Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 1 HEALTH & SAFETY REPORT CIVIL ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT I Written by: Gonzalo Garcia-villalba 08028 – 169205773 Sofia Gumuzio Romero 08198 – 169220938 Francesco Lucioli Ottieri 07838 – 159290406 Aaron Joyce 08202 – 169156545
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 2 Abstract Health and safety is defined as ‘the laws, rules, and principles that are intended to keep people safe from injury or disease at work and in public places’ (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary ; Thesaurus, n.d.). This report provides a detailed and statistical overview of the current health and safety standards in the UK’s construction industry with an emphasis on how political factors such as the recent Brexit vote will shape these standards in future years. Insights into how technological advancements may improve health and safety both currently and in years to come are listed, and contracting companies may use this as a guideline to improve their safety measures. BBS (Behavioural Based Safety) is a strategic method that can be implemented by an organisation in order to improve health and safety measures; this report details how this approach works and how it can be adopted, with a given case study example of BBS in action.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 3 Contents Page Introduction 1. Current Health and Safety legislation in the construction industry and the potential effect of Brexit on future UK legislation. 1.1 Background 1.2 UK Health & Safety Legislations 1.3 UK will follow similar Health & Safety legislation post-Brexit 1.4 What Health & Safety changes might we see post-Brexit? 1.5 Two potential models UK will follow 1.6 Conclusion 2. Improving site Health and Safety by the use of new emerging technologies 2.1 Background 2.2 Workplace Transport 2.3 Waste Management 2.4 Other applicable technologies currently in development 3. What is BBS and how can it reduce unsafe behaviours in the workplace? 3.1 Behavioral Based Safety 3.2 Reinforcement 3.3 Observation & Feedback 3.4 Leadership & Goals 3.5 A good BBS program 4. Example of Behavioural Based Safety 4.1 Background 4.2 Case study Example 4.3 Applying the case study to construction Conclusion Bibliography
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 4 Introduction Health and safety is a crucial part of any workplace, in any industry; but it has always been of particular issue in the construction sector. Every year workers are killed on site in this country, with thousands more injured, all in preventable incidents which come as a result of construction activities not being sufficiently controlled. Yes, there has been significant improvement over the years, and yes, we are much better than other countries (over 900 migrant workers have died in Qatar between January 2012 and May 2014) (A. Copping, 2017), but that does not mean we should be satisfied with current efforts. 7 deaths are 7 deaths too many. We should be looking towards bettering the image of the industry, by creating a safer environment for not only the workers but the local community as well. Further motivation to do this should be the financial implications of poor health and safety; 2.2 million working days are lost annually to work related illness and injury (A. Copping, 2017). This is something we, as a company and as an industry, should strive to improve.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 5 1. Present a brief review of the current health and safety legislation that surrounds the construction industry with particular focus on the potential influence of Brexit on future health and safety UK legislation. 1.1 Background Every industry is shaped by EU influence in some way, including the construction industry, and hence its health and safety regulations. On Thursday 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Brexit has led to many discussions on whether the construction industry will experience changes on health and safety regulations. Clearly, the impact of the UK's formal exit from the EU on the construction industry and its current legislative framework will depend entirely on the terms which can be agreed between the UK and the other EU member states. At present, the UK´s H&S legislation regime is a combination of law derived from the UK and law formed from EU directives. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is the UK government body responsible for enforcing health and safety at work legislation and has been built by the following regulations. 1.2 UK Health & Safety Legislations § Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Focused on a safe operation and maintenance of the working environment; having access to a safe working place, adequate training to staff and sufficient welfare provisions. § Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 The regulations cover all aspects of the working environment, including: ventilation, the temperature of indoor workplaces, lighting, cleanliness of floors and traffic routes, falling objects, drinking water, clothing storage, facilities for rest. § The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 Ensuring that suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided free of charge, including protective face masks and goggles, safety helmets, gloves, air filters, ear defenders, overalls and protective footwear.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 6 § Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 Under these regulations, employers are required to report a wide range of work-related incidents, injuries and diseases to the HSE, or to the nearest local authority environmental health department. The regulations require an employer to record in an accident book the date and time of the incident, details of the person(s) affected, the nature of their injury or condition, their occupation, the place where the event occurred and a brief note on what happened. § The Working Time Regulations 1998 These regulations implement two European Union directives on the organisation of working time and the employment of young workers (under 18 years of age). The regulations cover the right to annual leave and to have rest breaks, and they limit the length of the working week. § The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities. Employers must also ensure the health and safety of the workplace, including for potential emergencies and adequate training for employees. 1.3 UK will follow similar Health & Safety legislations post-Brexit. The UK has been a leader in the drive towards stricter health and safety regulation with, for example, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and, more recently, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, both of which were UK driven and not EU imposed. The same applies to the sentencing guidelines, published for health and safety offences in February 2016. As a result, the UK has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU since the CDM regulations came into force just over 20 years ago. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the government would rescind these regulations without replacing them at least in part. If they were to scrap regulations that protect working people, it would likely be poorly received. Moreover, the UK has a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of individuals, so even if you get rid of certain regulations, the HSE and local authorities will most likely approach cases in the way that they always have done. Furthermore, they will continue to monitor regulation being developed in Europe and elsewhere. Under the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the UK ceded authority to the EU regarding the working environment to protect workers' health and safety. This transfer of authority would be difficult to reverse; the UK has come to expect certain rights and standard working environments in line with that of the EU.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 7 1.4 What Health & Safety Changes Might We See in Brexit? Changes will likely focus on eliminating what are seen as contentious ‘regulatory burdens’ where employers feel that they are at a disadvantage compared to other countries, or the cost of compliance is too great compared to the risks. The article, Health and Safety Post-Brexit (S. Thomas, 2017) debates possible changes that include: § The Working Time Regulations 1998, which are estimated by the Open Europe think tank to cost the economy £4.4bn each year. § Directive 2006/25/EC – artificial optical radiation, the requirements of which the UK has struggled to implement. § The Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 which were amended to include temporary structures and private households within the scope of ‘construction work’ in order to comply with EU Directives. § The requirement for Employers to meet the cost of eye and eyesight tests for Display Screen Equipment work. § The Agency Workers Regulations 2010. It is possible that other legislation could either be removed or heavily revised. In the medium to long-term, it’s possible, there may be a pressure on the HSE to become more of a consultative organisation as opposed to an enforcement organisation. It's inevitable that changes to workplace legislation will follow. Leaving the EU could give the UK the authority it needs to shape employment and H;S law, however, it is likely that political considerations will prevent any radical changes, at least in the short term. 41 out of the 65 new health and safety regulations introduced between 1997 and 2009 originated in the EU. Therefore, it may be that all EU-derived laws will need to be re-made as UK-laws. However, the UK has indicated that it wants to reduce existing EU protection including repealing a number of directives, removing the requirement for employers to provide eyesight tests for display screen equipment users and the need for small, low-risk businesses to make a written risk assessment. 1.5 Two potential models UK will follow The government is more likely to either follow an existing model for working with the EU or develop a model bespoke to the UK. One model in existence has been adopted by countries such as Norway who have joined both the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA) with the effect that their health and safety legislation complies with the framework directive. The alternative is the Swiss model, where Switzerland have not joined the EFTA or EEA but nonetheless maintain similar levels of health and safety legislation.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 8 2. Identify how new emerging technologies can help the company improve site health and safety. 2.1 Background As we have seen in section 1, it is a generally accepted fact that health and safety has been improving throughout the years. Statistical models such as figure 1, show that the number of accidents/incidents in the construction industry is decreasing as a function of time. As studied by Marsh and Flanagan (2000), the implementation of technology has been proven to increase industry efficiency and reduce costs. Nonetheless, they also point out that due to a variety of benefit uncertainties, the use of technology in construction is relatively low. There is thus a gap in the development of the construction industry that can be dealt with by further investment in innovation and technological advancements. By adhering to this method, it would hence be reasonable to invest in technological improvements and apply them to the betterment of on-site health and safety measures. Figure 1 – Incidence rate of fatal injury in construction per 100,000 workers (HSE, 2017) 2.2 Workplace Transport Workplace transport is defined as any mobile vehicle that is used in any work environment, covering common vehicles such as cars and vans as well work-specific machines such as forklifts and straddle carriers (HSE, 2014). The major advancements in transport technology, are generally associated with automation; driverless vehicles are capable of removing human error, and will soon be prominent in everyday city life (Adams, 2015). A recent prediction by Pascal Demurger, director-general of French insurer MAIF, places the accident decrease rate, due to driverless cars, at 90% (Kuper, 2016). Although vehicle automation on construction sites would definitely improve health and safety standards, it may be somewhat more difficult and costly to implement in relation to driverless cars and trains. However, the industry would still benefit from faster and safer employee transport as well as from increased efficiency in material
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 9 movement. New transportation technologies such as drones capable of transporting up to 30kg loads for prolonged airtimes are already widely available (VulcanUAV, n.d.). In the last five years, 16 construction fatalities have come as a result of falling objects; (HSE, 2017) the use of drones is expected to reduce this risk in the near future. 2.3 Waste Management Some of the major health concerns related to improper waste management on a site result from the growth of fungi, bacteria and infections due to the release of bioaerosols (Stagg et al., 2010), particularly from foods and organic waste. Technologies to combat this issue and streamline general waste management methods are currently emerging, and considerations should be made to invest in them. Biotech companies such as LanzaTech are doubling the welfare of innovative waste management by using patented microbes to convert carbon-rich waste into biofuel and hence energy (Balch, 2015). Another relevant waste material is asbestos; although its use in construction is banned in most developed countries, many older homes and buildings still feature the material prominently, and according to the Health and Safety Executive (n.d.), asbestos-related illnesses cause more deaths than any other work-related source. Despite the rigorous rules and regulations in place for safe asbestos removal, this is another area where affordable technologies can increase removal procedure efficiency. For example, Alert Technology Ltd. were the first creators of portable, accurate warning devices capable of locating airborne asbestos particles and differentiating them from other non-asbestos fibres in real time (University of Hertfordshire, 2014). Their product will allegedly be available soon and its use in our industry would greatly optimise many refurbishment and demolition projects. 2.4 Other Applicable Technologies Currently in Development Smart Helmet § The Los Angeles-based tech company DAQRI, have designed a wearable smart helmet which is the most advanced and powerful augmented reality device on the market (Mineer, 2016). Some of the many features of the helmet include health monitoring as it can be used to track the user’s heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen saturation and brain activity. The visor uses augmented reality to display data, measurements and even blueprints in real time giving the worker a hands-free experience without needing to use tools or take recordings, thus being able to use his hands for balance and protection (Willis, 2017). The device also features a proximity safety sensor to avoid impending physical dangers and a live thermal vision mode. Having data overlay available reduces the need for workers to travel back and forth from control rooms; Brian Mullins, DAQRI’s founder and CEO claimed that just with the latter feature power plants and factories can increase their productivity by around 40% (Sethi, 2016).
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 10 Active Cooling Vests § As most construction sites are located outdoors, in very hot climates, heat and radiation can be a very serious concern for workers. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration in 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illnesses, and 18 lost their lives (Wilkie, 2016). In fact, out of all heat related deaths, those in the construction industry account for over 40% (OSHA, n.d.). One simple but potentially very effective technology to address these issues would be with cooling vests. These clothing devices are often used to treat multiple sclerosis patients. Various vest types exist, the most effective however, work by pumping cold fluids or ice packs throughout them. Most are only functional for about 2 hours, so they should only be worn during the most heat-intensive times of the day, or they can be stored and used only as emergency relief aids (Glacier Tek, n.d.). These are relatively cheap items that like many of the other technologies discussed will only improve with further development.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 11 Antecedent Behaviour Consequence 3. Outline what is behavioural based safety and highlight how potentially (BBS) practices can reduce unsafe behaviours in the workplace. 3.1 Behavioural Based Safety Behavioural based safety is the application of human behavioural science and research as means of improving general workplace health and safety, (Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, n.d.). BBS has been used by companies for more than 30 years and it can be a great tool in reaching the Zero Accident Vision if it is understood and used properly. The Zero Accident Vision is a philosophy which states that nobody should be injured due to an accident (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, n.d.) and it is the ultimate, main goal of all safety programs. Behavioural Based Safety can have a great success in reducing the number of incidents and improving overall performance, however, it requires commitment from everybody, from the CEO to the last employee. BBS can’t be implemented in a company as a safety program, it works best in addition to one. The idea of behavioural based safety is that it wants to understand the reasons for why accidents are occurring and then tries to change the worker’s behaviour towards the hazards to obtain a safe workplace environment. BBS describes individual’s behaviour through an ABC model (HSA, 2013) (Figure 2). Figure 2: The ABC Model Antecedent They occur before a behaviour. Previous consequences can also act as antecedents as they can drive future behaviour. They may be an event or any stimuli. Examples of antecedents in a workplace may be policies, goals, guides, etc. Behaviour The visible action from an individual. How one acts affects his or hers safety; the safer one’s behaviour, the better the safety results.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 12 Consequence These occur after the behaviour. Depending on whether the consequences are reinforcing or punishing, they may increase or decrease repetition in behaviour in the future. Workplace examples can be feedback, recognition, goal achievement, etc. 3.2 Reinforcement Consequences can be reinforcing or punishing. Punishing consequences are intended to stop any undesired performance as they don’t cause repetition in behaviour, for example, to stop repetition of any unsafe behaviours. To achieve repetition in behaviour, consequences must be reinforcing. There are two types of reinforcement, positive and negative. Negative reinforcement is based on the individual wanting to remove something, if he wants to take something away he will behave to get rid of it. This type of reinforcement is fear based because the worker will only do enough work to elude a consequence. However, positive reinforcement is based on the individual wanting to gain something, he will behave to achieve a consequence. Workers under positive reinforcement will be performing at their maximum to accomplish, which will lead to long-lasting behaviour changes. 3.3 Observation & Feedback Behavioural Based Safety achieves the best results in working environments where there is good communication between employees and a high value for safety culture. A good BBS program encourages employees to observe each other and then provide feedback on any safe or unsafe behaviours. The article, Using Behavioral Safety to Improve Safety Culture (Joshua H. Williams, n.d.), shows the following statistics from 70,000+ surveys over the last 10 years: “approximately 90% of employees agree that you “should” give employees feedback when they are performing an at-risk behavior. Nearly 85% of respondents are “willing” to give correcting feedback … only about 60% of respondents say they actually “do””. Giving feedback is essential for BBS programs as it encourages behavioural changes in employees; if it is not delivered, unsafe behaviours will remain unchanged, causing injuries. Positive feedback is delivered to recognise when someone is behaving correctly, while constructive feedback is given to change someone’s behaviour to the target one. To achieve change from unsafe to safe behaviours that will last, positive reinforcing feedback must be regularly communicated between everyone in the company; managers, co-workers, supervisors, etc. creating a strong safety culture.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 13 3.4 Leadership ; Goals Successful BBS programs need strong leadership. Leaders act as role models to their employees and how they act can cause a behavioural change – a leadership with a strong safety culture will encourage safer behaviours in their workers. How they speak about safety, giving more importance to working safer rather than quicker, recognising when improvement has been made, etc. will inspire their employees. To ensure results in behaviour change, the leadership must make sure target goals have been set – “Most research shows that when goal setting is matched with feedback in a systematic way, the target behaviour change is even more likely to occur” (HSA-Behavior Based Safety Guide, 2013). These goals should be target behaviours that focus on the safety process and not on results. 3.5 A good BBS program BBS has been proven to reduce the number of incidents and improve the safety of the workplace. Various studies have analysed the beneficial outcomes of implementing behavioural based safety programs; for example, in the manuscript by Kraus et al. (1999) it was found that on average, BBSPs reduced incidents by 26% in the first year, up to 69% by the fifth year. A correct understanding and implementation of a BBS program achieves a safer working environment, but what is a good BBS program? The article, Behaviour-Based Safety: Setting the Record Straight (Agnew, J., ; Ashworth, C., 2012), debates the most common mistakes and criticisms towards BBS and states that an effective BBS program must include: § Involvement of both employees and management § Clear definitions of behaviours expected at all levels § Target behaviours derived from safety assessments, incident data, near-miss data and observation § Observation of target behaviours § Feedback on target behaviours § Target behaviours for supervisors, managers and executives to improve, including measurement and feedback on those behaviours § A process for identifying and remediating unsafe conditions (hazards) as well as improving consistency of safe behaviour The data collected over the years demonstrates that BBS is an effective system which achieves results by changing the employees’ unsafe behaviour towards hazards. Companies continue to invest in BBS approaches because in addition to creating a safer working environment and reducing the number of incidents, if done right they can also improve overall employee performances.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 14 4. Give an example of how typically a behavioural based intervention could take place. 4.1 Introduction A behaviour-based safety scheme in construction promotes interventions from the employees, encouraging individuals and their work groups to understand the health and safety of the site and the situation. It allows them to assess their own, and their peers’ behaviour, as opposed from the intervention coming from above. The theory is that the safety culture created focuses on the development as opposed to the end result, with the behaviour modification providing the platform for positive results (Townsell, 2012). 4.2 Case study example One case study of a behavioural intervention over time was the 2010 article by Myers et al., assessing the results for a 20-year behavioural based safety intervention in a petroleum corporation. Refineries are large and expensive facilities with huge workforces, but are also very dangerous sites. Numerous hazards come from the involvement of large volumes of dangerous liquids, solids, dusts, fumes, vapours and gases, posing hazards such as fires, explosions, chemical spills, heat exposure, polluted air and carbon monoxide exposure (O’Rourke & Connolly, 2003). It was therefore essential to have effective safety systems, that not only help protect the organisation, its employees, the community and the environment, but also prevent stoppages in the refinement process that could have huge financial implications. Prior to the consultation, management used traditional safety methods with teams being rewarded for time without incident. These result based systems, made to comply with externally established standards, are often ineffective, and create the impression that management aren’t concerned with the actual safety of the employees, but rather the safety ‘figures’. An analysis of the data from three years prior to the intervention suggested 96% of injuries came as a result of unsafe employee acts. Firstly, all employees were informed about the intervention, the rationale behind it and what it hoped to achieve. A detailed safety assessment was conducted to identify existing safety efforts, incorporate input from personnel and identify high-risk areas and activities. 10 employees, an area manager and a committee member volunteered to take part, and together they formed the design team. This team took part in a three-day workshop, in which they were trained on behaviour analysis and the behavioural safety process. Together, the design team and the consultants identified basic values the organisation was looking to achieve with their safety process, and then pinpointed practices that highlighted those values. For example, “continuous development” was one of the values selected, and to achieve this would require the organisation to commit resources to training and development. The team then
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 15 moved forward to create a safety process for each unit of the plant, specifically stating the values it is aiming to achieve, and the practices displaying such values. After the plans were presented to management, the design team, with the assistance of behavioural consultants, trained all employees from managerial level down on behavioural observation techniques and the reasoning behind using observation to measure safe behaviour. To overcome any resistance of employees to observer training, they detailed the company’s expectations by emphasising the value statements, and assured them that the feedback discussions were the primary purpose of the safety observations. Employees were asked to complete at least two peer observations per month, assessing performance against a checklist listing relevant safe behaviour, and then using this information to form a feedback discussion immediately afterwards. It was down to the design team to review the observations and the data in monthly safety meetings. The data taken was focused on three primary measures; frequency of observations, percentage of participation and types of safety concerns. After the data was reviewed monthly, employees received feedback; both verbal and visual. Any suggestions employees made, and actions taken as a result, were also posted. After plant-wide implementation of the safety process, the previously established safety reward system was abolished and replaced with a system that rewarded teams for reaching target participation percentages, and were delivered in the form of meals or small celebrations monthly goals were met. After the scheme was rolled out across the entire site, various further procedures were introduced. Each self-contained area dedicated bulletin boards for posting safety process-relevant information, graphs or lists of the three primary measures and campaign or contest announcements. Furthermore, a safety newsletter was introduced and distributed, as well as the creation of a website dedicated to the plant’s safety process. Finally, the plant management invested in the continuous improvement of the behavioural safety process. Injury data was recorded to view the overall success of the program. In the initial area of the plant, 24 months passed before the first recorded incident, following the intervention. On a wider scale, the incident rate of the whole refinery reduced from an average of 4 per year, to an average of under 1 per year following the introduction of the behavioural based safety program. Furthermore, employee engagement in the safety programme has remained high, as participation figures in the programme have remained above 60%. 4.3 Applying the case study to construction This example has been taken from an oil refinery in the petroleum industry, however the example of an intervention could easily be transferred to replicate a BBS scheme on a construction site. Like a refinery, a construction site, especially on larger projects, will have separate units where a safety process could be created for each, where the values could be implemented on specific practices. In addition, construction sites, like refineries, are particularly dangerous places of work for the employees, so a health and safety scheme that
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 16 relies heavily on employee involvement, is more likely to succeed as all the employees would have a vested interest in their own safety in a dangerous environment. This makes it easy to apply the system on large construction companies, operating larger projects, however what might be more difficult would be encouraging small and medium sized companies to invest in hiring consultants to implement BBS schemes (Salem et al., 2007). Core report word count: 4000 words not including 4 section questions and image captions.
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry 17 Conclusion The Brexit vote will eventually cause legislation to change or be rescinded, however, the UK government is likely to retain existing standards of health, safety and environmental legislation to ensure that they are seen to be at the forefront from both a European and global perspective. There are to be at least two years of negotiations, and in the meantime, all European directives and obligations will continue to apply to the UK. Since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the UK has been one of the countries most concerned on worker’s health and safety, creating new laws in order to adapt to the industry’s changes every few years. This policy towards safety is very likely to be maintained, which concludes that the new Health and Safety legislation post-Brexit will be very similar to the standing European ones. In addition, if the UK decides to take models similar to countries such as Norway or Switzerland, the Health and Safety regulations would be very similar to the present established ones. New, emerging technologies will be very useful in the near future for improving on-site health and safety, however, only the biggest companies are likely to take them quickly on board as they require a big investment. The construction industry contributed £103 billion to the UK economy in 2014 (Rhodes, 2015), but is largely composed by small and medium-sized businesses which are unable to invest in these technologies. However, time will make them more affordable and the use of technology in the construction industry is bound to increase. Today, more and more companies are prioritising health and safety and are developing a strong safety culture. Behavioural Based Safety programs are being implemented by many organisations because it achieves a significant decrease in incident rates, creates a healthier working environment and increases both efficiency and overall work ethic. Examples, such as the petrol refinery case study, where BBS is very successful in reducing mean incident rate and encouraging workers to totally engage with the safety of their workplace, are starting to become ever more prominent.
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