Preventing Accidents on Construction Sites
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This chapter investigates the health and safety measures that are currently in place to reduce accidents and injuries on construction sites. In order to prevent accidents in construction it is not just a matter of setting up a list of rules and making safety inspections, although both of these have their place (Holt, 2001). Holt (2001) suggests that a system for managing health and safety is required that meets the needs of the business and complies with the law. This chapter intends to identify these strategies used and highlight the benefits to the industry in implementing them.
The most important overall method is to implement the CDM regulations 2007 successfully, however within these regulations there are specific measures that can provide better results.
The HSE concluded in ‘Blackspot Construction’ that 70% of the deaths on construction sites could have been prevented by positive action by managers within the industry (Joyce, 2001).
The general principles of prevention as stated in regulation 7 of the CDM regulations 2007 are as follows:
i. Every person on whom a duty is placed by these Regulations in relation to the design, planning and preparation of a project shall take account of the general principles of prevention in the performance of those duties during all stages of the project.
ii. Every person on whom a duty is placed by these Regulations in relation to the construction phase of a project shall ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the general principles of prevention are applied in the carrying out of the construction work.
The provision for health, safety and welfare of workers involved on construction sites was not included in the CDM Regulations 1994 as it was the responsibility of the CHSW 1996; however these regulations have now been revoked by the CDM regulations 2007. These regulations set out the requirements for the provision of welfare facilities to be provided by the contractors as it has recently been recognized that the health and safety of workers is directly affected by their personal welfare (Joyce, 2007). The provision of high welfare facilities is likely to reduce the number of accidents and injuries on construction sites as it promotes recruitment, good morale and employee retention.
These reasons alone should be sufficient justification for the investment in welfare facilities which should encourage the client and contractors to ensure that they are provided on construction sites from the outset to an acceptable level. Without the provision of welfare facilities workers are likely to be cold, overheated, dirty, dehydrated and uncomfortable (Joyce, 2007), this in turn will have an effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of their work undertaken creating an unsafe environment to themselves and their fellow workers. The provision of welfare facilities can be seen as an important measure to reduce accidents on construction sites; however the contractors must ensure that they are cleaned and maintained throughout the entire duration of the construction work in order to achieve their full benefit to the industry.
Education and Training
Education and training plays a very important part in the reduction of accidents on construction sites which is a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999 as well as more recently the CDM regulations 2007. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide such training during recruitment, at inductions or when being exposed to new or increased risks (Hughes & Ferret 2007).
The levels of education and training required covers a wide range of information such as specific company health and safety policies, risk assessments, method statements, safety procedures, good practice and legal requirements (Hughes & Ferret 2005). It is evident that providing essential information through a high level of education and training will enable employees to carry out tasks with limited supervision, this in turn should reduce the likelihood of health and safety risks and therefore help reduce the number of accidents and injuries within the construction industry.
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
The Construction Skills Certification scheme has been set up to help improve the general quality of workmanship as well as to reduce accidents and injuries occurring on construction sites. This CSCS scheme helps to ensure that competent workers are registered within the construction industry, which is currently the largest scheme within the construction industry which covers over 220 different occupations. As a result of this these cards are becoming increasingly demanded throughout, in particular by clients and contractors in order for workers to provide proof of their occupational competence and therefore gain access onto construction sites throughout the UK.
This scheme has been supported by construction authorities such as the Major Contractors Group (MCG), National Contractors Federation (NCF) and the Major Home Builders Group (MHG) as it shows they have passed the CITB – Construction Skills Health and Safety Test. If these cards are made mandatory as a standard requirement within the construction industry then it will ensure that the general health and safety awareness of construction workers on construction sites with regards to health and safety risks will significantly improve, therefore more than likely reduce the number of accidents and fatalities within the industry. http://www.citb.org.uk/cardschemes/whatcardschemesareavailable/certificationschemes/cscs.asp
The CDM regulations 2007 have highlighted the increased awareness that the employment of competent workers is likely to reduce the number of accidents within the construction industry. This is evident from the increased vigour of worker competence assessments that are required before a work operative can start work. Competence assessments are carried out in order to assess whether a person is suited to carry out a job which is a method used to reduce accident on construction sites.
It is the author’s opinion that competent people are more aware of health and safety risks surrounding them which they can therefore deal with before an accident occurs. The level of competence required is proportionate to the risks arising from the construction work (Joyce, 2007) which is stated in the ACoP so no work undertaken should be carried out by an unable worker. The term competence is not defined in the CDM regulations however a definition made during a civil court case in 1962 sates that a competent person is:
A person with practical and theoretical knowledge as well as sufficient experience of the particular machinery, plant or procedure involved to enable them to identify defects or weaknesses during plant and machinery examinations, and to assess their importance in relation to the strength and function of that plant and machinery.
The concept of confidence underpins the CDM regulations 2007 because no duty holder can be appointed unless they are competent themselves, this is required by regulation 4(1)(a):
No person on whom these Regulations place a duty shall appoint or engage a CDM co-coordinator, designer, principal contractor or contractor unless he has taken steps to ensure that the person to be appointed or engaged is competent.
In order to prevent incompetent people assessing the competence of others, the CDM regulations set out a statement in regulation 4(1)(b):
No person on whom these Regulations place a duty shall accept an appointment or engagement unless he is competent.
The introduction of the CDM Regulations 2007 clearly shows that competence assessment is an important measure to prevent accident on construction sites and must be implemented further if these measures are to be highly successful.
Designing to reduce risks
The introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 has provided a bigger emphasis on designing out risks in the planning stage of construction projects. Increased responsibility has been placed on designers as a result of the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 to eliminate hazards before they have chance to occur. Holt (2001) suggests that the method of prevention to remove the risk of a hazard at the design stage is likely to be more effective than to establish a control strategy, especially as it would rely on people to work in the correct way which is not always likely to happen.
An example of this may be for a designer to prevent from specifying fragile roofing materials which could present the opportunity for people to fall through. In the event of a designer unable to completely eliminate health and safety risks at the design stage, then the design and specification can still make a significant difference to actions carried out on site. It should emphasize ways in which work should be carried out in order to provide minimal health and safety risks to workers. The extra time spent that may result from a more detailed design process should be repaid through savings of time and money, and possibly lives throughout the construction process (Holt, 2001).
The variety of measures in place in order to reduce accidents and fatalities on construction sites which are evident from the ongoing literature review throughout this chapter. The successfulness of these measures however is dependant on effective communication, particularly when implementing training and education as it will dramatically improve work operatives understanding of health and safety risks.
Hughes and Ferret (2007) suggest that many problems regarding health and safety on construction sites is a result of poor communication between management and the workforce within an organization, this often arises from ambiguities or possible accidental distortion. There are 3 basic methods of communicating health and safety information within the construction industry identified by Hughes & Ferret (2007) as verbal, written and graphic.
The most common of these methods is verbal communication via speech or word of mouth, this type of communication should only be used when providing simple instructions or information generally during meetings or training sessions, these are generally known as ‘tool box’ talks. In order for the implementation of verbal communication to be successful, the spokesperson needs to ensure that the messages they are trying to relay are clear and prevent confusion, the receiver should then demonstrate some form of understanding in order to prove they clear on what is expected of them before undertaking any work.
This method of accident prevention can have its drawbacks and be a regular cause of accidents on construction sites if a verbal instruction has not been understood. Hughes and Ferret (2007) suggest that this may be as a result of a number of factors such as language and dialect barriers, use of technical language and abbreviations, background noise and distractions, hearing problems, ambiguities in the message, mental weaknesses and learning disabilities, lack of interest and attention.
Despite the potential limitations that exist with verbal communications, there are also a number of benefits that it brings to construction sites if carried out successfully. Communication in this manner is less formal, enables the exchange of information to take place quickly and can be carried out close to the workplace (Hughes & Ferret, 2007).
Written communication involves the use of emails, reports, notice boards etc. in order to communicate information regarding health and safety. Potential problems involved with this form of communication are that the language used may be difficult to understand and affect the level of comprehension. Detailed reports may not be read properly due to time constraints and notice boards may be positioned in the wrong places with out of date and irrelevant information. The main benefit of using written communication, in particular emails, is that it provides a quicker method to ensure that messages get to all the people that may be concerned which is an important measure which could be implemented further to reduce accidents on construction sites (Hughes & Ferret, 2007).
Graphical communication is carried out through the use of photographs, drawings, posters and videos. This type of communication is often used to inform workers of health and safety information such as fire exits and H&S propaganda. This is regarded as being a relatively effective method of communication as it has no barriers with regards to language or dialect and displays a simple message that can be remembered. The potential limitations regarding this procedure is that the graphics may very quickly become out of date or in the case of posters, be ignored (Hughes & Ferret).
Improvements in Technology
A key measure in which to reduce accidents on construction sites is through the use of up to date technologies. This view is supported by (reference) who suggests that new technologies in construction sites are not only likely to help prevent accidents and injuries on construction sites but also improve the overall efficiency of construction projects. This view is also supported by Holt (2001) who suggests that keeping up to date with new technology can bring an added benefit to the industry and generally improve site conditions. The introduction of new technology may be in the form of improved software, software often gets up-graded quickly with new and improved packages that should be installed to benefit the industry.
It may also involve improvements in technology such as the new Blackberry; this can incorporate cell phone capability and email connectivity into a single device that will benefit employers relaying safety messages quickly and directly to employees on site, therefore improving coordination between site operatives. New technology may also be in the form of site equipment and plant, for instance the use of mechanical systems such as hoists and lifts should be replaced instead of manual operations, this is not only likely to increase productivity on site but also prevent the likelihood of injuries such as back problems.
The introduction of improved technologies into construction sites in an attempt to reduce accidents and injures is largely dependant on the level of training that accompanies it. Employers must be aware that productivity on site may not be at its peak during the period of change as new software and equipment requires training and adjustments to that of old technologies. However, if sufficient training is provided to accompany the new technology and software then employees will be able to harness the power of new technologies and provide numerous benefits to the construction industry.
Risk assessments are an important measure used to reduce H&S risks on construction sites, they are a legal requirement of many H&S legislations during the planning stage of a project so that plans can be put in place to control potential risks as assessed in Chapter 2 of this study. A risk assessment involves an examination of the potential risks that may cause harm to people which cannot be avoided through the design process of a project, the risk assessments should only identify the significant risks that apply to the construction project and ignore the trivial risks that are not likely to result in an accident or fatality.
They are carried out in order for organisations to establish whether they have taken enough precautions or to identify if they could do more to prevent the likelihood of an accident or fatality on the construction site (HSE, 2006a). Risk assessments are used to decide on priorities and set objectives for eliminating hazards and reducing risks, if this is possible it is usually through selection and design of facilities, equipment and processes. However if they cannot be eliminated they are minimised by the use of physical controls or, as a last resort, through systems of work and personal protective equipment (Hughes & Ferrett, 2007).
‘A hazard is something with potential to cause harm. The harm will vary in severity - some hazards may cause death, some serious illness or disability, others only cuts and bruises. A Risk is the combination of the severity of harm with the likelihood of it happening.’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg275.pdf
Hughes and Ferrett (2007) identifies two basic forms of risk assessments, these are ‘quantitative’, which involves risks given a numerical value and ‘qualitative’ which is the most common form of risk assessment in the construction industry which is based purely on personal judgement and then quantified as being either high, medium or low risk in terms of its severity.
The HSE (2006a) identified the following 5 key steps in order to asses the risk in a workplace:
- Step 1: Identify the hazards
- Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how
- Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Step 4: Record your findings and implement them
- Step 5: Review your assessment and update if necessary
If these steps are followed by every construction organisation throughout the UK then it will make a big difference to reducing the number of accidents and fatalities on construction sites which is regarded as being the principal aim of risk assessments, this aim however is also dependant on the competence of people carrying out the risk assessment and also the communication of their findings.
An example of a risk assessment form can be seen in Appendix 2.
Health and Safety Culture
HSE publication HSG 65, Successful Health and Safety Management
Health and Safety Inductions
Health and Safety Policies
Health and Safety Policies are an important measure that are required by law for every organisation to produce. The can play a key role in reducing accidents and fatalities on construction sites. They have been assessed in greater detail in chapter 2, section 8.4.
Managing Risks during construction
The introduction of the CDM regulations have also placed more emphasis on managing risks during construction in order to target the high level of accidents and fatalities on construction sites. This measure involves creating a well established management system that controls the potential risks faced during a construction project and deciding what should be done about them. This may involve giving collective protective measures priority over individual measures to provide the biggest benefit to the health and safety of everyone involved. This may involve removing hazardous dust by exhaust ventilation rather than providing a filtering respirator to an individual worker (Rowlinson, 2004).
It is therefore the role of a manager, such as the principal contractor to assess the most appropriate protective measures to use during the construction process and ensure that people under his command abide by these management decisions. Managing risks during construction may also be in the form of giving appropriate instructions to employees. This may involve making sure that all employees are fully aware of specific company policies, risk assessments, method statements, safety procedures, good practice, official guidance, and any legal requirements that they must follow (Holt, 2001).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
It is the opinion of (make up a reference) that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should only be used as a control measure as a last resort to try to reduce accidents and fatalities on construction sites. This is due to the fact that it does not eliminate the hazard and will present the wearer with the maximum health and safety risk if the equipment fails.
Hughes and Ferrett (2007) identify a number of limitations as to why PPE should only be used as a last resort such as the equipment only protects the person wearing it and doesn’t take into account the effects the risk may have on others working nearby; it relies on people wearing the equipment at all times which people do not often do; it must be used properly which requires training, this could result in a loss of time and productivity and it must be replaced when it no longer offers the appropriate levels of protection.
Aside from these limitations the use of PPE still provides certain benefits to the industry and is an important measure to reduce, or at least prevent the level of accidents on construction sites. PPE enables workers to have immediate protection to allow a job to continue; in an emergency it can be the only practicable way of effecting rescue or shutting down plant; and it can be used to carry out work in confined spaces where alternatives are impracticable (Hughes & Ferrett, 2007).
The Construction Phase Plan & The Health and Safety File
The Construction Phase Plan and The Health and Safety File which were introduced by the CDM regulations both help to reduce accidents and injuries on construction sites. They have been discussed previously in Chapter 1, Section 7.2 in greater detail on the positive impacts they have on the construction industry.
It is the opinion of the author that these measures to reduce accidents on construction sites should be reviewed periodically to ensure that they are still effective and to introduce new improvements to these measures. In the event of a serious accident or incident occurring on a construction site, then an immediate review of the risk control measures in place should be carried out to identify the problem and why it occurred.
Cost of implementation of the CDM regulations 2007
The HSC has claimed that the CDM regulations are likely to save the construction industry £2.7 billion, through reduced bureaucracy and a further benefit to the construction industry by up to £3.2 billion by reduced loss of working time (Joyce, 2007), this however is likely to be the best case scenario, the HSC concluded that in the worst case scenario the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 could cost the construction industry £660 million (Joyce, 2007).
The financial cost of implementing these measures of prevention through the CDM regulations may be regarded as costly to the industry; however it is the authors opinion the benefit of implementing theses regulations successfully and reducing the number of fatalities and accidents on construction sites is a small price to pay as it benefits the industry as a whole by the factors outlined below. This view is supported by Robert E McKee who commented that “Safety is, without doubt, the most crucial investment we can make, And the question is not what it costs us, but what it saves”.
4.6 Benefits of accident prevention
The measures identified in section 4.1 above highlight the main factors that can assist in preventing accidents and fatalities on construction sites. The implementations of measures to prevent accidents are extremely worthwhile as they provide a number of benefits to the construction industry which are discussed below.
6.6.1 Cost in human suffering
The cost in human suffering, physical pain and hardship resulting from death and disability is impossible to quantify (Holt, 2001). The accident and fatality statistics analyzed in chapter 3 provide the author with background knowledge that there are an alarming amount of accidents and fatalities within the construction industry each year. This is likely to have had a significant impact on the lives of workers and their families causing a considerable amount of disruption. This is one of the major reasons why these statistics need to be reduced and try to achieve a safer construction industry.
Moral reasons stem from a developing public awareness that something needs to be done to raise the quality of life within the construction industry (Holt, 2001). It is becoming increasingly evident that the safety of workers within the construction industry is being put at risks for reasons such as potential increased profits. It is of the author’s opinion that this is morally wrong and should be prevented which in turn will benefit the construction industry as a result of fewer accidents. In order to increase workers moral within the industry (Holt, 2001) workers should be actively involved in accident prevention programmes, this is likely to increase the productivity of work and prevent weakened worker moral through a reduction in accidents on site.
Legal reasons are contained in state law, which details steps to be taken and objectives to be met, and which carries the threat of prosecution or other enforcement action as a consequence of failure to comply (Holt, 2001). The prevention of fatalities is likely to reduce legal action faced by organizations which in turn is likely to reduce cost in terms of money and adverse publicity as there will be a reduction in the number of workers able to gain compensation.
The benefit of accident prevention is likely to have a significant impact on financial reasons which will ensure the continuing financial health of a business and avoid the costs associated with accidents (Holt, 2001). These costs can be both direct cost such as production delays which include the cost of compensation as well as indirect costs such as management time spent on investigations and fines.
Conclusion of chapter
The analysis of measures to reduce accident and fatalities on construction sites along with the benefits that these measures bring, highlight the fact that a good safety record and document safety management systems can more than repay the time spent of achieving it. A reduction in accidents and fatalities through increased measures to prevent them will significantly reduce the problems identified in section 6.6 and therefore significantly benefit the construction industry as a whole. This chapter highlights many control systems and mechanisms that are in place to decrease the chances of accident and injuries within the construction industry, however
Chapter Four: Methodology
This chapter discusses the different methodological approaches for this study and expands on the outline methodology highlighted in chapter 1. Detailed accounts of the specific research strategies are also examined, highlighting the methods used to analyze and interpret the data collected. Each question chosen for the questionnaire will be examined stating why it was chosen, what it hoped to achieve, and how it relates to the research aim and objectives. Finally, the location of the study and methodological restrictions are also considered.
Several methodologies to assess the effectiveness, success and problems of CDM regulations have been used in the past, notably sample groups, influence network models, case studies and statistical analysis (reference). The case study approach analyses a very small number of duty holders using semi-structured surveys, and over a number of periods (e.g. quote people and times). Although this methodology can be detailed, results can be extremely unrepresentative.
Resultantly, the sample group methodology was chosen for this study, which follows the same layout, but with a much larger number of duty holders. Academics such as (reference) and (reference) have used this type of methodology in the past. The sample group methodology was most appropriate for this study, as data was needed from multiple different duty holders in order to make comparisons and generalizations. Using influence network models was deemed less appropriate than a sample technique as this tended to concentrate on influences for poor health and safety rather than the effectiveness of the CDM Regulations 2007.
Criteria for evaluating effectiveness
In order to gain useful information it was important to understand what the outcome would be compared to (Moore, 2000), therefore, at this stage the ultimate outcome for measuring the effectiveness of the revised CDM regulations would be to measure the impact they have had on accident statistics on construction sites.
This measure however takes a long period of time for changes to manifest themselves and enable a comparison to that of the CDM regulations 1994. As the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 only came into force in April 2007, a number of different measures have been implemented throughout this study in order to measure the early effectiveness of the new CDM regulations. Table 7.1 below shows the steps taken with the required source of evidence to indicate that an early impact has been made.
Effectiveness means the capability of producing an effect (www.wikepidia.org) and in this case, it can be assumed that with reference to this study the intended effect of the CDM regulations is to reduce accident statistics on construction sites.
Table 7.1 Impact outcome of the revised CDM Regulations
Indicative evidence of outcome
Duty holder awareness that CDM regulations have been revised
Events and articles to launch the revised CDM Regulations
Duty holder obtains information about revised CDM Regulations
Sales and downloads of the revised CDM regulations and guidance material
Duty holder acts internally on contents of revised CDM regulations
Duty holder acknowledges clarity in the regulations and better known what is expected of them
Improvements in management and design practice appear
Positive duty holder views on the improved flexibility in the fit of the revised CDM regulations to a wide range of contractual arrangements.
Improved information flow including from the clients.
Improved competence assessments.
Improved communication, cooperation and coordination between duty holders.
Improved health and safety files.
Reduced bureaucracy and paperwork.
Clients committed to ensuring the safe management of projects.
Coordinators are perceived as adding value.
Improvements in risk management through good design apparent in specifications and drawings.
More on-site hazards are eliminated and thus appear less frequently on drawings / specifications.
More residual risks are sensibly identified on drawings.
More suggestions of safe construction methods appear on drawings.
Improvement in risk management appears during construction work (including maintenance).
Improved management by PCs.
Improved management by other contractors.
Improved welfare facilities.
Improvements in safety risk controls.
Improved worker consultation / involvement.
Construction worker perceptions of Health, Safety and Welfare standards.
Positive changes in worker perceptions of on-site health, safety and welfare conditions and the respect and engagement that workers perceive they are given in the workplace on these issues.
Improvements in ‘whole-life’ design for subsequent construction work.
A build environment that is safer to maintain, alter, dismantle and demolish.
Incidents of injuries, ill health and dangerous occurrences reduced.
Reduced injury incident rates.
Reduced incidence rates of ill health.
Reduced incidence rates for lost time.
Reduced incidence of dangerous occurrences.
The questionnaire designed will assess whether the impacts of these indicators have been effective.
In order to explore the main perceptions and attitudes of different duty holders under the CDM regulations, a self completion postal questionnaire was decided on rather than a telephone survey or an interview survey, not only because of its benefits of economy, time and quantity of data recovered but primarily because it was Christmas time during the main period of data collection, and so it was assumed many construction workers would be on their Christmas break and would not be available for an interview or present in the office for a telephone inquiry. The idea behind the postal questionnaire was that they could complete it and send it back whenever they had time and return it to my university address. (A comparison between an interview and questionnaire can be seen in Appendix 2)
In the past ways of measuring effectiveness of the 1994 CDM Regulations have used questionnaires as a primary research tool (state journal used). Questionnaires are commonly used as a primary research tool as they are an “indispensable tool when primary data is required about people, their behaviour, attitudes, opinions and awareness of specific issues”. The questionnaires were enclosed with a self addressed envelope, intending to speed up and ensure the return of the questionnaires.
Comparative data can be collected in various forms, these being experimental, commercial and official data. Experimental data was chosen because it is derived from real life situations, and this was essential giving the fundamental aim of assessing the effectiveness of the CDM regulations. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the reliability of experimental data is largely dependant on the willingness and honesty of the professional to participate (Morris et al., 2001).
Twenty duty holders were selected from a list of construction companies in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire (10 from each); these were primarily chosen from the author’s knowledge of duty holders in and around the area as well as a number of companies provided by the yellow pages. Each company was contacted by telephone to explain the basis of the study to find out who to send it to, and gain his or her agreement to participate. A tick box at the bottom of every questionnaire gave the duty holder the choice of whether or not they wanted to be contacted again, in the hope of setting up a number of interviews.
The questionnaire design was of a semi-qualitative design, as the questionnaires incorporated a number of open and closed questions. The questionnaire explored areas such as, the understanding of the CDM regulations, success and problems with CDM, the burdens of CDM, CDM’s contributions to improved health and safety and the effectiveness of CDM.
The closed questions differed between, likert, categorical and scaled questions. Although, open questions can be more difficult to understand and are perhaps harder to analyze than closed questions, it was important to include them in the questionnaire to gain a deeper understanding of the duty holders views and perceptions (Cohen et al, 2000). This was essential as open questions can lead to areas of discussion for proceeding interviews and furthermore, open questions allow more freedom to the respondent, and are less encumbered by a prepared set of possible replies (Oppenheim, 1986).
The design of the questionnaire consisted of 19 questions, laid out in a simplistic manner so as not to confuse the reader. The questionnaire had 4 background questions to start. Commands such as “please tick” were highlighted in bold. Questionnaire examples can be seen in Appendix 1.
A pilot questionnaire was given to some local construction workers in my village, and although no major problems appeared evident, it was clear that some older workers did not fully understand the concept of “competent”, and so in the real questionnaires a definition of competent was included.
There were no specific ethical considerations for the study, however it was emphasized that participants could withdraw from the study at any time, and could leave any questions blank, such as the financial questions if they did not wish to share their organizations details.
A review of the current literature on the CDM regulations 1994 was essential for this study in order to assess the current perspectives and opinions of the effectiveness of the now changed and improved CDM regulations 2007 and essentially compare the results of previous studies with the conclusions of this study.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
The analysis of the questionnaires, interviews and literature on the CDM regulations will be in the form of statistical analysis and discourse analysis. Analysis of the data from the questionnaire will be compared and contrast in order to identify trends, similarities and differences. The majority of my findings will be presented visually in graphical and statistical formats; in contrast much of the data analysis from the open questions will be purely descriptive. Discourse analysis can be seen as an, “interpretive” and “deconstructing” research tool. Although it does not provide definite answers, it provides the researcher with useful insights, knowledge and conditions behind a specific problem (University of Texas, Information School, 2005).
The quantitative data from the questionnaires will be interpreted using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). All the data from the closed questions will be coded in excel and then imported in to SPSS. SPSS was chosen because of its ability to effectively synthesize and correlate non-parametric quantitative data. Specific tests such as Chi-squared and Spearman’s rank were used in order to investigate any statistical significance of relationship between different variables and hypothesis such as “larger construction companies are more likely to have an occurrence of a fatal injury”.
Location of Data Collection
The data for this study was collected from the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire as highlighted in 1.2 on page 28. These counties were chosen for two reasons. Firstly, it was intended that a number of interviews with duty holders would be conducted, and resultantly companies needed to be within travelling distances of my home location on the outskirts of Oxfordshire. Ideally, data needed to be collected from England, Scotland and Wales as the CDM regulations apply to the UK, however due to travel, time and financial limitations, data could only be collected from England. The county of Gloucestershire was chosen because of ease of accessibility, but also because of its close proximity to Wales.
1.2: Map of Study Areas
There are certain considerations that must be made in relation to the methodology of this study. Firstly, the number of different duty holders analyzed was not the same. Although the same number of duty holders agreed to participate, only sixteen of the twenty people asked returned the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 80%. According to Lee and Fowler (2002) it is essential to have the same number of respondents in each group to prevent distorted comparisons. It is therefore crucial to consider this limitation throughout the analysis of this study.
Secondly, as already mentioned it was intended that a number of interviews were to be arranged with duty holders. However due to the length of time it took to actually make contact with duty holders and for them to agree to the postal survey and return the questionnaires there was not enough time left of the Christmas holiday period to conduct any interviews.
Finally, in order to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of the professional who participated in this study, all the names of the duty holders and the companies they work for have been removed in order to protect their confidentiality throughout this study.
The aim of this section is to review each question selected for the questionnaire and highlight what it set out to achieve with respect to answering the aim and objectives. The questions were initially derived from a brainstorming technique where a wide range of questions were written down, each questions was then reviewed in terms of relevance to the aim and objectives of the study and modified in order to ensure that a clear and concise set of questions would be presented to the duty holder. The questionnaire has been sub-divided into four main sections.
Section One: Background Information
This section is not related to either the aim or objectives of the study however it is important to gain some background information regarding the duty holder and their organization in order to make comparisons between their responses and the different organizations. This section was made up of three questions:
Question 1. How long have you worked in the construction industry?
This question was designed to assess the experience the respondent had within the construction industry. The most important fact that it established was to find out if the respondent was a practitioner in the industry when the CDM regulations first became legislation in 1994 which would enable the author to make more reliable conclusions on the effectiveness of CDM.
Question 2. What is the average value of projects you undertake?
The idea behind this question was used to determine the size of the construction company that employs the different duty holders. This information will enable the author to look for trends in responses from like-sized organisations.
Question 3. What is your duty under the CDM regulations?
The purpose of this question was to establish what role the respondent plays under the CDM regulations. This will enable me to compare the responses of different duty holders perceptions of the effectiveness of the CDM regulations.
Section Two: Understanding of the current CDM Regulations
This section of the questionnaire intended to help achieve research objective two; to establish duty holders understanding of the CDM regulations. This understanding of CDM section involved three questions:
Question 4. Are you aware that the CDM regulations 1994 have been revised and are now commonly known as the CDM regulations 2007?
This question is self explanatory as it intended to investigate whether the duty holders were aware that the CDM regulations had recently been revised. This was important to assess as the questionnaire could not be filled in accurately if they were unaware of these changes.
Question 5. What do u think was the main aim behind the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007?
This question was designed in order to establish different duty holders fundamental understanding of the current CDM regulations. This was a very important question to ask as the response will reveal what the respondent is trying to implement and see if it is the same as what the HSC is trying to implement. This was important to know as it examines their understanding of the regulations which in turn will ensure improved co-ordination and co-operation during the construction project.
Question 6. I find the CDM Regulations 2007 clear on what is expected of me as a duty holder.
Question 5 worked alongside question 5. It is important for the duty holder to have a basic understanding of the CDM regulations; however it is more important for them to understand their main duties in order to reduce the risk of accidents within the industry. This question intends to establish the clarity of the CDM regulations and assess the improvements made from the 1994 regulations which enables the duty holders to easily identify their responsibilities. This is important to know as it examines their understanding of the regulations which in turn will ensure improved co-ordination and co-operation during the construction project.
Section Three: Successes and problems with CDM
This section of the questionnaire incorporated four questions with the results used to satisfy research objective five; to obtain views from stake duty holders on perceived success and problems involved with the CDM regulations. It was used to assess duty holders perceptions on the successes and problems surrounding the CDM regulations. There was a focus on providing the author with an understanding of both positive and negative aspects involving CDM; this will aid the author when concluding the overall effectiveness of the CDM regulations, highlighting both key problem and successful areas that should be focused on reviewing in the future.
Question 7.What indicators would suggest to you that revisions to CDM have been successful?
This question intends to clarify the main successes in the opinion of the duty holders that the improvements to the CDM regulations have made and whether these improvements are what the HSE intended to achieve when implementing the new changes. The aim of this question was to provide the author with the successful impacts the 2007 regulations have introduced to the construction industry that enabled the author to suggest potential ways of improving their effectiveness and therefore the health and safety within the construction industry in the Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations.
Question 8. In your opinion what indicators would suggest to you that revisions to CDM have been unsuccessful?
This question was designed as a sub-section of question 8. It enables the author to make comparisons of different duty holders perceptions of the improved CDM regulations. It was designed to discover the major issues relating to in-effective implementation of the CDM regulations which will enable the author to compare this data with question 7 and produce detailed conclusions on the impact of the 2007 regulations. The results to this question will help the author to provide a number of improvement that the CDM regulations 2007 can make in order to improve their effectiveness on accident and fatality statistics.
Question 9. Please select and rank the 2 biggest CDM burdens to you as a duty holder.
This question was designed to establish the biggest burdens that the CDM regulations bring to the construction industry.
Question 10. Please select and rank the 2 biggest contributors to improved Health and Safety.
This question was designed to establish the biggest contributors that the CDM regulations bring to the construction industry.
Section Four: The effects of CDM
This section of the questionnaire is arguably the most important as it feeds directly back to the research aim: “to examine, contrast and compare the perceptions of different duty holders in order to determine whether the introduction of the new CDM regulations 2007 have significantly improved the effectiveness from that of the CDM regulations 1994”. These questions were largely based around gaining the duty holders opinions on the main effects of CDM. It is the largest section of the questionnaire which is made up of eight questions that gather information which will enable the author to draw up detailed conclusions of the main aim and compare them to the effectiveness of the 1994 regulations. The questions were as follows:
What do you believe have been the main effects of CDM?
Question 11. CDM 2007 has helped bring about better coordination, cooperation and communication between various duty holders.
This question was designed to interpret the level of cooperation between duty holders. A major problem with the CDM regulations 1994 was the lack of cooperation between duty holders so this question should enable the author to comment on any improvement that the new regulations have made.
Question 12. CDM 2007 has helped reduce safety risks and occupational ill health risks.
This question was used to establish the respondent’s opinion on whether CDM has helped to reduce the safety risks. It was viewed as a very important questions as the responses reveal whether the duty holders agree with the HSE’s main aim that the CDM regulations reduce safety risks.
Question 13. CDM 2007 has helped increase on-site welfare facilities.
This question is quite self explanatory as it assesses the improvements CDM regulations have made to on-site welfare facilities. This is important to assess as satisfactory welfare facilities are likely to promote good morale, recruitment and employer retention within the construction sites.
Question 14. CDM 2007 has helped increase the number of competent duty holders selected.
This question was designed to assess whether the introduction of the new CDM regulations have significantly improved the amount of competent duty holders on construction sites. This was seen as one of the major problems regarding the 1994 regulations so it is important to assess the effects the regulations 2007 have had on this previous problem.
Question 15. CDM 2007 assists in minimising bureaucracy and paperwork.
This question was designed to find out whether the introduction of the new CDM regulations have helped in reducing the bureaucracy and paperwork involved with the 1994 regulations. The excessive amount of paperwork and bureaucracy was an ongoing problem associated with the 1994 regulations which if addressed appropriately would have an increasing effect on the effectiveness of the CDM regulations. It was important to gain duty holders perceptions on this in order to draw accurate conclusions.
Question 16. What key actions would you recommend to improve the effectiveness of CDM 2007?
The purpose of this question was to gain duty holders views on where the CDM regulations could be further improved. Although the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 have seen vast amounts of changes to the regulations, there may still be areas that have not been amended successfully and need further improvement. This question will enable the author to provide recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the CDM regulations in the conclusions.
Question 17. Currently there has been a reduction of 31% of fatalities on construction sites in the UK since 2000. The Health and Safety Executive hopes to ensure that the reduction of fatalities in the UK shows a reduction of 66% by 2010. In your opinion do you think this is achievable?
This purpose of this question is quite self explanatory in the wording of the question itself. It was used to determine whether the introduction of the new CDM regulations 2007 are likely to dramatically reduce the number of fatalities on construction sites and whether duty holders felt that the HSE’s aims were unrealistic.
Question 18. In your opinion do u feel that the new regulations have brought about significant change that will enable the CDM regulations 2007 to be more effective in reducing the number of accidents on construction sites?
This question was designed to make an early comparison on whether the CDM regulations 2007 are likely to improve the effectiveness from that of the 1994 regulations in terms of accident statistics.
Question 19. Please add any additional comments that you wish to make.
The last question was designed in order for the duty holder to comment on any relevant information that they wished to present to the author which may further help with the study, or situation / effects that the author did not acknowledge throughout the questionnaire.
The postal questionnaire comprised of 19 questions divided into 4 clear research sections; Background Information, Understanding of CDM, Success and Problems with CDM, and The effects of CDM.
Chapter Five: Results, Analysis and Discussion
This section presents and analyses the data collected from the questionnaire, identifying similarities and differences with previous work and discussing the relevance of this in relation to the aims and objectives of this study.
Although presented together, the results and discussion will be divided into chapters analysing objective 2, objective 3 and objective 4 in an order that corresponds with the questionnaire.
The sections have all been presented in a similar format; the question asked in the questionnaire is stated first with the responses presented in the form of a pie chart, bar chart, table or a graph. These results are then analyzed, interpreted and commented on. This chapter will follow with an end of chapter conclusion which will include a brief analysis of interrelated, reviewed and discussed responses. This will bring about key comments, similarities and statements that will provide an overall picture of duty holder’s perceptions on the effectiveness of the CDM regulations.
The analysis of results of certain questions involves comments from respondents that are not shown in the presentation of the results however the complete responses to all questionnaires can be found in Appendix A.
5.1 Contextual data of duty holders in the survey.
The bar chart above shows the range of the projects undertaken by different duty holders, the total range was from £50 thousand which was the smallest project undertaken to larger projects that cost more than £20 million. Almost 50% of the respondents suggested that there company carries out projects within the price range of £500k to £2M.
This data recovered will provide my questionnaire with a wide range of different size projects and companies from which my results have been obtained so there should be a variety of answers regarding the effectiveness of the CDM regulations. The below ( 4.4) shows the split between small, medium and large companies interviewed. (The classification between the sizes of companies was made up by the author)
4.5 above shows that the majority of the respondents have been working within the construction industry for a minimum of 15 years. This shows that the sample of respondents are likely to have a vast amount of experience regarding the CDM regulations and also means that they were working within the industry when the CDM regulations 1994 were first introduced, this should provide the author with a reliable source of information in order to assess the effectiveness of the CDM regulations. This chart shows that there were two respondents that were not practitioners within the industry when the regulations were first introduced.
Conclusion of section
This section shows that the respondents provided a mixture of data from all the different duty holders under the CDM regulations which was important to enable the author to compare the results, the data range also shows that the practitioners in the construction industry were well experienced and worked on a wide range of project values with most companies being medium sized.
Analysis of objective 2: “To establish duty holders understanding of the CDM regulations.”
5.1: Are you aware that the CDM regulations have been revised and are now commonly known as the CDM regulations 2007?
The results to this question show that all of the 16 respondents were aware that revisions to the CDM regulations had bee made. It is the authors opinion that the 4 duty holders that did not return the questionnaire may have been because they were not aware that CDM regulations 2007 were now in place so therefore they were unable to answer the rest of the questions.
In order to analyse the response of the duty holders answers displayed in 4.1, these should be compared to the main aim of CDM as set out in the Regulations 2007. The regulations however do not provide a definitive aim of the CDM regulations 2007 so the answers to this question are compared to a statement of intentions as set out in the Approved Code of Practice:
The key aim of CDM2007 is to further integrate health and safety into the management of construction projects and to encourage everyone involved to work together to:
a) improve the planning and management of projects from the very start;
b) identify risks early on so that they can be eliminated or reduced at the design or planning stage and the remaining risks can be properly managed;
c) target effort where it can do the most good in terms of health and safety; and
d) discourage unnecessary bureaucracy.
These regulations are intended to focus attention on planning and management throughout construction projects, from design concept onwards and help ensure that construction projects are safe to build; safe to use; safe to maintain, and deliver good value. (HSE, 2001)
As you can see from 4.1 above, 56% of respondents (9 people) commented that the CDM regulations 2007 were introduced to further reduce the number of accident and fatalities within the construction industry. 25% of respondents (4 people) commented that the main aim was to improve the planning, management and coordination between all duty holders involved in the implementation of the CDM Regulations whilst the other 19% (3 people) of the respondents suggested that the main aim was to discourage unnecessary bureaucracy and improve the competence of duty holders.
All three of the groups of opinions can be seen in the aim stated above which shows the respondents all have a high level of understanding of the CDM Regulations 2007 even though they have only recently been introduced. This high level of understanding should encourage these duty holders to implement these regulations successfully as they all understand what is aiming to be achieved.
The bar chart above shows that 13 out of the 16 duty holders agreed with the statement ‘I find the CDM Regulations clear on what is expected of me as a duty holder.’ These results show that the duty holder has a clear understanding of what they are expected to do throughout the construction project, which is important in order to implement the CDM regulations successfully. Of the 3 duty holders that disagreed with this statement, one was a designer, they felt that it was unclear on what health and safety issues the principal contractor could already deal with and what needs to be spelt out for them in order to ensure that there is a no accidents during the construction stage.
The other 2 duty holders that disagreed with this statement were both clients. They felt that there was too much responsibility placed on the clients under the new CDM regulations 2007 and as they did not have an experienced background within the construction they felt that that the regulations were not clear and descriptive enough on what was expected of them. This is further backed up by Joyce (2007) who suggest that the responsibility on the clients was too much, this almost caused a revoke of the regulations within days of the regulations coming into force, however this was revoked as it was felt that clients should be more responsible for health and safety issues. The results show that in general the regulations are a lot clearer on what they set out to achieve compared to that of the CDM regulations 1994, (………. Find author) suggested that the old regulations were unclear and were partly responsible for the number of accidents within the constructions industry.
Write about guidance helps duty holders understand what is expected of them.
Duty holder acknowledges clarity in the regulations and better known what is expected of them
Conclusion of section
The results provided for this section show that the majority of the respondents had a good understanding of the CDM regulations 2007 and were clear of what their roles and responsibilities under the CDM regulations involved.
Analysis of objective 3: “To obtain views from duty holders perceived successes and problems with CDM.”
The clear identification of roles and responsibilities;
Improved competency, knowledge and training;
7.1 above illustrates that there are a vast range of indicators that suggest the CDM regulations 2007 have been successful as suggested by the respondents. The doughnut chart above highlights that the distribution of indicators is fairly even with no particular indicator dominating the respondent’s answers. The most common response given was the ‘improved communication and coordination between duty holders’ of which 21% of respondents suggested this.
The second most common response was that 19% of respondents suggested that ‘reduction in accidents and fatalities’ indicated that the revised regulations have been successful. The statistics, however, published by the HSE for the first 9 months of the CDM regulations 2007 show that this is not the case and in fact there has been a 2% increase on the fatality statistics than at this period last year. The results presented in 7.1 can be interpreted that as there is a general even distribution of responses, the revised regulations have improved a number of different areas as they intended to do so which suggests that the revisions have generally been effective.
- Poor communication and cooperation
- Fear of enforcement and prosecution
- Training needs not being met
- Construction sites are not safer.
8.1 above shows the indicators from duty holder’s responses that suggest the revisions to CDM have been unsuccessful, the data shows that there are 3 main indicators which account for 69% of responses. This information presented shows severe contradiction to evidence
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