AN INVESTIGATION ON THE SAFE WORKING PRACTICES OF LEISURE CENTRES – A CASE STUDY OF MAIDSTONE LEISURE CENTRE IN THE UK
Leisure centres reflect unique safety challenges as they are matrices of adventures and risks. It is necessary that the concerned authorities should ensure a risk-free environment by the adoption of safe working practices and statutory policies.
The prioritisation of safety is to ensure that the facilities and associated activities do not inflict unacceptable risks to both the visitors and the workforce. However, a sheer amount of adverse events have been reported questioning the effectiveness of these safe working practices. The current study has employed the case of Maidstone Leisure Centre in the UK to analyse this context.
A secondary research has been undertaken in finalising estimates on the safe working practices of leisure centres. The data collection and analysis have been facilitated by the reliance on interpretivism philosophy and inductive approach. The researcher could focus on the relevant and specific literature that highlighted different dimensions of safe working practices with the use of these techniques. The achievement of research objectives was further enabled by the integration of explanatory purpose. The researcher could found out that safe working practices are pivotal in determining the safety of employees and visitors. However, a solid framework of safety practices is sophisticated to accomplish, and the possible minimisation of risks can be attained by taking a proactive approach to risk management. It is suggested that Maidstone should employ a proactive inspection team and security measures in increasing the positive outcomes of its safe working practices.
Table of Contents?
List of Figure
Figure 2.1: Health and safety management system framework……………………………..10
A rise in leisure centres was addressed in the recent scenarios that include programs managed by local councils aimed to provide service to the society. However, it is essential to consider the risk factor associated with the activities that in turn disrupt the service. Hence the present report attempt to analyse the safe working practices of leisure centre taking account the case of Maidstone Leisure centre in the UK. The chapter entail the research background and rationale that address the present issue through which adequate aim and objectives are provided. The session also encompasses research significance and the structure of research through which the dissertation is carried out.
In line with the fact that various leisure centres havebeen introduced in the industry Beaven (2009) noted that few leisure centres are attached to the school for ensuring the maximum utilisation. The fact thus allows the school pupil to use the service in daytime whereas the public exploits the centre in the time after 4pm and also on weekends. Torkildsen (2010) on the other hand also note that the leisure providers are obliged to take account the safety facet of customers underlining the duty of care metric. Teacher to the pupil, official to the participant, participant to participant and employer to employees are some duty of care obligations outlined by the author.
Green (2013) mentioned the aftereffects of safe working environment negligence reflecting the case of a fire accident in the Summerland Leisure centre. The facility for amusement in the Isle of Man was attained severe damage in the aftermath of the fire and took 50 human lives. The authors note that staffs had tried to assist the evacuation process and dealt with the fire rather than calling the fire brigade which was called after 20 minutes later (FPA, 2014).
The views of Hart and Pijnenburg (1988) sited in Parker and Handmer (2013) noted the vulnerability of Leisure centres and shopping malls towards normal accidents in which large people gather in a limited space. It was also noted that apart from the technical and infra-structural facilities the knowledge of planers and operators about the crowd behaviour and regulation of people in extraordinary conditions wield significant importance in such disastrous occasions. Torkildsen (2010) mentioned the unique challenge for the health and safety advisers of the leisure centre in assuring the safety of customers and workforce. Realising the sheer activity range of leisure centres and the risk related to the practices authors has underlined the need fora robust health and management system.
With the enjoyable experiences imparted, immense risks are also associated leisure activities which can disrupt its main pursuits. The concern is further emphasised by abundance of cases of injuries. The report by Eurostat (2016) also seeks our attention to various adverse events associated with sports activities due to improper guidance, health and safety measures.
For instance, the collapse of swing in one leisure centre caused severe head injuries to a boy while he was playing with the rope swing. The investigation proved that it was the result of poor risk assessment carried out by inspector. Another HSE report shows death of a man due to a horizontal barrier that has not been secured in a sports council. The seriousness is further aggravated by the case of a boy who got submerged in an Open Air Pool in a leisure centre and a girl who suffered from severe bruises and deep muscle damages due to a slip in a climbing session held out by a leisure club. The lack of site specific assessments and professional competencies of instructors are evident in both these cases (HSE, 2015).
All these clearly point out that safety should be the utmost concern of leisure centres. However, studies related to this concept is only few and have not covered this dimension of safe working practices that can be prioritised (Thompson et al., 2013). Maidstone is one of the prominent leisure centres in the UK. The centre has devised and taken proper precautions in ensuring safe working practices. With the general measures, the centre has employed an injury clinic at Maidstone. In spite of these efforts, cases of adverse events such as diving and swimming fatalities have been reported. Therefore, this study will try to gather insights on various safe working practices that can be adopted by leisure centre so that adverse events can be eliminated.
To critically assess safe working practices of Leisure Centres with particular focus on Maidstone Leisure Centre in the UK.
To identify different safe working practices in leisure centres
To critically assess various effects of safe working practices of Maidstone Leisure centre
To assess statutory health and safety policies with reference to leisure centres
To provide recommendations to Maidstone Leisure Centre to ensure safe leisure environment.
Explain the safe working practices adopted by Maidstone Leisure centre?
What are the importance of safe working practices in Leisure centres?
How effective were the safety and health policies of Maidstone Leisure centre?
From the research rationale and background, it was understood that the safety working practice in the leisure centres has an important role to play. The accidents in Summerland leisure centre addressed the severe aftereffect of lack of employee training and similar accidents noted by HSE report in which the horizontal barrier security caused a man to death has also underlined the vitality of safe working practice and health policies in leisure centres. Issues in the case of Maidstone were also spotlighted in the session, and thus the research scrutinises the health and safety measures at the organisation. The research act as a reference point to the future researchers imparting value to the research activities in similar discipline.
The chapter has spotlighted the current research issue and provided significant aim and objectives for conducting the research. The dissertation structure was outlined in the session and also discussed the investigation significance. Looking forward the next chapter review the literature related to the research questions.
Focused on developing a detailed literature on the investigating topic this chapter will review the ideas and observations proposed by various researchers. Identifying the importance of implementing safe working practices in leisure centres, this chapter will critically review the significance of this investigation with the support of existing literature studies. Factors influencing the safe working practices of an organisation and the impact of these strategies on the workforce of a corporate venture will also be identified through this chapter. Analysing the health and safety policies that underpin the safe working practices in the UK, this chapter also attempts in developing a clear picture of the safe working practices implemented by leisure centres. Moreover, the gap that differentiates this research from the previous literature will also be examined through this section. Thus with the support of various secondary data resources and research works, this chapter focuses on developing a detailed literature review of this investigation.
Outlining the strategies implemented by an organisation to reduce the workplace risks, safe working practices have become one of the most important and crucial factors that determine the efficiency of a workplace management. Structured on a systematic process of hazard assessment, risk assessment, etc. safe working practices focuses on assuring the health and safety of the employees (Pilbeam et al., 2016). Underpinned by several work-orientation programs and dynamic training strategies, the safe working practices within a corporate venture improve both technical proficiency and aptitude of the employees. However, according to the opinion of Beus, McCord and Zohar (2016), equivalent to the training effectiveness, efficiency in the communicational strategies and competence in adhering to governmental policies also plays an important role in influencing the safe working practices in an organisation. According to the observations of Reason (2016), apart from assuring the health and safety of the employees, safe working practices have a direct influence on regulating the work pressures and job stress. As these components showcase a direct influence on the workplace commitment and job satisfaction of the workforce, Marín et al. (2017) identified that implementing safe working practices has become a prerequisite in current market settings. As the employees in the current era have shown an increasing trend to switchover from one organisation to another seeking healthy working ambience, it is apparent that implementing safe working practices and regulating the employee turnover goes in proportional to each other. As maintaining equilibrium in the staff turnover ratio inflicts a positive impact on the corporate reputation and financial balance of a firm, Beus, McCord and Zohar (2016) identified that safe working practice has an increased importance in the current era. Thus from the studies of Marín et al. (2017) and Beus, McCord and Zohar (2016), it is evident that incorporating safe working practices has gained increased importance in the current industrial settings.
Reese (2015) defines Health and Safety management system as a set of actions, plans or procedures that manages the health and safety in the workplace. This framework was put in place by an employer to reduce the risk of injury and illness in the workplace observes Nassiri et al. (2016).The studies by Brauer (2016) identified six key elements of Health and Safety management system, and this includes initial review, safety and policy, planning, implementation and operation, measurement of performance and reviewing of performance.
Figure 2.1: Health and safety management system framework
Source: Brauer (2016)
Health and safety management system include an initial review stage where an organisation should carry out an initial review of its safety and health management arrangements, states Reese (2015).As per this system then an organisation should develop and incorporate the safety statement to recognise the importance of the safety and health that affects an organisation’s business performance. The planning stage is essential for the implementation of the safety and health policies observes Haslam (2016).Brauer(2016) point out that employers have the responsibility for safety and health management and it is also added that plan or policy once implemented have to be reviewed and regularly revised in order to reflect changes in the organisation’s safety and health policies. This framework will ultimately support in improving the organisation’s safety, and health objectives state Haslam (2016).
As per the findings of Reese (2015), it is observed that Health and safety management system manages to give an organisation a safety culture. This indicates the best chances of having an incident-free workplace for the employees in an organisation. Ultimately, as stated by Nassiri et al. (2016), the management system will provide the worker's safety atmosphere at the workplace by decreasing the injuries, job accidents, medical illness etc.
Influencing the dexterities and capabilities of the workforce, the effectiveness of the safe working practices can inflict a direct impact on the organisational productivity, states Pilbeam, et al. (2016). According to the observations of Reason (2016) and Glendon, Clarke and McKenna (2016), several internal and external parameters inflict an equal influence on the safe working practices of an organisation. As per the outlooks of these authors the safe working practices of an organisation are highly influenced by the organisational systems and associated elements. The influence of various internal organisational processes and management systems in ascertaining the success of firms’ safe working practices has also been identified by these researchers. However, according to the observations of Marín et al. (2017), rather than the organisational systems and management processes, the effectiveness of the communicational strategies and co-worker socialisation also have an important role in assuring a safe working culture within a firm. Thus analysing the perspectives in various literature studies, it is observed that five factors play a pivotal role in influencing the safe working practices of an organisation and these are listed below:
Organisation culture - Ensuring the health and safety of the workforce, the effectiveness of the organisational culture has an important role in developing a safety culture within an organisation. Developing a healthy workplace ambience with unity and integration, the organisational culture can reduce the probabilities of discrimination and inequities (Glendon, Clarke and McKenna, 2016).
Training and development - Improving the technical proficiency of the employees, the effectiveness of the training and development programs has a direct relationship with the safety culture of a firm, states Reason (2016). Assuring the quality of the working practices, the effectiveness of the dynamic training can reduce the probability of injuries and accidents.
Organisation policy - According to the findings of Glendon, Clarke and McKenna (2016), the organisational policy is the most important factor that affects the safe working practices of an organisation. Assuring the compliance with the regulatory norms, the stringency in the organisational policies focuses on guaranteeing the adherence of an organisation to the health and safety policies framed by the governmental systems. The competitiveness of the health and safety management systems and review procedures also constitutes the components of the organisational policy. Thus in line with the outlooks of Glendon, Clarke and McKenna (2016), it is apparent that efficiency in upholding a systematic and structured organisational policy has an important role in ascertaining safety working culture.
Work-life balance and diversity - Attracting talents from diverse backgrounds, the effectiveness of this components focuses on promising a healthy work culture. Reducing the probabilities of job stress and work pressures, work-life balance helps in improving the satisfaction of the workforce. On the other hand, by incorporating healthy diversity strategies, an organisation will be competitive in attracting and retaining experienced staff and this, in turn, helps in reducing the workplace accidents and damages (Pilbeam et al., 2016).
Communicational effectiveness - As per the outlooks of Reason (2016), the effectiveness of the communicational strategies also has an imperative role in reducing the controversies associated with safe working. Sharing the outlooks of employees with various proficiencies and job experiences, the communicational effectiveness helps in improving the workplace interactions. Thus influencing the success in achieving co-worker socialisation, the communicational effectiveness has an important role in guaranteeing safe work conditions, states Marín et al. (2017).
Studies by Goetzel (2014) and Cooper and Quick (2017) point out that healthy workplace is an important factor that will create healthy employees who can improve business performance. There may result in various health and safety issues that could affect the employees in an organisation, sates Montano, Hoven and Siegrist (2014).The change in the health and safety policies, procedures and processes are the major causes that contribute risks among the employees at their workplace, added Montano, Hoven and Siegrist (2014).An effective health and safe working practices help in recognising that a healthy workforce is necessary for integrating the policies, systems and practices at all levels of an organisation. By encouraging and promoting an efficient health and safety management system the productivity, staff morale, employee engagement and business performance in an organisation can be improved, noted Cooper and Quick (2017).
On the other hand, it has been stated by Goetzel (2014) that the lack of proper health and safety working practices has got a negative effect on the employees at work. The lack of proper policies would effects the employee protection this in turn results in employee turnover and ultimately affects the organisation’s performance, added Goetzel (2014). Good health and safety measures will provide a positive reputation with the customers and employees and will boost up the staff morale and increases the productivity. Cooper and Quick (2017) also point further that a good standard of health and safety measures in the workplace can offer better benefits for the employees. This will directly or indirectly result in saving the costs of the staff absence. Also, this will retain the staff thereby saves the time required for recruiting and training new members. As per the observation of Montano, Hoven and Siegrist, (2014), the ultimate benefit that results from good standard health and safety working practices are the reduction in the sick pay costs, accidents and work-related ill health, insurance costs and pressure on employees.
As per the observation of Tombs and Whyte (2013), the workstation has a significant role on health because the chances of hazards are more in many working environments. The UK administration body HSE is responsible for imposing health and safety at working environment. The direction of applicable legislation and provides the health and safety measures of employees will be taken care by the HSE. Depending on the commercial sector the role of the administration is fragmented among local authorities and HSE.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary act followed in the organisations in the UK which covers the overall health and safety measures of the employees which is the basic law that every organisation should follow. Under this act, the certain points to be covered by the organisations are maintaining adequate welfare provisions and training of employees to ensure health and safety and the maintenance of handling dangerous components used at the workplace as stated by (Healthyworkinglives.com, 2017). Whereas, the another health and safety policy to be followed in the organisation are The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 is revised by United Kingdom constitutional team that defines the overall necessities on workers to safeguard other persons and workforces from the threats of materials employed during work by incident planning, control of exposure, risk assessment and health surveillance as stated by Hse.gov.uk. (2017). There are also certain acts such as Working Time Regulations 1998, Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, Data Protection Act 1998 to be followed by the organisations. However, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 are the most important laws to be followed in the organisations for maintaining the health and safety of the employees.
with the intensive technological advancements and increased global networking, leisure activities have become an integral part of people’s life. As elucidated in the study conducted by OECD (2009) quality and volume of leisure time have direct effects on mental and physical health of an individual. Leisure activities have further implications in forming social networks, family functioning and smoothening of personal relationships. Some of the main leisure activities are sports, swimming, adventurous activities like bungee jumping and engaging in pleasurable things like trips, movies, etc. All these have been identified as important leisure approaches that can reap several health benefits. Consequently, leisure centres that promote these activities sprout up abundantly. In UK, a specific site, building or properties usually operated and owned by municipal district council or city borough council are referred as leisure centres. The typical facilities include indoor and outdoor sports halls and areas, swimming pools, play area, steam rooms etc. It has also been identified from the findings of UK Active (2017) that leisure activities come up with inherent risks which necessitate compliance of centres with safety criteria, standards and quality in their services which ensures welfare of customers. There are several regulations and policies that demand this compliance. The general duties of leisure centre should be devised in accordance with Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and in addition, there are Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004, UK Active Code of Practice etc. which define standards and criteria for leisure centres so that they can implement safe working practices (Quinlan, Bohle and Lamm, 2010). Inclusion of safe working practices aids operators in executing sufficient risk assessment and mitigations. Proportionate and sensible measures also need to be implemented in managing risks.
The fact that health and safety measures in the leisure centre are affected by the factors like the knowledge and training of the employees the element can also influence on the customer. Green (2013) noted the ineffectiveness of employees in the Summerland Leisure centre causing 50 people to death due to the delay in calling the fire brigade. Torkildsen (2010) opined that the pivotal role of the safe working system is to enhance the awareness of health and safety issues in the physical and sports recreation and eliminating the doubt deemed to the process. The awareness creation, on the other hand,takes into account the risks related to the Leisure activities and allow both the participant and employee to mitigate the impact level and also the disaster occurrence. Horner and Swarbrooke (2012) mentioned the three facets of safety program such as implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The implementation deal with the objective establishment, advice seek and safe system work implementation. Whereas, monitoring ensures that the practices and policies are effective enough to attain the objective and evaluation assess and review the process for carrying out further amendments.Mcardle (2013) opines that the staff in leisure centre hold the responsibility in understanding the policy, identifying the policy breach by colleagues and promoting safer practice through encouraging the participants.
Greenfield and Osborn (2013) note the necessity of risk management practices and policies in the fitness facilities that satisfy the duty of care towards the leisure centre staff and participants. According to Piekarz, Jenkins and Mills (2015) duty of care refers to the degree of standard care that the facility obliged to provide for the participants and the employees of the leisure centre. The author has also mentioned the efficacy of safe working practices in reducing the hazards in leisure activities. On the other hand, Torkildsen (2010) inferred the ability of safe working practices in profiting the employees with practicable health assurance, employee safety and welfare and creation and maintenance of safe work environment. The fact thus also corroborate with section 2 of health and safety at work etc. Act 1974 which the organisations are bound to practice. Thus from the review of significant authors thoughts it could be understood that the safe working activities and provision of policies in turn aid in mitigating the dangers that customers and employees face in leisure activities. In line with the view of Horner and Swarbrooke (2012), it could also be depicted that the practices help in realising the legislation and improve the leisure centre reputation.
Analysing the research works that exist in the literature, it is apparent that investigations reviewing the perspectives of safe working practices are prevalent. While the observations of Chan and Choi (2015) identified the implication of SWC (Safe Working Cycle) in a workplace, the studies conducted by Kaynak et al. (2016) identified the effects of health and safety practices within an organisation. Analysing the context of HongKong based construction firms, Chan and Choi (2015) identified that Safe Working Cycle helps an organisation in developing an improved work culture and this, in turn, helped in enhancing the employee productivity. The association between the safe working practices and performance of the employees was also studied by Kaynak et al. (2016). Employing PLS-SEM approach, these researchers identified that the efficiency in the OHS (occupational health and safety) practices assures the quality of hazard management and risk management and this, in turn, inflicts a positive impact on the commitment and satisfaction of the employees. The study conducted by Thomas and Galla (2013) analysed a diverse perspective of safe working practices. Reviewing the factors that support safe working conditions, Thomas and Galla (2013) identified that the effectiveness of the engagement programs and competence of the training strategies are the most influential factors that impact the safe working conditions of a workplace. Although most of the existing studies were competitive in explaining the importance and facts associated with safe working practices in a generic point of view, the fact that these works did not analyse the context of leisure centres is a gap that differentiates this work from previous literature. Thus identifying this gap, through this study the researcher analyses the context of safe working practices in leisure centres. For comprehensive research, the researcher has selected the context of Maidstone Leisure Centre in the UK in this study.
The chapter discussed various literature that underpins the research question and spotlighted the facets such as safe working practice importance in the leisure centres along with the factors affecting the notion in an organisation. Organisation culture, organisation policies and training and development were identified to be pivotal influential elements, and the effect of practice negligence on employees was understood to be stress, injury and accident enhancement and a decline in satisfaction and engagement vertices. The review has interpreted that the safe working practices reduce the severity of hazards and could aid in the betterment of reputation metric. In addition, the section has also inferred the link between present and previous study.
Research methodology is considered as the best tool for any division of research study. A research methodology is an approach to the process of research, surrounding a body of methods (Collis and Hussey, 2013).
This chapter explains about the various research methods used by the researcher. The various methods used are research approach, data collection methods, research strategy, sampling methods, research design,research purpose, and research philosophy.The justification for selecting suitable methods have been clearly explained by the researcher. Moreover, the researcher also explains the ethical and accessibility issues, data analysis plan etc. in this chapter.
The research purpose is classified into three, and they are Exploratory, Descriptive and Explanatory. The main goal of the exploratory research is to learn more about the phenomenon, rather than making specific predictions (Kelly, 2009). And they are less structured methods than descriptive and explanatory. The object of descriptive research is to portray an accurate profile of situations, persons or events (Saunders, 2011). Explanatory research explains and accounts all the descriptive information and mainly focuses on the how and why of a research problem. In Explanatory research, the studies are correlative in nature, with emphasis on finding causal relationships between variables (Gray, 2013).
Explanatory research was selected to critically assess the safe working practices of Leisure Centres. This research attempts to find out how a particular unsafe work practice situation arised and the reason behind it. This study focuses on the analysis of a particular problem and explains the pattern of relationships between the variables. Since there is a systematic selection of subjects in explanatory research method, higher levels of internal validity are possible. The highly structured research approach in explanatory research method makes it easy for the researcher to quickly finish the study. This study has an advantage of replication whenever required.
As per the view of Miller and Tsang (2011) research philosophy is termed as a technique or plan that gives an idea about detail collection and analysis of data needed for the study. The significant principles that exist in the research philosophy explain the researcher’s opinion concerning with the research issue. Schlegel and LeCompte (2012) categorise philosophical methods into three classifications namely positivism, interpretivism and realism.
For the current study, the researcher has selected for the interpretivism philosophy since this philosophy is highly efficient for collecting the required data through a subjective approach. With the help of the interpretivism philosophy, the researcher had performed the study on a large number of samples from the entire population. The facts that are collected regarding the research subject emphasises on the study issue deprived of the discrete viewpoints. The method enables the researcher to understand the different safe working practices in leisure centres. Moreover, interpretivism philosophy aided the researcher in exploring the effectiveness of safe working practices of Maidstone Leisure centre. Besides, interpretivism philosophy helped the researcher in assessing the various statutory health and safety policies currently followed in the leisure centres. Also, the researcher has been able to recognise the challenges faced by the Maidstone leisure Centre regarding the safe working practices in the centre.
According to the researcher Babbie (2010), the procedures that comprise broad assumptions and detailed techniques of collection, evaluation and interpretation of information is referred to as a research approach. Therefore, the research approach depends on the research issue that is being specified. As per the opinion of Dawson, C. (2009) inductive research approach is related to the qualitative studies, whereas deductive approach is related to quantitative studies.
For the current research study, the researcher has adopted the inductive approach since the approach is highly related with the interpretivism philosophy. This approach permits the researcher to build up a hypothesis from existing findings, and it had helped the researcher to amass data from some sources. Thus, by employing the inductive approach the researcher able to identify different safe working practices employed in leisure centres. With the help of the approach the researcher also able to critically evaluate the existing safe working practices concerned in Maidstone Leisure centre. Moreover, the inductive approach was helpful in deriving relevant conclusions and in guaranteeing reliability and authenticity of the existing hypothesis in the current study.
As per the opinion of Khan (2011), the general techniques implemented by the researcher for answering the research query is defined as a research strategy for the research. Research strategies thereby create a clear illustration on the research issue. Interviews, surveys and case study strategy are some of the research strategies used by the researchers for evaluating the research issue.
The present study is scrutinized by employing the case study strategy since it is observed as the simplest and utmost flexible technique that will permit the researcher to recollect the general features related to the research issue. As per Myers, (2013) case studies help the researchers to retain the holistic descriptions of real-life events while scrutinizing empirical events. By adopting the case study strategy, the researcher has able to analyse the different safe working practices in leisure centres. By reviewing different case studies related to the research problem the researcher has able to develop a sum of data within a very less time. The researcher has also able to abridge the complexity of the different concepts related to the safe work practices by using this strategy. Furthermore, the researcher by utilising the case study strategy has scrutinised the different challenges faced by the Maidstone leisure Centre and able to suggest ways by which Maidstone leisure Centre could improve their safe working practices.
Data is required to create strategies and make important decisions, noted Fusch and Ness (2015). As per Olsen (2011), the two data collection methods are primary and secondary data collection method.
For the present research study on safe working practices of leisure centres, the researcher has relied on secondary sources for collecting the data required. The researcher has utilised the secondary data sources including the databases like Science Direct, EBSCO, Proquest etc, which offers reliable and authentic journals concerning the research question. The researcher has carried out an intensive research to extract the main stream findings related to the research topic. The researcher has reviewed various reports such as HSE investigations, OECD statistics etc to gather the empirical evidences. Furthermore, the researcher has reviewed books and brochures related to the topic to assess the various safe working practices that are currently practised in the UK leisure centres. In addition to this, the researcher has also reviewed the company websites, reports and magazines that are relevant to the topic. By the use of specific key words and detailed literature search the researcher able to generate massive data about the safe working practices and its effects.
Sampling relates to the method used to select a given number of people or things from a population (Mertens, 2014). Probability sampling is about ways of selecting from a population that maintains the same variation and diversity that exists within the population (Kelly, 2009). Non-Probability sampling refers to the method by which sample members are not selected on the basis of an equal chance of being selected (DePoy and Gitlin, 2013).
Criterion sampling method was selected to analyse the safe working practices of Leisure Centres.Criterion Sampling is about reviewing and studying all participants who meet a particular kind of criteria (Silk, 2011).This method made it easy for the researcher to identify the problem quickly and understand the cases that help to get more information about the research problem under study. Since it provides qualitative analysis, this method could be conveniently used for the topic under study.
Data analysis plan helps the researcher to have a clear idea about the analysis, data collection and the results obtained from the research. Only the secondary data collection method was used to analyse the research problem at hand. Various internal and external secondary sources were reviewed to get more factual data. Descriptive analysis was used by the researcher, to analyse the secondary data collected from various secondary sources. After analysing the data using various methods, the investigator associated the outcomes with verdicts and examined the safe working practices of Leisure Centres.
Since ethics is given high importance everywhere, the researcher ensured that there were no ethical issues involved in the analysis of safe working practices of Leisure Centres. All the parties involved were treated equally, without any forceful act. The researcher also made sure that no law has been broken with regards to the parties confidentiality involved.
Since we used case study method to analyse the problem under study, there were many limitations. Some case studies were found costly and therefore inaccessible. Another limitation was the non-usage of primary data to give an accurate picture of the problem under study. Some secondary sources may have been altered, which will lead to unreliable data.
The researcher explains about the different methods used to analyse the research problem under study. The proper justification for selecting a particular method has also been mentioned in a clear and understandable manner. Research approach, research design, data collection methods, research philosophy, research strategy, sampling methods, research purpose has all been explained in detail in this chapter by the researcher.
As the output of the data analysis and interpretation chapter is the answers for the research problems, this chapter is crucial and the most important in a research work. In this chapter, the researcher will collect the necessary data and by analysing and interpreting the collected data and then going through some arguments and discussions, the researcher will ultimately reach the problem solutions and thus achieving the goal of the research work. By analysing the solutions and the objective, the dissimilarities are recorded with reasons behind them. In the present chapter the case study approach is carried out by the researcher to collect the information.
The plan of analysis is a roadmap of how the researcher organises the data and analyses the case study in detail. For getting a foundation about the topic, in the initial stage, details of the present safe working practices followed by the Maidstone leisure centre was identified. Regarding these data, the researcher can develop an idea about the safety measures and risk in the current scenario. These data were obtained from some news reports, websites and based on some previous studies on the similar topic etc. This valid information obtained was used for conducting a case study on the research topic. For that, the researcher had gathered information from plenty of resources available. Graphs and tables have been incorporated in the case study. According to the result from the case study and the variety of information gained from other resources all the data were analysed and reach into the final findings.
Maidstone Leisure Centre functions as a day out and sports and fitness centre according to the customer preferences with average working hours of 15-16 hours per day. The centre encompasses five swimming pools, two gyms, changing rooms (special for families), sports hall, play area for children and an event hall of 1200 seats that offer broad leisure activities. As per Maidstone Leisure (2017a) the Maidstone Leisure Trust is responsible for the management and development of leisure activities at the centre that holds the vision to produce healthy and first class recreational and leisure facilities. The centre has provided support to community and sports activities in which the firm bestowed community funds and grants for sports activities.
4.3.1 Safe working practices at Maidstone Leisure Centre
In line with the motto to provide safe and first class leisure activities, the firm holds unique etiquette for each practice like Gym etiquette, swimming pool etiquette, sauna and steam room and workout studio etiquette. Thus the etiquette sets a foundation to the safe working practices at Maidstone Leisure Centre (Maidstone Leisure, 2017a). In addition, the report has stated the preference given to the safety in the Aqua challenge at the centre in which lifejacket is provisioned along with significant monitoring. Besides the acceptance of etiquettes and policies has reduced the burden of lifeguards and other staffs from being exposed to unexpected accidents and catastrophes (Maidstone Borough Council, 2017). Apart from the policies, Maidstone Leisure Centre wields an injury clinic ran by Simon Kavanagh who holds a graduate degree in sports therapy and have 10 years of experience (Maidstone Leisure, 2017b). Even though the facility is exploited by the customers’ the centre staffs are also benefited from the facility when it comes to field injuries. In accordance with the news that the centre acquired excellent quest status, it was identified that Maidstone had performed mystery visits to understand the state of employees and facilities at the organisation. Besides the assessment incorporated scrutinising of facility and interview with staffs along with management and maintenance of equipment’s (Maidstone Leisure, 2017c). The provision of training has been another pivotal facet in the safe working practices at Maidstone where the employees achieve adequate training prior to joining, and personal training is provided to customers intended to improve the awareness on safety importance. Thus the activities showcase that Maidstone Leisure Centre wields an organisational culture that ensures safety and health of customers and employees.
4.3.2 Analysing the statutory health and safety policies at Maidstone Leisure centre, UK
As per the act of Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the prime objective of the legislation was on entitling the occupational health and safety adequacies of Great Britain (Maidstone, 2016). As per the Health and Safety Act of 1974, the executive authorities have the responsibility for enforcing the act within the organisational performance and operations. Under the precise acts of Parliament, the statutory instruments are introduced into the law. According to the studies performed by Jefferis, et al. (2014) and Jackson, et al. (2016) the major confrontations included within the legal perspectives of statutory health and safety policies are asbestos at the workplace, escape, diving and salvage from the mines, task accomplishments at heights and ionising the radiation.
As per the case study emphasised on Maidstone Leisure Centre in the UK, the firm ensures on its abidance to the rules, regulatory and policies referring to the statutory of health and safety policies (Maidstone, 2016). Maidstone Leisure Centre has put forth every possible measure in providing employees with awareness and advice on the assurance of safety, welfare and health standards while at the workplace. As per the reports of Jackson et al. (2016) Maidstone Leisure Centre had implemented with efficient strategic measures in facilitating with periodic monitoring on the attainment of employee health, safety and welfare standards avoiding the risk of creating employee and public fright.
The firm Maidstone Leisure Centre ensures its abidance towards the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 within its franchises and subsidiaries in Borough. On the other hand, reports of Jefferis, et al. (2014) states that every other business activities of Maidstone Leisure Centre emphasise on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Maidstone Leisure Centre has been practising measures on the periodic assurance at workplaces in the regard of compliance to legislation, ill health and safety measures, the occurrence of accidents within the workplace, etc. The firm and its executive authorities were observed efficient in monitoring the abidance of the organisation and its employees to the legal policies and the health and safety at work act on ensuring employee safety and comfort at leisure centres (Maidstone, 2016). The firm also formed a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) emphasising the team in managing issues that surrounds the organisation. The team comprise of organisational representatives and partners comprising police ensuring health and safety of employees at work.
4.3.3 Effects of safe working practices of Maidstone Leisure centre
The leisure services offered by Maidstone include pools, polar adventures which consist of ice hills and climbing zones for children, adventure areas and state-of-art-gym. The gym is equipped with strength and cardiovascular fitness installations. It is clear from the above-mentioned leisure activities of Maidstone that a higher amount of risk is involved (Maidstone, 2016). As discussed above, Maidstone employs various safe working practices, and with this, the centre ensures that the risks and hazards associated with these events are mitigated to the possible extent. By the adoption of safety policies, the centre delivers a risk-free environment for its employees and also for the people who use the centre. The compliance of the safe working practices with the legislative requirements by offering a solid framework, Maidstone has been able to minimise the hazards. The deliverance of proper guidelines on usage of different facilities and prevention measures have accelerated the awareness creation of the employees and the people. This has allowed the comprehension of dangers related to the use of pools and adventure activities so that suitable precautions can be carried out. Consequent of these efforts, Maidstone staffs could make better responses to risks and accidents (Maidstone Leisure, 2017b).
Most importantly, the firm carries out an extensive investigation on accidents and also on the causative incidents. These efforts could highlight the operational issues associated with pools and other facilities. The integration of best practices could be achieved with the prioritisation of these activities of risk assessment (Maidstone Leisure, 2017a). Central to the safe working practices of Maidstone is the attribution of responsibility to the employees. For instance, the introduction of lifeguards and instructors could improvise the safety to impressive heights. For instance, as reported in Kent Online (2016), a youngster got submerged during a birthday party. However, the lifeguard at the centre acted proactively and initiated a rescue plan which saved the boy.
At the same time, reviews in TripAdvisor (2017) and Yelp (2017) contrast these positive impacts by upholding instances of bad experiences. The lack of guidance and care is prominently pointed out by those people who visited Maidstone during busy seasons. The wet floors inside the leisure hall have led to series of slips and trips of visors as shown in these reviews. Another significant safety and healthy allegation on Maidstone as reported by Britcher (2017) is regarding an illegal invasion of some visitors who used the facilities during the night. The visitors hid from the staff during the working time and eventually got locked up inside purposefully. This incident has risen higher volume of security concerns among the users of the leisure centre.
Considering these sheer range of adverse incidents which increases the susceptibility of visitors and employees to risks and hazards, it is suggested that the leisure centre should take appropriate measures and review its health and safety management system.
In light of the case study and the previous literature views the session attempt to correlate the facts and thoughts in the studies. The study of Pilbeam et al. (2016) mentioned that safe working practices assure the employee and customer health and safety to which Beus, McCord and Zohar (2016) noted that effectiveness of employee training, adherence to policies and communicational strategies have pivotal influence in the metric. Scrutinising the case study of Maidstone, it is identified that the organisation has attempted to incorporate the notion to improve the leisure activities. Maidstone Leisure (2017a) report has shown that Maidstone has been keen to provide quality leisure programs that are safe and secure thus corroborate with the literature views.
Through the literature review, Glendon, Clarke and McKenna (2016) noted that organisation culture is a crucial facet in securing the employee performance that in turn enhance the company reputation. Analysing the safety working activities of Maidstone Leisure Centre, it is evidently understood that the firm wields an organisational culture that underpins health and safety of both employees and customers for which significant measures have been taken by Maidstone. Maidstone Borough Council (2017) has purported the preventive measures adopted by the firm in swimming pool activities such as the provision of lifejacket and monitoring and hence supports the literature statement. From the views of Reason (2016), training and development were perceived to have greater influence in the safety of customers and employees which further reduce the incompetency and injury probabilities. The notion is in alliance with the case study in which Maidstone Leisure (2017c) indicated the training provided to new joiners in order to tackle dreadful situations. On the other hand Beus, McCord and Zohar (2016) thought about the influence of external and internal policies and norms. It is notable that etiquette concept of Maidstone Leisure Centre corroborate with the authors’ view where the organisation wields a different set of etiquette for its various leisure activities.
Healthyworkinglives.com (2017) has interpreted the existence of Safety at Work Act 1974 which an organisation must follow to make sure the working environment and employee safety. Hazard elimination and capability in handling the dangerous situation through significant training were the notable benefits indicated by the author. Evaluating the case study it could be depicted that Maidstone Leisure Centre has showcased abidance with the legislation and policies incorporating the Safety at Work Act 1974. As per Maidstone (2016) the firm bestowed possible measure that could enhance the level of awareness on the employees and led to the safety assurance. Moreover, the abidance was maintained even in the subsidiary and franchise chains of the organisation such as the one in Borough. The formation of Safety Advisory Group (SAG) was another crucial step that taken by the firm towards the issue management and supporting the statements in the literature.
The findings of UK Active (2017) in the literature noted that even though the leisure activities produce specific health benefits, the practice is prone to greater risks deemed to the leisure centre. The standards and quality maintenance at the firm was pointed out to be a strong factor that restricts the safety of staffs work in the atmosphere beside to the customers who are involved in the leisure activities. A similar viewpoint was addressed in the case study where Maidstone (2016) elucidated the adventurous activities practised at Maidstone entailing the Aqua challenge and the state-of-art-gym. The report peeks into the amount risk involved in the activities inferring the need of safety policy adoption for mitigating the risks. Hence it could be perceived that the thoughts of literature and case studies have corroborated with each other on the risk metric.
The duty of care was a pivotal facet noticed by Piekarz, Jenkins and Mills (2015) to which Torkildsen (2010) and Osborn (2013) has agreed at interpreted their views. Mcardle (2013) was keen to mention the responsibility of employees in understanding the policy and acting according to it. The scenarios revealed at Maidstone in the observation of Kent Online (2016) depict that guards have shown abidance with the duty of care concept which reflects the fact that the findings support literature review.
This section of the chapter deals with the key contradictions found out from the study. The researcher has performed an extensive evaluation of the findings in relation to the literature review. The main gaps as understood from the study is related to the main role of safety and health working practices of leisure centres. In the literature review, as viewed by Torkildsen (2010), the crucial objective of health and safety practices is to deliver awareness on the significance of the integration of safety working practices. Though the literature review has illustrated the other roles of safety and health management, the findings point out the prominence of creation of awareness among the goals. However, from the case study, this point is not substantiated. As per the findings of the case study, the deliverance of training has been upheld as the significant objective. From the findings, it can be elucidated that, the company by giving prior attention to the delivery of training, could reduce the extent of exposure of employees and visitors to the hazards and risks (Maidstone, 2017a; Maidstone, 2017b and Maidstone, 2017c). Thus the disparity in the views on the pivotal role of health and safety working practices can be regarded as a gap. Another main contradiction is related to the safety concerns. The literature review has not signified security threats as the major concerns. But one of the major health and safety issue confronted by the Maidstone Leisure Centre is from the illegal invasion of visitors during night and outside the working hour regimes. As found out by Britcher (2017), the company underwent attack from illegal invasions. This incident has highlighted that security concerns is one of the major regimes that should be addressed appropriately in improvising the positive effects of safety and health working practices especially in the case of leisure centres.
The case study observations on Maidstone Leisure Centre of UK, it was evident that the safety measures on the working culture of the firm stand in line with the organisational motto. As per the reports of Maidstone Leisure (2017a), the deliverance of the leisure centre with its advanced leisure activities and the unique etiquette practices followed within the Gym facility showcase the workplace safety and healthy working culture provided to the employees of the firm. Moreover, improved and added safety measures were provided by Maidstone Leisure Centre on its Aqua challenge which had provisioned with life jacket abiding towards the policies and rules of Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 (Maidstone Borough Council, 2017).
As per the literature study and its observation on the safe working practices, Pilbeam et al. (2016) stated that safe working practices played a significant role in determining the workplace management efficacy of an organisation. According to McCord and Zohar (2016) providing employees with effective training and development sessions through efficient interaction on the rules and regulations underpinned by the firm on the attainment of organisation aims and objectives would facilitate the firm in ensuring safe and healthy work culture of employees.
Upon analysing the statutory health and safety policies of Maidstone Leisure Centre of UK, it was evident that the firm abided with the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. With the prime objective of the regulation and its features on entitling the occupational health and safety adequacies of Great Britain, Maidstone Leisure Centre of UK ensured employee safety and health awareness and advised employees in following organisational rules and policies while at the workplace (Maidstone, 2016). According to Jefferis, et al. (2014) other subsidiaries of Maidstone Leisure Centre followed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensuring that the firm does not encounter with any ill health and safety measures and any accidents on employees at the workplace.
As per the studies performed by Reese (2015) Health and Safety management system defines the different actions and strategic approaches adopted by an organisation on its emphasise to reduce employee risk at the workplace. Brauer (2016) identified the key six elements of Health and Safety management system as the review, policy, planning, implementation and operation, checking and corrective action and management review. Thus from the above analysis, it could be inferred that the literature review findings and case study analysis falls in line with each on the safety practices and the safety measures to be afforded at the workplace on ensuring employee health and safety.
In the chapter data analysis and interpretations, the details about the case study which the researcher conducted to solve the research problems are explained. In section plan of analysis, the roadmap of the researcher to reach the destination is explained. All the possible information obtained from every source have been described in this chapter. In the case study, the researcher has analysed the research problems from every possible angle. In the section gaps the dissimilarity from the expectation that we had in the initial stage and our current results are explained. Findings are obtained by analysing and interpreting the whole data and the final judgements are also noted.
The chapter conclusion and recommendation is the final chapter of the dissertation which explains about the output of the research. This chapter describes the conclusion drawn from the research work undertaken and also suggests with recommendations that was found after completing the research. These findings are based on the analysis done both in our case study and other information gained along with the researcher's views. The solution for the research problems can be quickly referred from this chapter. This section also reveals the limitations of this research works that was sensed during the work period. Directions for the future researchers are also incorporated in this chapter.
Objectives 1: To identify different safe working practices in leisure centres
As per the studies and research findings on the varied safety working practices, it was evident that effective employee training through efficient communication placed the prime significance as a measure in abiding with safe working practices at workplace. Further emphasising on the safe practices for employees within the organisational work environment it was identified that safe working practices influenced significantly the organisational functioning. The case study in line with the literature study supported the significance of safe working practice at the organisation. The safe working practices abided by Maidstone Leisure Centre in the UK gained the firm in retaining its employees as well as provide with efficient customer service to every customer in support of employee efforts on delivering service to customers. The reports of Maidstone Leisure (2017b) summarised that apart from the policies abided by the firm, Simon Kavanagh ventured an injury clinic that had the experience of more than ten years. This facilitated customers in exploiting the facilities provided by the firm on customer leisure time. The training facility provided by Maidstone Leisure Centre was also provided by the firm in ensuring the health and safety measures to employees at the workplace. Therefore, upon profound analysis and comprehension on the varied safety and health practice to be emphasised within an organisation, the initial objective of the research study was realised successfully.
Objective 2: To critically assess various effects of safe working practices of Maidstone Leisure centre
Through the views of Green (2013), the impact of lack of safe working practice was determined in the literature. It was identified that lack of employee training had created catastrophes in the leisure centre as the fallout of fire incident. The inefficiency caused the death of 50 people including employees and customers. On the other hand, Torkildsen (2010) underpin the need of enhancing the safety awareness on employees that lead to vanquish the doubt helping to reduce the disaster occurrence probability. Piekarz, Jenkins and Mills (2015) mentioned the duty of care notion through which employees are obliged to produce standard care to customers whereas the employer to an employee in terms of care and facility. Realising the obligations and practices of Maidstone Leisure Centre the research through Maidstone (2017c) observation identified the presence of SAG team and injury clinic along with managerial assessment. In presence, the injury facility and equipment management bestowed service to the customers however the employees of Maidstone also reap significant benefits. The policy inclusion like abidance to the Safety and Work Act hold significant effect on the employees. In addition provision of adequate training to the new staffs and interview with employees for assessing the quality were mentioned in the case study. Cumulatively the actions helped in motivating the employees where Kent Online (2016) noted staffs of Maidstone rescuing a lad from drowning in the pool. Thus the study inferred the different effects of safe working practice impact.
Objective 3: To assess statutory health and safety policies with reference to leisure centres
The advancements in the field of technologies and increased global networking have been facilitating with the leisure centres with its efficiency in providing employees with health and safety workplace culture. As per the records of OECD (2009), the increased quality and time required for the provision of leisure activities have influenced the refreshing of the physical and mental health of individuals. Apart from the enhancement of mental, physical health, leisure activities are also identified to influence the formation of social networks, family functioning and smoothening of personal relationships.
As per the case study emphasised on Maidstone Leisure Centre, the firm abided with the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The abidance to the act facilitated the firm in ensuring its customers with efficient service and employees were provided with utmost safety measures at the workplace. The reports of Maidstone (2016) stated that firm had afforded on every possible measure on alerting as well as edifying employees on the safety to be considered while at work. On the other hand, reports also illustrated that other subsidiaries of Maidstone Leisure Centre had been abiding with the health and Safety Executive (HSE) that encouraged the formation of SAG defining the Safety Advisory Group advising the firm on inducing more effective safety measures on employee performance safeguarding employee health and safety at the workplace. Thus, the analysis and understanding gained from the research study, the third objective determined the safety policies abided by Leisure centres was attained successfully.
The findings of the study have revealed that Maidstone delivers a strong portfolio of safe working practices. However, it has also been noted that in increasing the positive effects of these working practices, the leisure centre needs to revise its practices. The below section entails specific recommendations so that Maidstone can optimise the safety management framework.
Proactive inspection team: One of the significant issues faced by the centre is that the maintenance of the place is weaker resulting in slip and trips of visitors (TripAdvisor, 2017). This has higher safety implications and broadens the exposure of visitors to the risks and serious injuries. Therefore, it is necessary that Maidstone should address these concerns immediately. Though the company carries out inspections, it could be understood that it is not proactive from these above-mentioned issues. The inspection of equipment and the centre on a proactive basis can eliminate these possibilities of risks. To achieve this, the company can categorise a proactive inspection team from the existing workforce mainly for meeting the concerns of busy seasons. Proper training of this unit ensures that Maidstone is free of a risk-prone environment.
Address the security concerns: Another main issue that has the potential to interfere with the positive outcomes of safe working practices is the inappropriate attendance of security concerns as revealed by the study. At the Maidstone leisure centre, illegal invasions have been reported (Britcher, 2017). Therefore, the company should take appropriate actions in increasing the efficacy of the security system. The company can rely on the technological interventions such as high-tech security devices (Broadsword, 2017).
While pointing out the limitations of the present research the main drawback was only one research strategy had been utilised. In this study, the strategy used was the case study which is a subjective approach so validation of the solution may decrease. If other strategies such as interview, survey etc were conducted it would have helped in gathering more transparent fact about the research. Another drawback of case study approach is due to limited representatives bias may occur so the possibility of error increases. Another limitation is the researcher has used only limited number of cases which decreases the quality of information gathered.
In this section, the researcher notifies some key points that will help the future researchers to do their work more efficiently. As the present research was conducted using the case study approach the quality and accuracy of the data collected was sacrificed. Also, it lacks generalizability. So for the future researchers, it is highly recommended that other approaches like interview, survey or any other can be executed while doing the study. In addition, the researcher considered a single case study as part of data collection. If the number of case studies could be multiplied, more efficient data will be obtained.
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