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Research Paper | Public Health | Sri Lanka | Volume 10 Issue 11, November 2021
Occupational Health and Safety Practices and Barriers in Implementation in Small and Medium Scale Industries in Sri Lanka
R. P. P Karunapema
Abstract: Introduction: Occupational safety and health is an area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goal of implementing occupational safety and health measures is to foster a safe and healthy work environment. Methods: This study aimed to present an overview of the situation of occupational health and safety practices in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and the barriers in implementation of occupational health and safety practices. A qualitative study was conducted by conducting in structured in - depth interviews with owners, managers and employees. A sample of 20 small and medium scale industries located in three MOH areas in Gampaha district were selected using convenient sampling method considering the feasibility and the lack of complete sampling frame of SMEs. The SMEs chosen for this research consisted of Garment industry, Metal industry, Poultry industry, Manufacturing industry, Rubber industry, Metal quarry industry and Plastic industry. Results: All SMEs had risk factors in the workplaces. Although owners, managers and workers were aware of the presence of the risk factors, a majority perceived risks as inherent to the work. Some of the workers who were interviewed, saw it as their responsibility to take care of their own safety and health, rather the responsibility of management. None of the workplaces had any written risk assessments. In about a half of the work places accidents were investigated at an organizational level but were not reported. Almost40 % of the MSE companies were reactive towards OSH, while the other 60% were neither reactive or proactive. Conclusion: The occupational health and safety practices in a majority of the SMEs were not given a priority. Poor awareness and considering risk as normal part of work by the employers and employees can be considered as one of the main barriers for implementation. The government should regularize the OSH activities in the SME through legislation, training, close monitoring and supervision by Authorized Officers.
Keywords: Occupational Health and Safety, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, Risk factors, Sri Lanka
Edition: Volume 10 Issue 11, November 2021,
Pages: 970 - 974