in Iraq and how these occupational health and safety systems can be improved. The aim also includes the consideration of workers safety outside the company premises due to vulnerable law and order conditions of Iraq.
The primary objectives of the proposed study include:
Following research question provide summary of above aim and objectives:
What are the safety measures taken by the oil and gas industry to assure safety culture in organizations in Iraq, and how these occupational health and safety systems can be improved?
The occupational safety issues are found to be of critical importance in recent western literature for the workers in countries such as UK (Tharaldsen et al 2010; Kane 2010), US, and other European countries (Mearns and Yule 2009). On the other hand, the literature is scarce about workers safety issues in third world Asian countries (Ali et al 2009; Khdair et al 2011). The literature found is based on the analysis of various internal and external factors responsible for the establishment of safety culture at workplace. In this section of the paper, literature related to occupational health and safety of oil and gas industry will be critically reviewed, with the primary focus on the developing countries such as Iraq. This method will develop an extensive understanding of the safety systems, best practices and the related legislations, which will then be utilized to complete the later sections of this paper.
Safety culture in organization is important to manage occupational hazards and safety issues for workers and equipment. According to Sukadarin et al. 2012, safety culture isa viable method of for directing worker’s beliefs, approaches, and performances regarding organizational safety. Another definition by Ritcher and Koch (2004) stated that the safety culture stands for the collective and knowledgeable implication, experiences and understanding of job and safety, and also includes peoples’ guidance. This culture also includes shared values and beliefs which interact with structure and control systems of an organization to yield social standards (Fitzgerald, 2005). As per Terry (2003), there are three causes of UN safe behavior at work (1) physical surroundings, (2) the social setting and (3) experience of an employee within these. In the meantime, the safety triangle demonstrates the link amongst the unsafe working environment and damages, which has an effect on safety situation in any industry. Safety not only endeavors to focus on bottom employees but it also impacts the degree of responsibility of higher authority such as managers to ensure safety at workplace.
To develop a culture of safety in acknowledgment to dispositions and practices of workers are the most import motivational elements and it provides the basics to workers’ state of mind and their conduct at work. As indicated by the European Process Safety Center (1994) legislative issues, association, administration hones, systems, observing and reviewing of activities are the imperative components incorporated in basic wellbeing of administration. Vredenburgh, (2002) in his study indicated that; to make safety culture in organization numerous administration practices must be taken into consideration. These administration practices are comprised trainings, assessments, and various administration obligation. From the literature published in the last many years, it has been indicated by experts that safety performance is influenced by these administrative practices.
Agency theory holds risk management in large industries such as oil and gas sectors as a conflict of interest between shareholders interest and management practices (Vredenburgh, 2002). Like other industries, consumers trust is also important in oil and gas industry, however, this trust is affected by the financial risks and the corporate risk such asprojects cost over runs, as they lead to increase in expected costs. Furthermore, stakeholder's theory also provides a rationale to the control of risk management (RM). In this regard, the map proposed by Hall (1997) to control and manage risk is still applicable in oil and gas industry. The stages described in the model presented by Hall (1997) are:
Table 1; Risk stages and Descriptions (source: Source: Hall, 1997)
Negative risk identification, lack of communication and coordination, and Crisis management
Shift from crisis to risk management, awareness of risks but no systematic address, uncertainty to communicate risks.
solely a manager's and a team activity, transactional stage from avoidance to recognition and eradication of risks root cause
Transition of subjective to quantitative RM, metrics use to anticipate malfunction, ability to learn, adopt, and proactive approach to RM.
Positive aspect of RM, risks are taken as opportunity to restructure, improving the environment, and better administration.
The above model was argued by Petts (1998) and added a communication and monitoring stage to the above mentioned stages. Furthermore, Shrivastava, (1995) argued that the incidents and hazards in the oil and gas sector should also be treated through risk management procedure. Shrivastava (1995) proposed two alternatives in this sector risk management, industrial ecosystems considers harmful by-products of operations as potential useful input products and eco-centric administration, focuses on better organization alignment with natural environment.
As indicated by Khdairet al(2011), Safety requires a huge measure of effort to be employed within a workplace because it’s a difficult and problematic phenomenon. Therefore, it is very challenging to achieve safety performance crosswise the industry. It is a delicate and difficult approach to deal with the performance of safety because there is a risk of life of people working at the place and also for the person who is supervising the system. Financial losses are the second reason for which implementation of an operative management system for of health and safety is crucial (Bakriet al, 2006).
A well-being and safety management system recognized to deal with the work-related safety and well-being issues, known as Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS-18001), is a worldwide acknowledged standard for the organizational safety usually challenged by employees at workplace (Zeng et al 2010). The structure of OHSAS is a certification inclusive, which can be transformed and modified according to organizational needs, business or specific desires of regions (Remmen et al 2005). It consists of an agenda that spots, alleviate and diminish the dangers associated workplace and health and safety. OHSAS implies specifications for wellbeing and management method for safety at organization, for facilitating a service provider in limiting safety issues and enhance effectiveness of the work. It does not give comprehensive necessities for the designing the management method nor it specify the efficiency standards. Alternatively, it is used to experiment the administration approach for safety and assess effectiveness of workplace safety and to ensure that the administration process meets legal and coverage requirements. As indicated by Zeng et al (2010) Management system should be validated in step with the directions of the recognized normal and it can be carried out with OHSAS-18001. The major cause behind using it is that it cut down the safety issues and risks associated in the workplace that in return enriches the manufacturer productiveness and reduces production cost (Singh, 2009).
As indicated by Philips et al (2003), thirteen major commerce bodies, accreditation councils and worldwide requisites had headquartered this system to support a gap where no independent body certifiable specification endures. Around 25,000 corporations of eighty two international locations were certified to OHSAS, by 2006. This approach empowers companies to admire their hazards, verify the loop holes of their management procedure, and confirm those dangers that aren't tolerable and needs to be delimited (Smith, 2008). Rather of being reactive, this process is a proactive process, as it is in a position of assessing danger and analyses hazard previous to the prevalence of any mishap. Inspectors advocate control measures, after assessing dangers. These control measure can be either technical or administrative or both. For this method, thorough identification of dangers and evaluation of likelihood of expertise harm prevalence are fundamentals.
The workplace safety is a difficult phenomenon therefore, there are numerous explanations influencing the performance of safety, and the subject of safety efficiency is even more difficult to understand in the oil and gas industry. Given below are the various causes that have effects on the safety performance. These causes are human factors, economic elements, behaviors, psychological explanations, organizational reasons character and social aspect and environmental elements. These factors are discussed below.
According to Bellamy et al (2008), the ‘human factor’ impact is considered as versatile and complex that can influence the safety measures, organizational discipline, working environments and many different characteristics of safety culture. In oil and gas sector, management and staff reliance for workers safety is still not achieved, as professional advancement with time showed behavioral differences in crisis situations (Subramaniam 2004). Behavior factors can have an influential effect on safety, especially with respect to involvement of workers in form of groups for complex and regular tasks. Cox et al, (2004) discussed that safety oriented programs encourage workers in changing their behavior and attitude in pursuit of safe actions (Sawacha et al 1999). Another important contribution was of psychological factor, which showed a major relationship with safety performance of employees (Cigularov et al 2010). The other important factors are organizational and economic factors that are responsible for the designing and implementation of employment and hiring policies.
The behavioral factor impact on employee’s safety and security refers to the constraints in behaviour that obstruct employees motivation and security-culture development. According to Cox et al (2004), assessment of behaviour factors assist in understanding the employees behaviour that may lead to any accident, rather than relying on the hazardous prospective of the activities/processes only. Hence, reduction in the behaviours associated with risks such as mishandling, carelessness, and/or inappropriate modes of working can help to reduce the chances of occupational accidents and security failures. As discussed by Krause and Russell (1994), the employees’ riskier conduct has been found in most safety risk situations that affect the people present at that place. In another study, Krause and Russell (1999), stated that behaviour based workplace security problems mostly occur in the presence of group of people when human interactions create mal-functioning, conflicts and disputes. These researches further suggested that proper risk behaviour trainings for workers can facilitate the reduction of such risks.
In the context of safety enactment, the organizational factors are the aspects giving rise to mishaps. From the previous researches, the link between workplace safety, behavior of workers and consequences of safety has been discovered. These may include incidents, damages, and misfortunes (Reid et al 2008). Additionally, Remmen et al (2005) argued that a number of occupational factors that can influence prediction of organizational safety, the past researches have focused on the elements that can avoid possible accidents. Alternatively, Vredenburgh (2002) asserted that external factors such as financial factors, socio-technical situation and general culture also influence the organizational factors. As a result, in different geographical location, the occupational factors differ in terms of creating distinct effects on performance of safety. In this aspect, Tharaldsen et al (2010) declared that the production firms, in the recent era of globalization, are assisting their business programs of foreign companies. These firms should efficiently deliberate transformation of organizational characteristic and their encouragement mechanisms for safety enactment in different states.
However, the financial justifications are foremost and have high contribution on performance of safety. The financial cause offers in time period of financial values, that are related to protection equivalent to, hazard pay. Osha (2012) stated that compensation base on the accident is important. In most of the instances cash can by no means compensate the life of any worker who misplaced his life but can best quickly remedy the ache of one who had losses one. Also, Vinodkumar, MN, &Bhasi, (2010) asserted that the economic factor may just differ from company to organization and depends upon the organizational polices. The economic component can also fortify the occupational security by using supplying right equipment and other critical safety prevention tools. The worker psychology is the colossal factor to make contributions to safety efficiency that is famous for Crocker, (1995), who observed that the worker's safety depends upon his physiological state and he concluded that workers can work more safely with a someone who respects their staff and their contribution, and who is stimulated by means of a targeted enterprise policy on safety. When employees work safely, they are able to also expect operatives to react positively.
In review of previous studies, Boardbent (2004); Lu and Yang, (2010); Vinodkumar and Bhasi (2010), it is discovered that safety participation and safety behavior compliance are two important dimensions in measuring safety performance at workplace. Also, the study of Griffin and Neal (2000) already explained these two factors in Australian industrial sector research. The result s of these studies confirmed that positive safety compliance and safety participation of both workers and management play a vital role in establishing a safety culture and influencing the safety performance with moderator as safety knowledge. Furthermore, the studies of Cabrera et al (2007) and Ali et al (2009) elaborated that management practices are important to prevent occupational accidents, as a useful element in control and taking precautionary measures to avoid workplace accidents. Additionally, study of Geldart et al, (2010), on workplace safety measures and role of management practices in various industries, and suggested that administrative policies; management practices and employees’ attitudes impact positively on workplace safety.
Managing of Safety behavior operative organization and its control are dealt under organizational factors. In order to attain high valued performance within organization, exercises for managing safety in organization are very significant. In the perspective of business the term of safety performance is indicated as the capability of tackling with the risks in the organization in order to evade mishaps and damages (Jiang et al 2010). The organizational and management factors define the measure of success of safety performance within organization. Safety self-efficacy, sentience of safety, and behavior of safety are the three integrated factors included in individual safety. Self-efficacy can be defined as the belief of Employee that is their training competence and this affects safety control perceived by the worker, a facilitator role amongst safety environment and self-reported accidents.
Though, consciousness of safety replicates the risk issue occurring at working environment. The safety behavior can be defined as the risk-taking performance and acquiescence to procedures and rules of safety by the employee. As discussed by Neal and Griffin (2002), the safety behaviors in an organization are influenced by the organizational factors (like understanding management and diligence), while appraised by the employee compliance and contribution. The safety risk dealing with hazardous and safe practices relies on upon the subjective inclinations connected with the safety of workers who are confronting dangers, predisposition in the view of safety risk which happens in a rational, however this is an impractical assessment of risk, which causes a higher level of danger as a consequences.
To avert hazards at work sites, practices for management of risks are expected to work, which deals with controlling the working environment mishaps. Fundamentally, session based management practices have been established by some authors, Ali et al (2009), and their study indicated that the work place accidents and damages are affected by the management practices and these accidents can also be diminished by management practices. Geldart et al, (2010), conducted research over workplace well-being, organizational practices, and safety. The study included 312 employees from Canadian industrial organizations (Geldart et al, 2010). From the study it was discovered that the employee safety in workplace is directly influenced by the managerial policies; behaviors and practices. It was also found that the managers and more skilled and experienced workers have lesser encounters with accidents and injuries. The rate of injuries and accidents can be reduced by the official policies and rules by allowing them to take part in discussions, inspiring them to consider necessities of safety, giving rewards and incentives. The administrative practices are briefly defined below:
Training of workers assumes most contributing part in disclosing administration practices to enhance safety execution. Workers take choices in light of safety concerns, these choice are not being practice by the entire association as these insurances are structure workers as opposed to administration (Ali, et al, 2009). As the safety code of standards and regulation are not been upheld by the administration, there is nearly less effect on the workers. Their discoveries additionally propose that the inadequacy of worker’s training of safety are not effective in reducing lessen the mishaps and wounds (Cabrera et al 2007).
Training of workers lessens and holds risks and enhances the ability to handle the safety issues. Training of workers and safety relies on upon the level of danger that is brought about and notices and circumspectly assumes critical part to keep from those perils . Vredenburgh and Cohen (1995) suggested that the level of observed risk expands the consistence to notices and directions; in this way, it is important to prepare the whole workforce for distinguishing and responding against the dangers related with their working environment. With the assistance of software engineers the association can set and accomplish objectives, development and change, and, enhance specialized and proficient abilities. With the assistance of worker’ training, the workers get educated about adherence to safety standards and techniques, and in the meantime identifying training of worker’s needs, creating changes in work strategies and reconsidering work objectives, in order to make the work more secure .
Hazards at work place can also be reduced by giving inducements and rewards to employees who motivate them to avoid risks. The way workers behave with their inspiration is a way that reward lead to craved results. Workers need to move as indicated by the social standards in order to produce the alluring result. The culture and practices of reward system is found through actions and results. The hierarchical culture happens at a work place that has various lines and strengthening operators, changing an association draws in to recognize the different fortifying gentlemen with a specific end goal to decide their impacts on the change process (Thompson and Luthans, 1990).
Then again, the motivating force project based on reward system reinforces the reporting of mishaps and any dangerous demonstration prompting a mischance. The employee motivating projects are needed to be an arrangement of packages that can be employed in parallel to their safety and training. It is important to include precision of mishaps in the organization, in place of giving retribution after occurrence of accidents. Though, informational opinion, self-assessment and social elements play an important role in motivating the employees, these may include praise acknowledgment, and perceptible highlights for example compensating through bonus and trading stamps. Fernaud & D´ıaz, (2007); Bentley, Haslam (2001), in their study indicates motivational outlines which are used in the organizations in order to apply fundamental rewards and remunerations, associated to job, and, extrinsic rewards. These outlines are associated with collective recognition and economic remunerations.
The research methodology defines the hypothetical structure for future objectives that a researcher with the guideline which he requires for performing further research and analysis.
Choosing the best research philosophy is the initial step, the researcher took. This involves a collection of primary data, facts and figures which helps the researcher to understand the topic better. Perspective of positivism and the rationale was selected by researcher for this method, which is a managerial investigation including comprehension of various interpretations of the topics. The positivism is considered as the scientific viewpoint constructed on the vision that analytical and mathematical implications and information of sensory considerations are the only sources for consistent knowledge. Realism and positivism has also been used by the researcher in the present research.
The implication of theory is the most significant aspect of research. There are two types of philosophies of research: the deductive approach and inductive approach (Saunders et.al, 2011). ‘Scientific research’ is included in the deductive method. In this methodology the specialist depends primarily on the theory testing trying to build up a connection and association between two variables. In an inductive examination, the information is gathered after a hypothesis has been based on the investigation (Dahlberg, 2010). In this methodology, accumulation of the information and afterward its examination is included. Belk, (2007) is of the feeling that the inductive methodology will be preference for the examination as a more profound understanding may be acquired with such an exploration system. In this examination both the inductive and deductive strategies for exploration have been employed (Dahlberg, 2010). Likewise, in deductive methodology that incorporates theory testing including factual systems, quantitative information is employed. Subjective information gathering was employed to accept the discoveries of the quantitative review.
A Research strategy can be defined as an exact arrangement to conduct a research based project which includes the steps of directing research. To determine the examination information a few sorts of procedures have been actualized:
When the deductive methodology is actualized then, the survey technique is employed. Survey empowers the accumulation of quantitative information and meeting polls. Such a strategy is vital, since the examination includes congregation of information of the administrators' systems employed that is used a part of the instance of social issues (Kothari, 2004). This procedure empowered the investigator to get subjective perspectives of the respondents on the point. This procedure was essential for inferring the consequences of the examination.
In order to gain the subjective information, the researcher uses the method of interview regarding the topic of research. To extract key information, this method was a significant source. The answers of respondents (through Skype) were noted and considered. Interviews can provide important information for this project.
Because of restricted applicability of time frame, this research has been regarded as a cross sectional work. This kind of research implements survey methods, comparing diverse companies is the primary focal point. For this sort of research, time frame constraint is of great importance.
For the examination, the technique used to gather the information is of most extreme significance and this data collection is the quintessence of the research. Two primary routines were used to gather information in this project. Secondary research is conducted first and the second is the primary research technique (Wiles, 2012). The exploration has employed the blended methodology in which primary and secondary both examination systems are employed for collecting data from tenable sources with questionnaire research and meetings.
The secondary data will be collected to understand the health and safety concerns oil and gas industry, with the focus on Iraq, from relevant and credible resources such journal articles, industry reports, labour legislations and online database. Primary research activity is the second phase of data collection
To gather primary data for the research, the researcher has chosen the methods of questionnaire and interview.
For conducting questionnaire based research, the researcher has to outline a questionnaire that fulfils the aims and criteria of research (Saunders et al. 2011). An e-mail based survey from 50 random employees from five major oil and gas companies of Iraq was conducted. The main elements considered in survey questionnaire and interviews from managers are as follows:
(More point will be added after undertaking a comprehensive review of literature in this area of research)
With questionnaires, personal gathering of information was not conducted by the researcher. Because the researcher was in another state, such research was not conceivable. Additionally, the online survey circulation also saved the time. Likewise, it was easier to answer the close ended inquiries in view of different decision questions. Alike, the Likert 5 point scale was easy to reply (Wiles 2012).
The interview questionnaire was first outlined before the meetings were led. The subjects were come to with earlier arrangements and the Skype was used to conduct interviews. A span 20-25 minutes was taken for each interview to be led. The meeting structure of each meeting relies on upon the time period, exploration point, and subject (Saunders et.al 2011). Likewise, instead of a straightforward yes or no answer, a few inquiries required the subjects to expound. The answers of the interviews were recorded. A configuration of seven inquiries was included in every interview. The researcher employed testing as a system to guarantee that the subjects identifies the answers and fulfils the goals of the examination.
The analysis tools for quantitative data collected from survey will be regression and correlation and the findings will further discussed in line with the reviewed literature. The interviews will be analyzed with the help of thematic analysis to portray the important themes for further discussion. The issues of reliability and validity will also be discussed along with ethical considerations.
Validity and reliability alludes to the extent to which a research precisely mirrors the exact recognition, which an analyst tries to access. Judgmental inspecting of organization workers, fitting exploration systems, appropriately outlined examination instruments and its substance, and suitable factual apparatuses employed for information investigation were used to maintain Validity and reliability. This research tends to know the workers suppositions therefore the extent of this examination is entirely limited, and it may not be appropriate for other firm. The fulfillment of survey and reactions of the subjects helped to gain dependable information. The researcher was additionally empowered by Statistical reliability analysis, for the affirmation of this study.
It was censured by the researcher that no inclination is included in the process of research and dissecting the outcomes the personalities of the subjects disguised. It was also guaranteed by the researcher to the subjects that outcomes of their survey and interview won’t be employed anyplace else except for this exploration. Likewise, the characters and name of participants and their firm was kept classified, which was essential to hold particularly for this study. The flexibility of respondents was also ensured and no one’s will was constrained by interviewer. As identified by the researcher that the subjects were free of stress as it stress influences the outcomes (Wiles, 2012).
Principally, the study couldn't be preceded for an extensive time period because of time span constraint. The absence of assets was another impediment; in this manner the exploration was restricted to five organizations constraining the extent of the examination paper. A few respondents may not have opened up and some performed the real situation which may have influenced the outcomes. Thus, the outcomes and reliability is questionable. In conclusion, in spite of the certification by the analyst, a few subjects might not have been persuaded and may have been unwilling to make their actual emotions known in such a way for the threat of losing their job. Along these lines these restrictions may have influenced the gathered results.
To be completed: Edit and improvement of the first three chapters, complete results and discussion, and conclusion chapters
On the basis of previous literature, it has been established that organizational factors have an influence on the workplace safety performance in oil and gas business in the Iraq. In comparison to the previous literature, Vredenburgh (2002) and Ali et al (2009) illustrates that a similar effect on work place injuries and safety performance is due to the managerial practices because an important linear connection exist among the injuries at work place and safety. On the other hand, the factors that can help in avoiding work place injuries are the aspect of managerial practices for example compensation, training, management obligation.
According to the previous studies of Ali et al., (2009); Skjerve,
(2008); and Dorji & Hadikusumo, (2006), safety performance is also influenced by management practices. Management practices can be defined as the practices that are aimed by the management to accomplish occupational safety at workplace in order to increase the capability of employees or dealing with accidents and damages (Geldart et al., 2010; Proactive policies and measures are also included in Management practices for avoiding occupational accidents (Gordon et al 2005) which includes monitoring, auditing and safety procedures at workplace, (EU-OSHA 2013). Furthermore, management practices, by improving the safety standards in a business can discuss the pressures and circumstances promoting the incidence of human errors (Barling, 2001). Hence, for the above reasons, management practices are adopted in the research as the independent variable.
A study of Eyayo (2014) created an important awareness of Occupational Health Hazards in oil refinery workers in Nigeria, due to chemical, mechanical, physical, and psychological interactions of their work in refinery. These factors identified as mere causes of health and safety hazards when management is not played an active part in controlling the causes of accidents and health hazards. The study recommended OHS-MS system as best measure of processes to be fit for the workers’ health and safety in the refinery. EYAY0 (2014) also recommended a management protocol to assist the management initiatives and rehabilitate the health and wellbeing of employees.
In any industry tracking the degree of work-related illness is difficult. Frequently, Occupational illness is not recognized as occupational or remains unreported to the employer and OSHA and is hardly appealed in the reimbursement system of employees. According to World Economic Forum (2012), in total, 5.9% of business sector GDP is made by energy-related businesses and also makes 1.2% of the total segment of business sector occupation. In 2005 to 2009, in the oil and gas extraction business, the occupational casualty level was 2.5 times of that of construction industry and 7 times of that of over-all sector [ILO, 2013].
The questionnaire was comprised on two parts, quantitative and qualitative (Refer to Appendix A for the details of the questionnaire). The quantitative part was based on multiple choice questions to evaluate the demographics of sample and Likert scale based items to find the attitude of employees about the sources of physical; hazards and management policies related to overcome the occupational hazards at the workplace. The qualitative data was collected from the open ended questions given at the end of the questionnaire. This part was aimed at exploring the detailed input of employees about the actual risks/ threats, management behaviour, and the impact of external environmental variables in Iraq.
The demographics of sample is illustrated in the graphs below
The gender distribution is uneven due to the nature of industry, Oil and gas industry is male dominated industry and due to cultural limits, the ratio of working women in the industry is found very low. Therefore, sample was comprised on 81% male respondents who work on designation of workers (495), supervisor (21%), assistant managers (14%), and others (16%).
The age proportion of these respondents lies in the range of below 25 years (19%) to above 40 years (9%). The maximum respondents lie in the age group of 26-30 years (35%) and 31-35 years (25%). Hence, mostly young and middle age workers were participated in the survey. The corresponding experience lies in maximum range of 5-8 years (37%). As the age groups are towards young workers, hence, most respondents have experience less than 8 years (84%).
Furthermore, about 44% respondent were working in shifts and 31% are on regular office timings. The nature of work also varies as majority of workforce work in full time , whereas 33% serve part time in the companies. The back up (16%) and casual (7%) workers have also participated in the research. Therefore, this balanced sample was representative of all types of workers and employees at lower management levels.
The questions for qualitative data are given in the following table 4.1.
Table 4.1: Open- Ended Questions
What are the major health and safety hazards affected workers in the Oil and Gas Industry?
How workers can suffer health and safety hazards at your workplace?
What emotional and psychological impacts observed during the work at the main sites or inside the company premises?
Is the management role appropriate and responsive for accidents and health issues of workers?
How the external environment factors affect the health and safety of your company employees?
Till what extent the conditions of war and terrorism in Iraq affected the occupational conditions in your company?
The major health and safety hazards identified by these respondents were health damage, chronic diseases and other respiratory failures. Also, hearing ad eyesight losses can result in due to heavy noise pollution and illumination issues on oil and gas exploration sites and in refineries. The loss of body parts, severe back pains, and other body disfunctionalities are indicated due to the use of heavy machinery and lack of safety equipment. The major health hazard is long term disease, loss of any body organ, or even a death caused by any incident (such as fire, explosion of threat of a terrorist attack) in the refinery or on drilling site. According to a worker:
“Worker may face problems due to insufficient light, smoke, and noise pollution that affect respiratory system”.
Another aspect was observed in these responses that many of the workers forms were not contained enough information about the health and safety hazards. The possible reason is the unawareness of the issues that shows improper training and lack of management interest in making these workers more aware of the potential dangers at the sites and in refinery. For instance, a worker wrote who was approached during this research stated:
“No idea of the possible health hazards as I have never encountered any problem”.
The next question was related to the ways which result in suffering of workers were explained as the handling of contaminated raw material and plant waste, handling of heavy machinery, and the pollution issues at drilling and oil and gas transportation sites. The specific accidents are pointed out due to drilling accidents, plant maintenance and construction issues, accidents in pipeline transportation, contamination due to improper storage, and salt dome injuries. According to a respondent:
“Mostly workers suffered through diseases but management never considers it as a result of the workplace hazards, therefore, there is no record of major illnesses and other drastic effects in our company other than injuries caused at the workplace”.
As far as the emotional and psychological impacts of workplace conditions and work routines, most respondents were not identified any major threats in this area. According to few responses, change of moods, stressful reactions, and inability to participate in family affairs are resulted when work schedules are very strict. Also, feeling of nausea and lack of appetite is also found as a common symptom of emotional and psychological impacts of stressful schedules in difficult physical and chemical environment. Long working hours and shift based work has reduced the social life of field workers and long durations on the sites also increase the violence and aggressive behaviour. One supervisor commented that:
“The oil drilling sessions are long and painful, keeping the workers calm and peaceful become challenge in long working hours on the site in extreme heat in summer season”.
The role of management was the important concern for the respondents as nearly everyone has commented on this question in critical way. Most of the workers are not satisfied with the behviours and responsiveness of their higher management. According to a line manager:
“The response from higher ups is very difficult to predict as our recommendations and equipment maintenance or replacement requests are not entertained on proper time. The plant conditions require regular overhauls and inspections with necessary actions to handle workers complain”.
(Oil refinery line manager)
The external factors identified by respondents as war on terror, the American surveillance in Iraq, and the terrorism threats outside the workplace are most important factors for employees concern. The social, economic, and psychological threats faced by the uncertain political and economic conditions of the country had greatly affected the oil and gas industry. The threats from the terrorist organization to the oil sector were also pointed out in the responses. According to a response:
“The stressful days in past 10 years in this country are enough to give us nightmares, feel insecure on oil drilling sites amid security and protection from the company, especially in the last couple of years”.
(Oil refinery line manager)
In conclusion, the workers of these oil refineries and drilling companies are less aware of the potential dangers of this field work to their health and safety. The major threats identified are resulted in chronic diseases of chest, physical damage to body parts, injuries in plants and on drilling sites, and even death caused by occupational accidents. The behaviour of management is not found proactive in dealing with the potential malfunctioning of devices and machines on time and the safety of employees are not assured to the full extent. The external environment threats of war and terrorism have played a major role in increasing the insecurity and stress related diseases of workers in Iraq. Iraqi oil and gas industry is on the major threat from terrorist groups as being the largest supporter of economy. Though, psychological and emotional safety issues are not counted towards the occupational hazards in the companies but workers are largely suffered from stress full behaviour that leads to aggression and violence. Moreover, detailed aspects/impact of terrorism on safety was not thoroughly investigated as this was not the entire focus of this research, as this needed much more time and effort to complete.
The quantitative data was related to the causes and types of physical hazards (including hearing issues, severe accidents, operational practices, inadequate provision of safety equipment and light, and contamination related hazards) for employees and the relevant management practices of the company. The graphical illustration of results is shown below:
According to the responses of this section, the workers are facing hearing losses due to the presence of high levels of noise pollution. Overall 61% respondents were agreed or highly agreed with the presence of this threat in their working environment. This discovery is in line with the recommendations of WHO (2013) about high levels of noise in working areas of oil and gas industry.
In another statement, the respondents have agreed the occurrence of severe workplace accidents in their companies. These workplace accidents might have caused injuries or even proved fatal for the affected workers. In these respondents 84% were involved in working with various objects, machines and chemicals at high and moderate temperatures. Also, the vibration levels were also reported high at the workplace. Around 44% respondents highly agreed that the vibrations due to machines and other equipments are very high at their workplace. Furthermore, the provision of adequate illumination is also one of the important causes of physical hazards due to drastic impacts on eyesight. Approximately 49% respondents were highly agreed with the negative impacts of inadequate supply of illumination. Furthermore, high chances of contamination from handling of chemicals and toxic waste at the refinery and in drilling sites were also reported in this survey.
My company gave pre-employment training when I was newly employed
Management is highly committed to the safety and health of workers
There are periodical health examination in my company to monitor health conditions for employees
Management has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in good condition
Periodical trainings are conducted in my company to assure safety and efficiency at work
Active and functional Occupational Health and Safety System (OHSAS) is used in this company
The next part of the survey was about the management practices relevant to the physical and psychological hazards. According to the respondents, overall 47% were agreed or highly agreed with the presence of pre-employment safety and security trainings of employees. Hence, more than 50% employees have no trainings at their respective companies. Another negative indicator was the less agreement resulted in the question about the commitment of management to the health and safety of employees. Only, 37% respondents were agreed with the management commitment and compliance to the security procedures.
As far as periodical health and safety examinations are concerned, 34% respondents agreed with the presence of this practice. Also, the provision of PPE (personal protection equipment) was agreed by overall 44% respondents. It shows a below average performance of management in provision of safety procedure, protection equipment, and periodic inspection of workers’ health and safety in these companies. The negative responses related to the awareness and periodic workers trainings were also a significant outcome. A part from recommendation of WHO and the requirement of OHSAS protocol, only 40% respondents were agreed with presence of periodic trainings for improving health and safety measures. Similarly, low percentages of agreements were resulted in the cases of compliance of management with the conditions of OHSAS in their respective companies.
The findings of this research are used to evaluate the safety performance of oil and gas industry in Iraq. The findings of above interpreted results showed a low level of safety performance in the concerned companies. Safety performance did not achieve maximum standard of safety according to majority of the participants, and it was further observed that human factors in management practices can turn out to be an essential factor to accomplish the safety performance in oil and gas companies of Iraq. Therefore, safety performance must thoroughly incorporated in management practices.
As according to Zeng et al 2010, better safety performance can be accomplished if management practices and human factors work together in an organization. The conduct of employees to avoid accidents is influenced by safety performance, as proved by above results that workers are given responses largely in disagreement when proactive measures of management for safety were concerned. The lack of awareness in workers is also one of the reasons of these negative responses, found evident in the qualitative responses as well.
On the base of previous literature it has been concluded that organizational factors effect on the safety performance at workplace in oil and gas sector in the Iraq. Vredenburgh (2002) and Ali et al (2009), in comparison to the previous literature contends that a similar influence on work place damages and safety performance is caused by the managerial practices as a linear connection exist among the safety performance and the injuries at work place. In contrast, the managerial practice elements like employee training, hiring practices, pre-employment health examinations, incentive, better communication, management commitment, and employee contribution are considered as the factors that assisting avoiding work place injuries (Cabrera et al., 2007; Cox et al., 2004). Therefore, an improved safety performance can be accomplished if human factors and management practices work in single direction, and the parctices are optimized in accordance with the local environment as well as condition of Iraq
Furthermore, the behavior of employees to avoid any mishap at workplace is also influenced by the safety culture found in the organization. Though, the management practice which is a method of controlling and avoiding the workplace injuries is examined in this study with the nature of work-related damages at job. The human errors at workplace can be avoided and injuries at work place could be reduced, by providing the workers with appropriate measures and knowledge for safety (Gordon et al 2005). Despite of the fact that the oil and gas industry of Iraq is growing rapidly and provides various new jobs, it increases the possibility for injury, accident and disorders connected to work. The industry will be challenged to uphold a harmless and healthy environment at workplace with introductions related to the OHSAS compliance, in addition to common industrial safety threats. To observe and develop health and safety for employees, the industry, industrial health and safety researchers and federal agencies should work collectively.
The recommendations on the basis of the findings of this research are listed below:
This empirical study is based on the findings from the view point of both theoretical and managerial aspects of the occupational safety measures and their issues faced by workers in Iraqi oil and gas industry. The sample was a representative of workers, supervisors, line managers, and the employees of support departments, comprised on young and middle age employees, with moderate spans of experience. Hence, the sample, although small, was useful in exploring various factors associated with the occupational hazards within and outside the company premises. This descriptive study has verified the findings from the previous literature reviews through a detailed survey based data analysis and discussion. Several work-related health consequences, like lung disorders related to lungs, noise-induced audible range loss, and the psychological disorders like stress and aggression are some major indicators of deficiency in provision of proper safety measures and awareness to oil and gas industry workers in Iraq.
Note: It also important to note at this point that the findings of this primary research were the personal views of the participants, and therefore cannot be considered as ‘conclusive evidence’ for any aspect covered in this paper (see section 6.2)
The safety culture in oil and gas industries of Iraq was investigated and the opinions of workers and administrative staff related to the physical and mental hazards and the role of management initiatives and responses. Though, the results are in accordance with the previous studies of Khdair et al 2011, Ali et al 2009, and others but the major contribution of this study is a more focused approach to discover management role. The important findings of the research are included the main causes of injuries, physical health impacts, and the psychological disorders. The management effectiveness in provision of PPE, compliance of OHSAS, and the in time responses of complaints and requirements were evaluated.
The outcomes of this study suggested the various factors affecting the wellbeing of workers in oil and gas industry specifically. The improvement of safety culture is one of the important findings of the research as the results showed a below par performance and severe potential dangers to this industry workers. The respondents have perceived that they can be exposed to serious chest and respiratory diseases due to high levels of noise and chemical pollution in the industry. The extreme temperature on oil rigging sites, chemical impacts of petroleum and natural gas, and the working conditions provided by the companies are greatly responsible for the drastic impacts on employees’ health.
Another important drawback found was the lack of awareness at the workers level about occupational health and safety threats. Furthermore, the supervisors and line managers have expressed the lack of safety measures and compliance of requests from the top management that can result in severe accidents in the company. Hence, the safety culture needs to be established among the company employees and management by strengthening the bonds of affiliation and improve the communication gaps among the hierarchical levels of management.
Additionally, an important aspect discovered in the current study is the responsiveness of management related to the wellbeing of employees. The compliance of safety procedures and proper training to the employees at regular intervals not only increases the employees level of awareness bur also creates a positive safety culture in the organization. The compliant behaviour of management towards the procedures described in OHSAS protocols, ILO frameworks, and WHO recommendations are not found adaptive in these companies. Also, the impacts of external environmental factors in Iraq are also drastic as far as the occupational wellbeing of employees is concerned. The employees are constantly under the stressful conditions due to unstable political and law and order conditions of the country. The threats from terrorist organizations to confiscate the oil drilling sites and disturbances caused on oil and gas distribution systems are also extremely alarming. Serious management concerns are required to take the aggression, violence, and diseases caused by these external environment threats also in the occupational safety practices, investigation of which may require further detailed research on these areas as suggested in section 6.3 of this chapter
The research findings and above discussed recommendations are interpreted in view of the limitations of this study. The data reported in the analysis sections was based on self-reported questionnaires filled by respondents in absence of researcher; therefore, the information is vulnerable to the personal and response bias of employees. Also, the awareness and designation of all respondents are on different levels, hence, the collected data was not from homogeneous source and the lack of awareness in workers about safety measure has an effect on responses. Furthermore, the selection of cross-sectional research design has also limited the scope of research to the present perception of respondents only, for long term impacts of safety procedures, longitudinal research design is prescribed for future researches. The delimitation of using only a single method of primary data collection i.e. survey strategy limit the analysis, hence, the other methods like observation, interviews, and case study research strategies are prescribed for future researches.
In order to discuss and comprehend occupational health hazards related to the oil and gas extraction sector, academic organizations, federal and state agencies, and sector needs to cooperate for producing great quality research. In the oil and gas mining business there are key topics impacting the occupational safety and health, which are not discussed in this work that includes significant social elements like health of family and stability of job, obtain ability of safe and inexpensive housing, psychological health, drug and substance misuse and permanent comorbidities. To discuss these health hazards related to the occupation in this industry, additional research and interferences are required.
Also, access to worksites is required in order to get high quality facts and real time observations, so more observation and experimentation techniques are suggested for future researches. To confirm the effectiveness of industry efforts for reducing hazards studies related to post-intervention acquaintance assessment, valuation of industrial health and safety alleviations are also required. Creative study designs should be developed by future researchers to follow employees and to progress new datasets. Additionally, researcher must enlist the collaboration of the business. Surveillance systems for particular occupational illnesses should be developed by the Federal agencies.
A separate research with the focus on the impact of terrorism on health and safety of oil and gas industry in Iraq is also recommended, as many of the respondents considered it as the most vital hazard in the current situation. These responses were not covered in this research due to the limitation of this study. This study may include parameters such as (but not limited to) safety of oil and gas industry and the threat of terrorism, workers motivation due its impact, role of the government and the organizations in managing such threats and how the practitioner of the industry are managing this situation.
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