The Risk Factors In The Hostels

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

The Risk Factors In The Hostels


This study is designed to find out the risk factors in the hostels, with the opinions of University of Benin undergraduate hostel residents as a case study. In carrying out the study, one hundred and fifty (150) copies of questionnaire designed by the researcher, and approved by the supervisor of this research, were administered to one hundred and fifty (150) students randomly selected from the five (5) halls of residence in the University of Benin (thirty (30)for each hall of residence). Simple percentages and frequencies were used for the analysis of data.

The main findings were as follows:

  1. Almost half of the University of Benin hostel residents defecate and dispose the faeces indiscriminately in or around the hostels.
  2. Majority (78.6%) of University of Benin students in the hostel cook in their rooms.
  3. Almost half (40%) of University of Benin students use prohibited high voltage electrical appliances.
  4. Poor stress management or coping mechanisms is a problem of some of the University of Benin students in the hostels.
  5. University of Benin hostel residents are more susceptible to falls and fire accidents than any other type of accidents.
  6. University of Benin student hostel rooms are poorly ventilated, and are overcrowded.
  7. Majority of the University of Benin students in the hostels choose to ignore and neglect safety practices in the hostels, even when they are fully aware of the risks it puts them.

Chapter One


Background To The Study

A safe place of living supports one’s abilities, is easy to use, makes one feel comfortable, can bring happiness, and also help one develop his/her potentialities so as to lead a successful life. The place of living that doesn’t meet these criteria can be considered as an unsafe place home. An unsafe home increases the likelihood or probability of accidents, injuries, diseases, and illness occurring. Health and wellbeing are affected by many factors, a bulk of which is present in the homes (where people live).

These factors do not operate in isolation; they often co-exist and interact with one another (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012). The school hostel is the home of students anytime they are in school. It is where they eat, sleep, bath, play, read, cook, and perform all other basic things which are said to be done at their homes. According to Dazio (2003), you have to know what your risks are in order to fix them. So, the first step to improve health and safety is to find your risks. This report is one of the tools that can help to carefully analyze risk factors in our school hostels. Universities are expected to house, not just academic activities, but the students seeking knowledge in various fields of endeavour: student’s accommodation should be catered for, as well as their wellbeing.

Alaka (2007) viewed student’s accommodation beyond mere proposal for development, to embrace the physical structure offering bundles of services either as a facility from which the social, psychological, and physiological activities are attained, or one developed strictly for leisure, as an affordable and safe accommodation. Jinadu (2001) identifies the psychological, physiological, facility, and security requirements as four important qualitative needs that me3asure the adequacy and habitability of the student housing. Bach (2001) also embraces other measures like healthy, safe, and sanitary shelter provision as necessary to harness student’s educational, cultural, and recreational needs.

Aligned with these descriptions of student hostelling, Onyike and Uche (2010), and Egwuom (2010), have identified the minimum hostel requirements to include bed/mattresses, writing/reading chair and table, closet, wardrobe or cupboards, or chest of drawers, blinds and curtains on windows, laundry rooms, study rooms, TV lodges, outdoor recreational spaces like baseball/basketball/volleyball courts, computer laboratories, convenience stores, recycling or waste disposal room(s), shared or individual kitchens, shared or individual toilets and bathrooms, water supply, electricity supply, gas supply, high speed internet services for room use, cable TV services, and 24hours security personnel. The vanguard newspaper of November 21st 2012, reported that fire gutted two rooms in a male hostel in the College of medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba.

As recorded, at about 10am, room 648 of block 6 in Alliakilu hostel was caught up in flames, and later spread to room 647. It was recorded that there was no fire extinguisher around; the only available one was in the hostel manager’s room (who was not around at the time). Also, it was stated that there was no water on the third floor, so, students had to go downstairs to get water which they used in fighting the fire. An occupant of room 648 said that that was the third time the room was going up in flames, and the student said, the cause was likely due to power fluctuation. Another fire incident occurred in room 547, Saadu Zungur hostel; block A, of Bayero University, Kano male hostel on the 9th of December 2011, which was speculated to have been caused by an electronic gadget left unplugged. As a matter of fact, there was no fire extinguisher, so students had to rush to the room with buckets of water to put out the fire.

The occupants of the room denied using anything that was prohibited, save an extension board. It is clear, from the above, that ignorance and negligence on the part of students and school authorities have a role to play in increasing risk factors in university hostels. A study carried out by Amali, Indinyero, Umeh, and Awodi (2012) revealed that, of all the 213 female students tested in the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, over 95% (204) of them had at least one urinary tract infection. This agrees with the findings of David (2005), who suggested that, at least 1 in every 5 adult women experience urinary tract infection, and about 50% of all women will experience it at some point I the lives. According to Amali et al (2012), the high prevalence of pathogenic organisms observed in the urine samples in this study, may have resulted from the unclean state of sanitary environments in the hostel, as well as careless and dirty habits among the students, probably due to damaged toilets and bathrooms.

The health and safety of students in our university hostels are at stake if stakeholders (students, school authorities, and government) do not recognize and counter these risk factors that pose a threat to student’s health and safety. It is therefore imperative to study the risk factors in our hostels, if we want to restore them to standard.

Statement Of The Problem

Ignorance and/or negligence are the two most dangerous factors that can affect anything, person, or situation. The situation in our university hostels, as earlier stated, is nothing to write home about.

The hostels are no longer safe for living. It is in the hostels that many students contract dangerous and deadly diseases, it is in the hostels that many students are involved in varying kinds of accidents that can cause injury, or even death. Students, and school authorities alike are either ignorant and/or neglecting these factors in the hostels that can cause accidents, injuries, and diseases.

These issues pose serious threat to the health and wellbeing of students, and should be given urgent attention. Unhealthy and unsafe personal habits and lifestyles, and unhealthy and unsafe environmental conditions are two principal risk factors of health and safety in the general human populace. This study intends to find out these unhealthy and unsafe practices and environmental conditions that pose a risk to the health and safety of hostel residents in the University of Benin. Also, to proffer necessary solutions to this problem with the hope that it would be adopted by stakeholders.

Purpose Of The Study

  1. This study seeks to identify the major risk factors and safety hazards in university hostels.
  2. It also aims at making people to be more aware of the potential dangers of these risk factors, hence effect reduction of hostel dangers.
  3. To provide information on measures to take to restore the state of these hostels.
  4. To identify risky habits, behaviours, and lifestyles, and risk factors in the hostel environment.
  5. Ultimately, to ensure enforceable preventive measures.

Significance Of The Study

Accidents in the hostels may not always be traumatic as those seen in other accidents like automobile or industrial accidents, but their effects cause pain, sometimes permanent disability, poor academic performance, economic loss, and even death. Diseases are the order of the day in our university hostels. Mere looking at the state of our hostels (rooms, toilets, sports courts, bathrooms, water storage tanks, e.t.c), we need no soothsayer to tell us that the health and safety of the average Nigerian student is not guaranteed.

Youths are enrolling into these schools more than ever before in history, and when the housing systems of our universities are not healthy and safe, how then can we produce a THOROUGHLY REFINED graduate or degree holder? How can the challenge of providing education of good quality be truly achieved in a debased and unsanitary environment? Our university hostel buildings are nothing to write home about. Now, I would want to appreciate the efforts of the government and school authorities in making sure that students are healthy and safe in their hostels, and I would not also overlook the fact that many students are the architects of their own misfortunes when it comes to their health and safety.

Therefore, a report like this is needed to bring to the remembrance of students, some of the health and safety hazards and risk factors that make them prone to accidents, injuries, illnesses, and diseases, and for some, to bring this to their notice. It is paramount that stakeholders discover ways to eliminate and/or avoid these risk factors (a problem this report will solve).

Research Questions

  1. What are the personal habits, and lifestyles of students in the University of Benin hostels that pose a risk to their health and safety?
  2. What are the environmental conditions that pose a risk to the health and safety of University of Benin students in the hostels?
  3. Does ignorance and/or negligence on the part of students pose a risk to the health and safety of University of Benin students in the hostels?

Scope / Delimitation

This report will go a long way to identify the major risk factors prevalent in the school hostels of the University of Benin. It brings to ones notice, the various risk factors of accidents and disease based on University of Benin student’s response. This report will not address how these risk factors influence the academic performance of the students.

This report will also reveal the personal habits, behaviours, and lifestyles of students that can cause accidents, injuries, illnesses, and diseases to them, and other students. It will also show the factors in the environment that are hazardous to the health and safety of students. It will also give recommendations on measures to improve the health and safety of students residing in the school hostels.


The following are the limitations of this research that have implications for the generalizability of findings of this study:

  1. The sample was taken from the students of only the University of Benin, residing in the school provided hostels, hence, the only way findings of this report can be generalized would be if the observed state of other school hostels are the same, in comparison with the recordings of this report.
  2. By the reason of the design of this research (case study research design), it will not show how directly, specific personal habits, behaviours, and lifestyles, and environmental factors in the hostels influences the health and safety of students residing in them.

Definition Of Terms

The following are the major terminologies in this report, and it is paramount that we give their definitions and meanings:

1. Health:

This is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1948). It is the wellbeing of the body, mind, and spirit, the state of being free from illness or injury.

2. Hostel:

A place for people to stay when they are away from home.

3. Safety:

It is the quality of being safe. The reduction of or freedom from risk factors and potential dangers.

4. Risk Factors:

Anything that increases the risk or susceptibility to a condition. Hazards that are capable of putting one in a situation or condition, in which he can develop a disease, be injured, or harmed.

5. Habit:

Any action or response that one does regularly and usually without thinking, because of repeated action.

6. Behaviour:

The action or response that one takes in a given situation or condition.

7. Lifestyle:

A manner of living that reflects one’s attitudes, behavior, and values.

8. Environment:

This involves all the people and things an individual live around, or interact with. It is the living and non-living things outside one’s own body.

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