Health and Safety in the Construction Industry

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The construction industry is considered a significant contributor to the gross domestic product in a majority of the industrialized states. Construction has thus become an industry that is both beneficial to the country on economically as well as socially. The poverty levels in these nations have reduced since individuals are employed to perform different tasks based on their skills. Health and safety in the construction industry are two factors that continue to influence the industry (Zalk, et al, 2011; 121). This is crucial since the construction space is characterized by high accident incidences that end up being fatal to both the company, society and country as a whole. This report, therefore, looks into health and safety in the construction industry with a keen focus on auditing and recording methods.

            First and foremost, the workers are the most affected in any construction site as the building materials and designs could pose a threat at any given time. The degree of safety employed in the sector depends on the sets of accidents that have happened over time and not just a single misfortune. Therefore, the trends and patterns in crashes are vital in coming up with certain reports on the safety level assessments and the solutions to the problems as they arise. Hence, health and safety are primarily concerned with maintenance, promotion, and growth of the workplace surroundings (SÁNCHEZ et al., 2017; 210). These concerns are centered on overall mental, physical and emotional well-being so that the work surroundings are safe and free from actual and potential hazards.

2. Methods of recording inspections and potential risks

            As highlighted above safety in this industry is vital in ensuring a progressive workspace that is free of any potential hazards. Hence continuous checks will ensure that any discrepancies within the surrounding are immediately identified and mitigated appropriately. According to the Health and safety authority, the inspector on the site is required gather information and record the findings electronically on the firms GeoSmart Information storage system. The inspector is expected to follow a systematic process as they collect data and it entails highlighting employers name and address, date of inspection, the number of employees and comments related to the investigations.

            Inspections in the construction industry are thus recorded through the use of checklists. The checklists are standard within the construction industry as investigators can make on the spot recording of the findings as it helps describe inspections responsibilities as well as control the inspection activities. Additionally, one can systematically record every detail as per the different groups and classes presented at the place of work.

            Potential risks and hazards are factors that over six million people who work in the construction industry are exposed to on a daily basis. These potential risks include scaffolding whereby the workers are always at the risk of falling if these scaffolds are not correctly installed by the technicians. Based on the occupational health and safety authority, protecting workers from this hazard ultimately prevent the injury of over 4,500 workers every year (Yoon, et al, 2013; 209).

            Fall protection is the other risk that accounts for a majority of the fatalities in the industry. This risk is attributed to factors such as miscalculations, unstable surfaces and the use of faulty fall protection gears. Fall protection can thus be prevented by taking safety measures such as the erection of guardrails and the use of stable platforms to reach all the high working areas. Ladders also pose a great deal of threat to the workers since it’s the primary tool used in a majority of the workstation processes. According to OSHA, there are approximately thirty-six fatal injuries that occur every year regarding the use of ladders and staircases in the construction department (Molen et al., 2016).

2.1 Health and Safety Auditing

            Auditing is an assessment that is methodically documented to analyze the business process by measuring it against regulated policies that ensure health and safety criteria’s are in place. The crucial importance of conducting health and safety audits is to provide progressive welfare and wellness of the employees through systematic evaluations of on-site safety and health processes (Kemei, et al, 2015; n.p). Reviews also make it quite easy to identify loopholes within the structure and look for solutions that benefit the workers and employers as well as comply with the stipulated legal responsibilities.

            Furthermore, audits help reduce all the risks associated with injury or fatal trauma due to prior assessments that immediately mitigated any potential threats. Customers and workers are also more confident in the workplace since they can rely on the premise that any current and potential risks have been identified and managed during the audit review. The importance of safety and health audits is also evident in the ability to save more money (Muhammad, et al, 2015; 30). Initially, money could be spent on guesses since there was no clarity in the present problems. Nonetheless, audits provide factual and straight-forward assessments that indicate what needs improvements and upgrades.

            Additionally, audits are essential in future contracts and staff safety since they can confidently relay a safe working environment that has taken all the measures to ensure the safety of its employees. Audits are an indication that the potential employer top priority is to ensure that the workers are well protected against any harm that may occur during the line of duty (Williams, et al, 2018, n.p). As highlighted above companies can save much more when they invest in periodic audits since issues lurking behind the scenes can be identified and solved as soon as possible.

            The Health and Safety Executive is a body that looks into the proper regulation and implementation of safety, welfare, and healthcare in the workspace. This body was created in 1974 by the Health and Safety act investigates accidents within the construction industry whether large or small (Lekka, et al, 2010; 8). Hence the HSE gets involved in the construction business whenever there has an accident regardless of how minor or significant its effects were to the company. The involvement of the body is due to its role in ensuring that every company aligns its goals with facilitating safety and health. During the investigations, the focus is the cause and extent of the damage and more so whether the company has the necessary safety precautions in place.

            Besides health and safety executive also gets involved whenever a construction exercise takes more than 30 days with more workers joining the task force. The involvement ensures that it can oversee that the site of operation is safe and all the workers involved are taking the proper safety measures. The construction industry is characterized by constant inspections since every step during a building project requires systematic analysis before any further advancements. Relating to this argument internal inquiries are quite common since it looks to ensure that everything is moving according to plan and that ultimately they will meet their desired goals.

            The internal inspection system seeks to address all the issues outlined in project planning. The contractor will ensure all the activities taking place on the site align with all the aspects that had been discussed in the planning phase. This inspection correlates with the management of health and safety as it also looks to analyze the constructions compliance with the current health and safety regulations. During inspections issues such as electrical systems, sites present condition and protective gear will be part of the internal analysis that ensures that the location is safe and functional as well (Van der Molen, et al, 2015; 19).

            Health and safety remains a functional entity through the Plan, Do, Check and Act approach. These aspects bring the balance between systems and the behavioral side of management. Firstly, plan is the vital step that analyzes the current position and the desired destination.  The plan is mainly a list of how the goals will be achieved despite the current challenges. Secondly, do stipulates the three keys to a successful plan. The key include risk profile identification, proper organization of the activities and plan implementation. Thirdly, check measures the performance through ensuring the pans are implemented and the risks mitigated. Check also investigates the probable cause of accidents and incidents. Finally, act entails the performance review and a better understanding of all the lessons learned from the audit to the inspection process.

            Majority of the organizations from time to time require external contribution and resources to perform particular tasks. The advantages of subcontracting thus include the ability to hire one-off functions that need specialists, or that has a high turnaround rate. Subcontracting is a significant benefit especially regarding availability and flexibility in the workforce. Sub-contracting is also advantageous since they can start on the required task as soon as possible even when a considerable workforce is vital. Additionally, it gives the employees a chance to focus on the core aspects of the business as the subcontracts address the other issues (Vilasini, et al, 2012; n.p). The proper balance ensures maximum profitability since the company can maximize on both the permanent and temporary employees.

            On the other hand, the disadvantages of sub-contracting include poor work ethics. Despite that the sub-contractors are considered the best in the field, it is almost not a guarantee that they will deliver as expected. Lack of control since the main contractor has already delegated some of the responsibilities to the subcontractor. Impromptu delays may occur especially in instances whereby there are misunderstandings and or when the desired concepts don’t align with the present undertaking in the field.

3. Implications of Change in the Design Process

3.1 Introduction to Design Changes and Work Statements

            During any construction process change in design and work is inevitable as the processes are bound to change based on the impromptu project requirements. The changes in the method of work cause significant disruptions in overall construction processes, especially regarding cost and time factors. According to Yana, A. (2015), design changes are the primary contributing factor in the changes of a construction task. These changes have a high impact on the construction costs as the deviations amount to 78% of the overall changes, 79% impact on prices and 9.5% in of the entire expenses incurred during construction.

            The impact of changes in design could have positive and negative effects on constructions. Project delays are one of the impacts that is as a result of changes in composition as the contractors have to slow down the processes to deal with any changes. Regarding this, the risk assessment process is also likely to change because for every new design processes different assessments should be conducted to certify their effectiveness and relevance in a project. Risk assessment entails the monitoring and identification of the risks that a work environment is prone to on a daily basis. This factual and procedural process will have an effect on the tracking of health and safety aspects of employees during the changing process (Zou, et al, 2008; 387).

            Therefore, the changes will be monitored through the design of a risk mitigation plan that highlights the specific aspects that the new design process should follow to ensure worker’s health and safety. New assessments should facilitate the process of health and safety through looking into measures that apply to the specific work models. The construction process entails an active hazard management systems that are usually analyzed through a study of the method statements. The work statement is essential as it helps in the management of works and ensure that relevant measures are communicated to those involved. The report also ensures the proper cooperation of the workers, safe and functional systems are in use and identification of the vital health and safety risks.

4. Conclusion

            In conclusion, health and safety are instrumental in ensuring a workplace environment is a safe place where the workers can engage in their duties. Based on the above report, health and safety encompasses aspects related to the recording of the safety and health records as well as assess any potential risks within the industry. The principles of protection and health auditing highlights the benefits it will have on the future and safety of the works and the effects of change in the working model in monitoring health and safety. The construction industry has over the years embraced this model as a top priority in the company mission and objectives. Thus more research should continue in this field as the industry evolves and changes daily with new threats and hazards being experienced on the work front.    

                                    References

A brief summary of Plan, Do, Check, Act. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hse.gov.uk/managing/plan-do-check-act.htm

Agyeman, S., Asare, E.K. and Ankomah, E.N., 2016. The Effects of Design Information on            Reliability of Progress and Cost Estimates of Construction Projects: The Case of Two Civil        Engineering Projects. American Journal of Civil Engineering, 4(6), pp.326-336. Retrieved      from https://www.researchgate.net/.../283714629_Impacts_Of_Design_Changes_on_Construction_    project

Designing Buildings Wiki Share your construction industry knowledge. (n.d.). Retrieved from             https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Construction_site_inspection

Kemei, R.K., Kaluli, J.W. and Kabubo, C.K., 2015. Assessment of Occupational Safety and      Health in Construction Sites in Nairobi County, Kenya. Sustainable Materials Research         and Technology Centre, JKUAT. Retrieved from; https://www.iekenya.org/forms/papers/IEK_CONF_2015_6.1_PAPER_KEMEI.pdf

Lekka, C., Webster, J. and Corbett, E., 2010. A literature review of the health and safety risks    associated with major sporting events: learning lessons for the London 2012 Olympic and   Paralympic games. Retrieved from www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr811.pdf

Muhammad, B.A., Abdulateef, I. and Ladi, B.D., 2015. Assessment of cost impact in health and       safety on construction projects. American Journal of Engineering Research (AJER)        Vol, 4(3), pp.25-30

Molen, H. F., Herder, A. D., Warning, J., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. (2016). National evaluation of   strategies to reduce safety violations for working from heights in construction companies.         Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706718/

Sanchez, F.A.S., Pelaez, G.I.C. and Alis, J.C., 2017. Occupational safety and health in     construction: a review of applications and trends. Industrial health, 55(3), pp.210-218.     Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5462637

Williams, O.S., Hamid, R.A. and Misnan, M.S., 2018. Accident Causal Factors on the Building                      Construction Sites: A Review. International Journal of Built Environment and        Sustainability, 5(1).

Yana, A. (2015, November 23). Analysis of Factors Affecting Design Changes in Construction   Project with Partial Least Square (PLS). Retrieved from     https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187770581503324X

Yoon, S.J., Lin, H.K., Chen, G., Yi, S., Choi, J. and Rui, Z., 2013. Effect of occupational health     and safety management system on work-related accident rate and differences of occupational    health and safety management system awareness between managers in South Korea's     construction industry. Safety and health at work, 4(4), pp.201-209. Retrieved from: www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr811.pdf

Van der Molen, H.F., den Herder, A., Warning, J. and Frings-Dresen, M.H., 2015. National          evaluation of strategies to reduce safety violations for working from heights in construction            companies: results from a randomized controlled trial. BMC public health, 16(1), p.19.            Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706718/

Vilasini, N., Neitzert, T., Rotimi, J.O. and Windapo, A.O., 2012. A framework for sub-contractor        integration in alliance contracts. Retrieved from:     https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/73bb/a46d5b66b74f08e5ba295e2b925430f38b2f.pdf

Zalk, D.M., Spee, T., Gillen, M., Lentz, T.J., Garrod, A., Evans, P. and Swuste, P., 2011. Review of qualitative approaches for the construction industry: designing a risk management    toolbox. Safety and health at work, 2(2), pp.105-121. Retrieved from:     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3431895/

Zou, Y. and Lee, S.H., 2008. The impacts of change management practices on project change             cost performance. Construction Management and Economics, 26(4), pp.387. Retrieved       from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01446190801918714

October 24, 2023
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