A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH COMPLIANCE LEVEL IN THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Exploration and production of oil and gas in petroleum industry is technically challenging, involving different stages and processes. First, petroleum industry have to tap into unseen pressurized underground resources to bring oil and gas to the surface. Extracted products are then transported to refineries over long distances often via pressurized pipelines or large ocean tankers. The refining and transformation of these products through complicated chemical processes are then carried out under high temperature and pressure, hence making the process a very hazardous one. Complex processes at various stages in petroleum production are usually managed by people and are highly subject to errors which could result in accidents or disaster. One of such disasters is the Piper Alpha 1988 disaster which resulted in the death of 167 men and marks the turning point in oil and gas industry safety (OGP 2010). Accidents and the spread of dreadful disease results in loss of life and negatively affect an organization’s value and the confidence of its employees, hence occupational safety and health measures are certainly good business. However, the issue of occupational safety and health has been central to many studies carried out about oil and gas workplace environments. In the past, accidents in the oil and gas industry were commonly attributed to technological malfunctioning, while the human elements present in these accidents were usually ignored. With improvement in technology and subsequent reduction in technological failures, the role of human error especially in terms of safety compliance performance has become more obvious. This shift in focus is driven by the awareness that organizational, managerial and human factors rather than purely technical failures are prime causes of accidents in industries. Skogdalen et al, (2012) cited human error from poor safety compliance to be the cause of most industrial accidents both past and present.
Apart from the Macondo disaster of 2010, another major incident in the oil and gas industry that highlighted the role of poor safety and health compliance leading to accident occurrence was the Texas refinery disaster of 2010 (CSB 2007). As reported by the chemical safety board investigation into the refinery explosion, management of the refinery failed to properly assess and manage the safety implication of sitting contractor trailers close to the ISOM plant (Khan and others 2007). This failure by management was noted to have played a major role in the occurrence of that accident. The investigation highlighted the need for the adoption of this safety culture in the industry. Arguably, the issue of occupational safety and health culture has since been a prime consideration within the industry with every organisation striving to embrace this culture so as to increase the level of compliance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Occupational Safety and health standards and procedure exists for the petroleum industries but with no proper implementation. It is not unusual to find that while some employees are totally committed to safety improvement efforts, some others pay lip service to it. However, through persistent involvement effort and peer influence, more attitudes has be changed. In line with this research study, many accident or incident and failed disease control that occurs in the petroleum industry is as a result of poor or inadequate occupational safety and health performance, while others are due to non-adherence and compliance of workers to work procedures as well as safety measures. Meanwhile, the awareness and compliance of workers towards a safe and healthy working environment is an important aspect in fostering an overall better working condition for the workers themselves. This study hence upon this background this study is undertaken to critically investigate occupational safety and health compliance Level in the Petroleum Industry.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This is to be carried out with the intent to conscientiously investigate the degree of compliance to occupational safety and heath measures in the petroleum industry. Below are the specific objectives;
1. Investigate if the management of the petroleum industries established laws that enforce employees compliance to occupational safety and health.
2. Investigate the degree to which employees comply to the laid down occupational safety and health measures.
3. Examine the factors that influence employees poor compliance to occupational safety and health measures.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Does the management of the petroleum industries have established laws that enforces employees compliance to occupational safety and health measures?
2. What is the degree to which employees comply to the laid down occupational safety and health measures in the industry?
3. What are the factors that influence employees poor compliance to occupational safety and health measures?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Is no challenge to state here that this study will be an eye opener to the employees and management of the petroleum industries as it emphasis more on the need to adequately adhere to occupational safety and health measures so as to curb the frequent occurrence of industrial hazards. In addition this study will also serve as a source of information to students, researchers, tutors and other sagacious dignitaries who in time to come may carryout a research on a subject in line to this.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
4. This study shall precisely be carried out to investigate if the management of the petroleum industries established laws that enforce employees compliance to occupational safety and health; Investigate the degree to which employees comply to the laid down occupational safety and health measures and examine the factors that influence employees poor compliance to occupational safety and health measures. Hence this epistle shall be delimited to Chevron Nigeria.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The major constrain of this study is time factor as the researcher had a little time frame to carry out this study. More so financial constrains and the attitude of the respondents were also major key factors that limited this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Occupational Safety and health: this is also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at occupation.
Hazards: This is any source of potential damage, harm or adverse health effects on something or someone.
Petroleum Industry: This is also known as the oil industry or the oil patch, is any organization or business which is involved in the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing of petroleum products.