Construction Safety

Unfortunately the construction industry has become stereotyped as an accident prone industry, in fact only mining and fishing industries have higher fatalities. Depressingly, the accident rates experienced closely correlate to the level of activity within the industry, indicating that when work load is high, safety tends to receive less attention.

It is argued that construction management must have a prime concern for safety and therefore should have a moral, economic, and legal commitment to ensure workplace safety on sites. However the responsibility for safety must commence upstream of the construction phase of a project; architects and engineers must have the technical knowledge to design buildings which can be safely constructed, as well as a commitment to safe working conditions for site workers.

Construction Safety costs

To many managers who have been brought up to the importance of construction scheduling, and controlling costs, the economic aspect of safety is the most forceful. In construction the costs associated with an accident can be immense. For material losses in which no injury occurs the accounting of loss can be easily assessed; but where human loss is concerned, the costing becomes more difficult since life or a physical facility cannot crudely be financially evaluated, yet it has been widely recognized that monetary compensation to either the injured party or relatives in the event of fatality has to be paid.

Most compensation payments are paid by the contractor’s insurance company. Insurance companies will base their premiums upon historical evidence and a poor safety record will inevitably be reflected in insurance premiums.

However, the loss to a company by an accident can be broken into:

* lost working hours of an injured employee.

* Cost of repair or replacement of property damage, whether it is an equipment or an element of the permanent construction.

* Insurance premiums increase.

* Costs of Re-scheduling or even delay costs in some cases. Though, it was noticed that  contractors who use CM Reporter for construction delay analysis can reduce this effect tremendously for the forecasting facility and past performance analysis it provides, yet other safety costs would be inevitable.

Construction Safety policy

To generate safety consciousness within construction organizations, a firm lead must be taken by top management. It is recognized that finance and lost production are convenient measurements of accidents, but accidents should generate an emotional response, and if this emotion is genuine it will carry conviction. A safety policy which is founded upon compassion will more often succeed, since it will impervious to shifts and changes in construction scheduling and fashion and, consequently, will be less easily diluted.

Contractors should give careful thought to the role of the full time safety officer. Two basic concepts exist about this role:

* Safety officers should be advisers to site management

* Safety officers undertake the safety responsibility on behalf of sites.

In general the role of the safety officer shall consist of the following duties:

* Formulating the company’s safety policy

* Advising management on legislation and safety matters

* Assisting in drafting of safe working procedures and codes of practice.

* Reporting and investigating accidents with the preparation and analysis of safety records.

* Safety training.

* Safety assessment of site management.

* Inspection of sites to ensure compliance with safety measures (Safe working methods, proper use of construction equipments, protective clothing, and availability of First aid)

* Providing information to sites on accidents that have happened elsewhere on similar sites to help generate safety consciousness within working sites.

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