Occupational health and safety continues to be one of the most critical but highly criticized issues within the discipline of human resource management. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of health and safety programmes on performance of manufacturing firms in Western Province, Kenya. The study presents the results on an empirical study conducted. The study utilized a convenient sample by using all manufacturing firms in Western Kenya. Content validity and reliability of the research instruments were done through test retest method using one of the manufacturing firms which was not included in the final analysis. Reliability coefficient yielded a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.88. The data from all the manufacturing firms was collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistical tools like Pearson correlation, simple regression and one way ANOVA. The study findings showed a moderate positive relationship between occupational health and safety programmes (OHSP) and organizational performance of manufacturing firms. This was an indication that OHSP were not efficient in the studied firms, thus, affecting organizational performance of these firms in terms of sales, profitability, production, order delivery, reputation, target achievement, product quality and production costs. Management of firms must put in place policies and structures for improving occupational health and safety. They should not wait to form ad hoc committees (after an accident has occurred), whose recommendations may not be implemented. Organizations should put in place active health and safety committees which should be given mandate to implement their recommendations. Everyone in the organization should adhere to laid down policies, rules and safety precautions to reduce accidents. The study results provide vital information to managers, researchers and academicians on the relevance of occupational health and safety in business organizations.
Key words: Occupational health and safety programmes (OHSP), employee productivity, organizational performance.
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