Aug 13, 2019
Working in the construction industry on major capital projects is a tough, sometimes hazardous job. Globally, the construction industry accounts for 7% of hiring. However, it's responsible for between 30% and 40% of all work-related deaths. The value is at its most eminent in developing countries. This is because contractor organizations in those nations tend to need a safety culture and lack sufficient safety leadership. Health and management systems are also less strong there than in developed countries. This is a huge obstacle.
First, of course, there's the sacrifice of human life. But there's an economic impact also. Accidents interrupt site projects. Projects can then run behind schedule, leading to cost increases. This affects productivity and the industry's standing as a whole. In South Africa, the oil, gas, and construction industries account for around 8% of total formal employment and around 17% of total informal contracting. It is also one of the top three most dangerous sectors for operators after the transport and fishing trades. What appeared was that health and safety management within the construction industry has not developed at the same velocity as in other industries. Additionally, it hasn't kept up with technological advancements like robotics, 3D printing, and data analytics. These innovative technologies have been well utilized by the automobile and manufacturing industries - and have decreased workers' vulnerability to dangerous jobs. However, in a country beset by large numbers of unemployment and cultural contrast, automation can be a sensitive topic. Another obstacle is that legislation governing health and safety management in the oil, gas, and construction industries focus on singular projects. It doesn't place any burden on contractors to realize health and safety management practices, nor to maintain these competencies within their organizations in the long-term. One of the problems identified was how South Africa's medium and large contractor organizations maintain their health and safety practices. In some cases, they outsource this obligation to health and safety management consultants who provide advisory and managerial assistance. But such methods focus on legislative compliance. They don't do much to drive constant growth in the organization's health and safety leadership. In other examples, safety management happens within the organization through contractors' organizational formations. This approach also has many difficulties. Organizations just don't designate enough resources for proactive health and safety management. Accountability tools are few and far between. There aren't many incentives for workers to get involved in health and safety management activities. Health and safety training isn't a priority, either. Some of the other problems related to the business climate include the widespread usage of subcontracting and price-based competition. Both harm the construction industry's overall safety performance. There are critical insufficiencies in the management of subcontractors. South Africa also doesn't have enough well-qualified health and safety professionals who are registered with the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Profession. This body is statutorily mandated to control the use of health and safety professionals within the construction industry. Simply put, there just aren't enough registered health and safety professionals for the number of ongoing construction projects. So how can South Africa's oil, gas, and construction industries become a safer place to operate in?
Patrick Nwabueze Okonkwo - Construction is tough, sometimes dangerous work. Globally, the construction industry accounts for about 7% of employment. But it's responsible for between 30% and 40% of all work-related fatalities. The figure is at its highest in developing countries. This is because contractor organisations in those countries tend to lack a safety culture. Health and management systems are also less robust there than in developed nations.
This is obviously a huge problem. First, of course, there's the loss of human life. But there's an economic effect too. Accidents disrupt site activities. Projects can then run behind schedule, leading to cost overruns. This affects productivity and the industry's reputation as a whole.