Assessment of Occupational Safety at Al-Shifa Medical Complex
Shehada Rezeq Al-Ajrami
شحادة رزق العجرمي
Occupational Safety at healthcare sector has been identified as an essential issue for the health organizations, patients and health care workers. Little is known about occupational safety issues at the Ministry of Health-Gaza. The study employed a descriptive, analytical cross sectional design with a triangulated approach (quantitative and qualitative). Self-administered questionnaire, key informant interviews and observational checklist according to the Occupational and Safety Health Administration were used for data collection. A proportional stratified systematic random sampling was used from healthcare workers working at the complex who conclude the target population. Of the 370 workers selected, 350 responded and completed the questionnaires, with a response rate of 94.5%. The overall reliability coefficient (Cronbach’s Alpha) for the study questionnaire was 0.93 which is acceptable. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Program has been used for data analysis. The study revealed that the different dimensions of occupational safety had different mean percentages with an average score of 55.6% reflecting moderate perceptions of healthcare workers towards the current status of occupational safety. Healthcare workers’ compliance with the prevention tools and safety procedures dimension had the highest percentage with 71.13%. Identification of workplace hazards and accidents and availability of prevention means dimensions. had moderate percentages with 67.5% and 54.7% respectively. Meanwhile, related factors of workplace hazards and accidents dimension had a mean score of 49%. Availability of occupational safety rules and guideline and their activation and development dimensions had low percentages with 46.3% and 49.2% respectively. In addition, top management commitment to safety issues and safety training programs had low percentages with 46.7% and 43.1% which elicited the lowest percentage dimension. Furthermore, the study results agreed on that, the current occupational safety means and measurements at the complex are available to some extent but not sufficient and not applicable as required. They were met Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards to some extent in the main three hospitals as well as the special surgery building was elicited the better followed by the surgery building, while the obstetric building had the lowest status. Furthermore, the results showed that the main occupational hazards and diseases to witch healthcare workers exposed were infectious respiratory and skin transmitted diseases according to 49.7% , back pain and musculoskeletal disorders according to 30.8% , needle stick injuries and blood transmitted diseases as reported 28.8% , work overload and violence as agreed 24.2%, varicose veins as claimed 12% , electrical hazards according to10% , carcinogenic hazards as reported 5.7% and vision problems according to 4.2% of the participants. The main factors beyond these hazards were lack of specialized safety department or committee ;lack of prevention tools and safety procedures; lack of compliance to safety guidelines and regulations application; scarcity of employees training programs; lack of protection methods and lack of occupational safety knowledge among the employees. Moreover, the findings revealed that respondents with younger age and fewer years of experience had higher occupational safety scores than their counterparts of older age and longer experience years. Also, there were variations in the overall perception in reference to workplace towards surgical hospital. The nurses had higher mean scores than other professional categories. Furthermore, the respondents with lower educational level perceive occupational safety more than those with higher ones. Therefore, the single respondents and those who work shifts had higher scores than married respondents and those who work only morning shifts. On the other hand, the results showed that no statistical differences were found in overall occupational safety status perceptions in reference to age and weekly working hours. The status of occupational safety is moderate and still needs a lot of efforts to enhance the effective management and successful practicing of safety issues in Al-Shifa Medical Complex by increasing attention and awareness at all levels to promote and improve the current status.