construction

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Health and safety management

1) Introduction:

The main objective of Health and Safety Management at work place is to fulfil Legal responsibility, Moral responsibility and Economical responsibility which are reasonably practicable for the company and its employees.

Every Construction company has to follow the legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the employees and other people involved in the business. The right approach is not only about taking the minimum measures required to fulfil the legal requirements. If appropriate measures are been taken it can even be beneficiary to the company.

Improper practise of health and safety may lead to illness, accidents and loss of time which will cause substantial costs to the company. Such type of unplanned activities doesn't just harm the working environment it will even adversely affect the profit.

Good health and safety practices will also help in improving the company's reputation with the clients and with its own employees. This enhances the company's reputation in the market as well. The responsibility of following good health and safety standards doesn't only implies for the employer it is also the duty of the employees to follow the standards set by the company, If the company fails to set good standards of health and safety as per legislation then the company can be prosecuted under Health and Safety act 1974, Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulation etc. Thus every construction company and employee has to have proactive approach towards following good Health and Safety practises.

2) Case Study:

This report focuses on the Health and Safety practices followed by BAA during Construction of London Heathrow Terminal 5B Project. In order to achieve safe construction and to complete the project in time and budget, the BAA management team recognised that it has to have a very efficient system in place to manage Health and Safety and to set high industrial standards. The second building (i.e.T5B) of Heathrow T5 is constructed by 5B project team; the team became the first team to achieve one million safe working hours without reporting a single accident. Here are some of the Health and Safety initiatives taken by the team.

  • A fulltime Safety leader was appointed;
  • High standards of Workforce consultation and engagement in Health and Safety;
  • Daily activity briefing;
  • Circulation of safety alerts;
  • Incident and Injury free campaign.
  • If the company had failed to take the above mentioned initiatives there would have been a possibility were the company could have been prosecuted under the following legislation:

  • HSWA 1974 -Section 2(1) (Employer must protect the HS&W at work of all their employees)
  • HSWA 1974 -Section 2(2) c (Provide information, supervision & training to ensure the H&S of employees)
  • HSWA 1974 -Section 2(4), (6) & (7) (Consult union safety reps & establish safety committee when requested by 2 reps Section 9 Do not levy charge for anything provided in pursuance of the statutory provision)
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Regulation 7 - Appointment of competent persons

    Regulation 9 - Information for employees

    As the site manager in charge for maintaining Health and Safety I would like to suggest few more initiatives which may be useful in enhancing the Health and Safety Standards of the site.

  1. Provision of welfare facilities at fixed construction site.
  2. Dust control in site during construction.
  3. On-site Health Screening.

1) Provision of welfare facilities at fixed construction site:

Workers working in a construction site need adequate washing facilities and toilets, they need a dedicated place where they can relax and eat their food and a place to store the cloths. Most often these basic requirements are neglected. Good facilities will help in creating a good working atmosphere and will have a positive benefit on Health and well being of the employees and will help prevent Dermatitis. This can be easily achieved by:

  • Addressing the welfare arrangements clearly in Health and Safety plan;
  • Considering welfare facilities, allocating a designated location onsite, maintenance facilities during the planning and preparation stage of the project;
  • The facilities provided should be suitable for the size of the site and nature of the work carried out in site (e.g. pouring concrete route cause for dermatitis – will need more no of washing facilities, it may even require showers etc);
  • The toilets and washing facilities should be properly connected with the drainage facilities so that cleanliness and hygiene can be maintained;
  • The resting facilities should provide shelter from wind, rain and should have proper heating facilities. It should even include facilities such as tables, chairs and a means for warming up food etc.
  • Barriers for adopting the above mentioned initiative in site are:

  • Lack of importance given to welfare facilities during planning stage;
  • Financial constrains;
  • Possibility of negative opinion by management;
  • More the number of workers involved difficult in providing adequate welfare facilities;
  • Maintenances problem.
  • Legislation covering the above mentioned initiative

  • HSWA 1974 - Section 2(1) (Employer must protect the HS&W at work of all their employees)
  • HSWA 1974 - Section 2(2)e
  • (Provide adequate welfare facilities and arrangements)

  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1996
  • CDM Regulations 1994

2) Dust control in site during construction:

Dust generated during different construction activity is one of the major issues causing serious breathing problems to the workers. Some of the construction activities generating dust are concrete slab cutting or shaping, stones kerbing etc. Concrete cutting Saws are generally used to perform these functions. During this action large amount of respirable dust is generated which usually contains crystalline silica contents, working in such place may lead to respiratory problems due to scarring of lung tissues. This problem can be minimized by using dust control systems on concrete cutting saws. Some of the modern dust control methods are as follows:

In this method water is sprayed on to the rotating cutting disk of the saw which in turn reduces dust emission. This type of system can be used on saws powered by compressed air.

  • Local Exhaust ventilation:
  • In this method saw guards are used which act as high velocity hood which is in turn connected with industrial vacuum cleaner which serves as an exhaust to the dust.

    Barriers which may hamper the adoption of the initiative are:

  • Skill in selecting the suitable method;
  • Cost involved in replacing the old equipment;
  • Employee training.
  • Key legislation related to the above mentioned initiative is as follow

  • HSWA 1974 - Section 2(2)a (Provide & maintain plant & systems of work that are safe & without risk to health)
  • HSWA 1974 - Section 2(2)c (Provide information, supervision & training to ensure the H&S of employees)
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Regulation 14 Employees responsibilities to use tools and equipment etc safely)
  • Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (Regulation 4 Equipment to be suitable)

3) On-site Health Screening:

The objective of the proposal to introduce on-site health screening is to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst construction workers. These also helps in gathering the data about the health conditions of the workers which helps the management to take the decisions about the health and safety practises to be followed. These can be achieved by doing the following on-site tests

  • Blood test;
  • General check up;
  • Skin tests;
  • Ear testing;
  • Eye tests etc.
  • Barriers for adopting these initiatives are

  • Cost involved for medical tests;
  • Management opinion;
  • Workers co-operation;
  • Reliability on the medical data obtained;
  • Creating facilities for medical tests on site.
  • Key legislation related to the above mentioned initiative is as follows:

  • HSWA- Section 2(1) (Employer must protect the HS&W at work of all their employees)
  • HSWA - Section 2(2)e (Provide adequate welfare facilities and arrangements)
  • HSWA - Section 7(a) (Exercise reasonable care for the H&S of themselves and others who their actions may affect)
  • HSWA - Section 7(b) ( Co-operate with the employer)
  • HSWA - Section 8 (Not to interfere with anything provided in the interests of HS&W)
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 6: Health surveillance (where appropriate)
  • Regulation 13: Employers to take into account employees capabilities

3) Conclusion:

BAA has achieved the best in securing safe working environment to the employees but money makes men guilty, as the progress with the project people forget unknowingly their health and its value, so initiatives given should be taken into consideration to protect employees and to have a safe and healthy working environment forever.

4) Bibliography

  • Information about health and safety at work etc 1974, Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legislation/hswa.pdf
  • Information about case study, Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/engagement/casestudies.htm
  • Information about management of health and safety at work 1999, Available at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1999/19993242.htm
  • Information about onsite health screening, Available at; http://www.enwhp.org/fileadmin/downloads/models/SME-Project/Ireland/Work%20and%20Health%20in%20the%20Irish%20Construction%20Sector.pdf
  • Information about dust control methods, Available at;
  • http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis54.pdf
  • Information about the work place regulation 1992, Available at; http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1992/UKsi_19923004_en_1.htm
  • Information about welfare facilities at fixed construction site, Available at; http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis18.pdf
  • Information about Construction Design Management, Available at; http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm.htm

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