STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING SAFETY PRACTICES IN CLOTHING AND TEXTILES LABORATORIES IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN SOUTH EAST, NIGERIA.
The study was designed to evolve strategies for enhancing safety practice in clothing and textiles laboratories in Nigerian Colleges of Education. The study specifically identified the type of accidents prevalent in clothing and textiles laboratories, sources of accidents in clothing and textiles laboratories, safety practices presently adopted in these laboratories, the needed practices (gap) in clothing and textiles laboratories, constraints to the adoption of the needed safety practices and ways of enhancing the adoption of these needed safety practices. The population for the study was 170 respondents made up of 10 clothing and textiles teachers, four (4) laboratory attendants and 156 second and third year Home Economics students in Nigerian colleges of education under study. These three groups of persons were involved in laboratory activities either in teaching, assisting or learning and therefore capable of supplying the required information on the needed safety practices in these laboratories. No sampling was done as the entire population of clothing and textiles teachers, laboratory attendants and Home Economics students served as the sample for the study. This was because the population size of 170 was small. Structured questionnaire was developed and validated by three Home Economics experts two from university of Nigeria Nsukka and one from Ebonyi State University). The internal reliability of the instrument was established using cronbach alpha coefficient which was 0.76. This figure indicates high reliability of the instrument. One hundred and seventy copies of this questionnaire were distributed by hand and 138 copies were properly filled and returned. The data were analyzed using mean, standard deviation, t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Mean was used for the research questions while Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test HO3 and HO4. The findings include 13 types of accidents in clothing and textiles laboratories, 22 sources of accidentrs in clothing construction operations, six (6) in dyeing operations and five (5) in laundry work operations. Also 21, 23 and 20 safety practices respectively were found to be important for adoption in clothing construction operations, dyeing operations and laundry work operations. It was also identified that 18 safety practices were being presently adopted in clothing construction operations, 19 in dyeing operations and 16 in laundry work operations. Seventeen important safety practices were found to be needed in clothing construction operations, 17 in dyeing operations and 14 in laundry work operations. Five (5) items were identified as constraints to the adoption of the needed safety practices and 10 ways were evolved as strategies for enhancing the adoption of the needed safety practices in clothing and textiles laboratories. There was significant difference in mean response of NCE II and NCE II1 Home Economics students on the source of accidents in clothing and textiles laboratories. This shows that the academic level of students has influence on their experience in laboratory activities especially as it concerns safety. This may be due to the fact that NCE III students have more contacts with practical work in the laboratories than NCE II students and so, may have witnessed more accidents and their sources in these laboratories. There was also significant difference in the response of the respondents on safety practices important for adoption and constraints to the adoption of the needed safety practices. These were as a result of difference in designations, experience and degree of involvement of the respondents in laboratory activities. Based on these findings, eight recommendations were made, among which were appointment of safety committee, organization of safety weeks, seminars, workshops and conferences for sensitizing laboratory users on safety matters, keeping records of accidents and their causes as they occur and avoiding plugging many appliance on an adapter (‘octopus’ wiring).