Safety in Building and Construction Industries
Sheila Pantry OBE
The Nordic Network for Occupational Safety Research held a seminar in Copenhagen on October 9, 2003, with a focus on safety research in the Nordic building and construction industries. The goals of the seminar were:
- to identify relevant accident factors that can be modified through intervention,
- to give an insight into the contemporary occupational safety research in the Nordic building and construction industries, and
- to stimulate and strengthen Nordic research cooperation.
It is appropriate that during this European Year of 'Building in Safety' that this newly published report provides conclusions of roundtable discussions from four plenary sessions regarding construction safety, including accident investigation and prevention, the meaning and significance of safety culture and safety climate, the influence of firm size on occupational safety and, finally, good practices for safety management. In addition to this, the report contains abstracts of over 75 ongoing or recently completed safety research projects in the Nordic building and construction industries, as well as injury and employment statistics for the period 1992-2001.
Summary of plenary presentations and roundtable discussions includes:
- Injury and employment statistics for the Nordic construction industries for the period 1992-2001 show there are significant increasing injury trends in Iceland, Norway and Finland whereas there is a significant decreasing trend in Sweden and no significant changes in Denmark
The Nordic Occupational Research Seminar provided the opportunity for collecting and exchanging information regarding contemporary occupational safety research in the Nordic construction industries. The format of the seminar worked well in allowing for dialogue between researchers and practitioners, and provided the opportunity for stimulating and strengthening Nordic research cooperation, as reflected in the project regarding the development of a Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire.
The construction industries in each of the five Nordic countries are very similar, and an individual Nordic country's safety research results are in many ways general to the other Nordic countries. In addition to this, large multinational construction companies now operate in all five of the Nordic countries. The seminar showed that there is a great need for continued opportunities for exchanging safety research results, and for close dialogue and cooperation between researchers and practitioners. There is a particular need for looking into aspects that are relevant for small or medium sized construction companies, as well as safety management and safety climate aspects in large companies.
- The plenary presentations and discussions stressed the need for Proactive planning, risk assessment and allocation of resources for accident investigation
- Making Safety culture and climate more understandable
- Use of existing contacts and networks to reach small and medium-sized companies
- Adoption of 'zero accident' philosophy
- Developing and adopting good practices for worker and client involvement and commitment to safety
- More Positive on-the-job feedback and in taking pride in safety and health, and
- Comparative studies between the different Nordic countries in order to better understand differences in accident incidence and safety climate
These issues are only to a certain extent covered by current Nordic research activities. Future research in the construction sector should also focus on Nordic cooperative studies in the fields of:
- National and cross-national comparative studies at workplace level concerning safety culture/climate and performance shaping features
- Research focused on small or medium enterprises and ways to approach them concerning improved safety performance
For further details see:
Safety in Building and Construction Industries: State of the art and perspectives on prevention.
Report from a Nordic occupational safety. TemaNord 2004:520
© Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen 2004. ISBN 92-893-1006-5. ISSN 0908-6692
Print: Ekspressen Tryk & Kopicenter
The 'Building in Safety' campaign will culminate in the annual European Week for Safety and Health at Work during 18-22 October 2004, will highlight the health and safety risks in Europe's construction industry, as well as the solutions.
Details of the European Week can be found at the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work special European week 2004 website https://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en/european-week-safety-and-health-work
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Have a zero accident and incident-free year in 2004 in your workplace!