Effectiveness of health and safety training in reducing occupational injuries among harvesting forestry contractors in KZN
Nkomo, Gladys Hloniphile
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Work related injuries are of major public importance and have adverse economic and social impacts. Forestry work is one of the most hazardous occupations worldwide and accounts for a large proportion of occupational injuries. Employers frequently train workers in the proper and safe use of equipment, however the efficacy of these programmes are seldom rigorously evaluated. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of health and safety training in reducing injuries among forestry workers in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A descriptive study was conducted among 300 Kwa-Zulu Natal harvesting contract workers. A questionnaire to assess the efficiency of health and safety training was administered. A retrospective review of the injury register and medical records of employees who sustained work related injuries, fatalities during 2009–2013 was done. The company injury data for harvesting contractors from 2009- 2013 reported 3 fatalities and 68 lost time injuries during post commencement of training. About 23.3% workers reported injuries during the study period. Slip, trip and fall injuries were the most reported cause of injuries. Almost 95% of respondents reported that they had received health and safety training at work, with 84% reporting satisfaction with the quality of training received. A decreased prevalence of work related injuries was reported post training. The health and safety program was successful in increasing workers awareness and responsibility of health and safety issues. On- going specific job training, sustained work place inspections and adult learning for supervisors will improve health and safety of workers and reduce injuries in the forestry industry.