The Organisations Health And Safety Manual Construction Essay

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Construction industry is the most risky and hazardous compare with other industry. Due to its risky and hazardous, construction is seeing as accident-prone industry. Therefore, accident will just happen from time to time during construction project. Accidents will just happen at construction site and at every where especially in high rise construction project. Reasons is time, cost and quality always become the main factors to be considered ahead of safety. A safety issue is always being considered as secondary in the construction. Many employers do not established comprehensive to the accident prevention policies but instead their more focus on maximizing the profit. They do not emphasize on safety because they cannot estimate the actual cost of an accident until it occurs. The statistics of accidents occurred in the construction industry indicate that the accident rate in Malaysian construction industry is still high and it give a picture that construction industry is one of the critical sectors that need a huge and fast overhaul from the current site safety practices. Construction accidents may cause many problems, such as demotivation of workers; disruption of site activities; delay of project progress; and adversely affecting the overall cost, productivity and reputation of the construction industry (Mohamed, 1999).

The first reason for this research is to understand appropriate management for safety improvements to minimize the accident rate in construction industry. Concerning the safety aspects within construction industry, it is apparent that the implementation of safety best practices is still far from good. An accident is an unexpected, unplanned event in a sequence of events, which occurs through a combination of causes; it results in physical harm (injury or disease) to an individual, damage to property or environment, a loss or any combination of these effects. Once the accident is happen, it may cause a lot of problems such as obstruction of site activities, causing delay of project progress and also affect the overall cost, productivity and reputation of the construction industry (Mohamed, 1999). Thus, if no safety and health management for the project, that project may totally failure and the cost for that project will become over budget.

Second, this research is to discuss about the hazards that may occur on construction site. Accident don't just happen, they are caused. According to Ridley 99 per cent of the accident are caused by either unsafe acts or unsafe conditions or both (Ridley, 1986). Hazards will also much contributed to the accidents. Hazard should be properly understood by safety players as well as construction players and workers. Many people were not much pay attention on hazard at construction site. Again, the stigma of the people was thought that the construction industry cannot be run away from the three 3-D syndromes namely dirty, dangerous and difficult. This mindset should be turning over to more realistic and harmonisation in construction towards sustainable construction and make the construction is rather creating wealth.

Lastly, this research is to discuss about the enforcement of Act and Regulation in Malaysian to the construction industry. There are few act and regulation related to this health and safety in Malaysia and this act and regulation are enforcing by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Although, extensive efforts have been taken in order to reduce the accident rate by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), yet the statistic data shows it still not seen any improvement in the number of accident on construction activity. Mostly in Malaysia, the construction industry is just follow the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 and Factories and Machinery Act (FMA 1967).

2.2 Construction safety management

Construction industry is the most risky and it contribute high accident rate that had cause fatality. Therefore, it very important for the industry to follow / apply safety and health management to reduce the accident rate issue. Accidents can be happen at any time, at anywhere, on any construction activity to any people in the construction site or else to outside people. Safety management involving few functions that include of planning, identifying problem areas, coordinating, controlling and directing the safety activities on site work, all aimed at the prevention of accidents and ill health (figure 1).

Figure 1. Safety organization and management must cover all aspects of the employer's or the contractor's operations

According to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson a successful health and safety management system consist of the following element which is policy, organisation, planning, measurement, and auditing and reviewing. According to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), they were mentioned that how to ensure the safety and health management become successful. "... successful health and safety management systems require the following components:

The organisation of all employees for management of safety and health

The establishment of a clear policy for safety and health

The safety and health performance be measure

The planning for safety and health by setting objectives and targets, identifying hazards, assessing risk and establishing standards against which the organisation can measure performance

The auditing and reviewing of safety performance and practice, in order to inform improvement." (Howarth and Watson, 2009)

According to Tey (1999), among the importance of safety is to minimise the probability of accident and disease from happen to the workers. Thus, the workers can perform their works more conductively and be able to complete the project as scheduled. It is also to ensure the progress of work is flow smoothly on site. If any accidents happen on site, thus the work progress will be stop temporary due to make way for the investigation to be carried out by the responsible authorities to find out the accident reason. Consequently this will affected the completion of the whole project progress.

In order to prevent accident happened, they must identify the causes of accident first then only solve that problem. There is a many of causes that will contribute accident to happen within construction industry. For example, struck by objects, fallings from height, electrical hazard and death cause by plant is the most happen accidents in the construction industry (MOM, 2009; US Bureau of Labor, 2009a). Also, various reviews of safety management in construction industry have revealed that insufficient safety measures and poor safety awareness is the major reasons for the high incidence of occupational accidents in this industry (Sawacha et al., 1999; Tam et al., 2004; Angela and Ines, 2005; Aksorn and Hadikusumo, 2008).

2.2.1 Health and Safety Policy

Safety and Health Rules, Regulations, Policies According to CSAO (1993), a health and safety policy is a written statement of principles and goals embodying the company's commitment to workplace health and safety (CSAO, 1993). It demonstrates top management's commitment to ensure safe working methods and environment at the construction sites. Koehn et al. (1995) states that in order to reduce financial risk, management support for safety programmes in both developed and developing countries should be considered as an economic necessity since accidents had proved quite costly to the contractor. This is in addition to the ethical and professional responsibility of the management for providing a safe work site for all employees. In Malaysia, The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and other government agencies have regulations that set down the legal requirements to ensure the safety and health of all the workers at the place of work. On the construction, there is different level of people work there; various type of activities to carry out and different types of plant and machineries to be operate. Therefore, health and safety policy is very important for the projects. Health and safety policy can be the guidance or manual of the construction site to make sure the people, activities and plant follow on construction site during the period of construction.

According to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), they stated that there is nine (9) commitments that should be archive while carry out the health and safety policy statement by organisation. The nine (9) commitments of the organisation are:

Recognise that health and safety is an integral part of business performance

Achieve high level of health and safety performance, with a minimum standard being legal compliance and cost-effective health and safety performance improvement

Provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement the policy

Set and publish health and safety objective, even if only by internal notification

Place the management of health and safety as a prime responsibility of line management, from the most senior executive to first line supervisory level

Ensure that the policy statement is understood, implemented and maintained at all level in the organisation

Ensure employee involvement and consultation to gain commitment to the policy and its implementation

Periodically review the policy, the management system and audit of compliance to policy

Ensure that employees of all level receive a proper training and is competent to carry out their duties and responsibilities

(Howarth and Watson, Construction Safety Management, 2009)

2.2.2 Planning and Implementation

Planning is a critical area in control and enforcement of a safety program (Goldsmith, 1987). It is a process that prepares, creates, implements and monitors the safety programme, thereby addressing the workplace health and safety through an organized, step-by-step strategy (CSAO, 1993). Planning starts with the company's written health and safety policy. It ensures that health and safety efforts of all job-site personnel really work by designing a programme that translates policy into practice.

Planning, as such, entails identifying the objectives and targets which are attainable and relevant, setting performance standards for management, considering and controlling risks to all employees and to other people who may be affected by the organization's activities, and ensuring documentation of all performance standards (Holt, 2001).

Based on Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), they mentioned that few important elements for planning and control the health and safety at construction site. They have summaries the important key elements for the construction site planning and control item of safety as following:

The organisation's health and safety manual

The 'pre-construction information' provided by the client and designer

The project health and safety plan

Site rules

Site induction

Communication of health and safety information and guidance to site personnel

Sub-contractor co-ordination, communication and co-operation, and competency management

(Howarth and Watson, Construction Safety Management, 2009)

2.3 Hazards and Risks

According to OHSAS 18001, hazard can be defined as "anything that could cause harm to people and damage to property, the environment and the combination of these". Source or situation with potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill health, damage to property, damage to workplace environment or combination of these. According to OHSAS 18001, risk can be defined as "the chance, greater or small that someone will be harm by hazard". Combination of the likelihood and consequence of a hazardous event occurring.

According to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), they mentioned that a hazard is the things that presented harm. In addition, by referring to Frederick Gould and Nancy Joyce (2009), they stated that a hazard is something presented can cause of injuries. Besides that, according to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), they mentioned that risk is the chance or likelihood that somebody will harm or injury by hazard.

Commonly, a hazard is a specific situation connected with a production process or a work process and is characterised by such a configuration or state of factors of this process, which may result in an accident at work or an occupational disease (Carter and Smith 2006; Hoła 2008). Regardless of the cause of hazardous nature of the construction industry, the presence of hazards is positively correlated with the incidence and prevalence of injuries (morbidities) and deaths (mortalities) (Pattron, 2011).

In the simplest cases hazards can be identified by observation, comparing the circumstances with the relevant information. A combination of the following methods may be the most effective way to identify hazards. Methods of identifying workplace hazard are including:

Previewing legislation and supporting codes of practice and guidance

NIOSH/ DOSH published information

Reviewing relevant Malaysian and international standards

Reviewing industry or trade association guidance

Reviewing other published information

Developing a hazard checklist

Conducting walk-through surveys (audits) and inspections

Reviewing information from designers or manufacturers

Assessing the adequacy of training or knowledge required to work safely

Analysing unsafe incident, accident and injury data

Analysing work processes

Job safety analysis

Consulting with employees


Examining and considering material safety data sheets and product labels

Seeking advice from specialists

2.3.1 Hazards by Materials

According (Howarth and Watson, 2009), accident may be occur by the materials when construction activity is carry out on site such as materials deliver or remove from the site. There is some potentials hazard cause by the materials on the construction site:

Use of hazardous materials

Storage of hazardous materials

Handling of materials

Removal of existing materials

Dust from materials

Spillages of materials


Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) which is incorporated into the Occupational Safety and Health Act and serve as a comprehensive and legislated programme that ensures workers to understand about the hazardous materials around workplaces. Moreover, according to the WHMIS system groups the hazardous materials into six classes or categories based on the type of hazard which is represented in Table 2.1. These materials are also called controlled products. Each category has its own hazard symbol and it is important that the worker be able to recognize those symbols (WHMIS, 2011).

Table 2.2: The Six Classes of Hazardous Materials and Symbols


Compressed Gas

 A compressed gas is a material which at normal temperature and pressure, packaged under pressure in a cylinder or other container.

 The hazard from these materials is generally arises from their chemical nature and sudden loss of integrity of the container.

 A compressed gas cylinder is usually quite heavy and when ruptured can become a projectile with the potential to cause significant damage.

 For example: Acetylene and oxygen


Flammable and Combustible Materials

 Classifying material that will ignite and continue to burn in air if exposed to a source of ignition.

 This class classified as a flammable gases, flammable aerosols, combustible liquids and flammable solids. Many laboratory solvents and cleaning materials used on this class.

 For example: Methane, acetone, aniline, and lithium hydride.


Oxidizing Material

 An oxidizing material may or may not burn itself, but will release oxygen or another oxidizing substance, and thereby causes or contributes to the combustion of another material.

 This type of substance gives of a large amount of heat when in contact with other substances. Also, able to support a fire and considered high reactive of these chemicals.

 For example: Ozone, chlorine, and nitrogen dioxide.


Poisonous and Infectious Material

These symbols represent the class of materials that pose the greatest potential hazard to our life and health.

Division 1: Materials Causing Immediate and Serious Toxic Effects

 These materials can severely damage our health in a single overexposure. Fortunately, few of our work areas contain this type of material.

 For examples: Cyanide compounds, styrene are very toxic substances.

Division 2: Materials Causing Other Toxic Effects

 This unique symbol identifies material that poses a threat to our health through long term exposure. Further, this material may be a suspected carcinogen or have other health damaging properties.

 Our labs, work areas and shops contain materials marked with symbol.

 For examples: Asbestos cause cancer, ammonia is an irritant.

Division 3: Bio hazardous Infectious Material

 This classification includes any organisms and the toxins produced by these organisms that have been shown to cause disease or are believed to cause disease in either humans or animals.

 For example: a blood sample containing the Hepatitis B virus is a bio hazardous infectious material. It may cause hepatitis in persons exposed to it.


Corrosive Material

 Corrosive materials can attack (corrode) metals or cause permanent damage to human tissues such as the skin and eyes on contact.

 Burning, scarring, and blindness may result from skin or eye contact.

 Corrosive materials may also cause metal containers or structural materials to become weak and eventually to leak or collapse.

 For example: Ammonia, fluorine, and hydrochloric acid.


Dangerously Reactive Material

 This symbol identifies dangerously reactive materials. These materials may react violently under certain conditions of shock or an increase in pressure or temperature or react violently with water.

 They may also react vigorously with water to release a toxic gas.

 For example: Ozone, hydrazine, and benzoyl peroxide.

(Sources: WHMIS, 2011)

2.3.2 Hazards by Movements Plant and Machinery

Most of the hazards in construction is more or less has related with movements plant and machinery, it is identified to be more significant at site involve in infrastructure works and industry building. In construction site, there is a lot type of plant and machinery be used during conduct the construction activities. The number of plant and machinery using in site is depending on how big the scale of that project. Therefore, the management team also need to consider of movement plant and machinery as one of the potential hazards while planning the safety and health.

According to Tim Howarth and Paul Watson (2009), there is some potentials hazard cause by the movement plant and machinery on the construction site:

Lack maintenance for plant and machinery

No proper separation for plant and machinery and pedestrian route on site

Failure to secure materials during hauling / lifting

Operating plant and machinery without authority

Operating plant and machinery by non-qualify person

Mechanical failure of plant and machinery

Lack of warning system

Lack of signboard / signage

Plant and machinery reversing, provide adequate stop blocks

2.4 Construction Acts and Regulation in Malaysia

Under the department of Ministry of Human Resources, there still has another department known as Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Normally, there is still has two Acts that need to be implement to the construction industry which is Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 OSHA) and the Factories and Machinery Act 1967 (FMA). This Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 is under Law of Malaysia Act 514 and Factories and Machinery Act 1967 is under Law of Malaysia Act 139.

2.4.1 Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994

Generally, OSHA 1994 policy is to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all its employees and protect others who may be affected by its activities. The management and staff will work together to achieve the aims and objectives of this policy through discussion / negotiation (conference) and cooperation. Specifically, the department policy comprises the following objectives:

To prepare a safe and healthy workplace;

To secure the safety and health of persons at work;

To protect persons at workplace other than employees

To ensure that all staff is provided with the relevant information, training and supervision regarding the methods to carry out their duties in a safe manner and without causing any risk to health;

To investigate all accidents, diseases, poisonous and/or dangerous occurrences, and to have action to ensure that these occurrences will not be repeated;

To comply with all requirements of legislations related to safety and health as stated in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, as well as regulations and codes of practice which have been approved;

To provide basic welfare facilities to all workers; and

To revise and improve on this policy whenever necessary.

The formation of OSHA came was upon three principles. The first was the need for employers to develop a good and orderly management system that starts with a safety and health policy. Secondly, employers, employees and the authorities must negotiate to settle issues and problems relating to occupational safety and health at the workplace. The first principle is self-regulation. To handle issues relating to occupational safety and health, employers must develop a good and orderly management system. Starting with formation of a safety and health policy and consequently employers have to make the proper arrangements to be carried out. The third and last principle is co-operation, where the success of the occupational safety and health programs will succeed with the co-operation between employers and employees. With the resulting co-operation, there will be an increase of quality of occupational safety and health at the workplace (Laws of Malaysia 2000).

The department is without any doubt certain that safety and health must be an integral part of our daily activities, and that the proper practice of safe and healthy working procedures would be the main factor in achieving the success of our mission.

Basically, the Act assembles by fifteen parts and consists of 67 sections.