Safety And Health Aspect In China Construction Projects Construction Essay

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The construction industry is one of the most hazardous industries due to the unique nature of its products and the processes involved. It is claimed that Malaysian contractors in construction projects such as in China are expected to face various challenges that are different from our country. One of these challenges is related to safety and health aspects. Therefore, this study has been carried to address this issue. This study focuses on identifying the challenges faced by Malaysian contractors in China construction projects in term of safety and health standard. The methodologies uses for this study are interviews with expert panel and questionnaire survey. The interview is conducted among group of safety and health professionals working for Malaysian and foreign contractors in China projects. It was found that obviously Malaysian contractors in China projects have to confront with challenges in safety and health aspects. Among the expected challenges that had been identified in this study are diversity of work force in term of nationality, extreme weather condition, lack of legal requirements and different perception of safety and health standard. The finding shows that the procedures in China are quite typical as in Malaysia. However, lack of legal requirement makes it quite challenging among local contractors in China. Apart from identifying the challenges this study also develop series of guideline for local contractor to consider in their preparation to venturing into construction projects in China. As a conclusion Malaysian contractors should be more prepared to undertake construction project in China as the challenges are eminent.

Introduction

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Construction development in Malaysia is deemed to be reached its juncture. Mega projects has either completed or rescheduled in term of priority. It has become more complex and highly competitive for local contractors and this has paved way for foreign business ventures. Vast 'mega-projects' that sustained the industry over the past decade have been either completed or reprioritized. In addition, the dampening effect of the Asian financial crisis and the subsequent economic prudence is slowly taking its toll on the industry. At the same time, the growth of countries abroad from China to Kazakhstan is creating opportunities for the Malaysian construction industry to seize (Construction Industry Master Plan, 2007).

The recent construction development in China has become an attraction for contractors worldwide. Malaysian contractors in this case have shown good performance record and proved the rest of the world they have the capability and expertise in delivering in international construction arena. Nevertheless, Malaysian contractors' also offering world class technical and financial capabilities as well as project management skills at very competitive costs. Malaysian construction companies have successfully secured and implemented overseas projects (Hussin, 2008). Construction industry in China creates job opportunities for Malaysian contractors to benefit from. In recent years many multimillion projects were successfully completed by local construction players. To date Malaysian companies have completed 65 projects and are currently implementing 6 projects worth RM 645.82 millions in China. (CIDB, 2010). Table 1.1 shows projects awarded and completed projects by Malaysian contractors in their respective years which were obtained from Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB, 2010).

Negara / Country

2007

2008

2009

2010

Bilangan

Number

Nilai

(RM j)

Value (RM m)

Bilangan

Number

Nilai

(RM j)

Value (RM m)

Bilangan

Number

Nilai

(RM j)

Value (RM m)

Bilangan

Number

Lain-lain / Others

Bangladesh

Cambodia

China

Maldives

Mongolia

Pakistan

Seychelles

17

-

-

5

4

-

1

1

1,006.76

-

-

382.93

111.16

-

185.06

120.40

20

2

3

9

2

-

1

-

559.61

52.22

36.47

308.27

72.98

-

4.50

-

4

-

-

2

-

-

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1

-

146.17

-

-

84.01

-

-

14.47

-

2

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

Table 1.1: Number and value of projects undertaken by Malaysian contractors in global market by year of project awarded

From the table, obviously we found that numbers of project undertaken by Malaysian contractors in China is getting lesser since 2009. Therefore, we knew that doing business in foreign land was never been smooth. Local companies are struggling in securing a job and perform as agreed with their clients. At the same time complying with legal requirement in their host land is another great challenge. Statement by Leng (2007) confirmed that the key challenges for contractors venturing overseas are financing and the size of the company. It is also important to meet the expectations of the clients, consultants, while keeping up with the schedule, quality, safety and environmental aspects.

When a local contractor goes abroad they are prone to a greater risks and challenges and it is multiplied when they collaborate with many parties. Mahalingam and E.Levitt (2007) stated in their work that global construction that involves international collaboration could create conflicts and delays as the results of differences in perception of working culture and different level of safety acceptance level.

An analysis on global construction collaboration particularly on safety issues is deemed to be important to identify the challenges in implementing safety issue in foreign land, as this is crucial for the level of profitability, attractiveness as well as the overall success of a project and the betterment of the industry.

Problem Statement

Research out in many countries has documented that, in practice the top-management's commitment to improve the Occupational Safety Health (OSH) standard is often lacking. OSH remains a side issue, not as important as production, quality or even the environment. The responsibility for the company's performance in this important area is often left to the middle level managers than driven by the top-management (Arasan, 2001). This scenario is common in foreign projects particularly in China where there are a correlation between the middle management practices and the accident rates of the projects. It was concluded that middle management has a major effect on construction safety.

Safety is an important element in any construction management system. A good implementation of a safety system determines the success or the failure of a project. Malaysian construction safety and the implementation are somewhat different than in gulf and will vary from country to country. There is always a great deal of challenges involved in global project compared to projects performed in homeland and safety issues are one of them. Safety issues on global projects always have contradictions where it involves many participants of various countries. Performance by the participants in projects with different level of safety performance will often face conflicts. International contractors from developed countries might consider some practice to be unsafe or defective, in contrast to other groups for example subcontractors from developing countries who consider their work practices to be safe enough and vice versa.

At present years, there are many contractors operating in foreign countries. They have tailored their safety management system to suit their working environment in the host country. However for a company which venturing to overseas projects for the first time will face a lot of uncertainties in term of safety implementation. There is no a single guideline that solely covers on implementation of safety and health in overseas projects.

Challenges in global construction must be ironed out in order to have a smoother, cost effective and more efficient site performance. Multiracial work force in a global construction is inevitable and conflicts are imminent when different work culture from around the world work together and non uniformity of safety standards is the toughest challenge of all.

Objectives of Study

This study is aimed to address the issues related to challenges faced by local contractors in the spectrum of safety and health implementation in venturing into construction projects in China. To achieve this aim the three objectives have been determined:

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1. To identify the challenges faced by Malaysian contractors in China construction projects with regard to safety and health related issues.

2. To compare the compliance of safety and health procedures between construction projects in Malaysia and China.

3. To propose a general guideline for local contractors in meeting the safety and health challenges in China.

Literature Review

An introduction to safety and health will be studied in general which also includes the definition as well as a brief history safety and health. Besides that, the data collections will cover the development of safety and health in Malaysia and China. Nevertheless, safety management system of Occupational Health and Safety Assessment series (OHSAS 18001) and how it has been practiced in construction sites will be discussed as to compare the safety and health procedures between construction projects in Malaysia and China. The scenario of Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) in Malaysia, OSH challenges in Malaysia, construction safety and health in Malaysia as well as safety and health development in China will be studied and analyzed to identify the challenges faced by Malaysian contractors in China construction projects with regard to safety and health related issues. The purpose is to understand the issues and thus to propose a general guideline for local contractors in meeting the safety and health challenges in China. Therefore, they might able to success on the awarded project efficiently and effectively.

Brief Methodology

In general, this study will be conducted in three stages. Figure 1.1 shows the research methodology flow chart that will be applied in this research.

Literature Review

- History of Safety and Health

- OSH Challenges in Malaysia

- Safety and Health Development in China

- Challenges Faced by the Local Contractors in China

Problem Statement

- Problem Identification

- Objectives of Study

- Scope and Limitation of the Study

Data Analysis

- Content Analysis for Interview

- Score Mean Using SPSS

Data Collection

- Interview

- Questionnaire Survey

Conclusion

- Conclude the Findings

- Recommendation for Improvement

- Suggestion for Further Research

Figure: 1.1 Research Methodology Flow Chart

Research Methodology

In order to identify the challenges in China, an overview of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) development in the country is needed. For this purpose, literature review gives an insight view of this development. Documents were searched on guidelines, articles, journals, websites, construction safety and health development of the country. Keywords for the search are Malaysian contractors, OSH act and international projects. The sources of literature review comprised of research papers on safety and health development, bulletin on international conference on OSH management, websites related to China construction projects. The findings of literature review indicates that the challenges in international construction in terms of OSH are indeed creates problems. There will be two research methods will be using to collect the information acquired.

Interview with Expert Panel

The method is chosen mainly because qualitative research interview seeks to describe and the meaning of central themes in the life world of the subjects. In fact, interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant's experiences. For this research, there are estimated 12 respondents will be selected for the interview session. These respondents comprise representative of 12 local contractors and four foreign contractors. This eight of Malaysian contractors will be selected from different category namely subcontractors, joint venture contractors and main contractors. As for foreign contractors, the respondents are Malaysian who are based in China. The category of representative is main contractor and safety consultants. Information acquired from the interview session with 12 respondents will be related to China working environment, OSH practices challenges in terms of OSH implementation and other challenges. The interview session is vital for assessing actual situation and OSH development in China.

Questionnaire Survey

The questionnaire comprises of three important sections which enable to collect the most relevant information acquired from the respondents for further analysis purposes.

First Session

Foreign projects' profile consisting of project title, project duration, total numbers of workers and project site location. The respondents' particulars will be included such as name, age and post.

Second Session

The questionnaire will be designed further to obtain information regarding comparison of OSH compliance between Malaysia and China.

Third Session

In this session, the questionnaire will be designed to get feedback on the proposed guideline on overcoming OSH challenges for local contractor who are venturing to China construction projects.

For analyzing data and information obtained from interview session and questionnaire as described above. Two types of methods will be used:

a) For interview content analysis is used to analyze the feedback from respondents.

b) For questionnaire survey mean scoring method is used to analyze the collected data.

Comparison of safety and health management and proposed guideline suitability are base on a likert's scale of five ordinal measures of agreement.

Data Collection and Analysis

After compiling the information acquired from the research method, an analysis of the data collected and the results that can be made based on those data collected. In line with the research methodology that has been previously established, the data and the results produced are analyzed and discussed in fulfillment of the objectives of this study.

Discussion

The findings and analysis are being discussed and inferences are made in line with the three objectives of this research study. This is also important before drawing the conclusion. The discussion will be focused on the objectives of this study. Therefore, the compliance of safety and health procedures between construction projects in Malaysia and China will be compared thus a general guideline on safety and health for local contractors in meeting the challenges in China. A further discussion will be focused on different perception of safety standard and acceptance.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The findings and results from previous chapter will be analyzed to arrive at a conclusion. By assessing the data, interview results, questionnaire surveys and literature review from the previous chapters we may conclude the overall findings to determine achievement of the three discussed objectives. Few recommendations will be made for the betterment of the study in future.

Organization

Year

2011

2012

Activity

Jan

Feb

Mac

April

May

Jun

Jul

August

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mac

Literature review

Prepare questionaire

Conduct survey

Data collection/analysis

Reporting

Completion of project

A work schedule process is planned as to make sure the research can be completed on time.

Year

2011

2012

Activity

Jan

Feb

Mac

April

May

Jun

Jul

August

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mac

Review Manuscript

Hypothesis 1 tested

Hypothesis 2 Tested

Research Finding Manuscript

Honours Thesis Submited

Milestones

Expected Outcomes

The aim and three objectives of this study will be achieved through the research methods applied. Therefore, the propose guidelines will be useful and can be applied by experience and competent safety officers. In addition, the guideline might become an absolute solution for local contractors in order for them to be more prepared in tackling problems related to safety and health management in China.