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PROGRAMME : EXECUTIVE

DIPLOMA in
PROJECT MANAGEMENT

MODULE : MODULE 5:
Occupational Safety and Environmental
Parameters

FACILITATOR : Lt. Kol. Ahmad Zubir

MATRIX ID : JX78946HP702

DATE OF SUBMISSION : Feb 23, 2009


Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Summary...................................................................................................3
2 Occupational Safety and Health....................................................................................6
2.1 What is occupational safety and health?....................................................................6
2.1.1 Occupational Safety and Health Act .................................................................7
3 Factors and failures in implementing occupational safety and health programs.....9
3.1.1 Attitude of Site Management Team....................................................................9
3.1.2 Lack of Enforcement by Proper Authority..........................................................9
3.1.3 Ineffective Safety Campaign.............................................................................10
3.1.4 Inadequate Safety Training and Course............................................................10
3.1.5 Incompetent Safety Officer...............................................................................10
4 Steps and Measure to overcome problems of occupational safety and health........10
4.1.1 Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OHS-MS).................11
4.1.2 OHSAS 18001: 1996 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series)...12
4.1.3 Application of Occupational Safety and Health in different countries.............14
5 Conclusion.....................................................................................................................16
6 Appendixes.....................................................................................................................18
7 References .....................................................................................................................20

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

1 Introduction Summary
Implementing occupational safety and health programs in many construction sites
are easier said than done. Please discuss what are the problems faced and what
steps/ measures to be taken to overcome these problems.

In an industry where it is the largest contributor to labor consumption, the

construction industry is renowned for its occupational hazards. It is an industry that is

more commonly related to risky, hazardous and unsafe. The occupational hazard of the

industry relates to the number of high incidences of accidents and fatalities that occur

globally on construction sites. Also, situations, tools, or other elements may be either

imminently dangerous referring to an impending or immediate risk such as a bare

electrical cord, or inherently dangerous such as poisons, explosives or chemicals. (The

Business Roundtable, 1983; Churcher and Alwani-Starr, 1996; Brown, 1996;

Rowlinson, 2000; Smallwood and Haupt, 2000).

Even with strict governing legislations and policies regarding safety and health,

high rates of injury and fatality still persists. Policies and legislation such as OSHA or

Occupational Safety and Health Act are designed to ensure that the working environment

is safe and healthy. In addition to having regulations, you have governing bodies that

ensure occupational safety is adhered to in the workplace. These organizations are:

• CIDB or Construction Industry Development Board

• NIOSH or National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

• NCOSH or National Council of Occupational Safety and Health

• Department of Safety and Health or known as DOSH.

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

In addition to these national regulatory bodies, we should also not discount the local

government and municipal authorities that work within a regulatory or legislative

enforcement capacity to ensure safety in the workplace (Gee and Saito, 1997). Industry

professionals as well as academics have noted that regulations and legislation by

themselves are not enough to bring about a desired goal of zero accidents and incidents

on construction sites.

Though regulations and legislation are not enough to ensure guaranteed safety but

by adhering to these regulation and policies, it does improve site safety. With regards to

cost, it is minimal as this can improves construction safety at minimal or no extra cost.

However, without proper codes and standard, the results can be the absolute reverse.

Increased costs and disputes can arise from delays in construction progress, penalties for

these delays, financial losses, personal injuries and fatalities. Regardless of the strictly

enforced safety and health regulations in most countries, high rates of injury and fatality

do persist (Center to Protect Workers’ Rights1993; Ratay1997).

It is widely accepted that the construction industry is a significant driver for a

country’s economy. This is due to its labor-intensive activities and operations (Haupt

1996). In Europe, the construction industry employs about 7.5% of the total industrial

workforce (some 11 million workers). However, due to employment risk and hazards, the

industry in Europe accounts for 17.5% of all work-related accidents and injuries (some 1

million accidents per year). The industry is responsible for about 22.5% of all

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

occupational deaths, representing some 1500 fatal accidents per year (Berger 2000; Dias

and Coble 1999).

In Malaysia, the construction industry has been recognized as one of the driving

factors of economic development. However, the industry in Malaysia itself is not without

its negativity, this is due to its high rates of accidents and fatalities incidences that have

occurred on sites. According to the statistics reported by the Social Security Organisation

(SOCSO) the number of fatality cases in the construction industry are among the highest

in the 10 categorized industries in Malaysia (SOCSO 2004)

Table 1- Number of death cases reported from 2000 – 2004

Despite the negative safety record of the construction industry, the fate of the

economy is intertwined together with the construction industry. This is because of the

consequence of the forward and backward linkages between the construction industry and

the rest of the economy. Backward linkages refer, to the materials and services sectors of

the economy and forward linkages refer to the result of economic activities from the use

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

of the constructed buildings and facilities (Drewer 1980; Ahmad and Yan 1996). In

addition, economic growth is related to the robustness of growth in the construction

industry. For example, in the United Kingdom, the construction industry had an economic

output estimated at $87 billion in 1998, which constitutes approximately 10% of the

GDP. In China, while the GDP was growing rapidly since 1979, the share of the

construction industry as a percentage of GDP increased as well. However, this does not

mean that safety at the workplace should be ignored as this is an issue that affects all

businesses since most companies do not feel that it is vital to the success and are afraid of

possibility of prosecution (Construction Task Force 1998; Bakri et al 2006; Ahmad and

Yan 1996).

2 Occupational Safety and Health

2.1 What is occupational safety and health?

It is the responsibility of management to provide a safe and conducive working

environment where the employees will be able to contribute to the organization. For the

construction industry, management should place emphasis on finding a management

strategy and resolution to reducing the rate of accident occurrence as well as live saving

at the construction site.

As a result, there exists legislation to ensuring that the workplace is a safe place of

work. In Malaysia, this legislation is called the Occupational Safety and Health Act of

1994. This important piece of legislation is to promote and encourage occupational safety

and health awareness among workers and to create organizations along with effective

safety and health measures.

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

This regulation would be carried out by self-regulation schemes that match the

industry or related organization. This Act, which contains 15 sections, is a measure that

supersedes any conflict in existing occupational safety and health laws such as the

Factory and Machinery Act 1967. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994

complements any existing legislative provision and if there are any conflicts, the

Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 will overcome it (Laws of Malaysia 2000).

2.1.1 Occupational Safety and Health Act

The objectives of Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA) as stipulated

in the ‘Objects of the Act’ are as follows (Laws of Malaysia 2000):

• To secure the safety, health and welfare of persons at work against risks to safety

or health arising out of the activities of persons at work.

• To protect persons at a place of work other than persons at work against risks to

safety or health arising out of the activities of person at work.

• To promote an occupational environment for persons at work this is adapted to

their physiological and psychological needs.

• To provide the means whereby the associated occupational safety and health

legislations may be progressively replaced by a system of regulations and

approved industry codes of practice operating in combination with the provisions

of this Act designed to maintain or improve the standards of safety and health.

OSHA as an act defines the responsibilities of employers, manufacturer,

employees, self-employed workers, designers, importers and vendors. With the creation

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

of this act, it provides for the appointments of enforcement officers and the setting up of

an governmental agency called the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

This agency is given the powers to enforce, to inspect and the liabilities for breaking the

law. This act covers these industries:

• Manufacturing

• Mining and quarrying

• Construction

• Agriculture, forestry and fishing

• Utilities (gas, electric, water and sanitary services)

• Transport (storage and communication)

• Wholesale and retail traders

• Hotels and restaurant

• Finance, insurance, real estate, business service

• Public services and statutory authority

The formation of OSHA came was upon three principles. The first was the need

for employers to develop a good and orderly management system that starts with a safety

and health policy. Secondly, employers, employees and the authorities must negotiate to

settle issues and problems relating to occupational safety and health at the workplace.

The first principle is self-regulation. To handle issues relating to occupational safety and

health, employers must develop a good and orderly management system. Starting with

formation of a safety and health policy and consequently employers have to make the

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proper arrangements to be carried out. The third and last principle is co-operation, where

the success of the occupational safety and health programs will succeed with the co-

operation between employers and employees. With the resulting co-operation, there will

be an increase of quality of occupational safety and health at the workplace (Laws of

Malaysia 2000).

3 Factors and failures in implementing occupational safety and health programs

Despite the regulation policies and agencies being set up to meet the challenges of

providing a safe and conducive working environment, results are still unsatisfactory. The

safety regulations provided by OSHA 1994 is very comprehensive but the level of

awareness and practicability of it are generally lower than expected over the last five (5)

years (Abdul Hamid et al 2003). Below are some of the other reasons of failures of

implementing safety and health programs at construction sites:

3.1.1 Attitude of Site Management Team

There exists a negative attitude to the safety concerns at a construction site due to

increasing costs in construction costs as well as not investment friendly. Thus, as a result,

unsafe, old and obsolete personal safety protection equipments (PPE) are provided due to

the lackadaisical attitude of the site management team.

3.1.2 Lack of Enforcement by Proper Authority

Lack of monitoring, safety audit and enforcement conducted by improper agencies

hampers the protection of occupational safety and health. A lack of serious commitment,

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insufficient workforce and government budget allocations constraints can also be added

to this matter.

3.1.3 Ineffective Safety Campaign

There is a lack of coordination between the employers, employees and enforcement

agencies in promoting safety campaigns. Safety awareness campaigns are important so

that people will avoid any accident and injury at the workplace.

3.1.4 Inadequate Safety Training and Course

Most safety officers if are not properly trained and are not certified to provide and

enforce safety guidelines on the site. Agencies such as CIDB and NIOSH cater to

providing training for effective safety aspects at construction site. Once the safety officers

are certified they will be able to ensure that the organization would adhere to the

guidelines set by OSHA 1994.

3.1.5 Incompetent Safety Officer

As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, companies must

appoint a safety officer. Sadly, most companies simply do not comply due to lack of

safety commitment and budget allocation by management team.

4 Steps and Measure to overcome problems of occupational safety and health

It is important to have occupational safety and health programs to ensure that

there is safety and health on the construction project. Accidents can be avoided if all

parties to the project from project inception to execution as well as the maintenance of

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

the facility at post completion are involved to ensure that there is safety in a project.

Designers, architects, contractors who carry out the work as well as clients should be

involved in adhering to occupational safety and health programs (Joyce 1995; Berger

1999).

In the past, health and safety at the construction work place was completely

ignored. This resulted in being the main causes during accidents at the work place. As

such an approach to the issues via a team building approach from all parties directly or

indirectly from everyone involved in design, management, and execution of construction

projects as well as post completion maintenance (Smallwood and Haupt 2000).

4.1.1 Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OHS-MS)

In ensuring occupational safety and health, an occupational safety and health

management system (OHS-MS) should be implemented. The objective of the OHS-MS is

to identify possible flaws and weaknesses that needs to be overcome via a process of

continual, step-wise improvement.

On a global scale, the United Nations agency, the ILO (International Labor

Organization), has developed voluntary guidelines on OHS-MS. This is to assist

governments, employers and workers in a teambuilding approach to occupational safety

and healthy workplace environment in an organization. The guideline provided for

countries are (ILO 2001):

• Be used to establish a national framework for OHS management systems, preferably

supported by national laws and regulations

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• Provide guidance for the development of voluntary arrangements to strengthen

compliance with regulations and standards leading to continual improvement in OHS

performance

• Provide guidance on the development of both national and tailored guidelines on OHS

management systems to respond appropriately to the real needs of organization,

according to their size and the nature of their activities.

Under the OHS-MS, it contains the main points of policy, organizing, planning

and implementation, evaluation and action for improvement for occupational safety and

health. The OHS-MS is a reflection of the organization’s commitment to legal and

regulatory in complying with OHS requirements. Under the British standard, there are six

(6) elements of an OHS Management System (Ahmadon et al 2006). The British

standard is called the BS 8800:1996. Appendix 1 will explain the elements of

occupational safety and health.

4.1.2 OHSAS 18001: 1996 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series)

In avoiding confusion with the many guidelines regarding safety and health at the

workplace, OHSAS 18001: 1996 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series

2007) was introduced. This was developed in relations with the quality and

environmental management systems certification of ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001

(Environmental) standards. OHSAS value is that it allows the organization to control and

manage its risk in relations to occupation safety and health.

The OHSAS applications and benefits to an organization are:

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• Assisting in the establishment of an OHS management system to eliminate or minimize

risk to employees and other interested parties who may be exposed to occupational safety

and health risks

• Implement, maintain and continually improve an OHS-MS.

• Providing adherence to the stated OHS policy.

• Seek certification/ registration of its OHS management system by an external

organization via audit or consulting parties

• Make a self-determination and declaration of conformance with their OHSAS

specification for an organization

In Table 2, the OHS-MS consists of six (6) elements as follows as per the OHSAS 18001:

1996 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series):

• General requirements

• OHS policy

• Planning

• Implementation and operation

• Checking and corrective action

• Management review

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Table 2: OHS Management System elements of OHSAS 18001: 1996

4.1.3 Application of Occupational Safety and Health in different countries

Different parts of the world apply differently in applying occupational safety and

health standards. Following the basic guidelines of the OSH-MS, most counties have

similar standards that are followed. This is due to the OSH-MS being closely in line with

the quality and environmental management systems certification of ISO 9001 (Quality)

and ISO 14001 (Environmental) standards. As per the adherence to the OSH-MS, they

also closely follow according to the legal and regulatory as set by the governmental and

local authority bodies.

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As per example below in Appendix 2, there are 4 types of different approaches

that most countries take to OSH-MS such as (Kogi 2002), the examples stated below

follows accordingly in Asian region:

• Indonesia and Singapore

Where it is mandatory to have OSH-MS .

• Australia and New Zealand, China, Thailand

OHS-MS standards is voluntary but with the support of management certification

systems

• Hong Kong, Japan and Korea

National Occupational Safety and Health statutory bodies providing guidelines for

the a national OSH-MS model.

• India and Malaysia

Provide encouragement for the voluntary adoption of OSH-MS without national

mandatory legal and regulatory framework

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5 Conclusion

Despite the importance of the construction industry to a nation’s economy,

occupational health and safety should not be ignored. Having an efficient occupational

safety and health programs, workers would feel secure and comfortable working on the

constructions site (Khalid 1996). A safe and healthy environment at the workplace would

mean the reduction in unnecessary costs in corrective procedures by focusing on

preventive measures thereby not only increasing productivity of work but also avoiding

any injury or loss of life.

However, should organization choose to ignore any concerns, there are laws to

protect the common worker. As stated in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994

(Laws of Malaysia 2000), it is mandatory for all construction companies to provide a safe

and conducive working environment for their workers and subcontractors at construction

and fabrication sites. With the introduction of legislation to protect the common worker at

the construction workplace, occupational health and safety has gained an important

attention from the employers for fear of possible prosecution for non compliance. In

addition, with good safety and heath programs in the construction workplace, the

construction project stakeholders will be able to see the benefit arising from the increase

in work productivity, reduction in unnecessary costs as well as being able to meet the

project deliverables (Ahmad et al 2000).

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“The most effective project managers are developed day-to-day, not year-to-year or

project mistake-to-project mistake. Mistakes will happen, even with the best of

mentoring, however, project managers with strong mentors should find their people

effectiveness continually improving. The benefit is that the company and everyone

connected to the project shares in those gains.” Neal Whitten (Whitten 1999)

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6 Appendixes

Appendix 1: OHS Management System elements of the BS 8800: 1996

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Appendix 2: National strategies taken for developing occupational safety and health
management systems in Asian countries

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7 References

1. Abdul Ghani Khalid (1996), Construction Site Injuries : The Case of Malaysia.

Faculty of Built and Environment,UTM, Skudai, Malaysia.

2. Abdul Rahim Abdul Hamid, Wan Zulkifli Wan Yusuf and Bachan Singh (2003),

Hazards at Construction Sites. Proceedings of the 5th. Asia-Pacific Structural

Engineering and Construction Conference (APSEC 2003), 26-28 August, 2003,

Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

3. Ahmadon Bakri, Rosli Mohd Zin, Mohd Saidin Misnan and Abdul Hakim (2006),

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Management Systems : Towards

Development of Safety and Health Culture. Proceedings of the 6th. Asia-Pacific

Structural Engineering and Construction Conference (APSEC 2006), 5-6

September, 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

4. Ahmad, D. and Yan, Z. (1996): ‘An Overview of the Construction Industry in

China,’Proceedings of CIB International Conference, ‘Construction

Modernization and Education,’ Beijing, China, 21-24 October, CD-ROM

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5. Berger, J. (1999): ‘Construction Safety Coordination in Germany,’ In Gottfried,A.,

Trani, L., and Dias, L.A. (eds), Safety Coordination and Quality in Construction,

Proceedings of International Conference of CIB Working Commission 99 and

Task Group 36, Milan, Italy, 22-23 June, pp. 51-60

6. Brown, P.E. (1996): ‘Total Integration of the Safety Professional into the Project

Management Team,’ In Dias, L.M.A. and Coble, R.J. (eds.), Implementation of

Safetyand Health on Construction Sites, Proceedings of the First International

Conference of CIB Working Commission W99, Lisbon, Portugal, 4-7 September,

pp. 137-143

7. Construction Task Force (1998): Rethinking Construction--The Report of the

Construction Task Force to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, on the

Scope for Improving the Quality and Efficiency of UK Construction, London,

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

8. Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (Center to Protect Workers’ Rights) (1993): An

Agenda for Change, Report of the National Conference on Ergonomics, Safety,

and Health in Construction, Washington, D.C., 18-22 July

9. Dias, L.A. and Coble, R.J. (1999): Construction Safety Coordination in the

EuropeanUnion, CIB Publication 238, Lisbon, Portugal, CIB Working

Commission W99

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

10. Gee, A.F. and Saito, K. (1997): ‘Construction Loads and Other Safety Measures

Specified by U.S., U.K. and Japanese Bridge Standards,’ In Ratay, R.T.(ed.),

Construction Safety Affected by Codes and Standards, Proceedings of a session

sponsored by the Design Loads on Structures During Construction Standards

Committee and the Performance of Structures During Construction Technical

Committee of The Structural Engineering Institute, Minneapolis, 5-8 October, pp.

8-15

11. Haupt, T.C. (1996): An Economic Integration Approach to Infrastructure and

Construction Industry Development: The Case for the Southern African

Development Community (SADC), De Montfort University, Unpublished M.Phil.

thesis

12. Hinze and Harrison (1981), Safety Programs in Large Construction Firm.

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE, 107(3), 455-467.

13. International Labour Office (ILO) (1999): Yearbook of Labour Statistics,

International Labour Office, Geneva

14. Joyce, Raymond (1995): The Construction (Design and Management)

Regulations 1994Explained: Thomas Telford Publications : London

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

15. Kogi, Kazutaka. “Work Improvement and Occupational Safety and Health

Management Systems: Common Features and Research Needs.” Industrial

Health 2002, 40, 121–133

16. Laws of Malaysia (2000). Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (Act 514)

and Regulation and Orders, Kuala Lumpur, International Law Book Services.

17. Neal Whitten, PM Network Magazine, 1999

18. Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series - OHSAS 18001 : 2007

19. Ratay, R.T. (1997): Construction Safety Affected by Codes and Standards,

Proceedings of a session sponsored by the Design Loads on Structures During

Construction Standards Committee and the Performance of Structures During

Construction Technical Committee of The Structural Engineering Institute,

Minneapolis, 5-8 October

20. Rowlinson, S. (2000): ‘Human Factors in Construction Safety - Management

Issues,’ In Hinze, J., Coble, R., and Haupt, T. (eds), Construction Safety and

Health Management, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, pp. 59-86

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Module 5: Occupational Safety and Environmental Parameters

21. Social Security Organization (SOCSO) 2005, Number of death cases reported

from 2000 – 2004. Retrieved from http://www.perkeso.org.my/statistik2.asp, 6

June 2007

22. Smallwood, J. and Haupt, T. (2000): ‘Safety and Health Team Building,’ In Hinze,

J., Coble, R., and Haupt, T. (eds), Construction Safety and Health Management,

New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, pp. 115-144

23. Syed M. Ahmad et al (2000), Site Safety Management in Hong Kong. Journal of

Management in Engineering, December 2000, ASCE, USA.

24. The Business Roundtable (1983): More Construction for the Money, Summary

Report of the Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project, New York, The

Business Roundtable

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