Why Is Safety Neglected By Construction Workers Construction Essay

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The Managing Director of Shonacon Construction requires a proper investigation of management systems. He wants to find out why the construction safety has frequently been neglected. What can be done to improve the situation? He wants to find out the cause and how Company�s progress is affected.

A Literature Survey, carried out through subject journals, books and other sources of information, reveals that Construction workers must always keep their mind on the job. Safety equipment may differ from job to job, although basics like hard hats, safety glasses, gloves and safety shoes should be worn at all times. The use of illicit drug and alcohol is strictly prohibited on a construction site. Construction sites should be kept clean. Workers must be properly trained in the jobs they have been assigned. Workers must stay properly hydrated and know the locations of water in case of fire or a chemical burn.

Shonacon sites should be kept clean; keeping the site free of debris, garbage and rubble will improve work efficiency and reduce the chances of an injury due to falling or tripping. Workers should be especially conscious of sharp objects, such as nails, screws or glass. Most of the workers from this company were interviewed regarding safety in their department and raise what they felt should be improved. The interview discussion was focused on the causes of accidents and the attitude of workers toward safety on site. Factors influencing the needs for safety such as communication, span of control, working environment and productivity were uncovered.

The operation seems to be a problem for everyone. Further investigation shows that it is caused by the delay of safety equipment supply to avoid injuries. Communication is a problem in the workplace, span of control is not clear. There is a need for proper communication channels and span of control must be clear.

To improve safety and health, company must invest money in conducting workshops and educating its employees.

1.1. Introduction and rationale or relevance of research

� Safety at the work is a difficult incident, and the subject of safety attitudes and performance in Shonacon Construction is even more so. The Occupational Safety and Health (OHS Act), requires that construction sites must generally be free of unsanitary, hazardous, or that may be dangerous to the health or safety of any contractor and subcontractor.

� The employer is also responsible for accident prevention, by providing and maintaining safety equipment to workers and scheduling regular inspections of the construction sites, material and equipment used by workers. Shonacon sites should be kept clean; keeping the sites clean will improve work efficiency. Workers of Shonacon should be especially conscious of sharp object, such as nails screw or glass.

� The construction industry is one injury-prone industry worldwide in terms of serious injuries, lost work time indicator in companies and at their construction site is statistically inappropriate, as these result must often operate on an industry or national level in order to show statistically significant changes over time (Spangenberg et al 2002). There is need to supplement negative to and reactive feedback (safety statistics). Construction sites are hierarchically organized with site managers, foremen, and construction workers. The construction industry is characterized by traditional masculine values such as freedom, independence, resourcefulness, and toughness, with an often informal and oral culture of risk in which safety knowledge is tacitly understood without being openly expressed (wadick,2007; Baarts, 2004).

� Professional training of construction workers usually consists of practical on-site experiences. As much of training is based on hand-on experiences, work practices are based on traditions, often passed down through foremen and more experienced co-workers, who in turn also are self taught. Knowledge of an attitude toward safety often varies from worker to worker, and safety practices, norms and attitudes are continuously negotiated between workers and foremen (Baart, 2004). A foremen�s attitude to safety has great significance, and they are singled out as crucial element in endeavours to enhance safe behaviour at construction sites. A recent study provides evidence that foremen/supervisor have a strong influence on construction workers� safety attitudes than the workers� colleagues (Dingsdag, Biggs, Sheahan, 2008).

Picture 1.1 (Walking to dangerous plank with nails) Picture 1.1 (Dangerous plank)

1.1.1. Falls, stairways and ladders

o According to OSH Act, falls are the leading cause of construction site injury and worker fatality. Under the Occupational Safety and health Act, if an employee is working six or more feet above the ground or another level, the employee must provide fall protection such as safety nets.

o Stairways and ladders are also a major source or worker injury and fatality, according OSHA. Under Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must keep areas around ladders and stairways clear of obstacles, place ladders only level surface that are not slippery and sure workers use ladder and stairways safely and only for their intended purpose.

o Shonacon can reduce the chances of an injury due to falling or tripping by keeping the site free of debris, garbage and rubble.

Picture 1.1.1 (Climbing the ladder with cement in the back to rich on top of the roof)

1.2. Problem statement

Picture 1.2 (Jumping out from the Bob-Cat)

? Productivity is influenced by leadership and motivation of workforce the unfortunate situation unproductiveness affects the profit of the company.

? Government should make sure that he allows the qualified people to have company.

? The managers of Shonacon should upgrade the standard of work like to employ good Foreman/Supervisor.

? The operation on Shonacon IS a problem Foreman/Supervisor they do not care what woker do.

? Government should make sure that all company are inspected in terms of clean site and safety.

? Shonacon should know how to teach/advice workers when comes to safety.

? Safety at work is a difficult incident, and the subject of safety attitudes and performance in Shonacon Construction is even more, in Shonacon Construction the risk of death is 1 time each year, up to people are killed on Shonacon Construction site and there are about 4 workers who suffer from a major injury in Shonacon Construction related accidents.

1.3. Aims of the research

? The objectives of the investigation are to improve our knowledge of the understanding of Occupational health and safety risk control in Shonacon Company and Construction Industry. To identify implements to and factors facilitating the selection and implementation of risk control measures at the technological end of the risk control hierarchy. The focus of the study is on Shonacon Company.

1.4. Theoretical perspective

? Construction health and safety has long been the focus of attention of many industry stakeholders and role, players in South Africa and while it is a acknowledged that many industry associations and professional societies, contracting organisations & others have made significant efforts to improve health and safety within the construction industry, overall construction Health and Safety is not improving commensurate. Construction continues to contribute a disproportionate number of fatalities and injuries related to other industry sectors and there are continues to be high levels of non-compliance with H&S legislation generally and specifically the construction and other health and safety Regulations in South Africa. Prof John Smallwood, et al (1999)

? South African Legislation and the Construction Regulations- the primary Acts that impact on construction Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993 (OSHA) and the complementary Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No. 130 of 1993 (COID Act). The OSHA replaced the previous Machinery and OSHA No.6 of 1983, the machinery and Occupational Safety Amendment Act No.40 of 1988, the Machinery Act No.97 of 1991 and the promulgation thereof reflected the increased emphasis on health.

? A departure from the traditionally prescriptive or deemed-to-comply or command-and-control approaches to a performance based approach in terms of which no standards for compliance are set.

? The introduction of a new participant to the construction process, the client appointed H&S agent tasked on behalf of the client to coordinate the other participants and documents to facilitate better management of health and health on construction injuries.

? Mandatory H&S specifications and plans as instruments facilitating exchange and communication of H&S issues between all participants in the construction process, on all projects.

? Mandatory compilation of an H&S file by the principal contractor to be handed over to be handed over to the client upon completion of the facility.

1.5. Limitation of study and definition of terms

? A limitation and strength of this study is the limited �visibility� of constructions workers to their foreman. Construction sites are unlike many manufacturing departments, where a supervisor can have close and free visibility to his/her workers. Luria et al (2008) found that visibility (i.e. workplace layout) had a moderating effect on workers safe and unsafe behaviour. Higher visibility resulted in greater detection and immediacy; hence there was a greater degree of verbal exchanges and safety behaviour than in departments with reduce visibility. In the construction industry, visibility is relatively low, depending on site conditions, building types, and stage of construction. Some construction workers may work independently from their foremen/supervisors, with only periodic telephone contact to their foreman/supervisors during the week, whereas others supervisors may be on site several times a day although the visibility of workers becomes difficult as the construction process evolves (e.g. erecting walls and multiple storied structure).

? In all the construction sites in this study, restricted visibility was certainly an issue that influenced the results as the foremen relied on motivating safe worker behaviour through verbal communication rather than through visual or surveillance (e.g. camera) cues. Although a follow-up period was included in the study, the results should be interpreted with caution, as long-term behavioural change maintenance is a constant challenge. This is somewhat reflective of construction industry should also measure longitudinal effects by following foremen and their work gangs as they move from site to site.

Literature Review

2.1. Introduction

- Incident in the construction industry can be prevented by maintaining a good leadership.

- Where leadership is the ability to inspire confidence and support among people who need to achieve organisational goals (Andrew Dubrin-Principles of Leadership 2004 )

- Other authors define leadership as interpersonal influence, directed through communications towards goal attainment, an act that causes other to react or respond in a shared direction. The act of influence people by persuasion to follow line of action.

- Leadership is not only among people in high level positions it is a requirement in all levels in an organisation. A person in the organisation must have leadership qualities.

- Good Leadership in construction plays a vital role in terms of training while training is the key to prevent many workplace accident and injuries is frequent and effective employee training programs. These programs exist for virtually all construction safety components including fall protection, fire safety among others.

- Although many employers provide on-the-job training through their on-staff safety specialists, there are voluntary educational programs available for additional certification such as Occupational Safety and Health Act Outreach Training Program.

2.2. Groping of literature under appropriate headings etc.

Table 1 Example risk control hierarchy for occupational skin disease (Helen Lingard & Noni Holmes, Construction Management and Economics 2010)

Risk control hierarchy Control measures

Eliminate the hazard ? Use cement that has been supplemented with ferrous sulphate to reduce the soluble chromate concentration which can cause dermatitis.

Substitute the hazard ? Use water-based primers and paints rather than organic solvent-based products.

? Use proper application methods for each product. For example, if it says to use brush/roller don�t use spray method.

? Where possible brush/roller, application should be used instead of spray application for easier control of exposures.

Isolate the process ? If using spray application method, it should be done using a spray both with exhaust ventilation.

? Enclose spray area, Separating other work activities from this area will sure that other workers are not exposed to the hazards.

? Washing amenities should be kept outside the spray area zone.

Engineering controls ? When spray painting in spray booths exhaust ventilation equipment should be used.

Safe working procedures ? Manufacturers and suppliers should ensure that material safety data sheet (MSDSs) are provides to customers with each chemical product.

? Employers should use products from manufactures and suppliers who provide MSDSs.

? Employers should make sure that set of tools are used for epoxy resin materials.

? Employers should provide proper cleaning products so that they do not use organic solvent products like thinners and petrol to clean hands

? Use long-handled stirrers to stir paints or other product.

? Employers should ensure that all workers understand instructions, especially new employee and those with English language difficulties.

Personal Protective equipment

(PPE) � Employers should select PPE that is suitable and easy to use and take into account fit, comfort and applicability to the task. All workers should be trained in the correct use and care of this equipment. Employers should provide the right PPE and ensure that workers know how and when to use it.

� Employers should ensure that employees use respiratory protection gear if workers in confined spaces.

� Employers should provide appropriate protective gloves to employees for the particular product being used.

� Limit all skin contact with wet cement product by using recommended PPE.

� Workers who are exposed to the sun should be provided with appropriate PPE.

� Workers who are exposed to the sun should be provided with appropriate PPE-hats, clothing and sunscreen especially important with coal tar products.

� Barrier creams should be used to provide adequate and safe protection for the skin against the particular agents involved.

Table 2 Example risk control hierarchy for falls from heights (Helen Lingard & Noni Holmes Construction Management and Economics 2010)

Risk control hierarchy Control measures

Eliminate the hazard � Structures should be connected to ground level and lifted into position by crane (e.g. prefabrication of sections of roofs.)

Substitute the hazard � Non-fragile roofing materials should be selected.

� Fragile roofing material (and skylights) should be strengthened by increasing their thickness or changing their composition.

Isolate the process � Permanent walkways, platforms and travelling gantries should be incorporated across fragile roofs.

� Permanent edge protection (like guard rails or parapet walls) should be installed on flat roofs.

� Fixed rails should be provided on maintenance walkways.

Engineering control � Railing and/or screens guarding openings in roofs should be installed before roofing work commences.

� Temporal edge protection should be provided for high roofs.

Safe working procedures � Only scaffolding that conforms to standards should be used.

� Employers should provide equipment appropriate to the risk cherry pickers, scaffolds, ladders of the right strength and height and ensure that inappropriate or faulty equipment is not used.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) � Employees exposed to fall hazard, who are not provided with safe means of access, should be provided with appropriate fall arrest equipment such as parachute harnesses, lanyards, static lines, inertia reels or rope grab devices.

� Fall arrest systems should be appropriately designed by a competent person.

� Employees should be provided with suitable footwear (rubber soled), comfortable clothing and eye protection (sunglasses or reduce glare).

Research Design

3.1. Introduction

- Research is simply finding answer to questions, according to Dawson and Catherine; (2002:2) research is a habit of questioning what you do, and a systematic examination of observed information to find answers with a view to instituting appropriate changes for a more effective professional service.

3.2. Aims (or specific research problems)

- In the case of this study is to find out why safety is neglected by workers on construction sites. In doing this exercise sites are visited to identify what takes place in the context of safety. Identify similar trends in term of what is being neglected by workers and diagnose the problem to find cause to the problem therefore this study is a form of applied research.

3.3. Research method/s

- Most of the workers from this company were interviewed, Owner/Manager of the company, 5labours, and two safety office including general foreman.

- Due to the available time to conduct this study a quantitative study is used, relevant data is review especially the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a review of the aspects that is covers in terms of construction site. This is to establish basis in which the state of safety awareness in different construction sites that are considered for this study will be measured. This study should uncover elements that are overlooked by the OHS Act.

3.3.1. Ignorance/Neglect

o Nongiba Alkanam Kheni BSc, MSc. (2008:192) Many Small Construction Company owner/managers are ignorant of their obligations under the laws on health and safety. The skills and knowledge needed to start and efficiently manage a modern business, independent of the size and nature of business is a constraining factor for owner/managers who can neither read nor write. Although some of these owner/managers are seasoned businesspersons with business acumen, it has taken them a great effort for their businesses to survive in an industry sector where intense competition.

o To overcome many difficulties encountered, some owner/managers delegate some of their responsibilities and entrust key aspects of business administration to a family member. Supervision of the works on site and clerical work is usually the responsibility of the family member who has educational qualification(s). However, poor management of some business functions including health and safety do happen. Irrespective of the educational background, some owner/manager was ignorant of their obligations under the law. One owner/manager asserted that the Factories, Offices and Shops Act do not cover construction, contrary to section 57 of the Act.

o The Factory Inspectorate Department should not be blame for owner/managers� ignorance since it is severely constrained by lack of resources and logistic to create public awareness on health and safety law and its statutory functions. Owner/managers perceived the risk associated with their activities to be low because accidents were rare. Asked what problems they faced in the management of health and safety, owner/managers� response indicated they had little difficulties managing health and safety simply because they thought the risks associated with their work were very low.

Picture 3.3.1 (mixing cement with hands) Picture 3.3.1 (using skill saw with

A wrong way)

Picture 3.3.1 (carting the reinforce while person is in front) Digging, the height is about 3m deep

3.3.2. The set of questions used that were asked during the interviews. (Owner/Manager of the company, Two Safety office including General Foreman, and 5Labours)

? The purpose of the interview is to obtain your opinion on how you manage construction site health and safety and how health and safety performance can be continuously improved. The interview is estimated to last about 50 minutes.


? To Owner of the company

a) Can you please give me your Personal particulars?


Level of education���������.

Employment history��������..

b) Can you please tell me about your company?

c) Can you tell me a bit more why you started a construction business?

d) How do you manage the health and safety aspects of your works?

e) What do you think are the most important ways to ensure safety and healthy sites?

f) How do you train your workers in health and safety?

g) What are your company�s motivations for managing health and safety?

h) What are the Problems if any; you face in the management of health and safety?

i) Can you please comment on your accident statistic over the last five years?

j) What major incident occurred on your site over this period?

k) How has that change your way of managing health and safety on the site?

l) What are they health and safety challenges working on your own site as against working as a subcontractor under a principal contractor?

m) If your company is awarded a contract, how do you go about health and safety?

n) What are the drivers to improving health and safety on construction site in this country?

o) What advice would you give to local contractors wanting to improve their health and safety performance?

p) Is there anything that I might not have covered in my questions, which you would like to talk about?

q) Is there anything you would like to ask me?


? As we all know that time is money, I wish to thank you for the insights I have gained from your rich experience and for taking some time off your busy schedule in order to make this meeting possible.

? To General Foreman and two safety office

a) Can you please you please give me your personal particular?

Name ��������������...

Employment history���������.

b) What do you understand about safety and health?

c) Have your manager tell you/explained to you about safety?

d) Why your workers is not wearing helmet?

e) Do you organize a safety material for your workers like protection industry (musk), safety boots, safety loves, etc.?

f) How do you feel if someone is working difficult because of injury he got in site?

g) How can you avoid injuries from construction industry?

h) Is there anything you would like to ask me?

? To 5Labours

a) Are you Ok about your company?

b) Do you know what does Occupational Health and Safety mean?

c) Have you ever get trained about safety?

d) How you feel when you working without safety?

e) Why you all not wearing full safety?

f) Is there anything you would like to ask me?

Research Results

4.1. Introduction

The type of Personal Protective Equipment must be well-known by all people who are under construction sites.

� Clothing equipment, respiratory devices, protective shields and barriers

� Protect eyes, face, head, torso and extremities.

� Process hazards, environment chemicals, radiological, mechanical hazards

� Capable of causing injury or impairment through absorption, inhalation, physical contact.

� (Toole T.M. 2002:175 ) Personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn to reduce employee� exposures to occupational hazards and is required to available on-site by OHSA. In fact, new OSHA regulations dictate that where PPE is required, employers are now responsible for providing it. Otherwise, employers are ultimately responsible for determining the level of PPE their employees use for optimum protection. Hard hats, eye, ear and hand protection, earplugs and other protective equipment provide protection from falling objects, head injuries, sparks, dust/fragments and burns.

� Unfortunately, many workers choose to forgo this level of protection due to discomfort or disinterest. In response to this issue, many safety distributors now offer a range of comfortable and more fashionable gear to choose from, including eyewear that resists fog and prescription-strength safety glasses.

4.2. Unit of analysis

The regulations on construction sites for Care, Use, Maintenance and also Disposal of PPE

� PPE is available in various type and styles

� Make sure that the PPE assigned to you fits properly and snugly

� Clean PPE regularly, following manufacturer�s suggestions

� Be familiar with the life expectancy of your PPE and dispose of when needed

� Report and discomfort, problems or questions to your supervisor or safety manager

4.3. Discussion of results

What is the cause of neglect of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

? Ignorance on the part of the workers on site is one of the causes, as some believe the PPE disturb them in the execution of their duties, for example the use of gloves is neglected by most workers when using power tools such as drills as the workers claim gloves does not provide full grip of the tool. This should raise many questions, is the persons using the gloves that is not taking PPE seriously or the type of gloves used.

What is the cause of unsafely acts during execution of works on site other than the PPE?

? The use of tools wrong for certain operations this also present a challenge and from time to time it causes accidents on site it is a form of neglect that can cost the company millions of Rand.

Conclusion, Recommendation and Limitations

5.1. Introduction

? The Principal Contractor shall ensure that all site personnel undergo a risk-specific health & safety induction training session before start work. A record of attendance shall be kept in the health & safety file. A suitable venue must be supplied to house this training.

? The Principal Contractor shall ensure that, on site, periodic toolbox talks take place at least once per week. These talks should deal with risks relevant to the construction work at hand. A record of attendance shall be kept in the health and safety file. All contractors have to comply with this minimum requirement. At least one of the Toolbox talks shall be on any environmental related issues.

? All knowledgeable persons shall have the awareness, experience, training and qualifications specific to the work they have been appointed to supervise, control, and carry out. This will have to be assessed on regular basis e.g. periodic audits by the Client, progress meetings, etc. The Principal Contractor is responsible to ensure that competent Sub Contractors are appointed to carry out construction work.

5.2. Conclusions

? Chief/Principal contractors and relevant people must take precautions to ensure that objects do not fall on to or hit people doing construction work and people in adjoining areas. Adjoining areas could include a public footpath, road square or the yard of a dwelling or other building a workplace.

? Object including equipment, material tool, and debris that can fall or be emitted sideway s or upwards are considered as falling objects. Example of Falling objects include tools falling off a working platform, rock and soil failing into a trench, foaling bricks deflected off the side of a building, and concrete Pre-cast panels falling over.

? The key to preventing many workplace accidents and injuries is frequent and effective employee training programs. These programs exist for virtually all construction safety components including fall protection, fire safety and welding safety among others.

? Although many employers provide on-the-job training through their on-staff safety specialist, there are voluntary educational programs available for additional certification such as OSHA�s Outreach Training Program.

? The investigation is also based coaching and feedback to construction site foremen to increase their daily verbal safety communications with workers resulted in significantly increased levels of safety at the two intervention sites. In future studies, coaching and feedback of foremen could be carried out by-on site safety coordinators or other managers/supervisor, and changes could be supported and reinforced across organisational levels in order to maintain change.

5.3. Recommendations

- To improve safety and health, company must invest money in conducting workshops and educating its employee, on fire safety, first aider responsibilities, how to properly elect health and safety responsibilities, how to properly elect health and safety representatives, how to ensure every employee starts on the correct health and safety foot, how to conduct a basic risk assessment and so much more.

5.4. Limitations

- Constructions workers must be advised that, no alcohol and other drug will be allowed on site. No person may be under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs while in the construction site. Any person on prescription drugs must inform his/her superior, who shall in turn report this to the Principal Contractor forthwith.

- Any person suffering from any illness/condition that may have a negative effect on his/her safety performance must report this to his/her superior, who shall in turn report, this to the Principal Contractor forthwith.

- Any person suspected of being under influence of alcohol or other drugs must be sent home immediately, to report back the next day for a preliminary inquiry. A full disciplinary procedure must be followed by Principal Contractor or Sub Contractor (PC/SB) concerned and a copy of the disciplinary action must be forwarded to the P.C for his records.

5.5. Suggestions for further research

? By TENDER Health and Safety Specifications 21 09 06_2, The Principal Contractor shall ensure that every person working on visiting the site, as well as the public in general, shall be made aware of the dangers likely to arise from site activities, including the precautions to be taken to avoid or minimise those dangers. Appropriate health and safety notices and signs shall be posted up, but shall not be only measure taken.

? Both the Client and Principal Contractor have a duty in terms of the OHS Act 85/1993 to do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent members of the public and site visitors from being affected by the construction activities.

? Site visitors must be briefed on the hazards and risks they may be exposed to and what measures are in place or should be taken to control these hazards and risks. A record of these �induction� must be on site in accordance with the Construction Regulations.