An Investigation on Occupational Safety and Health Best Practice in Building Maintenance: Case of Sri Lanka
Implementation of occupational health and safety best practice at the workplace is mandatory to ensure employees’ safety and health since maintenance activities include several risks for maintenance workers as well as occupants in the entire organisation. Therefore, employers should promote and implement safety and health practices among employees to improve the safety and health within the organisation. Furthermore, safety practices are the indicators of a safe working environment of the organisation. However, in Sri Lanka, priority for health and safety practices of workers are still low due to the cost of provisions and there are no quantifiable benefits immediately. Currently, it is noted that many accidents have happened due to the absence of supervision, lack of knowledge and awareness, bad work practices, and improper use of personal protective equipment. Moreover, in Sri Lanka, there is nonexistence of study in health and safety practices on maintenance operation. Hence, this study focuses on identifying the best occupational safety and health practice in the maintenance division, including its implementation barriers and solutions for the identified best practice, to enhance the occupational health and safety performance of the building maintenance employees. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify the best occupational safety and health practices. Then a mixed approach was adopted to validate the findings in the real Sri Lankan context. Primarily, a preliminary survey was conducted to validate and find out the relevance of identified occupational health and safety practices through literature. Then a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were carried out. The collected data was analysed using manual content analysis, NVivo11.0 software, SPSS statistical software. The Study results provide the best occupational safety and health practice to the building maintenance division. In addition, financial issues, lack of awareness, time constraints, ignorance, and less support of employees are identified as prominent barriers to the implementation of the identified best occupational safety and health practices. Moreover, the establishment of the importance of occupational safety and health, commitment, leadership and interest of management towards occupational safety and health, encouraging workers, awareness program, conducting regular meetings and close supervision of workers was suggested as a key solution to overcome those barriers.
Keywords: Occupational Health and Safety, Best Practice, Building Maintenance, workplace, barriers, and enablers.