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Evaluation of effectiveness of the working at heights training in New Zealand

Around 2.5 million New Zealanders go to work every day meaning that for a majority of the New Zealanders, being at work constitutes a considerable part of their lives. Therefore, the health and safety of the employees at work is of utmost importance. Among many professions in New Zealand, the construction industry is thriving and it also involves “working at heights”. Unfortunately, construction and other working at heights professions are risk prone since a large number of deaths and injuries of the workers are reported every year. Although a majority of the workers undergo training, the industry is still plagued by significantly large number of accidents and deaths. This study therefore, examined the effectiveness of the working at heights training. Specifically, the study addressed how effective the training was in improving the employee safety knowledge, behaviour, risk acceptance, confidence, commitment and work practices. Furthermore, the training was also evaluated for its ability to reduce some of the hindrance factors and to improve on the facilitating factors. This study adopted a cross-sectional design utilising the self-reported data from 429 participants aged 15 to 64 years. The participants included the pre-training cohort with no prior working at heights training (Pre-training) or the workers who had undergone training (Post-training) 6 Months or 12 Months or 24 Months prior to the survey. The results of the current study illustrate that the training significantly improves the safety knowledge and safety climate and reduces the risky behaviour and personal hindrance factors. In addition, the results suggest that the safety knowledge and other aspects of the safety climate and attitude would be retained even after 2 years of the training (24 Months). Comparison of the results between the pre and post-training surveys indicates that the training is effective in improving the safety knowledge of working at heights. Among the safety climate parameters, the training was proven to be effective in significantly improving the safety behaviour, confidence and safety commitment. The training is found to be effective in reducing the risk acceptance behaviour, and improving the employee work practices. In addition, the survey results clearly indicate that the management provides full support and backs the implementation of the safety regulations with resources. Finally, the survey confirms that the training is very effective in reducing the personal hindrance factors and improving co-worker relationship factors. Collectively, the results from the current study confirm that the training is effective in improving the safety knowledge, behaviour and safety climate. The implications of the findings of the current study are several. The results imply that VHNZ working at heights training is successful in imparting confidence in the workers so that they could stop co-workers from taking risks and therefore reduce injuries and improve the safety record. The results implicate that, for improving the safety record of the employees, it is essential to offer job specific safety training rather than a generic health and safety training. The study results indicate that “refresher training” is essential for the long term retention of the safety knowledge and behaviour. Therefore, one of the implications for VHNZ is to come up with standard guidelines for the “periodicity” of the refresher training and provide that at appropriate times.
Type of thesis
Kambadur, R. (2020). Evaluation of effectiveness of the working at heights training in New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13608
The University of Waikato
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