A Qualitative Analysis of the Occupational Health and Safety Management Practices in Pakistani Construction Industry
The construction industry has been recognised as one of the most hazardous industries. Projects in the construction sector are reputed for poor health and safety records when compared to other similar industries. Although there is an improvement on the health and safety performance in industry, the injury rate of the industry is still one of the highest when compared to other industries. Beside causing human tragedy and economic losses, health and safety management practices also effect the productivity and reputation of the construction industry. Risk and hazards arising due to poor health and safety management practices which result in injuries and fatalities in few cases. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions of health and safety personnel regarding health and safety management practices on the construction sites. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted in this study to explore the views about health and safety on the construction projects in Pakistan. The participants in this study are mainly health and safety officers, project managers, project engineers, health and safety coordinators, and project directors engaged in construction projects. The findings of the study reveal that health and safety personal perceive productive activities on construction sites as hazardous and risky. Furthermore, ten different health and safety management practices have been highlighted, health and safety policies and documentation, training and orientation, management commitment and employee’s involvement in health and safety, accident investigation and reporting system, health and safety meetings, toolbox talk/communication and feedback system, use of personal protective equipment, fall protection system, health and safety inspection on site and rewarding system, and health and safety environment on site. Three health and safety management practices were missing in the analysis from the Pakistani construction industry i.e. health and safety rules and procedures, occupational health and safety committee, and hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control (HIRARC). Other than that, two different themes highlighted in the further discussion about health and safety were types of accidents and its causes, and lacking regulation in Pakistan. Therefore, there is a need for a localized health and safety department and awareness programs at the government level to foster a commitment to improve health and safety at construction sites. Further research is required to understand the implementation of health and safety management practices from the planning, execution until final stage on construction projects in the Pakistani construction industry.