Refining a more complete theory of environment, safety, and health management strategy using case studies Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2801pj617

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  • Environment, safety and health (ESH) research has a strong tradition of conducting research in manufacturing to improve workplace ESH conditions and has tied its management strategy and technical practices to many significant priorities: illness and injury prevention, environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility, compliance with regulatory and insurance requirements, and dealing with NGO (non-governmental organization) pressures. ESH research rarely examines ESH management strategy in the broader context of business/operations. This oversight makes it difficult to make accurate recommendations for practice and regulation because ESH researchers and business/operations researchers tend to function as if the other does not exist with the very great possibility that key relationships remain undiscovered. In this study, case study methods were used with five manufacturing facilities in the Pacific Northwest to evaluate the usefulness of the Development Levels Rating System (DLRS). Data were collected using interviews, site tours, and publicly available records. Within case and cross-case analysis were used to analyze the data. Consistent patterns were found in how the facilities structured, organized, and financed the ESH function. Moreover, important insights were found regarding the facilities' levels of ESH management strategy and their levels of risk. The results support the DLRS model as being useful in assessing ESH management strategy in relation to a facility's level of risk. Moreover, several new pathways were uncovered including: the significance of multi-stakeholder approaches in EHS and operations research; the importance of joint management strategies; and the faulty nature of compliance-based ESH management strategies. Future research should be considered to test the DLRS tool using focus groups and quantitative methods. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
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