Nigeria’s Upstream Sector: Assessment of Regulatory Frameworks for Health and Safety

Nigeria’s Upstream Sector: Assessment of Regulatory Frameworks for Health and Safety in Nigerian Oil & Gas Upstream Sector

Abstract

This paper explores the regulatory frameworks for the health and safety of workers in Nigerian oil and gas upstream sector. The aim of the study is to assess the adequacy of enforcement of regulatory frameworks for the welfare of workers in the Nigerian upstream sector of oil and gas. Many workers in the upstream sector for oil and gas suffer from injuries resulting from activities of oil and gas exploration. Therefore, this study investigates the impacts of regulatory frameworks in ensuring the wellbeing and safety of employees in the Nigerian upstream sector of oil and gas. In assessing the regulatory framework for health and safety of workers in the upstream sector, the study uses a qualitative approach where various articles done by previous scholars were analyzed to come up with the most suitable facts on the regulatory frameworks for health and safety in the upstream sector. The study found out that many employees in the upstream sector experience severe effects from oil and gas exploration activities. A large number of employees are not satisfied by their high expectations from oil and gas company’s management of their health and safety that causes severe health and safety risks at different levels. The paper concluded by illustrating that there is an increasing awareness about the impacts of health and safety risks on employees’ personal, professional, social, and family life. Creating an ideal workplace for employees may be very costly, but it is very mandatory. The study recommends that employers should create a workplace culture that understands the need for workers’ health and safety. Additionally, the research also suggests massive investment in safety programs that empower employers and employees in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace to ensure the wellbeing of workers in Nigeria’s upstream sector for oil and gas.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1          Background

The petroleum industry in Nigeria plays a pivotal part in not economic development and the environmental and sociopolitical aspects of the nation. The primary energy generation method in the country is on petroleum products. As a result, according to Ambituuni, Amezaga, and Emeseh (2014: 45), there has been an upward trend in petroleum consumption over the years. Increased use of the by-products of petroleum has resulted in different consequences for the operations of Nigeria’s upstream petroleum sector. Notably, the upstream petroleum sector entails not only the search for but also the making of petroleum (Ekhator, 2016: 43). Some of the main events in the upstream sub-sector include the exploration of oil, evaluation, and appraisals of oil fields, development, and production of oil, and decommissioning of oil projects (Dabup, 2012: 1). The activities in the upstream sector have posted various adverse effects on the health and safety of both the employees and the environment. As such, the Nigerian government has sought to balance the economic benefits of oil production with the concerns for human and environmental risks posed (Musa et al., 2013: 101). As a result, a regulatory framework has been introduced to address issues to do with health and safety. The framework consists of laws and regulations which set out the rights and obligations as well as the procedures and standards which should be implemented by regulatory bodies tasked with the monitoring of compliance.

In the quest to address the health, and safety issues of workers and adverse effects on the environment; resulting from the upstream activities of the petroleum industry in Nigeria, various laws have been passed in the country. These laws include the Constitution, environmental legislation, petroleum industry laws, and the upstream specific environmental and safety regulations (Ambituuni, Amezaga, and Emeseh, 2014: 47). Notably, section 20 of the Nigerian Constitution gives the Nigerian State the responsibility to not only protect but also improve the environment by providing various safeguards to its land, water, forests, and wildlife. Additionally, sections 33 and 34 states that every person has the inalienable right to life and human dignity. Apart from the Constitution, environmental laws passed to safeguard health and safety include Nigeria’s NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) Act 1999, EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Act of 1999, Harmful Waste Act promulgated in 2004, especially the Special Criminal Provisions, and the NESREA (National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency) which came into force in 2007 (Dabup, 2012: 10). Specific laws for the petroleum sector in the country are the Petroleum Act 1969, the NOSDRA (National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency) Act 2006, and the EGASPIN (Environmental Guidelines and Standards in the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria) which came into operation in 2002 (Ekhator, 2016: 43). Moreover, various bodies have been set up to ensure compliance in the upstream sector with laws for the safety and security of employees and the environment. One of these is the Nigerian DPR (Department of Petroleum Resources) which monitors the operations of oil companies and ensures compliance with various regulations of the industry.

Despite these regulatory frameworks, various accidents have been witnessed in Nigeria’s petroleum sector. One of the significant health and safety risks was from the 1988 Koko incident when two Italian firms dumped more than over 2000 drums, sacks, and containers of toxic wastes in the Koko region located in Delta State (Ambituuni, Amezaga, and Emeseh, 2014: 50). Additionally, numerous casualties have been experienced in the last ten years. In specific, 308 people have died while working in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. According to Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the death toll in the petroleum industry from 2010-2015 was 217; emanating from 298 incidents reported industrywide (Adugbo, 2017). Such statistics reveal that between 2010 and 2015, fatalities in the petroleum industry in Nigeria had risen by 244%. From these deaths, the upstream sub-sector of the sector recorded the most deaths, with 181 deaths recorded from 245 incidents (Adugbo, 2017). Additionally, babies in Nigeria are reported to have died before they reach a month old because their mothers lived close to the scene of an oil spill before conception (Hodal, 2017). Various investigations have been conducted by researchers to investigate the impact of the Nigerian regulation and laws which protect the wellbeing and health of employees and the environment in the petroleum industry. However, most studies have focused on the oil and gas industry as a whole or the downstream sub-sector as opposed to the upstream sub-sector. It is against this backdrop that this research focuses on the assessment of the enforcement of regulatory frameworks for well-being and safety risks in the Nigerian oil & gas upstream sector.

1.2           Research Questions

This research seeks to answer the following research questions: –

  1. What are the impacts of the regulatory frameworks for ensuring the well-being and safety of employees and the environment in the Nigerian petroleum upstream sector?
  2. What are the areas for improvements in the enforcement of regulatory frameworks for well-being and safety risks in the Nigerian oil & gas upstream sector?

1.3.  Aims and Objectives

This study will seek to attain the following goals and objectives: –

  1. To assess the adequacy of enforcement of the regulatory frameworks for the welfare of workers and the environment in the Nigerian petroleum upstream sector.
  2. To discover areas for enhancement in the enforce of regulatory frameworks for addressing well-being and safety risks in the Nigerian petroleum upstream sector.
  • To recommend practical regulatory solutions to the well-being and safety risks in the Nigerian petroleum upstream sector.

1.4.  Research Significance

This research will be necessary for different factions. One of those is the Nigerian government that has struggled to address the various issues which arise from her upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. In specific, the study will enable the government to know the various regulatory loopholes which exist and hence go-ahead to make changes in legislation and policies which can ensure the health and safety of the workers. Additionally, the study will be vital for scholars in the oil and gas industry who will understand the importance of effective regulations for ensuring that the risks involved in the exploration of oil are mitigated. Moreover, the research will provide recommendations which will ensure that the environment is protected during the investigation and discovery of oil. The entire society will benefit from this research. In specific, with recommendations on how to ensure increased health and safety for the workers, and the reduction in the number of accidents and fatalities in the oil and gas sector, then the society will have healthier people. As such, this study will be vital to ensuring not only the betterment of the operations of the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry but also the society.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1. Introduction

This dissertation part gives the research emphasis on the provision of the brief exploration of the different issues related to the investigation and concerns of oil and gas, together with other petroleum products in Nigeria. The upstream sector in Nigeria is responsible for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas (Nwokedi et al., 2019: 5). The research focuses on the primary objective concerning gas and oil products in Nigeria on health and safety and decommissioning procedures relating to Nigeria’s upstream sector. Nigeria’s Upstream Sector is the major region that deals with the extraction of petroleum products with oil and gas being the main focus (Ovuomarie-kevin, Ononugbo & Avwiri (2018: 11). According to NOSDRA (Established by Act 15 of 2006), the oil and gas deposits in the upstream sector have other petroleum products that are of economic importance.  During the process of exploring oil and gas in the upstream sector, this study will address the health, and safety issues of workers and adverse effects on the environment; resulting from the upstream activities of the petroleum industry in Nigeria, various laws have been passed in the country. These laws include the Constitution, petroleum industry laws, and the upstream specific health and safety regulations (Ambituuni, Amezaga, and Emeseh, 2014: 47). These regulatory frameworks are governed by different bodies that ensure that any company involved in the process of oil and gas exploration abide by them otherwise their licenses are provoked by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). The literature assesses the health and safety issues of the people of Nigeria as well as the prudent frameworks that should be taken to render remedies to the health hazards that may affect the workers in Nigeria’s upstream sector. Additionally, this research also provides the assessment of the health and safety implications that are as a result of the production of oil and gas products from the Nigeria economy. Many benefits of exploring oil and gas products in Nigeria relate to the eradication of poverty levels in villages of the Nigerian economy (Raut et al., 2018: 1245). The research will, therefore, consider various views from different scholars who have taken the production of oil and gas into investigations in the country and provide a regulatory framework that assesses the health and safety in oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector.

2.2. The Most Recent Health and Safety Regulations in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector

One of the major concerns of the oil and gas explorations in Nigeria is the health and safety of the workers. Nigeria’s Upstream Sector accounts for more than 90 % of the country’s exports. Johnston, Lim, & Roh (2018: 10) affirms that the Upstream Sector holds the vast majority of the oil and gas reserves and has the largest portions of the present production. Almond and Esbester (2019: 137), argues that health and safety of workers are very crucial, and strict regulations must be enforced to ensure compliance with maintaining health and safety of employees at the workplace.

2.2.1. Management of the Health and Safety at Workplace Regulations (1999)

The major assessments of risks involved in the workplace during oil and gas exploration in the Upstream Sector are to identify a workforce that will act upon risks that may occur during the process of exploration (Almond and Esbester, 2019: 137). Oil and gas companies should ensure that they appoint a group of competent personnel whose duties are to oversee the workplace health and safety of the employees. The staff should have the capability of providing solutions on behalf of the companies to provide adequate safety measures if the need arises (Almond and Esbester, 2019: 137). Additionally, the Management of the Health and Safety at Workplace Regulations (1999), require the company to provide employees with information that relate to their occupational health and safety to avoid communication gaps between the employers and the workers. Almond and Esbester (2019: 137), argues that the management of the oil and gas flaring companies should also ensure that they operate a written health and safety policy that is well interpreted to the employees to ensure that both arrive at a consensus during risky operations. Moda et al. (2018: 212), confirms that the Management of the Health and Safety at Workplace Regulations (1999), have not been fully implemented since the oil and gas exploring companies are governed by contracts that change after terminal periods.

2.2.2. The Workplace Health, Safety, and Welfare Regulations (1992)

According to Workplace Health, Safety, and Welfare Regulations (1992), the employer is required by the law to ensure that every single employee is provided with necessary work condition that depicts secure working conditions (Bhoyrul et al., 2019: 217). For example, the employer is supposed to provide adequate lighting, ventilation, workspace, and heating prevention conditions while at the same time, maintaining the working conditions clean for the employees. According to Peixe  et al. (2018: 635), the welfare of the workers is very significant when health and safety are neglected by the employer. Where else Cygan-Rehm and Wunder (2018: 162), argues that the welfare of the employees is safeguarded by a set of labor laws that depend on the contractual agreement between the employer and the employee.

2.2.3. The Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations (1992)

Display screen equipment is the basics of workers who use machines such as computers with bright lights that can cause frequent users to harm in their sight. Screen display protectors are used to provide employees with adequate protection of the eye; they cover the worker who uses computers and other light spackling devices from continuous long hour light emissions that are known to be a significant cause of loss of sight (Bhoyrul et al., 2019: 217). The employer is supposed to make a risk assessment of the workstation for users of display screen equipment and ensure that they reduce the potential risks that are identified by the health and safety of competent personnel. Consequently, the employer is also supposed to ensure such employees take adequate breaks from the display equipment and during these breaking time an eyesight test should be contacted to come up with information that would guide in reducing more harm (Bhoyrul et al., 2019: 217). Finally, the employer is supposed to demonstrate the procedures that are designed by the safety personnel to the workers, for instance, the use of adjustable chairs that can enable the work turn away from display screens when light becomes too excess.

2.2.4. Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992)

According to Cygan-Rehm and Wunder (2018: 162), personal protection is essential during work, and both the employer and the employee must take responsibility to ensure all necessary measures are taken with great care. For example, employers are required to provide suitable protective equipment to workers for free. According to the study done by Moda et al. (2018: 212), risks to health and safety cannot be adequately controlled. Therefore it’s desirable to use protective masks, gloves and goggles, helmets, air filters, ear defenders, and foot protective gadgets. Moda et al. (2018: 212), adds that the employer should be in a position to provide necessary training to the workers on how to use such protective equipment through training and provision of ideal information. Bhoyrul et al. (2019: 217), argues that most of the companies in Nigeria’s upstream sector have complied with Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992), by providing workers with protective working equipment that safeguards their health and safety at the workplace.

2.2.5. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)

According to Peixe  et al. (2018: 635), continuous assessment of manual handling risks is very vital in oil and gas exploring, especially where physical strength of the worker is concerned. The employers are the basis of ensuring that there is a reasonable practice for the workers to undertake manual handling of activities that relate to risk of injury. For example, the employer must provide the workers with correct information regarding the depth and expected harm that might arise during the process of oil and gas exploration. Cygan-Rehm and Wunder (2018: 162), argues that various Nigerian oil and gas flaring companies in the upstream sector don’t provide workers with adequate information about their health and safety risks that may be experienced during the process. Instead, they promise them good pay in exchange for their health and safety. Providing workers with work equipment that is designed for the right purpose ensures that workers are protected from harm. Finally, the employer is liable for maintaining the equipment irrespective of how old they are to avoid them, causing harm to the workers (Peixe  et al., 2018: 635). According to a study done by Bhoyrul et al. (2019: 217), majority of the workplaces in the upstream sector fail to provide their employees with manual training, and rather they leave them to the hands of the site supervisors which is very insecure for their health and safety.

2.2.6. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (1995)

Under these specific regulations, the companies involved in oil and gas exploration are required to report a wide range of work-related accidents, diseases and injuries that affect the health and safety of employees to the local authorities (Moda et al., 2018: 212). Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (1995), require that the employers keep a record book that records all the accidents, injuries, and diseases and their respective time of incidence in details. Moda et al. (2018: 212), asserts that the nature of the accidents is the starting point of the investigators to identify the real cause of the injury. Companies should ensure that they brief the health department on any matters arising and is suspicious to be harmful to the health and safety of the workers. Occupational severe injuries that can cause the death of employees must carefully be handled by experts to ensure no repetition of such incidences. Sometimes handheld tools used during the process of oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector can result to carpal tunnel syndromes or cramps of the hands of the workers (Almond and Esbester, 2019: 137). These must be enforced by the oil and gas companies to prevent permanent harm to the workers. According to Moda et al. (2018: 212), many injuries and dangerous accidents are not reported to the local authorities rather the affected workers are taken to dispensaries and hospitals where they are left under the care of their families.

2.2.7. The Working Time Regulations (Amended 1998)

Working time in many scenarios can be defined by various aspects that relate to what the laws state and what the private sector understand. These regulations implement the European Union directives, where they recommend that the working age of the workers should be less than 18 years (Cygan-Rehm and Wunder, 2018: 162). The Working Time Regulations (Amended 1998), also cover the worker’s rights to annual leave and to have subsequent breaks from work. Additionally, there is the working time limit that each employee is supposed to spend at the workplace engaged in productive activities. For example, a typical employee who is above the age of 18 years is supposed to be actively engaged in the workplace for at most 48 hours weekly (Cygan-Rehm and Wunder, 2018: 162). While Peixe  et al. (2018: 635), states that employees who are on contractual obligation require to be actively engaged for an average of 48 hours unless they opt-out of the work voluntarily in writing. Overworking employees may have severe health problems (Peixe  et al., 2018: 635). Therefore it is mandatory that companies regulate the duration which workers are continuously involved in dangerous departments during oil and gas exploration. The Working Time Regulations (Amended 1998), are also provided by the constitutional law where employers have the right to request their workers to enter into a written agreement for specific periods or indefinitely. Peixe  et al. (2018: 635), argues that the majority of the employers in the upstream sector run their own working time schedules that suit the company. Some employees are not allowed to see to have time with their families, and they end up quitting the employment due to long working hours which is harmful to their health (Peixe  et al., 2018: 635).

2.2.8. Taxation Regulatory Framework in the Upstream Sector (2012)

In every accounting period in the country, any company that engages in the upstream petroleum operations is subject to Nigerian Hydrocarbon Tax (Raut et al., 2018: 1245. These taxes are paid to facilitate the maintenance of health and safety standards during the process of oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector. Taxation is one of the most recent regulatory frameworks that the government of Nigeria has imposed to ensure that all companies involved in petroleum operations maintain a healthy and safety that does not threaten the lives of people. Raut et al. (2018: 1245), asserts that any company that fails to abide by the taxation policies of oil and other petroleum products should not be allowed to export products outside the country. Taxation has not yielded adequate health and safety measures due to continuing bureaucracies and tax evasions.

2.2.9. Oil and Gas Exploration Licensing Regulations (Amended 2018)

According to Johnston, Lim, & Roh (2018: 10), there is an investigatory license for any company that intends to conduct geophysical exploration, and it is done through seismic survey, drilling, and appraisal of a particular region. For the safety of workers in Nigeria’s upstream sector, the investigatory framework is aimed at providing an assurance that non-explosive rights within the region have been put in place. The license does not include areas which have already had been approved for oil mining and lease (Nwokedi et al., 2019: 5). The companies owning the licenses have the responsibility of compliance under the Petroleum Act. Where else the companies with existing leases don’t want to begin new requests for new licenses since they claim that they have already complied with the exploration of petroleum products policies which is not the case according to NOSDRA, (Established by Act 15 of 2006). These regulations have substantially provided more safety and improved health for workers and residents.

2.3.0. Upstream Oil and Gas Flaring Regulations (2018)

Leases and licenses in the upstream sector for companies exploring oil and gas can only be obtained from the ministry of mining and natural resources of Nigeria (NOSDRA, Established by Act 15 of 2006). These regulatory frameworks are made to prevent companies into the exploration exercise without proper measures to providing health and safety services that could harm the workers in the prospective exploration areas. Upstream oil and gas flaring unlike the silence of petroleum Act on the discovery of gases clearly issues an appraisal program that prospects license to the claimant and therefore entitled to the retention of the appraisal for at least ten years (NOSDRA, Established by Act 15 of 2006). Oil and gas exploration in Nigeria upstream sector ranges from 7.5% of all the world oil deposits (Johnston, Lim, & Roh, 2018: 10). Nigeria economy highly depends on oil and gas production, which has contributed significantly to the damage of the health structures. Oil and Gas Flaring Regulations (2018), have not fully ensured health and safety because production has also increased the emissions of harmful substances, which has influenced cancer-causing effects to the people due to dangerous emissions that destroy human cells (Raut et al., 2018: 1245). Extraction of oil and gas in the country is not only crucial to the economy but has seen Nigeria attain high political corporations in the globe (Vasconcelos et al., 2018: 1). The people living within the Niger Delta face survival challenges since most of them are neglected, and their lives are threatened by health risk from exploration emissions (Raut et al., 2018: 1245). These emissions are a threat to people’s farms within the regions and thus possess low productivity in the farmlands.

2.3.1. The Constitutional Laws on Health and Safety Regulations (Amended 2018)

Nigerian constitution recognizes the great importance of health and safety of its people through the protection of worker’s health and safety. Safeguarding air, forest, and land in Nigeria is a necessary condition that all oil and gas extracting companies should observe without fail (Obieluem, Anozie, and Nwankwo, 2016: 66). The federal government is actively involved in the operations of the oil and petroleum extraction through equity participation and involvement of the upstream sector leadership. The constitution of Nigeria asserts that protecting human health and improving quality standards is corporate governance, and no extraction should endanger the health of Nigerian citizens. Eneh (2011: 250), is of similar opinion where he asserts that notable threats to human and ecological wellbeing is a concern of the extracting companies and is not a thing of negligence. Ladan (2012: 8), in his review paper, stated that protecting the health and safety of citizens is a context that should go beyond the upstream sector in the execution of activities relating to oil and gas extraction. According to the Constitutional Laws on Health and Safety Regulations (Amended 2018), harmful waste refers to any injury that is caused by toxic, poisonous, or nontoxic compounds that have health effects to human and animals. The was not specific to the upstream sector in defining the term waste, but Eneh (2011: 250), reaffirms the statement with emphasis on the oil and gas extracting companies within the upstream sector hence making the constitutional laws more effective in managing health and safety.

2.3.2.  Petroleum Industry Laws Relating to Health and Safety Regulations (Act 15 of 2006)

The petroleum industry in the upstream sector is governed by the laws that are applicable relating to the protection of the health and the safety within the extraction regions (NOSDRA, Established by Act 15 of 2006). The petroleum Act is the primary legislation that focuses on the exploration and production of petroleum resources in the country and contains many provisions that aim at providing the safety of Nigerians. The petroleum Act charges the concerned with the powers to adjust regulations that relate to licensing and prevention of health hazards during oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector. According to Ladan (2012: 8), the Petroleum Industry Laws Relating to Health and Safety Regulations (Act 15 of 2006), only fails to describe the “good oil practice” which the oil explorers may take advantage of threatening health and safety of workers with the intention of not being liable to the petroleum industry authorities.

2.4.  Health and Safety Theoretical Framework in the Upstream Sector

Health and safety assessment has been prioritized by many groups through collective engagement in ensuring hazard-free production of petroleum products (Raut et al., 2018: 1245). With an emphasis on the modes of extraction and the processes involved in mining, theories relating to health and safety have various concerns. Determination of health and safety frameworks follows a set of predetermined regulations and the associated project (Ovuomarie-kevin, Ononugbo & Avwiri, 2018: 11). When the health and safety effects go beyond the limits and unacceptable levels, the appropriate mitigation measures are supposed to conducted to facilitate a decrease in anticipated health effects to a human within the production regions. Providing health and safety is not only beneficial to human but also enhances the implementation of other projects that yield benefits to the general public (Raut et al., 2018: 1245). The principal purpose behind the integration of health and safety assessment framework in oil and gas extraction in Nigeria composes of the framework that aims at ensuring that oil-producing companies comply with health and safety laws. Olujobi, Oyewunmi, & Oyewunmi (2018: 220), argues that involving the communities and the workers who have the voice of policy development provides the workforce with powers that ensure that oil companies provide and maintain a healthy and safe condition for employees.

2.5. Enforcement of Health and Safety Regulations in the Upstream Sector

Managing health and safety of workers in the oil deposits is a regulation that is governed by the Nigerian’s health laws. The laws state that the top management of the oil and gas exploration companies observe the suggested health standards Eneh (2011: 250). Compliance with the laws facilitates the oil extraction in a conducive environment that promotes social-economic development of the people in the upstream sector. Obieluem, Anozie, and Nwankwo (2016: 66), states that restrictions are applicable to maintain conducive risk-free conditions and reduce the effects on safety, health, and the quality of the situation. On the contrary, the health and safety assessment tools that the regulatory bodies use are systematically proposed to complete adherence to maintaining health and safety. The National Emergency Management Agency NEMA (Establishment) Act 1999 gives companies are dealing with oil and petroleum product extraction the mandatory of fulfilling all the health and safety requirements before any extraction process can take effect.

2.5.1. Political Theory in Enforcement of Health and Safety Regulations

The role of politics in the economic growth of a country is significant (Udie, Bhattacharyya, & Ozawa-Meida, 2018:11). The power dynamics have been proved to be evident in situations where establishments of production plants are aimed at bringing economic growth and development in the upstream sector. Power is born by politics and is subject to misappropriation where politicians want to use it for personal gains. Political theories and the subsequent influences of legislative powers are very considerable when companies are set to begin productions in certain regions. Olujobi, Oyewunmi, & Oyewunmi (2018: 220) have similar views where they assert that the Nigerian politicians use their strengths and authority to influence the oil industries to set up their productions plants in the specific areas despite the adverse effects that they may cause to the communities living in those regions. These people are therefore neglected, and their freedom violated since the majority of them are forced to migrate to unproductive areas where they experience unbearable living standards (Idubor and Oisamoje, 2013: 12)The nature of corruption that exists in Nigeria relating to politicians benefiting from community resources are controlled by the big political wins (Olujobi, Oyewunmi, & Oyewunmi, 2018: 220).

2.6. Contemporary Gap in the Research

Many studies have shown that the health and safety effects of workers come from the exploration and extraction of oil and gas (Karimi, 2018: 125). It’s quite revealing that the extraction of oil and gas have caused detrimental health-related problems and has severely led to unhealthy living conditions of employees who reside along with the oil and petroleum-rich zones (Umeokafor et al., 2014: 302). Many of the issues that have been addressed relate to the economic, health and safety which have contributed to decomposition processes, oil, and gas extraction and more importantly the effects of health hazards brought by oil exploration. According to many scholars, the upstream sector is concerned with exploring the oil deposits in various parts and therefore the need to conduct a study on the health and safety assessment regulatory frameworks that are necessary for ensuring that no human is hurt during the process of oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector. Ladan (2012: 8) asserts that the petroleum industry laws have not given out the proper boundaries of what is termed as the dependable regulatory framework for managing health and safety in oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector.

In conclusion, there is a clear regulatory framework in assessing the health and safety of workers within the upstream sector. Oil and gas productions have been the pillar of the economy of the Nigerian people, and it has many benefits that have led to more developments in the country. Petroleum products are among the world’s most beneficial goods that enable many countries to build a good relationship with the international community because the products are rare and very important in the generation of power. Contamination of air, water, and soil has various defects on the human health that majorly affects the reproductive health and the development health of workers. The establishment of the Nigerian Bitumen Corporation has fostered the workers in Nigeria to avoid contaminated areas, but their efforts may not be practical since these people earn their daily bread from working in a poisoned workplace where oil and petroleum products are produced.  The literature review has constituted several scholarly findings that have facilitated the development of the analysis of the well-being assessment of the oil and gas exploration in Nigeria’s upstream sector. Health and safety of human beings and marine animals are very crucial in developing a production strategy since many people depend on the aquatic animals like fish for survival as either a source of food or a source of income. Exploration of oil and petroleum products in Nigeria poses many health and safety issues to the workers, and therefore, the companies involved should consider taking caution to facilitate non-hazardous processes. Despite the eradication of poverty among people within the country, the Nigerian authorities should implement measures that provide an alternative treatment for affected employees. The emissions resulting from oil production causes cancer and other human diseases that need to be subsidized by the government of Nigeria to the families that are affected. Additionally, within the current examined regulatory framework, it is evident that all are preventive and covers other risks related to health and safety of workers. Therefore, they are liable for maintaining the health and safety of their workers during oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector.

 

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

3.1. Introduction

Research is a scientific inquiry that aims at describing the major approaches to research designs (Bagozzi, & Lee, 2019: 299). It entails to a practical approach and the theoretical approach.  Hollway (2018: 137), asserts that modern researchers have opted to combine the schools of thought in conducting their research. In this section of the dissertations, there will be a systematic analysis of methods used in conducting this research. Particularly, this section comprises of research approach, research design, the research techniques used, data collection, and methods of analysis. In carrying out these specific data analysis, the chapter also covers the reliability and the validity of the data used as well as considering the ethical factors of the data. During this study, there will be the justification of the methods used, the tools applied, and the techniques that are employed in conducting the research. The main objective of this section is to provide an appropriate research strategy that is in line with the research questions provided in the previous sections. Research strategies should fully comply with the nature of the study problem (Hollway, 2018: 137). The strategy applied in this research assumes the nature of the research questions mentioned in the previous sections and its focus triangulates with the primary method that used quantitative research and the use of secondary research on qualitative research.

3.2. Definition of Research

Research is a critical investigation of the concerned problem into precise results that leads to innovation improvement of contemporary knowledge (McNichols, & Stubben, 2018: 227). This research incorporated orderly thoughts, techniques, and actions that aid to obtain scientific knowledge and therefore assisted by inquiry of skills, experimental designs, unbiased collection of data, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of the final information to make discoveries or findings that can be presented to the beneficiaries of the research. The research process is a logical method used to collate, evaluate, and interpreted collected data facts to aid in understanding a specific phenomenon (Hollway, 2018: 137). Research begins with the identification of the problem, followed by verbalization of the goal of the research, detailed mapping of the research actions, dividing the major problem into small manageable sub-problems. After sub-problems, some assumptions are made to facilitate the analysis of the collected data. These assumptions were made because other factors may interfere with the research process and thus making it ineffective. The research process is cyclical and sometimes helical (McNichols, & Stubben, 2018: 227). Scientific knowledge in this research was acquired using systematic knowledge and not be selective or accidental observation. These ensured that there was logical inclusion of any alternatives that could positively aid in explaining the research findings and more importantly, the approach employed led to the acquisition of scientific knowledge, which was replicable. All these definitions of research involved questing to understand what is not known hence the research helped in questioning what is already known and aimed at new aspects to the health and safety regulatory framework to be transformed to reality.

3.3. The Philosophical Foundations of this Research

Philosophy is the source of scientific research, and it can be viewed by physical realm, theories, empirical data, and models that are related to one another (Bagozzi, & Lee, 2019: 299). Philosophical opinions influenced the research practices and therefore required to be identified.  However, the methodology used in this research was motivated by the epistemological perspective relative to the reality within the social world where health and safety of communities are concerned. Consequently, research designs depend on the philosophical perspective and assumptions, such as the decision to employ a quantitative design or an interpretive design. Bagozzi, & Lee (2019: 299), argues that the support for the philosophical foundation is purely logical and conceptual and not physical and thus the justification for the structure of the research. Knowing philosophical issues gives the research basis of methodological arguments about the research.

3.4. Ontology Perspective

Ontology is the study of anything and everything (Hollway, 2018: 137). It describes the society’s views on whether claims and the assumptions of nature are real or not real. Ontology creates an awareness of an objective reality that exists or only is subject to reality and cannot be changed unless otherwise proved through research. Philosophical perspective to methodology needs to be considered because it would be impossible to understand the relevance of the research process without it. Therefore health and safety are part of nature and reality, and any regulatory framework that is constructed to ensure adherence is supposed to be in line with reality or nature.

3.5.  Research Approach

This research has employed a combination of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyze data. Secondary data was highly utilized in conducting this research, and therefore, quantification of qualitative data was given high priority during this research. Bagozzi, & Lee (2019: 299), affirms that research methods have their challenges and therefore, complementary approaches are used to enable comprehensive research on the exploration of oil and gas in Nigeria’s upstream sector. Pragmatic applied was also beneficial in this chapter since comprehensive health, and regulatory safety assessment in exploring oil and gas is key to maintaining a safe environment. The reasons as to why many approaches were applied are because important information would be missed out if a single method is applied. The quantitative and qualitative approaches would hence give substantial reliable data that will aid I conducting this study.

3.6. Research Design

Choosing a study design is one of the most important aspects in research, and it involves the selection of the best design that suits the kind of research in question (McNichols, & Stubben, 2018: 227). This study about the health and safety regulatory assessment in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector chooses to use the systematic review of the past studies that were done by various scholars which include various papers and case studies to arrive at the most appropriate inference on the study questions that are expected to be answered. Using the secondary data from previous scholars and case studies enables the researcher to critically compare different views and make valid conclusions about the health and safety regulatory assessment in the exploration of oil and gas in Nigeria’s upstream sector.

3.7. Data Collection


Data collection is the art of gathering the required information that aids in solving research problems or questions that need to be assigned a logical solution. It is very crucial that researchers decide the most appropriate data collection method that best fits the research design.  Bagozzi, & Lee (2019: 299), argues that the choice of the method used to collect data is highly influenced by various factors that include the cost where applicable, the flexibility of the methods, the coverage area in terms of population and the accuracy of the data. In the pragmatic approach of this research, a qualitative approach was used, and it incorporated the use of documents and articles from case studies. Through the exploration of the studies done by previous studies was done to gather enough data that yields reliable results at the end of the study.  According to Dannels (2018: 414), the use of alternative information available on workers’ health and safety bodies from the country was also used to determine how the workers of Nigeria’s Upstream Sector are affected by the Oil and Gas extraction. Additionally, analyzing how the studies that involved questions were responded to employees has given this research a great sense of the reliability of the data. The advantages that are associated with secondary data is that comparison can be made to evaluate different findings from different scholars (Dannels, 2018: 414). While on the other hand the secondary data used could be biased in favor of some groups of individuals of which this was eliminated by taking to account the approved cases studies by the department of petroleum extortion in Nigeria. Documents and records are the major sources of secondary data in this research that assessed the health and safety regulatory frameworks during oil and gas extraction in Nigeria’s upstream sector (Bagozzi, & Lee, 2019: 299). Journals and other books written by scholars during their past study have contributed largely to workers health, and safety assessment regulatory framework in Nigeria with main emphasizes on the Upstream Sector.

3.7.1. Data Analysis Techniques

This section of the study where data analysis is concerned, the researcher will familiarize with the scholars work by reading and re-reading authors articles as well as publications to determine which set of data makes sensible use. Data will be categorized according to specific research questions to create a framework that consists of ideas, concepts, iterations, and behaviors that repeatedly explains a concept that is in line with the study. Different patterns of regulatory frameworks will be compared from different scholars to find out whether they resulted in positive impacts by improving workers wellbeing in the upstream sector. Interpretation of findings by different authors will be considered for assessing the impacts of regulatory frameworks within Nigeria’s Upstream Sector where health and safety of workers are concerned at the workplace.  Context analysis, narrative analysis, and framework analysis will be prioritized in this study. Reformulation of presented respondents will be accounted for by advancing the available possibilities of what would have resulted in improved workers wellbeing at the workplace through marinating a safe working condition. Publications and articles that explored similar fields of study will be analyzed in details to explore the most reliable source of information that will aid in making adequate conclusions in this research.

3.8. General Approach

The methodology applied in this study was mentioned in the previous sections. Secondary data applicable for the research project was extracted from various local and international sources that included articles written by various researchers, research publications, books, and reports. The most dominant source is the local and international research publications by various researchers in Nigeria and international scholars. Any other data source that was found useful in conducting this study was carefully included with strict considerations such as who published the article and for what reason. An extensive study was done to ensure that all-important quotes from the publications are taken care of without bias. Scholarly articles are good sources of information for secondary data (Champney et al., 2029: 1).

3.9. Research Strategy

Formulating search strategy, in this case, involved defining of the study topic and identifying clearly what the study aims to answer. There was an aspect of breaking down the topic into its constituent smaller concepts with affirming of describing each concept. The study utilized the secondary sources of data as well as any other source that could assist in making inferences. As it was stated in the previous section, the study explored the regulatory frameworks that the government and the companies involved in the exploration of oil and gas used to ensure the health and safety of the people of Nigeria. Additionally, the existing literature on health and safety assessment regulatory frameworks were obtained from the government databases to compile this research. Bagozzi, & Lee (2019: 299), affirms that tentative explanations assist the researcher in making sense out of diverse findings of scholars articles. Hence the theory has been used to explain many events that reflect the main objective of the research. Lastly, collecting data assists in deciding which theory best fits reality. However, there is a limitation of the comparison of casual ideas with real observations, and hence, a research instrument that sought to eliminate the barriers were included during the research process.

3.10. Models and Modelling in this Research

This study proposed to assess a regulatory framework that should be adopted to manage the health and safety of the people during the process of extracting oil and gas in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector. Mba et al. (2019: 283), asserts that models are cognitive tools that enhance scientific inquiry and therefore, should be either physical, measurable, or conceptual. A model which reflect a regulatory framework should have a clear image of the fragment that reflects the reality as understood by those who want to use it. By using the secondary data that was obtained from other sources like publications and books written by researchers turns the model to the theory that explains observed situations.

3.11. Ethical Considerations of this Research

Ethics in research cases are the undertakings that are done without exposing or harming the communities within which the research was done (Mba et al., 2019: 283). In research, ethical standards assist in keeping confidentiality of information. Sharing of private information with un-authorized researchers is a criminal offence, and maintaining confidentiality helps to develop for future research (Champney et al., 2029: 1). During this study, many ethical standards were observed and put into consideration to make the research to be valid and reliable for future researchers.

3.12. Conclusions

The methodology used to conduct this study has been discussed in depth in the chapter and also in the previous sections. The justification for the choices made in using the research approach, the research design, and the methods has been clarified throughout the chapter. The data collection process and the advantages of various methods have also been highlighted. The research paradigm strategies and matters related to data reliability and validity have been discussed in this chapter. Additionally, the section has provided the ethical considerations of the research with privacy and information being addressed. Health and safety are one of the critical measures that should be regulated by the oil and gas extraction companies and the government of Nigeria; the chapter has also explained how the information relating to health and safety regulation framework data was obtained from scholars who did related studies in the past. Finally, the chapter has given the discussions about the philosophical basis of the research and the next section of this research will address the analysis of the data that was used to carry out the research.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

4.1. Introduction

The work condition of the Oil & Gas industry is considered very difficult and highly risky in terms of health, safety, and occupational hazards. The professionals employed in upstream (exploration and production) industry work under stressful work conditions, for example, adverse weather, risk of fire, gas leakage, oil spill, unexpected technical failures to name a few. Physical work conditions are identified as significant work risks for the upstream sector professionals. Another significant risk is physical and social isolation; as most of the workers and professionals are located in remote locations (mostly on seashores and offshores). They are far away from their family, no social contacts with their friends and family, and work for continuous long hours in very crowded work stations (oil rigs). The combined impact of crowding and social isolation leads to workplace aggression and bullying behavior in some cases. There are complaints of psychosomatic health problems, sleep disorders, seasickness, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, and obesity naming a few, among oil workers. In their seminal study on offshore professionals working in Nigeria’s upstream sector; Sutherland and Cooper (2019: 164) identified the following health and safety factors that affect work-life of the oil industry in Nigeria’s upstream sector workers. These factors are- career prospects and rewards; safety and insecurity at work; home/work interface; under stimulation-low demand; physical work conditions; the unpredictability of work patterns; living conditions; organization structure and climate; work overload; inadequate transportation and physical well-being.

Sutherland and Cooper (2019: 164) identified the following adverse impacts of health and safety risks on upstream employees including- physical and/or psychological ill-health, premature death, forced early retirement, absenteeism, high labor- turnover, reduced productivity, job dissatisfaction, increased rate of accidents, drug/alcohol abuse, unsatisfactory employee relations; naming a few. Sutherland and Sutherland and Cooper (2019: 164) strongly advocated that oil industry should acknowledge high costs of mismanaged health and safety and adopt a preventive approach to minimize the impact of workplace risks on its employees through targeted regulatory framework interventions. These should focus on raising awareness about work health and safety, analysis of sources and effects of work risks on individuals and activities aimed to achieve personal well-being for employees and healthy working condition for the companies in the upstream sector. A research report by Wright and Griep (2019: 77) revealed that use of employee assistance programs (EAPs) had been found quite higher among oil & gas industry workers (12-13%) than the national average (9%) for all industries in Nigeria. This report also emphasized on lack of Medicare, lack of health insurance, neglect, and addictions as the most dominant issues in work-life of oil & gas industry workers in Nigeria’s upstream sector. There are some research studies conducted by few scholars on upstream workers (Pandey and Pestonjee 2017: 1); untrained workers (Kanse et al. 2018: 19); spouses of oil professionals (Naqvi et al., 2019: 290) in Nigeria. Other research studies on oil & gas employees working in the upstream sector state that workers experience health and safety risks in silence.

Dang et al. (2019: 61) studied the relationship between work overload, job stress and work situation awareness on a sample of 180 employees of a national petrochemical company of UK based in Nigeria’s upstream sector. They argued that both work overload and job stress reduce work situation awareness very significantly and these predictions can be statistically supported with 35% variance in case of job stress and 11% in case of work overload. Pestonjee and Pandey (2013: 1) studied occupational injuries, diseases, organizational, regulatory frameworks, and job satisfaction on a sample of 78 managers and 80 engineers of Nigerian Oil Corporation. They found that high risks lead to low job satisfaction in case of both managers and engineers, which in turn affects their health and wellbeing. Although the plethora of this research works on the assessment of regulatory frameworks in ensuring health and safety of workers and their welfare in Nigeria’s upstream sector, but workers wellbeing research literature is very scant on oil and gas industry (Wright and Griep, 2019: 77; Pestonjee and Pandey, 2013: 1).

4.2. The Nigerian Scenario and Issue of Occupational Health and Safety in the Upstream Sector

Many companies are interested in maintaining the health and safety of workers at workplaces and within the proximities, where the companies are established (Okonmah, 1997: 43). A comprehensive framework is desirable in regulating the already existing policies, especially in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector of Oil and Gas. Okonmah (1997: 43), asserts that maintaining a regulatory framework that assures the well-being and safety of employees in Oil and Gas exploration has various impacts. According to Akinwale (2016: 49), workers wellbeing is a susceptible factor in Oil and Gas exploration. The outlook of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector has taken various steps in reacting against the current changes that have been passed to prevent the exploitation of employees. The consolidation of Nigeria’s Upstream progress in the ranking of the world’s largest Oil and Gas flouring countries, the federal government of the Republic of Nigeria has sought to redirect the Oil and Gas flouring policies that have been enacted by-laws and policy directives to protect workers in Oil and Gas companies (Oguine, 2011: 405).

4.3. Findings of the Study

The table-1 presents a complete picture on content analysis of data classified into three major themes.  1) sources of worker’s health and safety risks; 2) impact of worker’s health and safety risks on individuals’ personal, professional, family and social life; and 3) employees’ expectations on their organization’s role in health and safety management interventions to manage worker’s health and safety risks at individual, team and organizational levels. Tables 2, 3 and 4 present group-wise data for three different sub-groups- High, medium and low worker’s health and safety risks on account of sources of worker’s health and safety risks, the impact of worker’s health and safety risks and employees’ expectations regarding organizational health and safety risks management interventions.

Table-1: A complete picture of perceived sources of health and safety risks, their impact on employees’ life and their expectations from their organization’s role in health and safety management interventions. A sample of 51 workers was selected from information contained in Nigerian Oil Corporation publications.

Sources of Health and Safety Risks for Workers

 

Impact of Health and Safety Risks on Workers

 

Employees’ Expectations on Regulatory Framework Interventions

 

Project-related operational issues (21; 41%)

Allocation of work (19; 37%)

Deadlines (18; 35%)

Lack of resources (16; 31%)

Too many responsibilities (13; 25%)

Expectations/demands of bosses/management (13, 25%)

Lack of support from bosses/management (12; 24%)

Lack of support from colleagues, subordinates (11, 22%)

Interdepartmental politics (11, 22%)

Professional Life

Not much impact on professional life (12, 24%)

Reduced efficiency, performance quality (10; 20%)

Loose temper, behavioral reactions (10)

Personal Life

Not much impact (14, 27%)

Don’t get time for self (10, 20%)

Family Life

Less attention to spouse, children, family (21, 41%)

Increased work-family interference (13, 25%)

Not much impact on family life (13)

Stress, anger directed to family (10, 20%)

Social Life

No time for social relations (23, 45%)

Feeling loneliness (18, 35%)

Not much impact on social life (12, 24%)

Individual Level

Health and safety management training (20, 39%)

Involve people within organizations (19, 37%)

Sports, recreational facilities for staff (19, 37%)

Management support to employees (19)

Better work environment (stress-free, positive work culture) (18, 35%)

Focus on employee well-being (15, 29%)

Proper distribution & planning of work (15, 29%)

Open communication between management & employees (12, 24%)

Team-building (12, 24%)

Proper HR policy (11, 22%)

Team Level

Team’s role important in reducing health and safety risks (40, 78%)

Team interactions reduce individual health risks (11, 22%)

Organizational Level

Health and safety management training (8, 16%)

Source: This data was extracted from a sample where 51 workers in the upstream sector were assessed in previous studies done by the Nigerian Oil Corporation in the upstream sector in the year 2007.

Table-2: Major Sources of Worker’s Health and Safety Risks

High-Risk Group (N= 25) Medium Risk Group (N= 12) Low-Risk Group (N=14)
Allocation of work (12; 48%)

Deadlines (10; 40%)

Lack of resources (9; 36%)

Project-related operational issues (9)

Too many responsibilities (8; 32%)

Less manpower (7; 28%)

Lack of capable manpower (7)

Lack of support from boss/management (6; 24%)

Lack of support from colleagues/subordinates (6)

Demands from clients, suppliers, vendors (6)

Unrealistic scheduling of projects (6)

Deadlines (8; 67%)

Project-related operational issues (8)

Expectations/demands of boss (6; 50%)

Lack of support from boss/management (4; 33%)

Too much responsibilities (4)

Work-related travelling (4)

High risk projects (4)

Lack of resources (4; 29%)

Project-related operational issues (4)

Allocation of work (4)

Lack of support from colleagues/team members/subordinates/juniors (4)

Reasons for perceived  worker’s health and safety risks as high, medium or low

 

Project-management issues (12; 48%)

Tight deadlines (9; 36%)

High responsibility (9)

Multiple tasks/jobs (8; 32%)

Workload (8)

Long work hours (7; 28%)

Performance efficiency/quality (7)

Workplace environment & safety issues (6; 24%)

Stress is occasional (6; 50%)

Workplace culture (4; 33%)

Support from boss/colleagues (3; 25%)

Well-organized work processes (3)

Workplace culture (6; 43%)

Don’t bother about stress

(5; 36%)

Support from the boss/colleagues (5)

Learning opportunities on the job (4; 29%)

Well-organized work processes (4)

Source: This data was extracted from a sample where 51 workers in the upstream sector were assessed in previous studies done by the Nigerian Oil Corporation in the upstream sector in the year 2007.

Table-3: Impacts of work worker’s health and safety risks on Individuals’ professional, personal, family, and social life.

High Risk Group (N= 25) Medium Risk Group (N= 12) Low Risk Group (N=14)
Professional Life

Loose temper, emotional disturbance, behavioral reactions (6; 24%)

Reduced efficiency, performance quality declines, more mistakes (5; 20%)

Loose anger, emotional distress, behavioral responses (3; 25%) Not much impact (6; 43%)

Reduced efficiency, performance quality declines, more mistakes (3; 21%)

Personal Life

Not much impact on personal life (8; 32%)

Don’t get time for self

(6; 24%)

Disturbed mental health (6; 24%)

Don’t get time for self

(3; 25%)

Not much impact (4; 29%)
Family Life

Less attention to spouse, children, family (11; 44%)

Increased work-family interference (11; 44%)

Stress/anger directed to family (6; 24%)

Not much impact on family life (5; 20%)

Less attention to spouse, children, family (6; 50%) Not much impact on family life (7; 50%)

Less attention to spouse, children, family (4; 29%)

Social Life

No time for social relations (12; 48%)

Feeling loneliness (8; 32%)

Not much impact on social life (6; 24%)

No time for social relations

(6; 50%)

Feeling loneliness (6; 50%)

Not much impact on social life (4; 33%)

No time for social relations

(5; 36%)

Feeling loneliness (4; 29%)

Source: This data was extracted from a sample where 51 workers in the upstream sector were assessed in previous studies done by the Nigerian Oil Corporation in the upstream sector in the year 2007.

The data suggest that ‘project-related operational issues’ are the most critical source of health and safety risks at the workplace. These issues include logistics, transportation, site problems, technical failures, IT support, work processes, and documentation. Other significant sources of health and safety risks at work were identified as – allocation of work, deadlines, too many responsibilities, expectations/demands of management, lack of support from management/colleagues/subordinates and interdepartmental politics. Further analysis of content analysis data presented in table-2 suggests that in the high risk group ‘allocation of work’ emerged as the topmost factor of worker’s health and safety risks (12 respondents, 48%); whereas ‘deadlines’ preferred by medium-risk group (8 respondents, 67%) and ‘lack of resources’ (4 respondents, 29%) for low risk group. The content analysis data in table-2 also suggests that high risks group respondents have identified more sources of worker’s health and safety risks than medium and low risks group.

The table-2 also presents data about reasons for the perceived level of worker’s health and safety risks as high, medium, or low as anticipated by the respondents in that specific group. This data clearly shows that high-risk group respondents have recognized project management issues, deadlines, high responsibility, multitasking, workload, long work hours, performance quality and workplace environment as reasons for their perceived high health and safety hazards. In the case of the medium-risk group, 50% of respondents accepted that their perceived health risk is occasional (not prolonged or consistent). They identified workplace culture, support from bosses and colleagues, and well-organized work processes as reasons for perceived medium worker’s health and safety risks. Same reasons were also cited by respondents of the low-risk group; however, 36% of respondents were not aware of health and safety risks. This data suggest that workplace culture, support from bosses/colleagues well-organized work processes, and learning opportunities on the job are essential factors in keeping worker’s health and safety risks under optimum levels. Overall, project-related operational issues, allocation of work, deadlines, lack of resources, too many responsibilities, lack of support from bosses/management and lack of support from colleagues/subordinates were identified as significant sources of worker’s health and safety risks by high risk group and the total sample assessed by the Nigerian Oil Corporation.

Table-4: Employees’ expectations on the organizational role in health and safety risks management interventions

High Risks Group (N= 25) Medium Risks Group (N= 12) Low Risks Group (N=14)
Individual Level

Health and safety management training (13; 52%)

Management support to employees* (12; 48%)

Employee-friendly policy* (10; 40%)

Focus on employee well-being (10; 40%)

Stress-free work environment* (9; 36%)

Sports/recreational facilities for staff (9)

Open communication between management & employees* (9)

Team-building* (8)

Proper distribution of work* (7; 28%)

Well-organized workplace*(7)

Sports/recreational facilities for staff (7; 58%)

Health and safety management training (4; 33%)

risk-free work environment* (4)

Team-building* (4)

Management support to employees* (4)

Supportive HR Policy* (4)

Employee-friendly policy* (4)

Proper distribution of work* (4)

Healthcare facilities, regular health checkups (3; 25%)

Focus on employee well-being (3)

Employee-friendly policy* (5, 36%)

Stress-free work environment* (5)

Proper distribution of work* (4; 29%)

Proper manpower for work* (4)

Respect for individuals* (4)

More salary, employee welfare* (4)

Training skills for improvement* (4)

Team Level

Team’s role is essential in reducing worker’s health and safety risks (22; 88%)

Team members helping others/being good team players* (5; 20%)

Team training/team-building activities help in developing team culture* (5; 20%)

Team’s role is vital in reducing health and safety risks (11;79%) Team’s role is essential in reducing health risks (7; 50%)

Regular meetings of groups improve quality, information sharing* (3; 21%)

Outside parties/trips help (3)

Organizational Level

worker’s health and safety risks management training (4; 16%)

worker’s health and safety risks management training (3; 25%)

Open communication between management and employees* (3)

Open communication between management and employees* (2; 14%)

Better salary, perks*, performance-linked rewards* (2)

 

4.4. Discussions

The findings of this study as revealed in the content analysis of data in tables 1 to 4 reflect on various factors related to health and safety as perceived by oil & gas industry employees working in companies functioning in Nigeria’s upstream sector. The findings suggest that significant causes of health and safety as understood by respondents of various studies done by different scholars are deadlines of assigned projects; scheduling of various activities in the project; project work allocation to team members. Too many responsibilities on shoulders of project engineers and managers; transport and logistics, expectations of bosses, top management, colleagues, subordinates and lack of expected support; and interdepartmental politics. These were highly controlled by the health and safety regulatory frameworks adopted in the upstream sector in Nigeria. Regarding the impact of health and safety regulatory frameworks, it was identified that work-family interference and poor social relations as significant concerns for employees deteriorating health conditions. This suggests that workers are managing their professional life somehow satisfactorily, but they couldn’t be able to spend enough time with their family members, pay enough attention to family matters and get very less time for maintaining social relations which leads to them towards loneliness.

Regarding employees’ expectations about their organization’s role in health and safety management interventions, majority of workers agreed that organizations could play a major role in managing health and safety of employees at an individual, team and organizational levels by adopting various organizational, regulatory frameworks. Some of these regulatory frameworks are well-organized workplace, proper allocation of work among team members, sports/recreational facilities at workplace, health and safety management training, open communication between management & employees, employee involvement in management decisions, employee-friendly policy, family work culture, management’s support to employees, team-building activities, mentoring and coaching of employees and supportive/positive work environment. Although the patterns of these suggestions varied across high risk, medium risk and low-risk groups but overall trends support high expectations of employees’ from their employer organizations on account of implementing primary and secondary health and safety regulatory framework management interventions targeted at an individual, team and organizational levels. Pestonjee and Pandey (2013: 1), suggested health and safety management interventions focused on organizational structure and climate, management communication, work-family interference, and individuals’ personal development through counseling, relaxation training, and cognitive appraisal training could be very useful for upstream employees of the oil industry.

Sutherland and Cooper (2019: 164), argued that primary level interventions focus on job redesign, structural changes in the organization, communication and organizational processes and policies; whereas secondary and tertiary level interventions are oriented towards the individual health and safety. As secondary level interventions, health and safety management programs target at the personal resources of individuals for better control of health and safety risks. Tertiary level interventions (i.e., counseling, employee assistance programs) are concerned with the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals affected by acute and chronic health problems because of poor working conditions. Dang et al. (2019: 61) suggested that primary prevention interventions focused on ‘sociotechnical’ approach address issues related to workload, work schedules, and work processes by using methods like participatory action research, job redesign, changes in managerial and supervisory behavior and improved organizational communication. Whereas tertiary interventions are concerned with support services, e.g., medical care, psychological counseling, and posttraumatic health interventions caused due to accidents and injuries or any other lousy incidence related to work and work environment.

A research report by Pandey and Pestonjee (2017: 1), advocated health and safety management interventions focused on leave allowance, Medicaid and health insurance in Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for oil and gas industry professionals but employees preferred healthcare facilities and regular health checkups as a mean to achieve employee well-being at their workplaces. The finding of this study suggests that management of oil/gas companies focus more on primary interventions through the implementation of health and safety regulatory frameworks. The oil and gas companies should also conduct health and safety management training workshops for their employees, provide healthcare facilities, and focus on employee well-being as secondary intervention strategies for effective workplace health and safety management.

4.5. Implications of this Research

The findings of this study provide strong theoretical support to the implementation of health and safety regulatory framework that is responsible for marinating worker’s health and safety at the workplace. These findings suggest that employees working in Nigerian oil and gas industry are well aware of the severe impact of work risks on their professional, personal, family and social life; and perceive health and safety management training workshops very helpful in managing their health and safety. Oil and gas company management should make their policies more employee-friendly, provide a positive work environment, focus on the proper allocation of work, provide necessary management support, and open communication between management and employees. Pavičić Žeželj et al. (2019: 22) have strongly advocated targeted health and safety management programs to address industry/occupation-specific regulatory frameworks. These findings may provide enough insights to managers for designing targeted health and safety management intervention programs for specific employee groups working in the oil and gas industry as per employee’s special needs.

4.6. Adequacy of Enforcement of Regulatory Frameworks in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector

Nigeria’s Upstream Sector has not sufficiently enforced regulatory frameworks governing the workers’ health and safety. Therefore, there is still much that requires to be done to fully comply with the health and safety regulatory frameworks in the upstream sector. Sufficient measures of enforcing health and safety regulatory frameworks have been devised to improve the worker’s wellbeing at the workplace. Educating employees about their safety during the exploration of the Oil and Gas process is very crucial. Newly recruited employees may lack the required skills relating to their safety while exploring Oil and Gas. Akinwale (2016: 49), affirms that the management of the companies exploring Oil and Gas in the Upstream Sector of Nigeria have incorporated with the federal government of Nigeria to improve the petroleum sector education in the quest to ensuring health and safety of employees. Training of workers on health and safety has failed to identify areas of concern. Oil and Gas companies have tried to increase the frequency at which both existing and newly recruited staff are trained. According to  Akinwale (2016: 49), this has not produced the expected rate of adherence to health and safety conditions in the Oil and Gas sector. Continuous violation of the workers’ rights has gone beyond control for employees in the Upstream Sector. The International Amnesty Researchers have had visits to the Oil and Gas exploring companies where they come up with a report on the exploitation of workers on different occasions. In the year 2008, International Amnesty Researchers (IAR) widened their research in the Upstream Sector of Nigeria, where they ascertained that workers are mistreatment by employers in Oil and Gas companies. If the workers within the Oil and Gas exploration regions are given incentives and subsidies to maintain their health and safety, there would be minimal cases of human rights violation in the Upstream Sector (Ebeku, 2007: 312). Curbing corruption has ensured that human rights defenders are free to enforce measures that improve the well-being of workers within the Oil and Gas exploration zones. According to Akpan (2008: 497), many workers depend on fishing for survival and sometimes turn out to farming activities if they are not contented with the pay at the workplace. The government has strived to impose regulatory policies that protect the water bodies to improve the well-being of the fisheries.

According to Akpan (2008: 497), Oil and Gas exploring companies have consistently polluted water in the upstream sector, for this reason, many workers fail to access clean water for drinking and other household use. In some scenarios, the inadequate disposal of oil products in rivers devastates the once fertile land making the well-being of people within the Upstream Sector very difficult. According to Oguine (2011: 405), improving the quality of life is very helpful in creating a conducive workplace for workers. Moreover, the federal government of Nigeria has considered adjusting the magnitude at which the commercialized Oil and Gas companies are violating workers’ rights. All these have been improved through the installation of frameworks that regulates the disposal of harmful chemicals (Oguine, 2011: 405). Finally, improving the quality of life for employees has been met through the formation of labor unions that have heavily invested in the struggle to see their members working at hazard-free conditions. Working Time Regulations (Amended 1998) has primarily influenced worker’s wellbeing in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector of Oil and Gas. These measures have yielded positive results about protecting the worker’s welfare from exploitation by their employers. However, in the same respect, they have also employed the Working Time Regulations (Amended 1998) that has improved workers wellbeing in the Oil and Gas sector of Nigeria. The government of Nigeria has stipulated regulations that express prohibition of gas and other petroleum products by the producers and permit holders in the Upstream Sector to punish workers for their mistakes (De Vita, Lagoke and Adesola, 2016: 51).

4.7. Limitations of this Study

No research is free from constraints (Pandey and Pestonjee, 2017: 1). This study faced several barriers and hurdles with collecting appropriate data for the analysis. To get the proper articles exploring workers issues relating to the oil & gas industry in Nigeria in the upstream sector was quite challenging. The qualitative data for this study was extracted from those scholars responses as they obtained them from respondents. There could be chances of human errors in recording during their interviews that could either be biased.

4.8. Conclusion

Health and safety have always been a paramount concern for both employers and employees in any industry. Increasing awareness about the severe impact of high health and safety risks on employees’ personal, professional, social and family life has also alerted employers to think seriously on improving their work systems and work culture for keeping health and safety of employees within manageable limits. The findings of this study may provide many insights to oil and gas managers in the upstream sector in designing workplace health and safety management interventions for creating a positive, proactive work culture which induces positive health and safety for better performance and achieving excellence. Although the study is based on scholarly reviews of oil/gas industry workers, these findings may also be considered in designing health and safety management interventions for other occupational groups or industries. The regulatory system of Nigeria’s Upstream Sector is subject to lack of independence, and many companies have been primarily involved in the regulatory system. The department of petroleum and resources has conflicting interests that are coupled with ineffectiveness. Many Workers’ Unions have tried to intervene with the Nigerian government, but oversight of the Oil and Gas industry has continuously weakened. Multiple failures are witnessed to effectively regulate and control the oil industry in the Upstream Sector in Nigeria. Regulatory frameworks that are not adequately monitored have negative impacts on workers. For example, the federal government of Nigeria has rarely been involved in effective monitoring of the implications of Oil and Gas exploration, specifically to local workers who have poor lifestyles. Human rights laws require that special measures be identified to protect employees who are at risk. Poor workers have continuously been neglected even though Oil and Gas deposits are found within locations where they hail.

The relationship between Nigeria’s government and the oil industry has high levels of dependence where the government is the dominant partner in Oil Joint Ventures. The incidence of the government dominating in joint ventures causes a fundamental problem that underpins regulatory failures. Despite the awareness of the Oil and Gas employee exploitation that is evident in the Upstream Sector of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas, many employees still suffer from unhealthy and risky working conditions. Effective preventive measures can only work when the government and oil exploration companies identify areas that need improvement to ensure quality health for workers as well as their well-being. Strategic Health and Safety Regulatory Framework is a collective agreement between the oil exploration companies, the government and the bodies charged with the responsibility of fighting for workers’ safety. The regulatory framework should offer a menu of the safety regulations that incorporate individual wellness, motivational solutions, and the implementation criteria that are to be followed to ensure that the regulatory framework works effectively. This research has explored various sources to gather the information that has assisted in assessing the health and safety regulatory framework in the Upstream Sector of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas. When an employee’s well-being is maintained, the productivity of the organizations they are involved with improves. Notwithstanding, these regulatory frameworks are more or less driven by the political leadership of a country. The regulatory framework should reflect the priorities expressed by the workers within the oil deposits as well as the employers of different companies concerned with Oil and Gas exploration.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1. Introduction

This section of the dissertation provides the overall conclusions from the study and recommends to other researchers the areas that, in the future, need improvements. The recommendations highlighted in this chapter are extracted from the weaknesses that were identified in the overall study, such as what the researcher felt was not conclusive and required further improvements.

5.2. Linking the Finding with the Purpose and the Objectives of the Study

The purpose and the objectives of this research were centered on assessing the impacts of the health and safety regulatory frameworks in Nigeria’s Upstream Sector. The study has clearly defined the impacts of the regulatory frameworks for ensuring the wellbeing and safety of employees in the Nigerian upstream sector. Additionally, the study has passed the adequacy of the regulatory frameworks for the welfare and safety of workers within the upstream sector. Many areas have been explored during this study, and the findings as presented in the previous chapter shows that there is need to find solutions to non-conforming activities that threaten the health and safety of workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector. The findings of this study have also been linked to the significance that was intended to be met which include the identification of loopholes that exist in government legislation of policies that govern health and safety of workers in the Upstream Sector.

5.3. Recommendations

5.3.1. Creation of a Workplace Safety Culture

Workplace safety culture is very crucial when assimilating new workers in an organization. There should be an estimate of time planned for the oil companies to assess the rate of risks that have been experienced by workers in the company. These can begin by training the employees on the need to understand the root causes of injuries and accidents in the workplace and make each employee take part in the company’s culture of health and safety. Understanding these workplace root cause of injuries and accidents can help mitigate the regulatory survey to the workplace to curb future potential safety hazards in either designing equipment that workers use to prevent health and safety risks.

5.3.2. Implementation of Safety Protocols from the Start

Workplace safety in oil and gas exploring companies should begin from day one; this means that hiring qualified personnel who are capable of paying attention to matters relating to their safety as well as their co-worker’s safety with high levels of concern. A safe workplace begins with workers who are ready to be guided by safety requirements, job platforms, and set of procedures that should be established to protect the workers. Employers are required to work with physical therapists who can analyze the safety demands of workers at each job level. The findings of the therapist can be used to create a functional post-offer that will greatly help a pre-placement of functional testing center to reduce health and safety risks at the workplace.

5.3.3. Creation and Implementation of Safety Policies

Policies at the workplace are created, but there has been an identified lag in creating specific safety policies that directly address the health and safety of workers. Mechanisms are supposed to be put in place to govern the overall policies and represent the existing safety systems of implementing the safety of workers. An effective approach should be formed to enhance the full implementation of safety and health policy through effective system management. The aims of the implementation of the safety policy should be to minimize the risks. Therefore, a risk assessment method should be used to determine the priorities and the formulated objectives of reducing risks and hazards. Specific actions are a pre-requisite to promoting a positive safety and health culture in oil exploring companies.

5.3.4. Continuous Auditing and Reviewing of the Health and Safety Policy Performance

Oil and gas exploring companies should frequently review the health and safety management systems continuously so that the overall safety and health performance can be improved with a constant rate. Companies should form a systematic review of performance based on the audit data collected by the auditing team; these would largely facilitate experienced-based learning on the areas that require improvements. Companies in Nigeria’s upstream sector have been reporting on how well they performed on workers’ health and safety in their annual reports and how they are well prepared in implementing the safety of workers. They don’t report on the implementation measures they take to ensure that employees are safe and free from hazards and risks. Others report on the policies they have put in place to protect workers from risks. These only give the details of how they operate but never show a report on the audit of the process. Therefore, an independent audit body would help in reducing the unreported cases of health and safety risks within the Upstream Sector.

5.3.5. Collaboration with the Local Emergency Response Community


Developing a healthy relationship between the oil companies and the local emergency response would lead to a smooth flow of communication that would be very helpful in providing a higher level of overall safety. Oil and gas exploring companies, emergency responders, and rig hands together with health professionals must work together to help handle emergencies swiftly and successfully. The collaboration of these bodies would determine the best possible approaches to use during emergency responses and also contribute to clear approaches to potential emergencies.

5.3.6. Investing in Safety Programs that Unites Workers

Open communication between the oil exploring companies and the workers should be a thing of the present. Oil and gas exploring companies should invest heavily in dedicating time and funds to allow workers to understand each other, build personal contacts with fellow employees, and develop a trustworthy relationship with comrades. These would facilitate worker-worker empowerment on substantial improvement on overall health and safety at the workplace.

5.3.7. Dealing With Hazards Quickly

Many of the oil and gas are exploring companies fail to deal with hazardous situations with immediate effect due to problems associated with what they term as insignificant risks. The major hazards that occur at the workplace are associated with inhalation of harmful gases that blocks the breathing systems of workers. Others include exposure to cancer-causing radioactive emissions that are not protected. Oil companies should deal with these risks immediately to avoid further spread of harm regardless of when or where the incidence occurs. These would equip the workers with the freedom to notify emergency response agencies without having to follow bureaucratic systems that pose risks to workers health and safety.

5.3.8. Actively Monitoring Mental Health Workers

The greatest challenge that affects the safety and health of workers is the worker culture. Employees who are old in companies tend to be given high levels of recognition compared to workers who are newly recruited. These old aged workers may have some mental illness that is a threat to the newly recruited workers. Monitoring mental health will facilitate easy implementation of safety programs. Workers obedience may be associated with fear and trust, which could be misleading and sometimes causes mental harm to the ruled. Actively monitoring the mental health of employees will curb the unreported worker’s exhaustion, stress, and disobedience.

5.4. Conclusion

Creating an ideal workplace for employees would be very costly for employers, but this may not be a sufficient argument behind the relationship between workplace risks and workers’ health and safety patterns in life. More alternatives can be adapted to create a risk-free workplace that allows workers to improve their well-being. Identifications of occupational health hazards, creation of workers awareness on health hazards and risks associated with them is fundamental and helps in promoting, rehabilitating and protecting the wellbeing and health of workers in the oil and gas exploring companies. Despite the awareness of the oil and gas pollution that is evident in the upstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Effective preventive measures can only work when the government and oil exploration companies identify areas that need improvement to ensure health and safety of the communities as well as the well-being of the employees of the oil and gas exploring companies. Strategic Health and safety regulatory framework is a collective agreement between the oil exploration companies, the government and the bodies charged with the responsibility of marinating workplace safety. The regulatory framework should offer a menu of the safety regulations that incorporate individual wellness, motivational solutions, and the implementation criteria that are to be followed in ensuring that the regulatory framework works effectively.  This study identified that workers in the petroleum industry in the upstream sector are aware of the health hazards that are prevalent to their workplace, but the regulatory frameworks set by those companies are not satisfactorily enough to ensure that workers are protected against risks and hazards.

Occupational health practices were not effective in most of the cases, and therefore, workers’ education is necessary for the initial stages of recruitment. Exploration of oil and petroleum products in Nigeria poses many health and safety issues to the workers, and therefore, the companies involved should consider taking caution to facilitate non-hazardous processes. Despite the eradication of poverty among people within the country, the Nigerian authorities should implement measures that provide an alternative treatment for affected employees. The emissions resulting from oil production causes cancer and other human diseases that need to be subsidized by the government of Nigeria to the families that are affected. Additionally, within the current examined regulatory framework, it is evident that all are preventive and covers other risks related to health and safety of workers. Therefore, they are liable for maintaining the health and safety of their workers during oil and gas exploration in the upstream sector. Employers need to support health and safety programs that are visible in floor marking and wayfinding to safety guide employees. Oil and gas exploring companies are subject to finding tools that manage safety and health risks beginning with an assessment of the risks and controlling of hazards. Diversification of regulatory frameworks in the upstream sector should be more focus on workers’ safety rather than on the overall impact of health risks. The implemented occupational health and safety management systems should be risk-oriented to continuous prevention of hazards with complete worker commitment and participation. Sharing of good workplace practice and learning from experience among employees should be subsidized by the government of Nigeria and the oil exploring companies to prevent accidents and illness that could result from unhealthy working conditions. Care must be taken where required training is suspects not to be available for either task that needs special skills due to new technologies. Specific competencies and skills should be addressed by the oil companies by formulating regulations, tools, and rules that are easily understood by all workers in the petroleum industry within the Upstream Sector.

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