HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF A FLYOVER AT EKOM IMAN JUNCTION BY JULIUS BERGER NIGERIA
The Construction industry is an important part of the economy in many countries and often seen as a driver of economic growth especially in developing countries. Typically, construction industry contributes to 11% of gross domestic products (GDP) in most developing countries (Giang and Pheng, 2010). However many construction activities are inherently health and safety risks such as working at height, working underground, working in confined spaces and close proximity to falling materials, handling load manually, handling hazardous substances, noises, dusts, using plant and equipment, fire, exposure to live cables, poor housekeeping and ergonomics.
In an urban context, health and safety accidents are relatively higher due to the fact that high rise buildings remain predominant with the fast-growing complexities of domain-wide construction projects to cope with modernizing cities arena and high demand for housing, offices, services and other infrastructures due to the high urbanization. Despite its importance, therefore, construction industry is considered as being risky with frequent and high accidents rate and ill-health problems to workers, practitioners and end user, the construction industry has therefore earned the reputation of being a dangerous or highly hazardous industry because of the disproportionately high incidence of accidents and fatalities that occur on construction sites around the world (Smallwood and Haupt, 2008).
Internationally, construction workers are two to three times more likely to die on the job than workers in other industries while the risk of serious injury is almost three times higher. Health and safety therefore is an economic as well as humanitarian concern that requires proper management control. One of the most common myths that have plagued this industry is that health & safety comes at a cost. Construction managers tend to believe that introducing and executing measures that ensure health and safety in construction sector will lead to higher cost, and hence lower profitability. However, it has been proved that investment in construction health and safety actually increases the profitability by increasing productivity rates, boosting employee morale and decreasing attrition. Construction safety and health management therefore deals with actions that managers at all levels can take to create an organizational setting in which workers will be trained and motivated to perform safe and productive construction work. The system should delineate responsibilities and accountabilities. It should also outline procedures for eliminating hazards and identifying potential hazards before they become the contributing factors to unfortunate accidents. Health and Safety Management on Construction Project Sites.
1.2 Overview of the construction industry in Nigeria
The scope of the Nigeria construction industry is very broad, to including activities such as domestic, commercial and industrial building projects, road construction etc Such projects may involve new building projects, renovations, refurbishment, repair and maintenance, alterations, road construction and bridges etc. Construction projects may commence with the partial or complete demolition of a particular structure, and this may be particularly hazardous to the workers involved in the operation. Some larger construction projects may include the construction of roads and bridges, flyovers, water supply, sewage, canal, and river schemes. Some of the activities involved in construction projects include site clearance, the dismantling and demolition of building structures, the felling of trees, the dismantling of plant and equipment, and the disposal of waste.
Also, construction may include the use of woodworking machines and their related hazards. As mentioned above, some of the construction work may be hazardous, such as decoration, fabrication, cleaning, excavation, roof work, contact with dangerous materials, and the installation, maintenance or removal of certain services like water, gas, electricity, and telecommunications. And some hazards may arise from site operations, such as loading and unloading of materials, storage of these materials and the movement of pedestrians and vehicles. There are certain issues to be taken into account when discussing the construction industry. A majority of the sites normally used for construction work are temporary in nature, and during the ongoing construction work these sites face constant changes. Moreover, even the workforce involved in the work on the site is transient in nature, and most of the time there are less skilled workers receiving on-site training on various construction related issues. Such trainings need to be structured and supervised. According to Hughes and Ferrett (2012) due to the level of literacy among some of the workers involved in construction, the communication of occupational health and safety (OHS) information may be difficult.
Also, ongoing work on sites can be affected by poor weather conditions that may lead to the possibilities of the contractor facing construction penalties. Moreover, clients may be keen in seeing projects completed as soon as possible.
1.3 The Aims and Objectives
(1) To investigate construction site safety in the construction of a flyover at Ekom Iman junction undertaken by a firm Julius Berger Nigeria.
(2) Investigate the health and safety measures used on construction sites, evaluate the various hazards related with construction site safety
(3) Examine the challenges in the management of health and safety in construction
1.4 Significant of this project work
The importance of this research stems primarily from an underlying theme regarding health and safety, to develop an understanding of its structure within a construction environment and to proffer solutions involving issues of health and safety in a construction work site.
1.5 Definition of key terms
Health: Health is the process of protecting the minds and bodies of people against illness as a result of the mishandling of materials, procedures and processes involved in the workplace.
Safety: Safety involves the process of protecting people against physical injury. Health and safety are normally used together to show worry for the mental and physical health of the individuals at work
Accident: The HSE asserts that an accident refers to any unforeseen event that injures people or damages their health. It also refers to any damage or loss to property, materials, business prospect or the environment.
Risk: Risk can be generally defined as the likelihood of losing something valuable. Such valuable things may include social status, wealth, or physical wellbeing and health. Such values can be gained or lost depending on the type of risk taken by a person. Risk can also be referred to as the intentional approach to dealing with uncertainty.
Hazard: A Hazard refers to the likelihood of an activity, substance, process or person causing harm to another person, or anything of value.
Near Miss: The term ‘near miss’ refers to any incident or occurrence that could have led to an accident.