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Introduction to Safety in Construction - Summary
Safety is as simple as ABC and ABC stands for Always Be Careful.
So safety on a construction site is always a full-time job.
Safety is primarily a state of a fully conscious mind, and an accident generally happens in an absent state of mind.
There are several challenges to achieving safety on sites.
For example, projects are unique, and projects are most often multidisciplinary hence project sites are dynamic.
An Incident is anything that happens unexpectedly. And any incident will trigger either no impact or there can be a visible impact.
Safety is always defined as an absence of a danger or a state of protection. So an incident that is unplanned, unwanted, unexpected, or unfortunate, disrupts the work progress and may cause an injury or damage.
Unsafe conditions are hazardous and dangerous circumstances that could cause injury, property damage or death. Examples can be congested workplaces, dangerous soil conditions etc.
Unsafe acts are primarily ignorance of any safety rules. For example, the workers are not weary proper PPE, not even a proper safety cloth or even a shoe or a hat for working in a construction site. So an unsafe act it is an activity that is not done according to the safety standards.
Hazard means an inherent property or ability of something to cause harm. It is important to always report hazards immediately. Examples of top hazards in a typical building project fire, unsafe scaffolds, working platforms, open shafts and edges, unsafe electrical equipment, unsafe excavations, unsafe cantilever loading platforms, struck by foreign objects, falling objects, unstable or unsafe structural membranes, etc
Introduction to Safety Standards, Signs & Signals in Construction
A lot of researchers explored why accidents happen and have come up with some theories : Accident Prone theory, Goals, Freedom, Alertness theory and adjustments stress theory.
Researchers have talked about the evolution of safeties and specifically identified three:
The first one was the Traditional phase, primarily, it was on technology only. Then the Transitional phase which paid attention to safe work procedures, employee training programs, engineering controls and health issues and the third is called the
Innovative phase which is primarily based on mutual trust, organizational issues and OHS integrated into decision making, emphasis on risks and so on elimination of risks by including safety.
Recognized safety standards include OSHA which stands for occupational safety and health act, developed by the United States of America and then OSHAS which stands for occupational safety and health assessment series - a British Standard.
And then we have ISO, which is International standardization for organization, and the the BoCW act set up by the Indian government.
The OSHA act was a first act which came into practice for safeguarding on health and safety well being of the workers. It is important because until 1970, there were no national laws for safety and health hazards. On overage, 15 workers died everyday form job injuries.
Its mission as well as the numerous safety acts the subsequently followed is to save lives, prevent injury and protect the health of workers.
Signs are generally warnings of hazard.
Barricades are obstructions, so only selected people are allowed to enter some premises or sites
Signals are generally mobile communication to the workers, in the
sense they are movable communication to the workers when operations are such that sign, signals, barricades do not provide the necessary protection on to the workers.
Role of Stakeholders in Construction Safety
The three key stakeholders in achieving safety on construction projects are: Owner, Designer, and Contractor.
The Owner is the one with the an idea or vision to create a project and for whom a project is actually progressed and completed.
The designer is the one who translates the owner’s minds into a technical format and passes it on to a contractor.
The contractor is the one who actually know how to and brings in
equipment, labour, etc. and puts whatever the designer has given into an actual construction.
Undoubtedly, the contractor is the one actually going to execute the project and is close with the hazards so his role is very critical to safety.
The Designers can also design with provision for safety.They can think of what can be the possible hazards and they could give alternate solutions in design wherein the hazards can be minimized or at least eliminated.
The owner should have a clear objective on safety which is that there should be no death or no major injury on the construction site and this has to be communicated in the project through lot of ways.
The two major ways are: he can select a designer who knows how to design a project with consideration of safety, thinking of the hazards in execution or hazards in a construction site.
The next one is selecting a safe contractor and who can take care of their workers.
Since the contractor is the person who actually looks at the execution of a whole project and he is responsible for safety in the construction site then he also is responsible for preparing a safety plan and also for carrying out the plans.
Workers on a construction site also have responsibilities for safety since they are really the direct influence on any accident or when an injury happens.
Workers have the right to be shown to safety in the sense they should always have all access to health and safety information.
And they should be working in a healthy and safety environment which implies all the safety and health codes procedures, standards, whatever guidelines given in the project everything should be followed with proper care.
Safety behavior of workers is actually measured in 2 forms. One is safety compliance and the other one is safety participation.
Safety participation is nothing but voluntary in nature and self motivated. And example is joining in a training program and giving your best in learning and getting knowledge on safe procedures in construction site.
Safety compliance is a behaviour responding to mandatory standards or codes such as wearing PPE, it has to be in accordance to safety regulations or safety standards available in a particular place. So, safety compliance means workers have to follow some procedure or some behavior in a construction site.