Determinants of work injuries in mines – an application of structural equation modelling
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In spite of stringent regulations and much attention towards reducing risks in the physical environment, the mining industry continues to be associated with high levels of accidents, injuries and illnesses. Only engineering solutions to accident prevention are inappropriate unless coupled with focused attention to the attitudes and behaviours of the mineworkers in coping with the inherent physical, technical and situational risks. The present study identified these various risk factors and analysed their influences on work injury in a causal framework. Data were collected from an underground coalmine of India. The pattern and strength of relationships of 16 causal factors with work injuries were assessed through structural equation modelling. The case study results showed that negatively personified individuals are of major concern for safety improvement in the mine studied. They not only fail to avoid work injuries, they are unable to extend safe work behaviours in their work. The variable safety environment is negatively affected by personality, whereas social support has a positive relationship with safety environment. The variable job hazards appeared to have a significant relationship with job involvement, which has a negative relationship with work injury. Elimination of negative behaviours must be focused and committed by the mine safety management. Long term planning through (i) identification of negative individuals, (ii) proper councelling of adverse effects of negative behaviours, and (iii) special training with psychological treatment is highly required. Identification may begin while recruiting new workers through interview. Proper allocation of jobs (right person for right job) may be a judicial solution to this end.
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