Construction workers now learn about risk identification, assessment and site risk management skills before a building project begins, said Dr Darryl Hill, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
Dr Hill welcomes the trend, but warn that construction risk assessment procedures should be further emphasised in the UAE since it is the most important technique for creating a ‘zero harm, zero accident’ project or work site, reports Gulf News.
“To increase construction site safety on a person-to-person basis, it is important to inform workers before work begins about safety protocol, equipment and measures. Such employee training and awareness requires prior planning of operations”, said Dr Hill.
On a visit to Abu Dhabi in 2011, Dr Hill, who is also ABB vice president of safety, shared his experience in making work sites a ‘zero harm, zero accident’ zones.
RA findings included in construction HSE plan
Risk assessment findings are usually included in project health, safety and environment plans, but this process has only been embraced in the USA in the last four years.
“Assessing workplace hazards is still not a prerequisite in all municipalities in the USA. It is common practice among local authorities in Europe,” Dr Hill.
In Abu Dhabi, according to a municipal requirement adopted last year, consultants and contractors must submit an appropriate construction HSE plan to gain a building permit.
Construction employee risk assessment induction, awareness, and training should be included at all work sites. Some employers allow some sites to operate without RA and induction, undermining efforts to raise sheq management performance in the sector.
General construction training ‘not affordable’
Regarding training cost, Dr Hill acknowledges that “it is not financially possible to train contractors directly for every project, [therefore] awareness sessions and workshops should be organised. Employees should help with risk assessment procedures and communicate their own issues on site with managers, thus improving overall safety.”
Most leading contractors and consultants in the rapidly developing UAE capital use pre-task risk assessment as an integral part of construction processes, reports Gulf News.
Worley Parsons official Gary Clayton, who is corporate HSE manager in the Middle East, North Africa and India, said they conduct standardised risk assessments for all construction tasks at all 24 current projects in the UAE.
Dr Hill said construction risk management programmes should include;
* policies and procedures
* safety incentives based on risks remedied and training test results
* task planning and team communication
* site induction and task induction
* incident investigation, analysis and communication
* alcohol and drugs prevention and mangement.
PHOTO; Dr Darryl Hill, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Some African sheq practitioners with tertiary qualifications are ASSE members holding a professional designation recognised worldwide.