Why is it important to consider civil engineering health and safety?
Human resources are one of the most important features of many businesses. A business’ success relies heavily on the effectiveness to which this resource is managed “The health of a nation is the wealth of a nation” (Fraser, 2004), the same concept applies to business. The health and safety of a company’s human resource is an enormous contributor to the success of that business.
Good health and safety at work is not only important in human terms, but it is also one of the most effective ways to ensure that the enterprises are successful and sustainable. Health and safety in the workplace has a long history; it dates back to the early 1800’s when the “Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802” was passed. This was the first piece of protective legislation for workers regarding health and safety. Over the next 170 years, Governments gradually limited hours, banned child labour, provided industrial inspectors, and introduced compensation. New safety laws were generally introduced after disasters occurred in the workplace; this led to the generation of a mass of legislation.
In simple terms, health and safety is about identifying risks and eliminating or controlling them to stop accidents and occupational ill-health. Improper practise of health and safety may lead to illness, accidents and loss of time which will cause substantial costs to the company. Such type of unplanned activities doesn’t just harm the working environment it will even adversely affect the profit. Good health and safety practices will also help in improving the company’s reputation with the clients and with its own employees. This enhances the company’s reputation in the market as well. The responsibility of following good health and safety standards doesn’t only implies for the employer it is also the duty of the employees to follow the standards set by the company, If the company fails to set good standards of health and safety as per legislation then the company can be prosecuted under Health and Safety act 1974, Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulation etc. Thus every construction company and employee has to have proactive approach towards following good Health and Safety practises.
Today there is a high focus on safety in the industry. Many companies have documented that the safety and wellbeing of their workers and fellow human beings deserve the highest priority. Health and safety is a very important factor not only in human terms but also at occupational point of view. Health and safety at any workplace helps to reduce or even avoid workers’ pain, injury and other sufferings. What is more, it is a way of ensuring that company is successful and sustainable
The main objective of Health and Safety Management at work place is to fulfil Legal responsibility, Moral responsibility and Economical responsibility which are reasonably practicable for the company and its employees. Every Construction company has to follow the legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the employees and other people involved in the business. The right approach is not only about taking the minimum measures required to fulfil the legal requirements. If appropriate measures are been taken it can even be beneficiary to the company.
A major reason for maintaining health and safety in the workplace is that failure to do so cost too much. The consequences of not up keeping proper health and safety practices can range from having expensive monetary pay-outs, to death (users of the workplace). Other repercussions are
Lower productivity levels – sick or injured worker do not produce the same quality and quantity as do health workers.
Poor industrial relations – poor health and safety practices would attract attention from unions who fight for the rights of employees.
Lower worker’s compensation insurance costs.
Reduced medical expenditures.
Lower costs for job accommodations for injured workers.
Less money spent for overtime benefits.
So employ’s health and safety is very important to consider in civil engineering construction field.
The use of approved codes of practice used in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
Codes are the set of standards used to ensure proper output during construction activities. These codes are used for virtually every aspects of civil engineering on one can think of. The set of codes commonly used by the UK is the ASCE standard. This provides technical & supportive guidelines for ensuring safety, reliability, productivity and efficiency in civil engineering many of these codes are referenced by model building codes.
Secondly our country Srilanka to has a set of codes to ensure the compliance with health and safety registration in construction industry. They are “the code of ethics”
They are grouped down in clauses
Clause 1- engineers shall hold paramount & importance to the health safety & welfare of the public & and properly utilizing the funds& other resources in the performance of their professional duties
Clause 2- engineers should always act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity and dignity of their profession.
Clause 3- engineers should not complete unfairly and should build their reputation on merit
Clause 4- engineers should perform professional services only in the areas of competences.
Clause 5- engineers shall use their skills & knowledge in the interest of their employer or client without creating any conflicts
Clause 6- engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall actively assists & encourage engineers under their direction to advance their knowledge & experience
Clause 8- engineers shall be committed to the need for sustainable management of the planets resources and seek to minimize environmental pollutions due to construction work
Above mentioned are the codes that are practiced in UK & SL to ensure the compliance with health and safety registration in construction industry.