Developing Construction Safety Program in Malaysia

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The Federation of Malaysia was established in 1963 after getting independence from British rule. Initially it was comprised of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore. In1965 Singapore was separated from the federation and became an independent state because of internal political conflicts. Present Malaysia known as Peninsular Malaysia consists of east and west part. It is regarded as one of the most successful non-western countries that has achieved a very smooth and gradual transition to modern economic growth at the end of 20th century. By the year 1990 Malaysia had achieved the status of Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) and now it is the 37th largest economy in the world according to gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices US dollars.

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In February 1990, Malaysian 4th and current as 7th Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohummad introduced a vision for the strong industrialized economy and modernized Malaysia. He defined clear crystal path for making Malaysia a developed nation not only in an economic sense but also in terms of social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, national pride and confidence. This vision is known as Malaysia Vision 2020.

The main objective of this vision to transform Malaysia into prosperous, competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient country by the year 2020. In this regard the construction sector can play a significant and effective role because of its dynamic nature and extends backward and forward links with other sectors of economy. This is the sector which provides the socio-economic infrastructure for industrial growth and production and basic amenities for instance residential and commercial space, parks, playgrounds and stadiums, health care units, roads, highways, railways, ports, airports, dams, power generating and supplying stations, communication utilities, and also the other basic infrastructure which is necessary for the country and to develop and improve living standards of the society. The Malaysian construction industry (MCI) is generally separated into two areas. One area is general construction, which comprises residential construction, nonresidential construction and civil engineering construction. The second area is special trade works, which comprises activities of metal works, electrical works, plumbing, sewerage and sanitary work, refrigeration and air-conditioning work, painting work, carpentry, tiling and flooring work, and glass work.

Occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS)

Management needs to have a system where it can monitor performance and where it can integrate many and changing requirements into its daily management. A system is useful when there are many activities, complex and changing information that needs to be managed together and taken into account at all times. The root of OSHMS is about the management of occupational risks. In OSHMS, the principle of the “Plan‐Do‐Check‐Act“(PDCA) cycle is applied “Plan” involves the establishment of an OSH policy, the organization of the system, hazard identification and risk assessment, the allocation of resources and provision of skills. The “Do“ step is referring to the actual implementation and operation of the OSH program. Meanwhile, measuring both the active and reactive performance is required in the “Check “step. Finally, the “Act” step closes the cycle with a review of the system in the context of continual improvement and the priming of the system for the next cycle.

Safety and health assessment system in construction (SHASSIC)

Is an independent method to assess and evaluate the safety and health performance of a contractor in construction works/ projects? SHASSIC was developed by a Technical Committee comprises of industry stakeholders. It was published as Construction Industry Standard or CIS 10:2008 in November 2008.

SHASSIC Objectives

SHASSIC was designed and developed to enable the user to achieve any or combination of the following objectives:

  • To benchmark the level of safety and health performance of construction industry in Malaysia
  • To have a standard system on safety and health assessment in the construction industry
  • To assess safety and health performance of contractor(s) based on this standard
  • To evaluate the performance of contractor(s) on the safety and health practices at site
  • To improve and to take necessary corrective action on OSH performance and management at site;
  • To compile data for statistical analysis.

From the definition above regarding OSHMS and SHASSIC both are methods to reduce accident and detect the factor that may cause accident. SHASSIC can play a very useful role to in succeed OSHMS. This is possible because SHASSIC is a method that commonly uses to evaluate the root of the construction those are mainly contractors. That where OSHMS monitoring will be easy and the helps to reduce the occupational risk.

Explanation on steps in developing construction safety program

There are a lot of ready-made safety programs available. Most of them embellish what OSHA has prescribed. Any program has to be customized for your needs and reviewed and updated frequently. The main components of a safety management plan are:

Written safety plan OSHA’s 1926.

Under Accident prevention states that: “It shall be the responsibility of the employer to initiate and maintain such programs as may be necessary to comply with this part.” OSHA’s interpretation of this is that the company’s safety management plan – including all of its mandatory components – must be prepared in a written form, and that (b) (2): “Such programs shall provide for frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials, and material to be made by competent persons designated by the employers.” This means that the written plan must include provisions for competent persons to frequently get out there and inspect the worksite. The written plan does not belong behind a company owner’s desk, accumulating dust. It’s got to be an actual working plan.

Comprehensive safety policy

The company safety policy should be simple enough to read in less than a minute. It should be a statement of policy that says, in a nutshell, nothing is worth being unsafe about. It must address training procedures and management support.

Management support and direction

This often tells the tale of whether a safety program will sink or swim. Management, starting with the owner, president, or other recognized leader, must lead by example and treat the subject of safety with as much attention and enthusiasm as he or she would treat any other component of the business, such as quality, budgeting, or marketing.

Safety responsibilities and accountability

Safety isn’t going to “just happen”. Individuals have to know what they’re responsible for, and what roles they play. Then they’ve got to be held responsible for their behavior. The key individual at the jobsite is the foreman, or supervisor or crew leader – whoever is in immediate charge.

Safe behavior development

Traditionally, OSHA and other regulatory agencies look for unsafe equipment and conditions and cite those deficiencies. Unfortunately, as we discussed in the previous section, much of that attention fails to address the cause of up to 95% of safety incidents – unsafe behavior.

Job site audits

These are best done at least weekly (formal) and daily (informal) on certain aspects of the job, perhaps just by taking notes, not necessarily a formal checklist. Particular tasks can be looked at – such as framing, excavating, or equipment operation.

Incident investigations

Incident investigations should be completed on every safety case from “near accidents” on up. A good safety management system will learn from incident investigations, not just mechanically do them. Don’t merely gather information. Find out why an incident occurred, and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Employee training

When hiring new employees, the company’s policy toward safety should be conveyed clearly and often. Review the safety policy, discuss everyone’s roles, and reflect how important safety is. Safety procedures shouldn’t be just kept in a video or a thick binder you ask an employee to read on their own. Real people, from top management to the foreman or supervisors, should be actively involved. Avoid passing out lists of rules and regulations, or mechanically reading them. Instead, employ specific job training with equipment and methods. Use supervisory safety training. Schedule safety meetings and training and tool box sessions. Don’t take it for granted that people know how to do things safely. Refresh yearly or as often as needed. Keep your supervisors trained. Are enough competent individuals available to inspect all your company’s worksites, with individual emphasis on fire protection, sling and wire rope inspections, cranes and hoists, assured electrical equipment grounding programs, scaffolding, fall protection, aerial lift operations, and excavations?

First-aid and health planning

Have a plan for first-aid procedures, and make arrangements for emergency services. Some builders elect to invite members of emergency responder groups to safety meetings for discussions on how to contact the responders and what response times and services can be expected. Communication should be tested and tried in advance of an actual incident. A trial demonstration is also a good idea.

Site security plan

Limit access of unauthorized individuals. Secure tools and materials on the site. Make the site fire-resistant.

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