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Health And Safety On Building Sites Construction Essay

What is construction site safety? Many definitions of safety have been offered over the year. According to Davies and K.Tomasin (1996), safety is defined as freedom from any dangers of risk. Safety also can be defined as absence of danger, a state of protection and condition not involving risk.( Lingard and Rowlinson, 2004). Construction site safety is a self-explanatory that the environment or condition of construction which is safe enough for the construction participants to perform their particular duties and tasks safely.

Health and safety are responsibility of everyone in workplace especially working in construction industry where high rate of construction accidents. In the past, construction project management normally focused on the three major aspects, cost, time and quality. They ignore safety and health due to major aspect, saving cost. Nowadays, construction site safety has been widely agreed as a crucial issue in construction industry. Many construction companies around the world are implementing the safety, health and environment management to reduce the high rate of construction accidents and provide a safety environment in their workplace.( Choudhry et al.,2008). A safety environment and workplaces should be existed on construction site because it may help in improving the productivity accompanied by reduced cost, time of project and increase profitable.( Ahmadon et al.,2006).

2.2 Background of Construction Industry (High Accident Rate)

Construction industry is one of the most significant in term of contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in term of impact on health and safety of the working population in most industrialized and developing countries.(Lingard and Rowlinson,2004). This statement is supported by (Ahmadon et al., 2006), construction industry is an important sector of any nation economy especially in a developing nation.

The industry construction has a great contribution in improving quality of our life in term of provide the home, building and infrastructure that we live in, work in and rely upon. However, construction industry is considered as the most hazardous industry due to is unique nature ( Jannadi and Bu-Khamsin, 2002). (Choudhry et al,.2009) quoted from (Hinze 1997; Sawacha et al.1999; Choudhry et al.2008) supports the statement that construction is the highest rate of accidents among all industries.

In construction industry, the high rate of accidents such as injuries and fatalities are usually recorded. The rate of the accidents is varying from project to project and it usually based on the method of construction, techniques for construction, materials and characteristic of the project.

2.3 Categorization of fatality causes

Construction industry has known as the most hazardous industry due to the high rate of accidents. Many workers and their family and friend are involved in the construction industry lead to the unimaginable pain and suffering associated with an accidental death or injury.

Larson and field (2002), point out that the most probable serious site accident that may cause in fatalities is “falling from height”. The other accidents in descending order perceived probability are struck by (hit by falling material), cave-in, caught in between, heart attack/cardiac arrest, explosion/burn, other, heat stroke/exhaustion and asphyxiation. (Hatipkarasuku,2010). These site accidents have killed many construction workers even the public due to the improper implementation of safety management on the construction site.

SIC

WORK TYPE

FATALITY CAUSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall

Struck by

Cave-in

Caught in/between

Heart attack /Cardiac arrest

Explosion/Burn

Other

Heat Stroke/ Exhaustion

Asphyxiation

Total(%)

1761

Roofing, Sliding and Sheet

49

3

-

1

1

-

1

1

-

56 (16.00%)

1799

Special Trade Contractors, NEC*

18

14

2

5

3

5

1

-

2

50 (14.29%)

1751

Carpentry Work

23

15

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

39 (11.14%)

1794

Excavation Work

1

12

16

3

-

-

-

-

-

32 (9.14%)

1731

Electrical Work

9

2

1

3

3

-

4

-

1

23 (6.57%)

1791

Structural Steel Erection

18

4

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

23 (6.57%)

1711

Plumbing, heating and Air-Conditioning

10

2

4

1

2

1

2

-

-

22 (6.29%)

1721

Painting and Paper Hanging

12

4

1

1

2

1

-

-

1

22 (6.29%)

1771

Concrete Work

3

9

1

1

2

-

1

4

-

21 (6.00%)

1741

Masonry, stone Setting and Other Stone Work

14

2

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

18 (5.14%)

1742

Plastering, Drywall, Acoustical and Insulation Work

12

1

-

1

1

-

-

-

-

15 (4.29%)

1795

Wrecking and Demolition Work

8

3

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

13 (3.71%)

1781

Water Well Driling

1

3

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

5 (1.43%)

1796

Installation of Erection of Building Equipment, NEC*

1

2

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

5 (1.43%)

1752

Floor Laying and Other Floor Work, NEC*

1

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

-

3 (0.86%)

1793

Glass and Glazing Work

1

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

2 (0.57%)

1743

Terrazzo, Tile, Marble, and Mosaic Work

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1 (0.29%)

 

Total (%)

181 (51.71%)

77 (22.00%)

25 (7.14%)

22

(6.29%)

17

(4.86%)

10

(2.86%)

9 (2.57%)

5

(1.43%)

4

(1.14%)

350 (100%)

Table 2.1: Distribution of Fatal Accidents and Fatality Causes Work Types

Source: (Hatipkarasuku, 2010).

2.4 Safety Policy

What is safety policy?

Safety policy is a written statement to express the intention of the management in relation to the health and safety matter. Safety policy is usually created by all the employers and it defines the intended standard of care of employers in health and safety matter. In general, safety policy should include three elements, they are statement, organization and arrangements. The elements must clearly show that the intention of employer, responsibility at each level within the operation and how health and safety will be managed in compliance of relevant regulations and acts.

The length of a statement doesn’t mean that the worth and usefulness of the statement. Safety policy on construction site should be created in the simple way and straightforward brings the important message to the employees. The general statement of the safety policy should be shorted but comprehensive and describes the expression of the employer’s intention, organizations and arrangement that in force. According to John Holt (2001), the good general statement shall cover the following:

A clear statement of intent to provide safe and healthy working conditions.

A clear declaration of intent that work will not adversely affect others or the environment.

References to arrangements made for joint consultation with employees.

Commitment to:

Comply with all applicable legal requirement

Seek the co-operation of all employees

Bring the policy to the attention of all employees

The “organization” part of the safety policy should show a clear recording of duties and responsibilities of all the level included management level and the employees. To avoid any problems, mistakes and omissions, all the employees should know their respective duties and responsibility. So, all the employees can perform their task safely and without overlapping situation.

Meanwhile, the “arrangement” part of the policy is usually required to describe the way of health and safety to be managed with comply the applicable legal requirement and regulations. In the arrangement part, risk assessment should be carried out for the purpose of indentify the significant risk in the workplace and action should be taken to manage the risk. According to Griffith and Howard (2000), to be successful, a health and safety policy must be:

Relevant to the organization’s score activities.

Directed from executing level.

Translated into practical sets of procedures and working instruction

Committed to throughout the entire organization

Implemented and maintained in a systematic way

Available to regulatory bodies and public scrutiny

Amenable to review and improvement

While formulating a safety and health policy, employers should consider the factors and elements. Figure 2.1 is showing the key factors and elements of making safety and health policy.

A good safety policy will be generated by the employers which consider the human resource is the most important asset in construction industry. Safety policy should consider all the employees are susceptible to accident and at risk. It should seek prevention and positively promote health and safety to the employees, most important resource to the employers. (Griffith and Howard , 2000).

Policy

Organizing

2.6 Safety Cultural

Safety culture is a very important element on construction site, it help in improving safe working place. The term of safety cultural was first introduced in the 1987 OECD Nuclear Agency report (INSAG, 1998) on the 1986 Chernobly disaster. (Cooper,2000). According to Guldenmund ( 2000), safety cultural is defined as aspects of the organizational culture that will impact on attitudes and behavior related to increasing or decreasing risk. This definition is agreed by Mohamed (2003) which state that safety culture is a subfacet of organizational culture that will affect workers’ attitude and behavior in relation to an organization’s on going safety performance.

In order to promote safety cultural on construction site, leadership and commitment from top that is genuine and visible. Leader and top management of construction should permeate the safety and health cultural to all level of workforce including safety training and communication. Beside that, building a safety culture on so many diversities is not an easy task, it is a long-term strategy of companies that requires sustained effort and interest. Companies must accept adequate up-to-date safety related information, measure safety performance, and teach employees to work more safely in their workplace. . (Ahmadon,2006),

According to Ahmadon( 2006), quoted from Glendon and McKenna (1995); Carbon (2005), there are four critical indicator of safety culture:

Effective communication – it leads to commonly understood goal and means to achieve them at all level.

Good organization learning- able to identify and respond appropriate changes.

Organizational focus upon health and safety – how much effort and attention is needed for health and safety.

External factor- financial health of the organization, the prevailing economic climate and impact of regulation.

Safety culture of workplace should be improved due to three significant elements, environment, person factor and behavior factor. These three factors interact with each other and the changes in either factor will directly influence the other one. The environment of a workplace will be changed, once person act safely and safe thinking during their performance. (Fung et al., 2005)

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