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Small scale constructions usually involved in constructing small building projects and renovation of existing buildings. The construction industry is not a safe industry but unique and accordingly has many characteristics that separate it from other industries. Unlike manufacturing or service industries, construction is a dynamic workplace, one which changes rapidly and employs many itinerant project employees (Paulson and Charles, 1993). Unfortunately, accidents and fatal injuries are look like friends with construction sites. It is because, construction has one of the worst occupational health and safety records of any industry (Everett, 1999).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF RESEARCH
The purposes of this study are to observe and research of small scale construction sites in Malaysia and provide the data that show the cause of accidents or fatal injuries in this workplace. Nowadays, worker injuries have increasingly become a concern in the construction industry. Nowadays, smaller scale construction is not a safe industry. The workers at this workplace will deal with deaths involve with equipment such as a ladder, electricity, working platform and lack of intentions. According to Cruickshank (1994), contractors do not care about workforce safety and consider their employees to be expendable commodities. This is one of the causes that accident and fatal injuries happen in small scale constructions.
There are several factors that attribute to the accident and fatal injuries in small scale construction such as lack of understanding of safe work practice. Besides that, most of the workers are failing to use personal protective equipment (PPE) which had been prepared by the contractor at the workplace. Actually, personal protective equipment (PPE) is not likely to be present in smaller scale construction because of limited budgets by contractors. In small scale construction, designer and contractor have a big relation to safety. The contractors responsible to provide the machine that gets the project build, but need the support of the project team to get the projects built on quality, timely, cost efficient and safe manner. Jobsite safety is an investment and the contractor must take the lead in the process. (Richard & Robert 1999)
According to Richard & Robert (1999), the designer responsible for safety concerns on the jobsite seems unreasonable, but that is exactly what is being done. Worker safety requires support from the design team to become a reality. The designer needs to communicate clearly with the contractors in order to make sure that their design is intent for safe work construction. The site safety policy for permanent employees and the safety policy for contract employees should be complimented for each other (Kanterman, 1995). This is important in order to make sure that all workers are receiving the appropriate work safety. With bad safety construction record but still continue with same practise or training, the problem regarding safety will not solve until the end. Best solution for safety and health problem are improvement from all safety rule or guidelines before.
Harmful injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) also can occur to workers who deal with high forces, repetitive motion and vibration of equipment. This nature of injuries and illnesses has categories such as back pain problems, heat burns, fractures and amputations. By their nature, accidents are unplanned and uncontrolled events where this is simply another way of describing chance-caused events (Laufer and William, 1986). According to Abdelhamid and Everett (2000), the human factors approach holds that human error is the main cause of accidents and the blame does not fall on the human unsafe characteristics alone but also on the design of workplace and tasks that do not consider human limitations and may have harmful effects.
Accidents and fatal injury can be extremely very important because the effects on workers ability and capabilities to continue to work again if they safe from accidents. They are possibilities for workers to get permanent disability from accidents such as blind, broken legs and broken hands that will interrupt their abilities to finding money for their living.
Example of accidents from Abdelhamid and Everett (2000), the worker in this accident bruised his elbow as a result of a limb flipping from a brush chipper he was using and from the investigation indicated the cause of the accident is the man took an unsafe position or posture during accidents happened and the other factor is unsafe brush chipper. The researcher suggested that the brush chipper must be replaced and new rules for positioning during works need to be improved to make sure that this accident cannot be happening anymore to the workers.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
According to Slahor and Stephenie (2006), the problem statement is where you must write your problem, statements and needs assessment for your grant applications. They want the problem statement flow smoothly with a conclusion or in the other word hypothesis of study or research. An example takes that if people stick with their old rules and habit to get detrimental, sure that the problem still occurs if no improvement or another solution taken to change the old rules. All statements must be clear and precise to be investigated with the goals that researcher needed.
Small scale construction deal with equipment and procedures such as a ladder, working platform, bamboo scaffold, electricity and high places condition that can cause workers deal with dangerous condition and accidents such as fall from high place, collapse of concrete, fall of material and failure of equipment.
Refer to Phil (2010), contractors or designer of company place an enormous amount of trust in their own common sense to help inform their safety judgements and decisions. It is responsibilities to guide the workers with safety training and policy to ensure that accident and fatal injury will never happen again.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH
The objective of this research is to study on leading causes of accidents and fatal injuries in small scale construction industry. Each construction have a different cause of injuries such in small scale construction there are injuries and accident associated with working and climbing at height and falling object. (Ronald 1987). Besides according to Ronald, 1987, all engineer who working on construction site are unaware of their legal and ethical responsibilities. Many engineer lack adequate knowledge of recent legislation in the field of workplace accident and fatal injuries control. Each worker also identified lack of knowledge and information regarding safety procedures and legislations on the construction sites. This issue cause the highest accidents occurs at the workplaces.
The other objective on this research is to obtain detail accidents and fatal injuries usually happened at construction sites. The nature of accident or injury is defined as the principle characteristic of disabling condition. (Tycho, Mark & Helga 2002). There are several types of exposure accidents or injuries at construction which sprains and strains, amputations, fractures, carpel tunnel syndrome, cuts, punctures, tendonitis, bruises and others. Fatal injuries in small scale construction occurs such transportation incidents, contact with object and equipment and exposure to harmful substance and environment. Construction specialty trade contractors such as carpenters, roofers, pipe fitters and electricians all face a high risk of falls while working on roofs, ladders and scaffolds. (Tycho, Mark & Helga 2002). The highest risk of fatal injuries in small scale construction is work environment.
Another objective of this research is to provide solutions to minimize accidents and fatal injuries at small scale constructions. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is one of the protection provide for work safety at construction. This is usually providing immunity to design professional against third party claim. (William & Thomas, 2004). Other solution which can be found out is current practices and legislation. This is referring to the current inspection on site construction. Most contractors agree that such inspection never take place. Inspection can be made by site engineers that work for the owners or ownerââ‚¬â„¢s representative. (Al- Humaidi & Hadipriono, 2010). Besides of that, management should provide a safety program to ensure all workers always provided of knowledge on safety workplace.
SCOPE OF RESEARCH
The scope of this study is to study and get information of accidents and fatal injuries happened in the small scale construction companies in Redan Engineering and Pelangi Mercu Enterprise located at Rompin, Pahang. This study will be implemented at all of construction sites handled by these two companies all over Malaysia. The method or renovation to be made as solutions to decrease this problem would probably fit only to Redan Engineering and Pelangi Mercu Enterprise.
Accidents and fatal injuries are not strangers in construction industry. Most people did not understand what is exactly happen in construction sites and also simply do not care. A safety culture does not have in small construction which is cause an accident and fatal injuries. In order for construction safety to improve, contractor must take more active role in day and certainly no fatalities (Minter, 1993).
According to Tariq & John, 2000, accidents and fatal injuries occur in construction because of contractors are fail to identify an unsafe condition that exist before an activity was started or that developed after an activity was started. Besides that, contractors decide to proceed with work activity after they identified an existing unsafe condition. Then, contractors are deciding to act unsafe regardless of initial conditions of the work environment. Actually, accident and fatal injuries occurs in small construction because of different reasons and also different issues. The unsafe conditions of construction sites face the worker an unsafe condition of work environment.
An unsafe condition is a condition that refers to the physical of the workplace layout and location, the condition of the tools, equipment, and material are must in violation of safety standard. For example of unsafe conditions is included open sided floors, defective ladders, improperly constructed scaffolds, protruding ends of reinforcing rods, protruding nails and wire ties, unshored trenches, defective equipment, overloaded tools or equipment, unprotected explosive material, ungrounded electrical tools and flying materials. (Tariq & John, 2000)
Workers themselves also contribute to the unsafe condition which is occurs when workers fail to identified the unsafe condition at the construction site. Workers who fail to identify the unsafe condition means they did not have a consideration of any risk and any potential accidents or fatal injuries. Management must take an action regarding to investigate the workers for act unsafe in order to make sure the unsafe condition can be detected before an activity started.
Here are the possible causes of accidents and fatal injuries which occurs at the construction sites. Two factors can be relate to the accident and fatal injuries in construction which human factors or unsafe act and physical factor or unsafe condition. The causes of accidents and fatal injuries by human factors such failed to secure and warn, failed to wear personal protective equipment, horseplay, operated equipment without authority, operated at unsafe speed, personal factor, remove safety device, serviced moving, energized equipment, took unsafe position or posture, used defective tool or equipment and disregard known prescribed procedures.
The causes of accidents and fatal injuries by physical factors are defects of accidents source, dress or apparel hazard, environmental hazard, fire hazard, hazardous arrangement, hazardous method, housekeeping hazard, improper assignment of personnel, inadequately guarded and public hazard. (Tariq & John, 2000)
Workers who lacks of training or knowledge about construction sites contribute a lot on unsafe act at the construction workplace. Management should play high responsibility in order to make sure that the safety of workers at the construction sites always in high conditions and this matter are very important to avoid highest total of accidents and fatal injuries in constructions sites.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESEARCH
The significance of this study is to study and get information of accidents and fatal injuries at small scale construction sites. From the information and research, the solutions to minimize and decrease accidents and fatal injuries will be developed from improvements on safety program elements, site policy and all that related to safety and health at construction sites. Human factors and interaction between workers, equipment and procedures will be countered to provide the best solutions.
The government needs to impose the strict rules, regulation and construction related standards such as Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in order to improve the safety level in small construction. According to Al-Humaidi & Tan, modification of local codes and legislation of on-site safety practices will also improve safety on construction sites such as modification will be beneficial if lessons learned from prior accidents are taken into consideration. Improvement of on-site supervision and control should prevent accidents. Minimal monetary settlement of injury and death cases contributes to the negligence of contractors and subcontractors.
Management of the constructors who involved in any project is responsible for the safety level on the site which includes all personnel working on site safety and public safety. Safety management is importantly needed at the site project to make sure that the construction activities are prevent from the unsafe condition. The management, site engineer and construction workers are important to have a safety education. Management or employers must train all the workers on the construction site in order to recognize the develop accidents and fatal injuries. Besides, management must make sure that the suitable person performs their works by designated duties of the position. Inspection by period also importantly to do to make sure that safety precautions are conducted.
Besides, according to Gregg, 1992, all contractors also should create a safety and health program which could be a model as a guidelines developed by Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The program should be performed oriented and general enough to cover a complete range of projects. It is must cover the basics of personal protective equipment, proper use of tools and power equipment and safe work practices. The program also must contains the practical that exceed OSHA requirement which employees or workers must wear hardhats from start to finish of a project, even if there is no threat of objects falling from above and use aluminium ladders better than wooden ladders.
In the meantime, it is a priority to the management to provide site specific safety training and develops a site specific safety plan. This plan should be kept at the construction site which includes information in safety responsibility, emergency procedures and safety goals. This can be upgrade from project to project. Management must take an action to make sure that all the workers are responsible, discipline and follow the safety procedures as what the safety programs develop by OSHA.
The significant of this study also to identify and get the information on how the management ability to prevent the unsafe condition of construction site from accidents and fatal injury. In this matter, management are responsible to evaluate of site condition. This is to make sure that all of the workers in safe condition from any hazardous condition. According to Michael Toole, 2002, management must observe the work of the workers regularly to ensure that the work is accomplished within productivity and quality goals.