In late December of 2013, a 22-year old worker shockingly fell nearly 35 meters to his death while working on the roof of the Amazonia Arena. Alas, he was the fifth construction worker to be fatally wounded while working on the 12 stadiums that will be used at the Brazil FIFA World Cup later this year.
Authorities were satisfied that builders Andrade Gutierrez complied with all safety requirements in the building of the 44,000 seat stadium. They have been granted permission to restart construction efforts on the arena.
Still, incidents like these can be a little unsettling. It begs the question: what are construction companies doing to make working conditions as safe as possible for their workers? How can workplace casualties be curtailed?
Typically, it begins with creating a culture of safety and then taking the proper time and care in following pertinent procedures. Consider the Gilbane Building Company.
Gilbane Building Company
In 2013, 140-year-old construction firm Gilbane Building Company, based in Providence, Rhode Island, logged seven million hours without a lost time injury. This is considered a monumental industry achievement.
Some of their safety strategies include checklists, safety audits, a well-developed safety training program, technology like the SafetyNet management system software, an internal awards and recognition program, and an annual safety-related performance review for all supervisors and managers.
Devotion to safety may not be popular in a deadline-centric industry - according to Gilbane - but their dedication to worker safety has clearly paid off.
Safety in Construction Conference
SAFETYCON has been held across Australia over the last four years, and the 2nd WA Safety in Construction Conference 2014 will bring together leading health and safety experts to deliberate on recent trends and issues affecting the construction industry at large.
There is no question that the Australian construction industry is faced with considerable safety issues, which includes the adoption and harmonisation of new legislation. Relevant topics also consist of immigrant and domestic workers, skills shortages, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as fatigue management.
As legislation gets adopted on a wider scale and relevant issues get discussed in depth, additional safety solutions should be forthcoming in Australia.
Most construction related accidents do not happen due to a lack of training, skill, or even knowledge. Poor decision-making is often at the culprit of dangerous and sometimes fatal occurrences. These decisions sometimes come at the expense of trying to save time.
At times, employees don't take the necessary precautions they know they should be taking. Safety rules are in place for a reason, and every worker has to be more vigilant about following them and keeping each other in check.
Training and supervision also have to be made a priority by construction companies. Employees need to be aware of safety rules and they need to be held accountable by managers and supervisors.
Like Gilbane, companies that are interested in worker safety should consider first creating a culture of safety. Projects may take longer to finish, but more injuries and deaths could be avoided in the long run.