Health And Safety In Building Sites Construction Essay

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This report has been based on the Communication and Management and it focuses on Health and Safety in building sites. In the beginning there is an introduction of why and how I am going to write this report. The problem statements are also listed to guide me the writing of this report. I define what health and Safety is on the building site, ways of how to plan and implement health and safety in the building site and why it is important to take extra more consideration on scaffolding on the site.

Key Words: Health and safety, refurbishment, demolition, instability, communication, planning, signs, clients, site management, coordinator and contractors.

Some Basic Definitions

Before a detailed discussion on health and safety in building sites, some basic health and safety definitions are required as defined by the UK's Health and Safety Executives:

Health- It is the protection of the bodies and minds of people from illness resulting from the materials, processes or procedures used in the workplace.

Safety- The protection of people from physical injury. The borderline between health and safety is ill-defined and the two words are normally used together to indicate concern for the physical and mental well- being of the individual at the place of work.

Accident- defined as 'any unplanned event that results in injury or ill-health of people, or damage or loss to property, plant, materials or the environment or a loss of a business opportunity.

Hazard and risk - a hazard is the potential of substance, activity or process to cause harm. Hazards take forms including, for example chemicals, electricity and working from ladder.

A risk is the likelihood of a substance, activity or process to cause harm. A risk can be reduced and the hazard controlled by good management.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

This report has been written as a compulsory assignment in the 5th semester Bachelor of Architectural Technology and Construction Management degree course that will enable us get 5 ECTS points and also prepare us to write the final dissertation in the 7th semester.

2.0 The Back Ground

Construction is one of the largest Industries from the Danish agency for trade and industry. With nearly 1 in 4 workers in the private sectors engaged in consulting, operation, maintenance of houses and buildings, production of building materials and construction.

The construction Industry has a world reputation for good quality of its work but still it remains to be the most dangerous in Europe and many other countries in the world.

Generally in the E.U which Denmark is part of, a record has been taken; in 2004/05 the fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers) was 3.4. In 2006/07, there was an increase of about 28% in fatalities in the industry.

Number of Accidents

Registration Year




Industry Group




01 Structural work




02 Erection and Demolition




03 Finishing Work




Figure Statistics of Accidents in Denmark

With this notification the construction industry has set itself a target to reduce the

There has been significantly increase of refurbishment works in the construction industries than of new construction. I agree that this has increased even more because of the recession time we are in; therefore most clients and companies aren't in a position to finance building new constructions. You will agree with me that most companies have been closed therefore supporting this point.

This then lead to the refurbishment projects. With this demolition and structural instability during the process can be considered among the most dangerous activities to be done on site and therefore a need for proper functioning health and safety strategic plan.

Problem solving statement on Health and safety in building site refurbishment projects.

What is health and Safety on building site?

How can one plan on the health and Safety on building site?

How the plan is executed in practice and communication?

Why Scaffolding should be taken into close consideration?

Due to greater risks of health and safety problems in refurbishment than new constructions as mentioned earlier the objectives of choosing the above problem states were to:

To determine why there are relatively high risks on health hazards on refurbished projects than new projects and the main factors associated with this.

To make a checklist identifying the issues to consider in managing the health and safety incidences on refurbishment projects involving demolition work.

To be able find out areas where guidance and various warning tools should be provided. Like incidences concerning logistics of receiving delivery trucks ,placement of cranes, unloading materials on site, storage and delivery of materials to each floor, controlling trips and slips and working heights.

To relate this report to a project done in Aarhus Denmark which we are working with in this semester: refurbishment project in Dannesbrogsgade 4, where there are many historical buildings and refurbishments works involving demolition and common.

3.0 Health and Safety on Building Site


As Denmark is part of EU, most of the health and safety regulations originate from Europe. European Commission maybe agreed by member states. The member states are then responsible for making that part of their domestic law. The main role of the EU in health and safety is to harmonize workplace and legal standards.

The Health and Safety Work Act for the EU countries covers management of the health and safety works etc

According to Lord Robens review of a provision of how the Act should be for the people at work.

The Act should contain general duties which 'influence attitudes'.

The Act should cover all those affected by employer's undertaking such as contractors, students, visitors and members of the public

There should be an emphasis on health and safety management and the development of safe systems of work. This involves the encouragement of employee participation in accident prevention

Enforcement should be targeted at 'self-regulation' by the employer rather than on prosecution in the courts.

There are 3 major parties that have various responsibilities to the health and safety in the building site.

Design from client and consultant

Planning by contractor

Safety consideration during execution

Clients- They are instructed to elaborate a plan for safety and Health on the building site. The client must make agreements with the individual employers specifying who will establish, maintain and remove safety precautions in the common areas which are: Traffic and access roads, storage areas for materials, garbage areas, working platforms, scaffoldings, shelter town, clearing of snow and gravelling, traffic light and working areas where several employers are working simultaneous.

Consultants/ Project Supervisors - who are undertaking the practical work of elaborating.

They should ensure that safety precautions are specified in tender materials to allow for expenses to be included in bids.

It is also the duty of the Project supervisor to inform the client about his obligation according to the work environment law in relation to the expected activities and volume of work. They should ensure that the project can be execute and later maintained respecting Safety and Health regulations in force at the time of design.

Contracting companies (employers) - who as main contractors are performing the practical work by creating the Planning of Safety and Health (PSH).


With this in place the guidance to influence Healthy and safety in the early stages is important.

Figure Ability to influence Safety and Health

Construction Site Issues and Control

Over the last 25 years, 2800 people have died on the construction site, this figure including children playing on the construction site. Among the major causes of fatalities are:

Falling through fragile roofs and rooflights

Falling from ladders, scaffolds and other workplaces

Being struck by excavators, forklift trucks or dumper trucks

overturning vehicles

being crushed by collapsing structures.

With these issues there is need for management and control at all stages of a construction project.

Safe Working Place

Access to and from the site should be safe. This requires that the all the ladders, scaffolds, gangways, stairways and passenger hoists are to be used safely. It further requires that all excavation areas are fenced, the site is neat at all times and proper arrangements are in place for the storage of materials and the disposal of waste materials. The site should be adequately lit and secured from intruders, meaning that the gates should be locked with appropriate notice posted. Suitable signs are also needed on the site- these may be health and safety, warning or directional signs. Below is an example of a site arrangement for a refurbishment project in Dannesbrosgade 4, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark.

Figure a Safe Building Site Arrangement

I will focus on the hazard and controls of Working on Heights since its with the most number of fatalities.


Working at heights accounts to about 50-60 deaths more than other constructing works and with 4,000 injuries. Some of the major causes of this are concerns of the level of risks of fall from heights and lack of adequate toe boards and intermediate guard rails on scaffolding and platform works.

To protect workers at height from serious injury, regulations of heights has been given to control:

Avoid working with heights if possible

To use an existing safe place of work

To provide work equipments that prevent falls

Mitigate distance and consequences of a fall

To instruct, train and supervise.

The employer is required to apply a three-stage hierarchy to all work which is carried out at height. The three steps are

This report was compiled and researched by Rosemary Nyamori. Information got from the guidance of the lecturers, visiting the library, going to the sites, asking the constructing architects and from the internet.