A workplace is a place where people perform various tasks or jobs. In order to achieve high production levels, it is important to ensure that all workers have good health, there is enough safety at their place of work, and workers can cooperate and work together in peace without any incidence of violence. In real life, it is difficult to achieve perfect conditions at the place of work due to the dynamics of the organization. For this reason, research is a useful tool that can be applied in order to study the causes and solutions of unsafe conditions, violence, and poor health in a workplace and the benefits of maintaining good working conditions.
The reason for choosing this topic is based on the fact that workers at various job facilities face different challenges and risks depending on the nature, conditions, and environment surrounding them: relationship with each other, machine control, tools and equipment, moving within the workplace, and working with various chemicals, dangerous objects, and products. All these activities usually happen concurrently; thereby, if precautions are ignored, the possibility of an accident is extremely high. In order to avoid injuries, health risks, and death in the workplace, the study of the safety mechanism to be employed, as well as the main causes of accidents and their prevention, is crucial. Violence within the workplace may halt the progress of the job, lower production rates, or even cause the total breakdown or collapse of the entire industry. Hence, it is essential to study this aspect to enhance the smooth running of activities within any given industry. Moreover, any work requires an enthusiastic, healthy, and robust team for maximizing the business productivity; anything that hampers the health of workers affects the industry negatively and hence causes the dire need to address it. In addition, a clean and safe workplace motivates the workers; it serves as an assurance of comfortable and effective working.
Research on safety, violence, and health within the workplace involved various statistical approaches, such as percentile, observation, and use of the questionnaire. For the research, several industries were chosen randomly. Five industries were visited. In order to record clear findings of the research, various departments within the industry were studied. In order to obtain true and objective findings of the whole research, each issue was observed separately, and results were recorded precisely. In the first safety issue, observations concerned general condition of the workplace putting into consideration factors undermining safety levels in the workplace. Some of the various aspects, which tend to minimize safety levels in the industry, are discussed bellow according to the findings made.
Some workers tend to ignore safety procedures by engaging in work without using personal protective equipment, taking shortcuts in doing certain tasks, and being overconfident, that leads to the use of improper procedures and tools. At times, others get mentally distracted from the work by thinking about things at home or personal problems. All these factors may result in an accident; therefore, they pose a considerable danger to the safety. Other activities that may undermine safety include starting a task with incomplete instructions (this can cause a hazardous error), failure to pre-plan the job, and poor housekeeping shown by the disordered arrangement of tools, objects, and equipment (Anderson, 2001). Safety is also undermined by various other hazards within the workplace; they include electricity, elevated working areas, vehicle mounted platforms, welding, hand, and portable power tools.
The research showed that at least, two percent of the workers involved in an accident every week. From this fact, it was concluded that lack of safety in the workplace was caused largely by a human error (about 92 percent of all causes); machine defect contributed a 6 percents, natural causes – 1.2 percent, and other factors – 0.8 percent. More assessment was done directly with workers through filling a questionnaire. To increase the level of safety at the workplace, the industries mobilized their workers to consider and use the safety requirements provided. Moreover, employers provided plans of replacing faulty and defect machines with modern and high technological ones.
It is clear that, at the beginning of every task, each activity should be considered as a potential risk. It is a responsibility of every individual and organization to ensure that safety precautions are observed. In his book, Anderson (2000) expounds on the relationship between organization’s success, improvement of the workplace and satisfaction of the workers. The research on safety explains attitudes and behaviors of people. These assumptions can be applied in the organizational psychology, and help improve the performance and satisfaction of the workers through different training programs, hiring practices, and accessing of the feedback and management system results.
In the second violence issue within a workplace, a questionnaire was used to receive a direct feedback from the workers as to the reasons that cause violence, why some workers resort to it, and how such a situation can be prevented in the future. It was observed that, since workplace is considered a social ground, violence is most likely to occur and regularly is aggravated by indifference and rank discrimination among the workers. According to the research, violence in the workplace includes harassment through verbal abuses, embarrassment, humiliation, physical attacks (for example, objects throwing and kicking), threatening behavior including threatening with the fist, sabotage, psychological trauma, anger-related incidences, property damage, and murder. This assumption is also proven by the works of Labig (1995). According to the workers, violence extends outside the premises of the workplace, but it always remains a work-related conflict; for example, a worker gave an example of an incident when a workmate confronted client through insults via telephone while staying at home. According to the findings of the research, the main causes of violence in industries visited include working with a volatile person, working near premises where alcohol is served, and working during intense organizational changes. The risk of violence was also seen to be influenced by the time and day of the year. It was observed that violence increased during paydays, performance appraisals, tax return season and if the business or industry is geographically located near notorious or crime premises. Many industries reported at least 2 percent of their workers involving in violence every month. It was observed that good understanding of the causes and sources of violence is the main principle of prevention and elimination of chaos in any business or industry. Violence is a dominant vice among the people in a particular workplace. Among the ways of eliminating violence, as shown by the study, is an effective application of the organizational psychology. Therefore, understanding people’s behaviors, habits, relationship with each other, and the way they organize themselves in their job gives a perfect background for the organizational psychology. The satisfaction of a person relates to one’s understanding of the same notion (Anderson, 2001). Hence, knowledge in organizational psychology is a key factor in shaping the workplace and its people. Psychologist can apply the findings of the research on violence to reduce its occurrence in the future. Anderson (2001) suggests several approaches of preventing violence in the workplace, which include establishing a management commitment policy, preferably in a written form. The policy focuses on the following: encouraging both employees and employers to report all cases of violence, defining a process by which measures to prevent violence is developed, establishing applicable regulatory requirements, defining what workplace violence means in a clear language, stating clearly the consequences of being involved in a workplace violence, and outlining the procedures for investigating complaints and methods of their resolving among many others. For the success of the organization, all the concerned individuals and other stakeholders should be willing to participate in consideration of the proposed policy to ascertain that the violence prevention strategies work effectively. Hence, organizational psychology is freely absorbed and applied as it ensures safety of the workers in the workplace.
Health at the workplace is the last issue that was dealt with in the research. A healthy population is a sign of a prosperous nation. In the same way, an industry has maximum productivity when all its workers are in a good health. Depending on the type of industry, people are subjected to various health risks. In order to obtain accurate results, health conditions within and outside the environment of a workplace that affected the workers at their specific workplace were studied. Interviews with workers were conducted to determine how they felt concerning the health issues. In addition, health records were used to measure the deterioration of health. It was observed that 12 percents of workers in one time or another had developed health complications at the place of work. Many of the industries, in which research was conducted, engaged workers in handling toxic substances, or operating in areas prone to poisonous substances including radioactive materials that affected their health adversely. Blanck (2007), in his work, also explains the dangers of toxins to the health of workers in chemical industries. Health hazards observed included biological (molds, HIV, tuberculosis), and physical hazards (vibration, heat, noise), psychological stress, and ergonomics (back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome). From the previously conducted research, it was observed that most of these hazards enter the body through skin (absorption), breathing (inhalation), swallowing (digestion), and cuts (injection). The degree of harm caused by the health hazards depends on the body part exposed to it, length of time one is exposed to the agent, the amount of agent present, and potency of the agent. The health effects may be acute or chronic, local or systematic. These hazards cause cancer, the development of allergies, mental illnesses, and failures of body parts and/or death.
According to Blanc (2007), apart from the regulations set in the industries to control health hazards, a good percentage of workers still risk their life voluntarily. This phenomenon was also observed in this research study. The reasons for such behavior are diverse; for example, those working in chemical industries majoring in the production of drugs are usually compelled to use them regardless of numerous side effects. Industries producing alcoholic drinks are the most affected ones. The natural behavior of a drinking lifestyle drives majority of workers into this habit. Other habits developed by workers, such as mental calculation of the risk of health hazards, lead most of them to spend much of their time in an enclosed area with oxygen deficiency and poisonous emissions, handling chemical products without gloves, or using a machine in the wrong posture for a consistently long time.
Organizational psychology aims at studying these self-motivated persisted habits and behaviors in the workplace in order to improve the satisfaction of the worker, performance, and general development of the industry. In this case, health is a human factor; psychologists apply the findings of the research to develop appropriate mechanisms aimed at reducing health risks in the workplace. In addition, substantial effort is made to study the state of the working environment. Errors caused by humans, such as designing a machine without considering ergonomics and reluctance in machine repair and maintenance are the sources of threat that should be addressed adequately. It is observed that such an obvious mistake may be caused by the boredom of performing the same procedures repeatedly or lack of provision of incentives to the workers. These attitudes are the basis of organizational psychology. Understanding of what people want is the foresight of solving such problems. Moreover, according to the research, if people are selected for jobs that fit them perfectly, the possibility of occurrence of health risks, violence, and unsafe activities reduces.
The aspects of this research on safety, violence, and health within the workplace have many applications and lessons in my personal life. The performance of this research offered an indispensable tool of analyzing current problems and challenges in safety, violence, and health within the workplace. It helped me acquire in-depth meaning and understanding of different phenomena in life. Carrying out this research has supplemented my knowledge, as well as my skills. I may apply such kind of research in determining what course or job I would prefer in the future. To choose the best job, I need to acquire substantial information of both my talent and academics. This is a research-based operation since I have to go through my academic background and dig out supporting evidence of my performance and activities, in which I mostly involve myself, including hobbies. It is evident from the research that people, who are wrongly placed in a job subdivision, perform poorly simply because their minds are either not set for that type of job, or they are not comfortable with it. Moreover, it may help me analyze the possible effect of carrying out a certain activity in advance. For example, before I intend to venture into agricultural production of a certain crop, I do not just go ahead in it because I believe I have a passion. I would rather base my engagement on solid evidence of the success of the venture by carrying out a research on the viability of the soil and climate to favor my crop. In addition, I may use the research tools in predicting the outcome of a project of my choice. For example, when finding out how consumers will respond to a new generation of smart phones with a self-destruction option when it is introduced into the market. Depending on the level of privacy and safety, various responses from different people will be received; consequently, I will be able to make my decision whether to proceed and carry out my project or not. I believe that knowledge in organizational psychology may help create a good relationship not only in the place of work but also in learning institutions, where classmates are usually asked to cooperate in performing a given task. Without the knowledge in the behaviors, attitudes, and habits of the group members, it may be difficult to work in cohesion effectively. Being a teacher or lecturer, the class is obviously the place of work; therefore, understanding its organizational set-up is vital for good performance. It is clear that this research motivates one to learn as it tends to break the monotony of spending much time in the classroom. As learners, young people are exposed to the new environment, which presents new challenges that make learning stimulate students. Knowledge and skills are acquired by means of acquiring firsthand information through observation that increases the chances of retaining memory without brainstorming.
Seventy percent of the conducted research gave a true picture and, when applied in the real life activities, gave approximately 60 percent of success. This makes me always rely on this research whenever I want to address a pertinent topic that requires a more detailed and comprehensive study on a similar topic. The most relevant information that is depicted in the research study is that violence, health risks, and unsafe working condition largely emerge because of the mistake of one or another worker if not the organization itself. I strongly believe that success of the whole organization begins with every person. Therefore, it is a duty of everyone to perform their work with all integrity to promote growth and development.
In conclusion, people are obliged to consider research findings on safety, violence, and health within the workplace as the basic tool to promote progress and development in various sectors of life, starting with the less significant projects, such as planning of a family trip to more complex ones, which may cause international influence. The research on safety, violence, and health within the workplace helped me acquire significant data that could be applied by organizational psychologists through evaluation and analysis, to formulate desirable policies that were used to ensure high levels of safety, alleviating violence, and creating a hygienic and healthy place of work. Evidently, organizational psychology, when based on precise research, can offer solutions to many of the challenges and problems that face people in their daily lives today.