Construction industry is an emerging industry that has a significant contribution to both the economic and social development of a country. Construction works are generally risky and pose a significant hazard to the personnel involved if proper care is not taken. Despite the fact, the construction industry basically aims at the completion of the project within the estimated schedule and budget thereby neglecting the construction site safety.
A construction work is a tedious job involving massive equipment, tool, machinery and hazardous substances thus posing threats to the workers working at the site. The various tasks associated with the construction works involve great risk themselves such as working at heights, excavation etc. Construction industry is one of the leading industries that contribute to the GDP of the country and provides employment to millions of people all over the world. Thus, it is utmost necessary to ensure construction site safety at all times.
Construction Site Safety may be defined as the preventive measures or the precautions that are adopted so as to prevent the occurrence of any accident or mishap at the site. Construction Site Safety basically includes the guidelines so as to ensure the safety of the personnel at the site at all times. It is the state of being protected from the risks and hazards that are likely to be encountered at the site. Construction Site Safety is an essential aspect for ensuring safe and successful completion of the projects.
Overview of Construction Site Safety
According to reports of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in ten construction workers are injured every year while the report of Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that there occurs about 150,000 construction site accidents every year. Workers between the age of 25 years to 34 years are most likely to get injured in a construction site accident. Due to the growing casualties, it has become necessary to ensure safety at the worksite right from the design phase of construction itself. Most of the construction site fatalities occur due to money-mindedness of the Contractors, unskilled labours, negligence, reluctance in using the protective gears and so on.
Importance of Construction Site Safety
Since the construction industry is a risky industry, utmost care must be taken. Health and safety must be given priority in every aspect of construction. The construction industry is prone to many hazards and accident potential. Construction materials, tools, machinery and handling techniques all pose different types of risks and hazards.
The most common types of accident which cause serious injury or even death in fatal cases on construction sites include falls, incidents with site vehicles, struck by, collapsing of materials and contact with overhead power lines. Some of the major types of construction site job include the construction of houses, roads, bridges, dams, workplaces and repair and rehabilitation works of the various physical infrastructures. The most common fatalities are caused by the fatal four: falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught in between two objects.
In the context of Asian countries, there are no strict rules and regulations to ensure the safety at sites and reduce the rates of construction accidents. It has become a general practice to neglect safety aspects so as to reduce the cost of employing the safety equipment and procedures. Also, in many, countries the workers are mostly unaware of the importance of construction site safety and also do not get the training on this regard. The main importance of construction site safety can be listed as follows:
1. To decrease the rate of construction accidents every year.
2. To increase the efficiency of construction works by safeguarding the health of the workers.
3. To prevent the mishaps and ensure safe completion of the project.
Important Safety Guidelines
Some of the important safety guidelines can be duly listed as follows:
1. Before the commencement of the project, the workers must be given adequate training regarding the safety measures.
2. Hazardous construction works such as blasting, excavation etc must be carried out under the supervision of experts only.
3. Personal protection equipment such as gloves, helmet etc must be kept at proper condition and must be compulsorily provided to the workers.
4. In case of any potential hazard at the site, the workers must be warned beforehand and warning signs must be placed.
5. Smoking cigarette at the site must be prohibited and unattended fire should not be left.
6. Any hazardous chemicals or construction materials must be stored properly in a safe place.
7. All the machinery and equipment must be maintained at proper condition and duly checked before use.
8. Floors and passages must be kept clean. If any liquid has been spilt, it must be immediately cleaned.
9. Adequate lighting must be ensured at darker construction sites.
10. Nails, blades and other materials must be kept properly and dumped in an appropriate place.
11. Construction workers that are subjected to extreme working conditions such as confined place should be provided with appropriate breathing apparatus or the working place must be provided with adequate ventilation.
12. Emergency first aid kit must be provided at the site.
13. Operational ready rescue unit and emergency equipment must be ensured at all times.
14. The scaffolding must be properly braced and checked before use.
15. Catch nets must be provided on unprotected sides.
16. While working at heights, workers must make sure that they make use of the safety belts.
17. While working at noise prone construction sites, ear muffs or other protective equipment must be used.
18. Workers who have consumed alcohol or are under the influence of such substance must not be allowed to stay at the site.
19. Projected nails must be removed immediately.
20. Site security must be ensured at all times.
21. The workers must be encouraged for becoming a part of the safety program at site and motivate them to make use of safety equipment and guidelines provided to them.