Author(s): Mudenha, W.F., Naicker N., Singh T.

Source: BMJ Open 2022;12:e063384.


Introduction: Construction workers, mine workers and manufacturing employees in South Africa must report occupational injuries and illnesses to their employer as stipulated in section 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and section 22 of the Mine Health and Safety Act. However, under-reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses is common globally. This protocol seeks to ascertain if macro-environment factors impact reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses and compare reporting between low-income and middle-income workers.

Methods and analysis: To achieve the objectives of the study, a sequential mixed-methods research design will be adopted. A questionnaire will be distributed among low-income and middle-income workers from nine companies in Gauteng from the construction, mining and manufacturing sectors to establish macro-environment factors that impact their reporting. In addition, a data extraction sheet will be submitted to compensation fund administrators who receive and process workers’ compensation claims to determine reporting patterns by low-income and middle-income workers. In-depth interviews will be conducted with occupational health and safety subject matter experts in South Africa to ascertain their opinion regarding factors that impact reporting. Data will be analysed using SPSS V.27.

Ethics and dissemination: Prior to the commencement of the study, ethical approval and permission will be obtained from the University of Johannesburg Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee. The researcher intends to publish the results of the study in peer-reviewed journals and present research papers at scientific conferences and provide feedback to employers and employees across all three industries. The study shall determine associations in reporting between the manufacturing, mining and construction sectors and establish interventions employers can implement for workers to report injuries and illnesses.