The goal of this study was to explore and describe the risk factors for substance abuse in the waste management sector within the Johannesburg metro. In order to achieve this goal, a qualitative research approach was adopted to explore and describe the views of employees from treatment1 centres and supervisors, respectively. Since the study was qualitative in nature, the collective case study design guided the study. Two types of data collection methods were used, namely semi-structured interviews for employees who were recently released from treatment centres and a focus group discussion with supervisors. Purposive sampling, guided by specific inclusions criteria, was considered the most appropriate to recruit two participant groups, namely ten employees who were from treatment centres and eight supervisors who represented middle management. Two distinct interview schedules were developed and utilised for employees from treatment centres and supervisors, respectively. From the raw data obtained, data analysis was conducted using the thematic analysis process proposed by Braun and Clarke (2013). The trustworthiness of the data interpretation was confirmed through triangulation, peer de-briefing and transferability. An analysis of two different sources of data, namely employees from drug treatment centres and supervisors, was undertaken to answer the two research questions, namely: (1) “Based on the views of employees recently released from treatment centres what are the risk factors for substance abuse within the waste management sector in the Johannesburg metro?” and (2) “Based on the views of supervisors what are the risk factors for substance abuse within the waste management sector in the Johannesburg metro?” The key findings of the study were that the waste management sector is associated with an array of risk factors encouraging the use of substances of abuse by its employees within the work environment. The following risk factors were identified: (1) working conditions exposing employees to physical, chemical and biological hazards. The dirtiness of the work creates stigma among employees towards the type of job they are doing. (2) The nature of the job is physically demanding, fast paced and risky. (3) Physical and social availability due to proximity to alcohol and other drug suppliers, as well as community members giving alcohol to employee’s onsite. (4) Inadequate supervision as it encourages employees to continue to work without the supervisors monitoring. (5) Lack of fear of the law/consequences due to employees knowing that policies are rarely implemented by supervisors. (6) Initiation to the use of substances of abuse which emanates particularly from family role models. (7) Employees use of alcohol and other drugs to relief stress and emotional distress caused by family problems, financial problems and work conflicts. (8) Peer–group pressure was equally highlighted as a risk factor for employee substance abuse. (9) Lack of regular support group meetings for those employees who are from treatment centres. (10) Drinking on duty has been normalised. (11) The system of male migrancy where employees still live together in hostels or informal settlements, sharing social interaction beyond the workplace, and modelling to each other to abuse alcohol or drugs. Based on the key findings from both employees recently released from drug treatment centres and supervisors, recommendations were made for Employee Assistance Programmes services at PIKITUP, for the organisation itself, PIKITUP, and for policy changes at PIKITUP. Among the recommendations are that substance abuse awareness programmes should be put in place targeting particularly males in the middle age years (that is, 25 to 38 years), as they present a risk group. Furthermore, to provide recognition in the form of awards and incentives to employees who have gone for drug treatment to encourage them to maintain sobriety. Considering that the nature of the job is physically demanding and fast paced, the organisation should look into an assessment of the volume of work per day in relation to human resource allocated. This should be done with the intention to ease the burden of musculoskeletal disorders employees are prone to develop. The company cannot shut down all the liquor outlets because they are around the employees working environment, but the company should put measures in place that will prevent employees from engaging in alcohol and drugs within the work environment. Supervisors should take a stand and implement company policies and procedures to ensure that employees are aware of policies and are implemented. Recommendations for future research are also formulated.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2018.