Bring focus on building safely

Feb 16 2013, 09:28 IST
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SummaryRegulations for construction safety need to be implemented in letter and spirit

flyovers and bridges has brought the issue to the fore. Many initiatives are being taken now improve the situation, including legislation and stricter enforcement of HSSE norms in construction.

Building of competency among contractors and vendors is one of the first steps towards a safer construction environment. Better training and education about aspects of health, safety and environmental hazards is imperative across all levels. From safety inductions for workers before entering a site, to having safety officers and emergency aid on site, HSSE norms have to be followed in letter and spirit.

The establishment of engineering controls can go a long way in reducing risks and improving safety on site. These controls are permanent and less likely to fail. What’s more, they are less prone to human error and therefore enhance adherence to HSSE standards. In addition, accountability at every level and across functions is vital for the establishment and adherence to safety norms.

The management’s commitment is crucial for the standards to be laid down and followed. In many situations, companies do not interfere once the project is handed over to the contractor. However, in this age of transparency and disclosure, companies are realising that their reputation is affected by their partners and associates as well. This can lead to more due diligence from managements vis a vis contractors and vendors. The industry must come together to set a whole framework in place to help frame policies, educate and train stakeholders, and oversee the compliance to rules and regulations. An exercise by qualified professionals to identify controls for reducing hazards in all aspects of construction has to be undertaken before rigorous rules and regulations are framed and codified. This has to be an on-going process, with the rules and regulations being updated and upgraded to keep them relevant and contemporary. Enhanced safety and security can only become a reality when the industry works together as a whole to make it a priority and push for mandatory compliance to health, safety, security and environment norms.

— Anshul Jain is CEO, DTZ-India

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