Health hazards and working conditions on the safety of housekeeping staff in budget hotels in eastern region of Ghana
Siaw, Gladys Apreh
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This study explored the health hazards and working conditions of housekeepers in Budget Hotels in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It was carried out with the aim of improving occupational health and safety in the study area. Many studies globally have classified hotel housekeepers among the high risk group based on the International Labor Standards on Occupational Safety and Health. To address these concerns, the study explored the risk and hazard factors affecting the health and safety of housekeeping staff of budget hotels in the Eastern Region of Ghana and to determine the conditions under which such staff work in the study area with the aim of bridging the knowledge gap and to improve on management practices of such injuries. The study is guided by the Epidemiologic Model and the Risk Factor of Work Places Injury and Illness Model development of the Great Lake Center for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health. A descriptive survey design was used for the study. A total of 428 housekeeping staff were drawn from 107 budget hotels using simple random sampling method. The hotels were also sampled by employing the lottery method to select one – third out of the total population of hotels in the Eastern Region. Methodological triangulation using self-completion questionnaire and semi-structured interview schedules were used to collect data. Pre-testing of the research instruments was carried out in seven budget hotels in the Eastern Region of Ghana that were excluded while carrying out the final data collection, thus facilitating the implementation of necessary corrections. The content validity technique was used to assess how well the research instruments fit the purpose for which they are designed. The Cronbach Alpha coefficient was used to assess the reliability of the research instruments and yielded alpha of 0.89. For data analysis, frequencies and percentages were utilized to summarize the demographic profile of respondents. Descriptive statistical analyses such as percentages, mean scores, frequencies and cross tabulation were used to analyze quantitative data in line with the research objectives. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the moderating effects of the social demographics factors in relationship between working conditions and work safety. Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the best predictor variables for management of health hazards affecting safety of housekeeping staff and for hypothesis testing. Content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data by transcribing the audio-recorded interviews to derive the specific core themes of the study. The study revealed that poor working conditions (R = .773, R2.= .598, p<.001) and the high risk of hazards (R = .718, R2.= .516, p<.001) were found to have significant positive correlation with work safety and have negative effects on the health of the housekeepers leading to bodily pains, musculoskeletal disorders, injuries and infections. Finding revealed that of all the predictor variables, the factor with the highest effect of managing health hazards on work safety was inadequate experts to conduct hazard analysis (β =.258, p<0.001). It was concluded that housekeepers working in deplorable conditions as well as poor health outcomes are very significant in influencing work safety. It is therefore recommended that the Ministry of Tourism and GTA should organize regular training to maintain operational standards among budget hotels through specific training in areas of operations which are in line with national and international standards.