The data analysis revealed that seven factors influenced the OHS status of manufacturing companies. The factors include management commitment, safety culture, OHS training, OHS regulations, economic and political issues, social factors, individual and occupational factors (Fig. 1).
The commitment of senior management to OHS was the most important factor affecting OHS in the organizations. The majority of interviewees were dissatisfied with senior management's commitment to OHS. They stated that senior management's belief in OHS and provision of resources are essential for OHS development.
"If managers have a genuine belief in their employees' safety and provide adequate resources for OHS, they will see a positive impact on their firms' OHS performance advancement and efficiency (Participant 12)."
Respondents acknowledged that companies' OHS status should be improved, and OHS officers should be empowered to do a better job. Managers should put a higher value on OHS and assign sufficient power and authority to OHS managers. They should also pay great attention to personnel OHS training and rule updates.
"Managers should support and encourage safety staff to engage in new safety training courses and to share their new knowledge with others (Participant 11)."
Participants cited a lack of managerial support for OHS, providing examples such as inadequate OHS training and unsafe working conditions, and they emphasized necessity financial support for OHS initiatives. The interviewees provided examples of top management's reluctance to support OHS programs in their companies. They include a lack of empowering OHS managers, a senior manager's negative attitude toward the effectiveness of OHS programs, managers' non-attendance at OHS training courses, an insufficient funds for OHS programs, and a lack of employee support.
The majority of interviewees agreed that a lack of OHS training for employees and management can have a detrimental impact on the company's OHS status. They focused on the key role of safety training in promoting OHS and preventing workplace accidents. Training should be tailored to the learner's OHS needs based on their occupational responsibilities. They also noted employers', managers', and workers' lack of familiarity with OHS principles and rules, theoretic OHS training, OHS inspectors' lack of familiarity with company OHS concerns, and the poor quality of provided training.
"Some workers are unaware of OHS, and they should be provided with the appropriate trainings regarding their workplace safety and health using practical methods and visual means such as films, posters, or animations (participant 1)".
One of the greatest problem in Iran at the organizational level is a lack of OHS training and awareness amongst management. Because the sole application of theoretical training is not particularly effective in behavior change, company managers should believe in the positive impact of OHS training and use effective training methods to empower workforces.
"Managers have less competence and experience, as well as training in the field of OHS. Some managers don’t have higher education and are unaware of OHS. This level of awareness is a barrier to the adoption of safety principles (Participant 7)”.
Participants also stated that everyone should obtain appropriate OHS training during their education, particularly at universities, and receive verified certifications for OHS trainings before to starting employment.
The current study's participants highlighted the lack of a strong safety culture at the workplace and in the surrounding communities, which has a detrimental impact on OHS. According to interviewees, fostering a positive safety culture in the workplace could lead to improved compliance with OHS requirements. The majority of interviewees cited the companies' low safety culture as a result of inadequate OHS training provided to personnel during recruiting and their tenure at the factory. Furthermore, top managers are less concerned with promoting a safety culture since they are more focused with increasing the plant's profitability by manufacturing more commodities. As a result, one of the participants suggested that managers make improving safety culture a top priority.
"The process of improving safety culture should begin with the company's managers; they must be trained to increase their OHS awareness and demonstrate the positive impact of it in the workplace (participant 8)”.
Participants emphasized the need of developing an appropriate OHS culture. A portion of this work should be carried out within the factory, taking into account the current culture of the various company units. Efforts to improve the safety culture in the surrounding society can also have a significant impact on improving people's attitudes and behaviors regarding safety. However, it should be noted that this is a time-consuming process. As an example of the positive impact of efforts to promote a safety culture, one of the participants mentioned an increase in the number of persons wearing safety belts when driving.
“As we remember, few car drivers have used a safety belt in recent years; however, as part of efforts to enhance the safety culture, this number has increased dramatically in recent years (participants 10)".
Individual And Occupational Factors
According to participants, many individual characteristics, such as morale, safety belief, literacy level, healthy habits, character, and interest have an impact on OHS in the workplace. They also believed that the application of OHS principles is entirely dependent on a person's moral character, and that a person with a poor moral character cannot genuinely apply safety measures. They believed that people's genuine beliefs about OHS's positive impact on their health and safety at work could have a major effect on their safety behavior. Individual training in the realm of OHS is usually the source of this belief.
Appropriate job experience, job security, welfare provision, and workforce motivational incentives are among the identified occupational factors. Employees' knowledge and skills on the job are usually improved by acquiring more work experience. Employees who work in the workplace will learn further about OHS through the trainings provided if a firm considers OHS to be a priority. With a better understanding of OHS, the number of risky behaviors among workers has often decreased, which can contribute to a reduction in the number of occupational accidents.
Participants criticized the workforce's job insecurity, particularly among workers and company OHS officers. Companies commonly sign relatively short-term job contracts with temporary employees, such as one-month contracts. Because of the high unemployment rate in the surrounding neighborhood and the fear of losing their jobs, this circumstance has a severe impact on their mental focus to safely do their tasks. The impact of job insecurity on OHS status was described by one of the participants as follows:
"Personally, I do not have any organizational support. I'm frightened of being fired, and I can't insist on OHS nonconformities because I rely on this factory for a living. I ignore the current OHS problems and I have to compromise. If I insist on something, my employer can easily claim that my condition is such, and if I do not accept, he can terminate my contract (participant 8)”.
One of the most important influencing factors on OHS status has been discovered as a lack of adherence to OHS regulations. The majority of participants stated that a major cause of the inappropriate OHS status was improper enforcement of OHS laws and regulations in the workplace. The degree to which the regulations' requirements are implemented is determined by people's level of participation, which is also influenced by their mentality and level of training regarding the importance of the subject. The level of OHS jurisdiction and the method in which the legislation' requirements are applied are the foundations for achieving intended results and changing human behavior.
Companies do not adequately exploit the experience of successful countries in implementing OHS rules and do not correctly implement the requirements of international standards. Some inadequacies in OHS legislation have a negative impact on company OHS, including an improper structure for implementing the regulations, a lack of enforcement for OHS laws, out-of-date OHS rules, and implementation weaknesses.
"We draw less from the practical experience of successful countries in implementing OHS principles in the workplace. Developed countries have a set of OHS standards that companies must obey. OHS legislation in our country have been documented based on some international standards. However, we face more challenges in enforcing its application by companies (Participant 1)".
Economic And Political Issues
The country's and surrounding society's economic status has been identified as a significant external factor affecting OHS. According to their personal experience, companies are more likely to comply with OHS laws and regulations when the country's economy is strong and the companies are doing well. A large number of manufacturing companies have been forced to close or work at their bare minimum capacity as a result of the bad economy. As a consequence, managers select and purchase less expensive equipment, which has a significant impact on workplace safety by reducing equipment reliability. They lack the requisite financial resources to comply with OHS regulations. The lack of government support for production and the state of OHS are exacerbating the situation in such a bad economic climate.
The hiring of OHS officers, whether permanent or temporary, is influenced by the company's economic situation. Many small manufacturers can't afford to pay their employees' wages on a monthly basis. Furthermore, this situation has caused OHS inspectors to apply insufficient pressure to ensure compliance with OHS regulations. Because of their low socioeconomic status, these pressures can lead to the offender's dismissal from the implementation of OHS requirements.
“Inspectors from OHS authorities who inspect a company have the authority to report OHS deficiencies. Because of the company's specific economic situation, they sometimes disregard the circumstances (participant 12)”.
Government policies have an impact on the OHS status of companies. The government's policies have resulted in restrictions on the import of high-tech production processes and equipment into the country, which is one of the reasons why old-fashioned machines with lower safety standards are still in use. Many factories have had difficulty importing raw materials or exporting their products as a result of the political situation.
People's health must become a moral value in society. Residents should not neglect the importance of social factors in the implementation of OHS laws. Education, collective will, and the amount of effort people put forward to change and institutionalize OHS regulations in a society determine the degree of respect for OHS regulations in a community. It is important to remember, however, that changing employees' OHS behaviors takes time. When it comes to deciding how to implement OHS regulations, OHS authorities and managers should consider social factors. Because community members' knowledge and attitudes influence their acceptance and compliance with OHS regulations.
Policymakers and legislators must have a positive attitude toward OHS, as well as the effort and participation of all individuals are necessary to make a significant change and promote OHS in the workplace, this should be organized and carried out through family and academic training, as well as employee training in the workplace. The participants also attributed the community's success to adherence to regulations, particularly OHS regulations. Because of a lack of respect, improper community routines and habits in the field of OHS have developed.
“Any country that values its citizens will place a higher premium on OHS. I am requesting that our policymakers, lawmakers, and ministries value OHS. Because if they were not value OHS, the lower tiers of society would not value it. (Participant 10) ".