Student research


This search facility showcases work that was carried out by students in an undergraduate or postgraduate role (for example BSc, BA, MSc and PhD students).

There are several ways to carry out your search. The simplest is to enter your key word into the ‘Search Text’ box and click on the search button. For a more advanced search our search facility allows you to define the specifics of the project if you know what you are looking for such as author and institution and the topic of the research. You can also filter your results to order them to your preference whether that be peer reviewed, published or work that is still underway.

Most of the research showcased here is free to access, if your search returns a project that is behind a pay wall we will tell you this by showing a £ sign.

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Is work-related stress grinding your...

Completed but not published

Loughborough University
Edna Hanniffy

Work-related stress is a growing concern for employees and employers as organisations struggle to deal with the current economic crisis and recession. The organisation involved in this project is a Local Authority in Ireland.

The aim of this project was to investigate the sources and causes of work-related stress in the organisation with a particular focus on its social housing department.

The quantitative method utilised the HSE Management Standards indicator tool whilst the qualitative method employed the use of focus groups. The response rate was 54% of a population of 520.

The results indicated that the organisation scored above the recommended 80th percentile in five of the seven primary stressors in the HSE Management standards. The Housing department scored above the recommended 80th percentile in only one of the seven primary stressors categories. These results appear to indicate that there are greater stress issues prevalent in the housing department than across the rest of the organisation.
Further analysis indicated that actually there was no significant difference in the distribution of responses in 32 of the 35 questions asked of organisation and housing staff. In each of these 32 questions, a p-value of >0.05 was recorded. In only 3 of the questions was there a significant difference with Housing staff scoring a p-value of <0.05.

It must be noted that the HSE management standards analysis tool uses mean score analysis. By relying on mean scores, an organisation with a 50th percentile score may still have a large number of individuals working in poor conditions. Hence, thorough investigations of an organisation’s individual responses are required to establish an accurate description of actual stress levels within the organisation.

I like driving in my car? Driving cars and...

Completed but not published

Salford University
Maria O'Malley

The United Nations have declared a global strategy on reducing road related death over the next 10 years. In the UK, 5.1 million cars are used for work with 5 times more employees suffering a work-related road death than a workplace fatality. Legislation requires employers to reduce risks to their employees including when driving for work.

The key factors affecting safe driving for work, for example culture, fatigue and stress, were identified by a literature review. An on-line questionnaire using the SurveyMonkey website was issued using an exponential non-discriminative snowballing sampling technique using the researcher’s social and professional networks. Questions collecting both qualitative and quantitative data were used to obtain information on organisation policy as well as risk-taking behaviour while driving for work. Results were cross-tabulated using the on-line package and Excel. The main limitation was potential selection bias due to the sampling technique used.

104 completed questionnaires were obtained from UK drivers. 68% of respondents worked for organisations with over 250 employees, 64% of respondents worked in the private sector and 20% in the public sector. The main findings were that two thirds of large organisations had informed employees of their driving related policies and ¼ of these employees had received some form of training. A significant number of respondents performed risk-taking activities without appreciating that they did so. Behaviours included mobile phone use, inadequate restbreaks and working long hours.

It was concluded that organisations need to address their safety culture with respect to driving for work in order to reduce the risk of fatalities. This could be achieved by increased policy communication, better planning to reduce time pressures and avoidance of mobile phone use whilst driving.

An Investigation into the Risk...

Completed but not published

Loughborough University
Martin Khan

This research was initiated by observing safety professionals at a behavioural safety seminar smoking cigarettes. This prompted the decision to investigate how people process and quantify the same risk information differently, and whether expert safety knowledge affects risk judgements.
The biological evolution and functioning of the brain combined with a person’s up-bringing, emotions and the social experiences that they collect on their journey through life appears to have an influence on individual and collective risk taking decisions. This combination of factors would appear to prevent logical and rational risk perception and decision making taking place.
Data collection consisted of a Lickert style survey of 20 risk related questions completed by 50 people in each of the 3 participant groups used. One group from IOSH chartered members and 2 groups of the public. A specific question about IOSH chartered status ensured the integrity of target groups. This anonymous method produced response rates of over 75%.
ANOVA and Bonferroni analysis identified significant differences (p<0.05) in 25% of responses between IOSH members and one or both public groups in the classification of smokers, driving to work, nuclear radiation, radon risk in the home and breast cancer risk in women.
Whether the differences identified are due to expert knowledge changing a person’s risk perception processes on a personal or a group level was not determined. Further research involving larger sample groups may be able to confirm the finding and identify the reasons why changes occurred. This knowledge could be used to make the communication of risk information more effective

What Are The Health and Safety Issues...

Completed but not published

Middlesex University
Michelle Stark

The academic literature suggests there is evidence of health and safety issues reflected by the rising usage of laptops and increased mobile working.

Musculoskeletal disorders, manual handling, stress, theft, and visual fatigue are some of the issues identified.

As a health and safety manager with a strong professional interest in this area, the gaps identified in the literature provided the rationale for the research question.

The data collection method of questionnaires was sent to mobile workers, using a purposive sampling strategy.

The research findings were:-

• Musculoskeletal disorders, stress, burns/skin discolouration, headaches and eyestrain were ill health effects reported by mobile workers using laptops.

• The study noted an absence of a definition of the word “prolonged” in relation to length of time of laptop use.

• Despite risks perceived by mobile workers and ill health experienced, they still felt the benefits of using a laptop far outweighed any risks.

• Generic health and safety training may not be sufficieint to enable assessors to fully appreciate the risks involved with laptops and mobile workers.

Limitations of the study concerned 1% of questionnaires that were not completed in their entirety, a recognised limitation when using questionnaires. This was relatively small and therefore did not affect the strength of results.

In conclusion multiple health and safety issues are associated with mobile workers using laptops, leading to experiences of adverse health effects and the more time spent using laptops the more this increased these risks.

The differing views from users and trained health and safety professionals in defining the term “prolonged” means that there is a lack of clear guidance and robust risk assessment, and that specialised training for assessors may be necessary to ensure that these types of workers receive suitable and sufficient risk assessments in this area.

A Critical Review of the Practical...

Completed but not published

Middlesex University
Michelle Penlington

The aim of this project was to study the management of occupational or work-related stress, within a Further Education College presenting a critical review of the management processes and procedures in place. Due regard was given to the HSE Management Standards for work related stress when using comparators to identify if the College systems were effective.

Statistical data collected and analysed by the European Union in its Risk Observatory Report and United Kingdom TUC surveys, were studied to identify whether interventions by national and EU member states have had an impact on the rates of cases of work-related stress.

The author used personal experience in the use of the standards in the management of work-related stress to identify any gaps in the application of the standards within the College Occupational Health System.

The methodology was action research using depersonalised case studies. The potential for bias from in-house research was mitigated by the benefits of in-depth knowledge of the organisation and its systems.

Four recurring themes were selected and the consequent effect of stress on individuals was evaluated. The research was analysed for evidence of the “Hawthorn Effect” i.e. if sociological aspects at work had a positive influence on productivity and well being, and if present how it affected the outcome of the assessments.

The conclusion is that there are processes and procedures in place to manage stress at the College. However, across the various levels of management there is a lack of perception and understanding as to the reality of the impact of occupational stress on individuals, efficiency, morale and the reputation of the College. This is reflected in poor management and repetition of identified causes of stress and continuing stress related incidents. Further research across the sector may identify common issues, absence and retention statistics and standard of management practices.

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