Safety Risks in Construction Sites
As the economy of Bangladesh is developing, we can see major developments in the Real Estate Industries. There are new Roads, Bridges, Highways, Metro Rail Projects, Overpasses, Elevated Expressways, Industrial Buildings, Power Plants, Commercial and Residential Buildings being constructed all over Bangladesh. When such a project is finished and launched, it is admired by many. The architects, engineers and developers often receive all the glory and praise for a job well done.
However, we often forget to acknowledge the contributions and welfare of those who had worked hard in extreme conditions to physically raise the structure from foundation to roof, from start to finish. The day to day laborers, the masons, the crane operators, the steel and rod workers, the woodworkers, plumbers, electric and mechanical technicians, the cleaners and many more work long hours under potentially unfavorable working conditions to complete such projects. Often if such cases are overlooked, the working conditions might shift from unfavorable to hazardous.
Before starting, we need to take in to account one important factor which differentiates the construction site conditions Bangladesh from those of other countries. That is, Bangladesh is a country of six seasons, so the work environment is not stable throughout the years. Usually these types of projects might span over a period of 2 or more yeas depending on the size of the project. So, when considering Construction Safety, we need to set different guidelines for different weather. To be more specific, the guidelines should be taken into account for the monsoon seasons when there is constant rain and the often the construction sites are water logged or slippery; the summer seasons when the scorching sun might cause the workers to be dehydrated frequently and the winter season when the weather is cold and dry and often dusty.
Apart from these, there are other factors which may cause risks to the workers in a construction site. Let us explore some of those here.
- When working at high places: The potential risks while working at high places is one of the most common factors. Especially during construction or even demolition of high-rise buildings, one needs to follow the safety guidelines to avoid all types of mishaps, accidents, injuries or fatalities. The risks associated with working at a height are often increased during the monsoon season and even during summer season due to fatigue from working in hot weather. All workers need to be trained and made aware of all the risks related to working in heights and proper safety guidelines need to be followed like having safety harnesses and not crossing the safety barriers.
- Construction Materials Lying around: A lot of minor injuries occur from such cases which later becomes complicated. Injuries from Rods, Sharp Objects, or from simply tripping and falling over such materials may seem like a trivial matter to some but might cause fatal injuries in some cases. To avoid such incidents, the constructions sites should be properly managed so that no such objects are lying around in the working areas. There are international guidelines like the 5S which the site managers need to implement in the sites. At the same time, the workers, supervisors and everyone present at the site need to wear Proper PPE (Personal protective equipment).
- Overhead Hanging Objects: This is another cause of Safety Risks in Construction Sites. When moving an object using cranes or lifting any objects often the harness or the lock securing the object are not checked properly. At the same time, people present at the construction sites need to wear proper protective head gears to be safe from any falling objects.
- Electricity and Electrical Equipment: A lot of injuries or in some cases fatalities occur in construction sites which are related to handling electrical equipment. Sometimes it may arise due to not following the proper operational procedures of the equipment. Or sometimes due to keeping hazardous substance near the equipment or live exposed wires. All these situations need to be avoided and Proper PPE need to be worn by all when handling or nearby such equipment or Tools
- Health Factors: Apart from the apparent Safety Risks, there are many other factors which causes harm to the workers in other ways like the noise from the heavy machineries, or the dust particles prevailing in the site or any other airborne materials which might cause harm to the respiratory system. Vibrations from operating certain equipment, fatigue from handling heavy loads and many more. Proper guidelines for all those cases should be known to all associated with the construction project.
In conclusion, by being aware we can prevent a lot of Construction Site Accidents. There needs to be proper safety guidelines present which needs to be let known to all the people involved through training and follow ups. All the trainings and incidents need to be properly documented for future reference. At the same time, there needs to be regular inspections by supervisors and experts. External Consultancy Services might be taken when required. And Lastly, the examples should be set by leading the team. When the whole team is involved under a good leadership, then the process becomes easier to implement and follow.
by Siam Mim