INFLUENCE OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT ON TEACHERS’ PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES IN SELECTED PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF LIMURU DISTRICT, KENYA.
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The study intended to investigate the influence of occupational safety, health and environment
on teachers’ performance of duties in public secondary schools in Limuru District. this was in
relation to the fact that public secondary schools in the district continue to register low
performance , despite use of various interventions by relevant stakeholders. The study
specifically sought to know the influence of occupational safety hazards , occupational
health hazards and occupational environment hazards on teachers performance of duties.
The study established that teachers in public secondary schools in Limuru district are
professionally trained with quite a large number of them attaining of them attaining a Masters
degree. They are also highly experienced in teaching with majority having over five years of
teaching experience. In view of these findings, the study concludes that teachers had the
necessary knowledge and skills to carry out tasks assigned to them. However, to effectively do
this they needed to be accorded occupational safety.
The study established that teachers worked in congested offices despite that, offices are
fundamental workplace which accommodates information gathering and knowledge processing
activities. Results also revealed that the same offices lacked comfortable furniture, suitable for
the work being done and the users. This caused the teachers to experience ergonomic related
ailments such as musculoskeletal pain and neck pains. The study also established that some
buildings in some schools were unsafe for teachers and students in terms of structural designs
and space. Results from Chi-square computation indicated that the condition of school buildings
is a significant factor in the successful delivery of the curriculum. This resonated well with other
researchers’ findings that buildings have significant effect on working behavior of inhabitants.
The study further established that teachers lacked training in fire fighting techniques, most
schools, consequently lacked fire fighting preparedness which was clearly shown, by lack of fire
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fighting tools like fire extinguishers and horse reel. Fire control measures were found to be
missing in most schools. Such measures include: fire alarms and emergency doors in offices,
classrooms and laboratories. Electricity installations too, were not regularly inspected by trained
electricians and in most schools, offices lacked adequate electric sockets equivalent to electrical
appliances in use, therefore posing the danger of fire through overloading.
Slips and falls were found to be major hazards for teachers. Most schools had not taken
precautionary measures to prevent accidents from them. Many teachers’ self- reports indicated
that such accidents kept them from attending lessons if they happened. In view of these findings
the study concludes that occupational safety influenced public secondary school teacher’s
performance of duties in Limuru district.
The other study question sought to establish whether occupational health influenced public
secondary school teachers, performance of duties. The findings from the survey established the
following in relation to this question: teachers were inadequately trained to handle health issues
in the schools. They lacked information on safe administration of first aid, despite being
entrusted with administering the same to their colleagues and students. Further revelations
indicated that, teachers did not use protective clothing when handling chemical and this exposed
them to chemical hazards. Lack of proper dining areas, and working in unclean offices and
classrooms, further indicated that teachers are exposed to biological hazards and are likely to
suffer the consequent dangers.
The study also established that most of the teachers suffered from common work- related
ailments, which contributed highly to both absenteeism and presenteeism. In cases where the
ailment was severe, the teachers absented themselves for a duration exceeding three days. In
other cases when the ailment was mild teachers resulted to presenteeism.Presenteism reflects the
phenomenon of loss of work productivity in terms of the quantity and quality of work done due
to illness or injury, it occurred when teachers went to work when feeling unwell. This was also a
risky as it could lead to the spreading of the sickness such as flu which is highly infectious and
also increasing the period of the sickness, which lowers productivity. The study also established
that many teachers had not received vaccinations against infectious diseases despite being
exposed to people from different areas
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