Benefits of Fostering a Healthy and Safe Work Environment

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Occupational health and safety (OHS), is a multidisciplinary field, which focuses on the employees' welfare, health, and safety. Promotion of workplace health is of great importance and a lot of research is necessary to ensure that the measures implemented are of maximum benefit (Laberge & Ledoux, 2011). In this study, qualitative method of research will be used to find information on the benefits of fostering a healthy and safe work environment. Description of the qualitative procedures and tools used in gathering data related to OHS will be of great importance in this work. In addition, the effectiveness of the method as well as organizational examples will be included. The study also establishes the future of qualitative research within the discipline of occupational health and safety through qualitative methods that include focus groups, document analysis, and observation.

Qualitative methods

Focus Groups

Focus group is one of the most effective qualitative methods in OHS studies and involves selection of a section of population to participate in the discussion. The researcher is able to identify perceptions, impressions, as well as thoughts of the selected group on the selected topic (Milena, Dainora & Alin, 2008). Valuable information can be generated through discussions since participants represent small groups of interest making the method preferable for OHS study.

The rationale for selecting focus group as a qualitative method of data collection for this study is due to its ability to offer deeper coverage and insights on OHS. Whenever a specific group of participants such as the managerial team is selected, the researcher can gather information different opinions on workers health and safety at work.

Document Analysis

Document analysis involves examination of records, related to OHS to gain understanding and perspective from authors, researchers, as well as artists (Hall & Rist, 1999). The term document, in this regard, is broad and it refers to records, letters, books, journals, diaries and many more. This method involves analyzing and categorizing the key themes, message, and strategies among others and categorization is done through coding (Joss, 2017). Documents available in an organization are gathered before a researcher can conduct semi-structured interviews on issues related to occupation health and safety at the workplace. Some of them include public documents such as annual reports and internal documents such as OHS plans and code of conduct.

The rationale for selecting this method of data collection is due to its ease of use in selection of documents relevant for the study. The method also allows the researcher to gather important information without incurring a lot of cost in the entire process.

Observation Method

Observation technique is applicable in occupational health and safety research to gather relevant data and is categorized into two; visible and unobtrusive (Laberge & Ledoux, 2011). Unobtrusive observation involves data collection on behaviors and performance of a person in their environment of work without the participant's knowledge while in intrusive observation; the subjects are aware (Hall & Rist 1999). Observation can also be categorized as a participant in which the observer gets close to the phenomena being observed or non-participant

 The rationale for selecting this method is its reliability in giving accurate information as well as low cost (Hall & Rist 199).  The technique is also excellent for observing behavioral data related to OHS and making credible conclusions.

Effectiveness of the methods

Focus groups are effective for studying occupational health and safety since it allows collection of data from only the group of interest. OHS is not just about health preservation but involves fostering physical and psychological aspects of life. The qualities of the outcome depend on the discussions and the moderation of the researcher in the focus group (Hall & Rist, 1999). Therefore, use of a reliable method of data collection such as focus groups is important for quality results.

Document analysis is effective in the study of OHS since it enables the researcher to understand the outcomes of methods implemented to promote OHS in an organization by looking at performance trends and other indicators (Joss, Dupré-Husser, Cooklin & Oldenburg, 2017). In occupational health and safety, there are many records in the working environments, personal data, and organizational reports.

Observation is an effective, as data is not significantly distorted since observations are made as they occur. In the case of OHS, the researcher can observe employees at work and note their dressing, work tools, and behavior.

Organizational Applicability

In the medical field, qualitative research is applicable in gathering data on various issues such as the number of accidents during work, violence at the workplace, discrimination, employee leave, and promotions among others. For instance, the methods have been used to inquire on topics relating to violence against night shift nurses or the struggle of pregnant women in a hospital working environment (Moatari-Kazerouni, 2015). For topics concerning the health services, the observation and document analysis methods are widely applied (Laberge & Ledoux, 2011). Focus groups have been used in studies involving working mothers especially through teleconferencing (Tolhurst & Dean, 2004).

Future of Qualitative Research            

In my view, future qualitative research techniques should incorporate modern technological innovations such as use of internet in teleconferencing. This method will allow use of online survey for data collection from healthcare employees. Qualitative research will rely more on technology including social media to gather views in work related issues and use of company website for data on the organization under research.


Hall, A. L., & Rist, R. C. (1999). Integrating multiple qualitative research methods (or avoiding the precariousness of a one-legged stool). Psychology & Marketing, 16(4), 291-304.

Joss, N., Dupré-Husser, E., Cooklin, A., & Oldenburg, B. (2017). The emergence of integrated approaches to worker health, safety and wellbeing in Australia. Australian journal of primary health, 23(2), 154-161.

Laberge, M., & Ledoux, E. (2011). Occupational health and safety issues affecting young workers: A literature review. Work, 39(3), 215-232.

Milena, Z. R., Dainora, G., & Alin, S. (2008). Qualitative research methods: A comparison between focus-group and in-depth interview. Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series, 17(4), 1279-1283.

Moatari-Kazerouni, A., Chinniah, Y., & Agard, B. (2015). A proposed occupational health and safety risk estimation tool for manufacturing systems. International journal of production research, 53(15), 4459-4475.

Tolhurst, H., & Dean, S. (2004). Using teleconferencing to enable general practitioner participation in focus groups. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 5(1), 1-4.

January 19, 2024

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