1116 Management support for an occupational health and safety programme – a myth or reality?

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IntroductionThe success of an occupational health and safety programme depends on many factors, most notably the support of managers at all three levels, executive (top), middle and operational management is required to ensure a healthy and safe workplace.MethodsA phenomenological, exploratory, descriptive and contextual approach was followed by means of individual, in-depth, unstructured interviews. Purposive sampling was used in the accessible population of Occupational health nurse practitioners of the Pretoria region (n=30) from 8 manufacturing settings and the inclusion criteria of the sample was occupational health nursing practitioners(OHNP’s) with a post basic qualification, in occupational health nursing, and practicing as OHNP’s for at least 3–5 years in a manufacturing environment.ResultsThe lived experiences of OHNPs on the support of managers in an occupational health and safety programme in the manufacturing environment are interwoven within an organisational environment displaying tension between employee safety and productivity as evidenced in the OHNP’s relationship with the organisational environment, the OHNPs relationship with line management, head office and top management and finally the relationship with the self.DiscussionThe findings suggest that the road to constructive support for the OHNP in an occupational health and safety programme runs through holistic support structures which are able to harmonise the nature of the external organisational context, availability of resources, relationship with line management in the role of the OHS and OHNP as well as their own legal liability in their lack of understanding of the related legislative requirements. The role of the management style in fostering or inhibiting support was highlighted as well as the propensity of the OHNP towards self- management.

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