ADHERENCE TO HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
1.1 Background to the study
Throughout the world, the construction industry stands out among all other industries as the main contributor to severe and fatal-work related accidents. In the United Kingdom, for example the industry accounts for one third of all work-related fatalities and, five construction workers are killed every two weeks. Emerging economies and less developed countries are no exception to high fatality rates. Construction workers are five times more likely to suffer a permanent disability than those in other industries (Chinda and Mohammed, 2008).
Health and Safety Executive (2002) asserts that, over the years a great deal of effort has gone in to reducing the number of people who were killed or injured as a result of construction work. Initiatives from all sides of the industry have produced a long term reduction in the number of injuries and fatalities, but recently their effects have diminished and the number of deaths has increased (HSE, 2002). The situation in developing countries like Nigeria is worst than what prevails in developed countries because of lack of statutory regulations on health and safety.
According to Grant (2002), safety legislation alone cannot change this situation. What is needed is a change in the inbred attitudes of all involved with construction operation, manual workers, management, designers and client. This change can be helped by implementing legislation but it also requires higher levels of awareness of safety problems and how they can be reduced.
Although several health and safety standards exist, the extent to which construction firms adhere to this standards differs. It is important to understand the extent to which they comply with the standards.
According to Lepe et al (2008), accidents in the construction industry represent a substantial ongoing cost to the employers, workers and society. The costs of accidents incurred by contractors on account of accident are divided in to three (3) sections:
i. The cost of construction health and safety measures, that is expenses invested directly by contractors in safety measures to prevent accident.
ii. Direct costs: this define as those actual costs that can be directly attributable to injuries and fatalities. Is a cost caused by accidents arising from occurrence of accidents despite the fact that safety measure were in place. It refers to expenditure on insurance, damage to building and equipment or vehicles, cost of health or expenditure on medical care, cost of investigation, legal cost, death, permanent associated with accidents.
iii. Indirect costs: it refer to costs that may not be covered by insurance and are the less tangible costs that result from accident. They are classified by HSE as those costs incurred by the diversion of time to deal with the consequences of an accident, which also can affect productivity and these include, cleaning up, hire consulting experts, time lost, sick pay, overtime working and temporary labour.