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Safety Management Training Study with special reference to Construction Industry in Hong Kong

 

Dr. R. Karuppasamy M.Com., MBA. M.Phil., Ph.D

Director, SNS College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.

 

and

 

C. Arul Venkadesh  MBA, PGDPM, (Ph.D)

Assistant Professor, Coimbatore Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore, India.

 

ABSTRACT

 

The risks associated with the Construction industry are commensurate with their rapid growth and development. Apart from their utility, Constructions have their own inherent properties and hazards. Some of them can be flammable, explosive, toxic or corrosive etc. The whole lifecycle of a Construction should be considered when assessing its dangers and benefits. Though many of Construction accidents have a limited effect, occasionally there are disasters like the one in Bhopal, India, in 1984, where lakhs of people were affected and LPG explosion in Vizag refinery where huge property damage in addition to 60 deaths was experienced. Therefore Constructions have the potential to affect the nearby environment also.

 

This paper describes the current trend of safety management training in Hong Kong. It is the great determination of the Hong Kong Government to improve health and safety of workers in the industrial undertakings, in particular the construction industry.  The new policy is to place emphasis on safety management and new legislation is being enacted.  It upsurges a great demand of safety professionals as well as engineering professionals who can manage safety.  Tertiary educational institutions take vital roles in increasing and developing more training programmes for the engineering and construction students. With this regard, new curricula are prepared for full time undergraduate students, more part-time courses. Short courses of different levels are being launched to meet the imminent needs in the industry.   

 

The author will generally account on statutory requirements on safety officers, training of safety officers in Hong Kong. The existing safety programmes and syllabi of engineering and construction students are reviewed.  To cope with the new move, more safety topics especially, more elements of safety management will be incorporated in the training programmes. At the same time, new courses of certificate level, degree level and higher degree level are being organised and implemented.  Future trends of safety management training and its implication are discussed.

 

The intent of this document is to assist organizations in achieving their desired safety performance objectives while allowing them to choose the best way to reach that outcome. This is commonly known as a “performance based approach,” and encourages organizations to choose the solution that best suits their needs and ensures they meet their performance objectives. The toolkit helps the organization determine their level of compliance and develop an action plan to include the necessary components.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Beside designing, planning or construction of buildings, some other major application fields of civil engineering industry are safety management of residential and commercial buildings, transportation system, fields regarding water supplying activities, and environmental fields, which is basically studied for the maintenance and enhancement of quality of life. Civil engineering industry specifically deals with the activities of designing and construction of structures like bridges, dams, harbours, canals, roads, tunnels, and water-supply systems. Civil engineering industry activities also include structures like power plants, aircraft, water-treatment plants etc.

 

The economic success in Hong Kong in the past decades is undeniable, the achievement of the construction industry have been impressive, it contributes on average 5% of Hong Kong’s GDP from 1984 to 1993 (Ref. 1).  However, the safety performance in the construction industry was unsatisfactory among the industries in Hong Kong (Ref. 2). The average accident rate per thousand workers in the past ten years in the construction sector was about 330, which is an unacceptable high figure in comparing with the developed countries. Since 1986 the Hong Kong Government have forced the proprietors in the construction industry to employ their own safety officers by law to safeguard the safety and health of their employees working on site. In 1995, after a consultation paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong, the Government set objectives to improve occupational health and safety of workers in the industrial undertakings, in particular the construction industry.

 

The new strategy is to place emphasis on self-regulation policy and new legislation will be enacted safety management issues. No matter by legislative or non-legislative routes, management of course would play more vital roles in different levels to safeguard health and safety in workplaces. The new challenge strive an imminent demand on knowledge of safety management on not only the existing safety practitioners but also the engineering professionals. This paper provides a general review on the safety management training for the safety officers and construction students in Hong Kong.

 

Registered Safety Officers (RSO)

 

It is a legal requirement that the proprietor of a construction company or a shipyard with 100 or more employees has to employ a registered safety officer to promote health and safety of persons employed. A registered safety officer should at least holds a certificate in industrial safety or occupational hygiene with not less than 2 years relevant experience or a degree or diploma in industrial safety, occupational hygiene of specified subjects with not less than 1 year relevant experience.

 

From a recent report on “Review of the Role and Training of Safety Officers and Proposed Amendments to the F&IU (Safety Officers and Safety Supervisors) Regulations prepared by the Labour Department of Hong Kong, there are about 1,147 RSO and 88% of them are currently engaged in the profession (Ref. 3). The traditional duties of a safety officer are mainly on inspecting the industrial undertaking and advise the proprietors as to take safety measures in the interest of the safety and health of the persons employed. In this respect, the preceding curricula for training the safety officers are primarily safety technology oriented. Take example of the Certificate Course in Industrial Safety organised by the Industrial Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPolyU), students have to complete three modules namely “Industrial Safety law and Hygiene” and “Industrial Safety Technology” and  Industrial Accident Prevention and Field Studies”.  The 210-hours part time certificate course is recognised by the Labour Department of Hong Kong as academic qualification leading to the registration of a safety officer. The proportion of management related elements were relatively inadequate.  Those safety officers wants to enhance their safety and management knowledge can take a 180-hours part time post experienced certificate course in Advanced Industrial Safety. The syllabuses cover more safety management aspects and advanced safety technology.

 

Safety Management Training for Safety Professionals

 

It is a consensus that safety would be an integral part of management, safety officer would be getting more involved and bear more duties in safety management activities. Safety management becomes an indispensable training for safety officers.   In view of the growing demand of safety professionals and safety management knowledge in the industry, the HKPolyU took active approach to develop suitable teaching programmes to meet the requirement. In this session of the paper, new syllabus of the safety course and further education for safety officers are revealed.  A new safety programme designed for the construction students will be discussed in the later part.

 

Safety Training for Construction Students

 

It is a wish in the whole society to create culture of safety in the industry. Building a safety culture is an ultimate goal to be achieved across the whole construction sector in Hong Kong. It is necessary to educate everyone to accept that “Construction safety is duty of all”.  Safety awareness  is originated from safety education and training. In a small scaled survey I did in 1995, I found that not too many engineers of senior level have received safety training. However, it is encouraging to see that young engineers could have better opportunities to receive safety education (Ref. 4). There is  an imminent need to enhance safety training for both the practicing engineers and the potential engineers in the universities.

 

Proposed Curriculum for Construction Students 

 

In response to the invitation of the Construction Advisory Board to give emphasis to education on safety management in tertiary institutions, construction related departments of the HKPolyU have made commitments incorporating safety components in their course curriculum. A working group of the Construction Faculty discussed with the Industrial Centre in 1966; my colleagues and I initiated and designed two modules of safety training programmes, Construction Safety I and Construction Safety II. Construction Safety I will take 35 student effort hours to complete and students will gain 1 credit while he/she can gain 2 credits in completion of Construction Safety II. The Industrial Centre with its safety training background and experience will be responsible for of the programmes commencing in 1988. Currently, during their training time in the Industrial Centre, every engineering/construction students already have to undertake 15 hours industrial safety training. It provides students with only basic knowledge on health and safety at work

 

Curriculum of “Construction Safety I & II”

 

Certainly, curricula of “Construction Safety I & II” are designed to meet the prospective trend of the industry.  Its emphasis is placed upon safety awareness and the engineering / management issues associated with construction safety (Ref. 5).

 

The proposed curriculum of “Construction Safety II” module includes i to VI below, while “Construction Safety I” is consists of i, iii and VI only:

 

i.        Overview - Introduction to construction safety. Professional responsibility. Historical background and current perspective. Construction safety practices in other developed countries. Government’s policy in industrial safety.  Safety and health law in Hong Kong. Accident Statistics in local construction industry.

 

ii.      Occupational Health Practice - Related statutory requirements and regulations. Dust hazards and control. Noise assessment and control measures. Hearing conservation. Respiratory protection.

 

iii.    Construction Safety - Construction sites (Safety) Regulations.  Codes of practice. Potential hazards and risks associated with construction sites. Working in confined space, at height and in high-risk construction activities. Case studies.

 

iv.    Safety Technology - Principles of risk & loss control. Engineering control measures. First aids. Housekeeping. Manual lifting. Fire safety. Electrical hazards. Machinery safety. Personal protection equipment (PPE). Machine guarding. Needs for preventive maintenance. Case studies.

 

v.      Accident Prevention - Principles of accident prevention - e.g. Causation models. Job safety analysis. Fault tree analysis. Accident reporting procedures. Follow-up actions.

 

vi.    Construction Safety Management Issues - Management and employee responsibilities. Safety policy and safety plans. Safety committee. Safety officers. Safety inspection. Safety audits. Safety operation procedures. Safety training for employees. Selection and control of subcontractor. Emergency plan.

 

Risk Management Training

 

Specialized and focused training, if imparted effectively, can contribute significantly to Risk Management. Expert faculty, carefully selected training module, interactive and participate approach, useful training material, case studies and syndicate exercises could help in having effective risk management system in place. The training topics for bulk drug industry could be:

 

·         Chemical Safety

·         Safety with Compressed gases

·         Solvent Safety

·         Hazard Identification Techniques

·         Industrial Risk Management

·         Fire Prevention and Protection

·         Electrical Risk Management

·         Emergency Preparedness

·         Safety Management system

·         Accident Prevention

·         Personal Protective Equipment

 

MAJOR DISASTERS IN INDIA

 

Origin of accident

Year

Date

Location

Products involved

Number of

Deaths

Injured

Evacuated

Bulk cargo handling terminal

1997

00.01

Mumbai*

Sulphur

 

 

 

Explosion

1983

29.09

Dhulwari

Gasoline

41

>100

..

Explosion (warehouse)

1992

29.04

New Delhi

Chemicals

43

20

 

Fire

1983

03.11

Dhurabari

Oil

76

>60

-

Fire

1985

01.11

Padaval

Gasoline

>43

82

..

Fire at a chemical store

1994

13.11

New Delhi

Toxic cloud (chemicals)

 

500

 

Fire in refinery

1988

09.11

Bombay

Oil

35

16

..

Leakage

1984

03.12

Bhopal*

Methyl isocyanate

2800

50 000

200 000

Leakage

1989

05.05

Britannia Chowk

Chlorine

-

200

..

Leakage

1990

05.11

Nagothane*

Ethane and propane

32

22

 

Leakage

1988

22.12

Jhurkully

Sulphur dioxide

-

500

..

Leakage

1987

24.06

Bhopal

Ammonia

 

 

200 000

leakage (transport accident)

1997

21.01

Bhopal

Ammonia

 

400

 

Leakage from a pipeline

1991

00.12

Calcutta

Chlorine

 

200

 

Leakage in an Ice Factory

1990

00.07

Lucknow

Ammonia gas

 

200

 

Plant explosion

1980

03.05

Mandir Asod

Explosives

50

..

-

Refinery fire

1997

14.09

Vishakapatnam

 

34

31

150000

Release

1985

14.05

Cochin

Hexacyclo-pentadiene

-

200

..

Release

1985

04.12

New Delhi

Sulphuric acid

1

340

>10

Transport

1985

09

Tamil Nadu

Gasoline

60

..

..

Transport accident

1994

00.01

Thane District

Chlorine gas

4

298

 

Transport accident

1991

00.01

New Bombay

Ammonia gas

1

150

 

Transport accident

1995

12.03

Madras

Fuel

~100

23

 

Transport accident

1995

00.12

Maharashtra

Ammonia gas

 

2 000

 

Transport accident (leakage)

1991

00.11

Medran

Inflammable liquid

93

25

 

 

1985

 

India

Chlorine

1

150

-

 

* Disasters involving damage in excess of $10 US to third parties

 

Source: OECD, MHIDAS, TNO, SEI, UBA-Handbuch Stoerfaelle, SIGMA, Press Reports, UNEP, BARPI.

 

Inclusion Criteria

 

  • 25 death or more; or
  • 125 injured or more;
  • 10000 evacuated or more; or 10 thousand people or more deprived of water;

 

RECOMMENDATIONS & CONCLUSION

 

Self-management will be a worldwide trend to safeguard health and safety at workplaces.  The implementation of new safety policy in Hong Kong upsurges a great demand of safety professionals as well as engineering professionals who can manage safety. The tertiary educational institutions play important role to offer appropriate training programmes to train up safety professionals competent to meet the new safety management approach. In order to assure high quality of safety professionals serving the industry, a new set of criteria will be incorporated to amend the current F&IU (Safety Officers and Safety Supervisors) Regulations. This will include revalidation of registered safety officer’s registration. In addition to enhancement of the structured part-time safety courses, there is a need to provide relevant continuous development programmes for the practising safety officers in particular the safety management subjects.

 

Engineers should participate more and take active part in minimising site accidents. Most of the construction professionals agree that management should be responsible for accidents. Safety at work is an important element of management. Series of safety management related legislation would be enacted shortly in Hong Kong (Ref. 6). The first one will be the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance. It will extend the coverage of protecting employee’s safety and health to workplaces other than industrial undertakings   In due course F&IU (Safety Management) Regulations will be added to the existing F&IU Ordinance later this year. It implies that a higher level of legal liability will be imposed onto construction professionals. Engineers should be equipped to face the coming challenge.  They should continuously develop themselves and catch up with up-to-date safety knowledge. The curricula of construction studies in tertiary education should be reviewed periodically to meet the need of the industry.

 

REFERENCES

 

1.      A list of guidance and supporting information can be found on the FAA website.

2.      http://pmaparts.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/can-you-implement-a-sms-program Blog Entry on the SMS ARC Progress: Can You Implement a SMS Program?

3.      Safety Management Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee, Final Report

4.      http://pmaparts.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/a-possible-look-for-sms-regulations/ Draft Part 195 (Safety Management Systems).

5.      http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/saso/library/media/SMS_Brochure.pdf

6.      Chan W.T., Engineers Towards a Safe Working Environment, The Hong Kong Engineers - Engineering for Safety Conference, 1997

7.      Secretary for Education and Manpower of Hong Kong Government, Consultation paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong, 1995 (Education and Manpower Branch of Hong Kong Government)

8.      Report on “Review of the Role and Training of Safety Officers and Proposed Amendments to the F&IU (Safety Officers and Safety Supervisors) Regulations prepared by the Labour Department of Hong Kong, 1997

9.      Kwok W.K., Tang S.L. & Poon S.W., Perception of Construction Professionals on Construction Safety and Imminent Need of Safety Training in Health and Safety Training in Hong Kong, International Conference on Construction Training 1996

10.  Poon S.K. Kwok W.K., Proposed Syllabus of Industrial Safety for HKPolyU CLU Undergraduates/HD students, 1996      

11.  Lee K.F., Hong Kong Safety Record in Context, 13th Asian Pacific Occupational Safety & Heath Organisation Conference, 1997