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1.1 Background to the Study
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) (2009), occupational safety and health is a discipline with a broad scope involving many specialised fields. In its broadest sense, it should aim at the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of works in all occupants, the prevention among workers of adverse effects on health caused by their working conditions, the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health the placing and maintenance of works in an occupational environment adapted to physical and mental needs and the adaption of work to humans. In other words, occupational health and safety encompass the social, mental and physical well-being of workers that is the ‘whole person’. Hazard is a condition of changing a set of circumstances that presents a potential for injury, illness or property damage (Jekayinfa et al., 2009). It is a source of potential harm to human health, property or environment, and under certain conditions hazards may lead to accidents which typically occur suddenly and unexpectedly causing immediate injuries and losses (Lind et al., 2008). Further, many health and safety problems also can be slowly developed due to the exposure to these hazards (Lind et al., 2008). If there is a safety and health problem in an organisation it will lead to sickness absence, high staff turnover, re-training of the staff, loss of production and subsequently it will increase the compensation (Phil and Ferret, 2008). In addition it will create poor working condition within the organisation. This means that worker, their families, other people in the community, and the physical environment around the work place, can all be at risk from exposure to health and safety hazards. According to Hassanain (2009), a hotel is a facility that provides paid accommodation on a short-term basis. The International Code Council (2003) defined a hotel as any building consisting of six or more guest rooms intended or designed to be used or that are used rented or hired out to be occupied for sleeping purposes by guests. Health and safety of the hotel employment, staff, guest and other personal health and safety is concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. There are various health and safety hazards associated with hotel industry. According to the Calvin and Joseph (2006), physical, chemical and mechanical are the main types of health and safety hazards happened in the hotel industry. Physical hazards include noise, vibration, heat and colds stress, dangerous machinery, electricity and fire safety and lighting. Chemical hazards include acids, bases, heavy metals, solvents, fumes and highly reactive chemicals. According to the Mill and Lin (2001), hazards resulting in physical hazards and fatalities in hotel industry can be broadly categorised into the basic groups as falling from heights, struck by falling objects, accident by operation of machinery/tools, electrocution, fire/explosion, failure of temporary structures and others (e.g. slipping on the same level, oxygen deficiency in confined spaces, lightning strike, etc.). As Hassanain (2009) mentioned, fire hazard is a main hazard type with regard to hotel industry. Further, as Lind et al. (2008) stated, main hazard types are poor ergonomics in operations and physical hazards. However, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Organisation (2008) argued that, types of health and safety hazards are in terms of occupational accidents, slips, trips and falls, as well as cuts and burns represent the largest share.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Literature review on fire disaster management draws substantive conclusion that fast growth in urban places from small markets to cities leads to increased risks of fire disasters as well. Despite the frequency and magnitude of the fire disasters urban dwellers are rarely prepared to save life and property.
Statistics from the fire department in Ekpoma show that 112 fire outbreaks have occurred in Ekpoma Municipality between January 2011 and January 2012. Fifty one per cent of these fires have occurred within the Hotels in Ekpoma. The property destruction is estimated at 37 million shillings while eleven people have lost their lives (Ekpoma Fire Department, 2012). Unfortunately accidents of the same sort occur repeatedly without any advantage being taken to gain important information for future management in fire disaster management. It is thus against this background that this research was conceived.
A survey on high-rise building safety emergencies and evacuation procedures conducted in Chicago USA in 2006 indicated that most of the occupants did not know where fire exits were located. The findings supported the need for continued public education about emergency and evacuation procedures in high-rise Hotels (Beard, 1989).
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to establish the factors that influence fire safety management in hotels in Ekpoma with the view of coming up with recommendations on how to improve fire disaster management.
1.4 Research Objectives
The study was guided by the following objectives;
i.To establish how fire safety management influences fire disaster management in Ekpoma.
ii.To examine how value of investment influences fire disasters management in Hotels in Ekpoma
iii.To determine how municipal fire disaster management bylaws influence fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma.
iv. To assess how nature of investment influence fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma.
1.5 Research Questions
The study sought to answer the following Questions;
i.How does fire safety management contribute to fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma?
ii.To what extent does value of investment influence fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma?
iii.How do municipal fire disaster management bylaws contribute to fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma?
iv. In which way does the nature of business influence fire disaster management in Hotels in Ekpoma?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings generated by this study will be used to make recommendations to the county Government town planners and other policy makers on appropriate programmes tailored to help increase fire disaster management among the town dwellers.
This study will also help future researchers who may have interest in this unexplored area in Ekpoma town. This study will make positive contribution prepare the understanding of factors influencing fire disaster management in HotelsEkpoma and provide practical suggestions that aimed at influencing the land lords/ladies in developing sound fire disaster management measures.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The researcher faced the challenge of distributing and collecting questionnaires from the large number of Guests in hotels and hotel owners/ladies intended to be included in the study. To overcome this, the researcher engaged research assistants who administered and collect the questionnaires. It was also hectic to secure appointments with the Guests in hotels and the hotel owners/ladies due to their tight schedules and therefore prior arrangement were made to counteract this setback. Finally not all the questionnaires were returned duly completed and therefore interviews were used to minimize this.
1.8 Delimitations of the Study
The primary focus of the study was to draw the respondents from the HotelsEkpoma. The study targeted the business proprietors and hotel owners/ladies in all the Hotels within the Central Business District.
1.9 Assumption of the Study
The study assumed that the respondents would give reliable and valid information that would assist in getting valid data that could be used to make conclusions in relation to the study. The study also assumed that the variables would remain constant. Finally it assumed that the questionnaires would be returned in time duly complete
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