For a civil engineer, it is necessary to educate the workers, the technicians and the employers in order to ensure that the rules are applied: Therefore, the standards must be applied and, concomitantly, the awareness of both the employee and the employer must be promoted". Workplace accidents and their causality. There are only a very few studies in academic literature about the percentage of workers in the construction sector who have suffered some kind of industrial accident considering that the official data only refers, as a rule, to Employees with a formal contract in larger works as they are rare in small construction projects.
Considering that this percentage represents almost half the workforce, it is worth contemplating if many of the accidents, such as falls, cuts, punctures and electrical shocks, could not have been avoided. The auditor engineer notes that in Brazil the blame for the accident lies on the worker, when it should be attributed to the working conditions and the work process itself.
The same engineer compares the different rhythms imposed in the works as one of the causalities of accidents: The Government states that in a given industrial sector there should be fewer than "X" accidents, while in Brazil, the blame is on the worker, who is not alone in being guilty. The main determinant for accidents is the work process".
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Thus, it is possible to state, as this respondent pointed out, that it is the job content - the pace, the production of the work - that causes the accidents. For him, "the pace of the work is different when considering small or large construction projects, and, therefore, the way of thinking is different. Serious industrial accidents usually happen in the large construction works, in which, theoretically, there is more protection". The auditor doctor also questions the blame imposed on the employee in accidents at work, and highlights the new standard on machines as a breakthrough to overcome this viewpoint, as the underlying principle is fail safe: That is, what is required of the employee is to understand his working condition.
In the new industrial safety standard for machines there is a new principle: The concept of always putting the blame on the worker is withdrawn". In addition, a safety engineer also criticized putting the blame on the worker, emphasizing the need to ensure the existence of prevention of accidents in the workplace, regardless of the size of the company: Fragility of public policies. It was found that, with respect to the public policies, three of the 31 respondents raised important issues concerning supervision; all are professionals in areas directly involved with the responsibility of preventing accidents, namely the auditor engineer , one civil engineer and one person in charge of the works.
Some of the respondents pointed out the failures of the Government and of the supervisors as the main causes of the accidents that are still happening. For the civil engineer of a small construction project, the Government is negligent and surveillance is non-existent. According to him, the supervision is merely bureaucratic and ineffective, and he associated the absence of safety policies to the absence of government effectiveness: I believe that the entrepreneur has to do the social part, take care of workers' safety and prevent accidents at work".
In terms of the shortcomings of surveillance, the auditor initially highlighted the lack of appropriate training of the auditors themselves in being able to fulfill their function: Recently, civil service examinations have allowed people with any initial training background to apply as auditors, which increases the gap between normative evaluation and the production of technical knowledge". A union representative, besides highlighting once again the firm action of the union, hinted that the practice of surveillance is sufficient to solve the companies' safety issues: The NR brought important innovations; however, it is not necessary to advance the legislation, but rather with its applicability in all of the country's building Sites.
The risks must be noted, and on each site a risk map must be created, which allows all workers to observe the critical points of the building site. Thus accidents can be avoided and the fundamental rights of citizens can be improved in order to preserve their health, life, safety and ensure decent work. However, there is a large gap between what the legislation requires or recommends and how it is applied.
It is true that in the larger construction sites there is a more effective obedience to the precepts of the Occupational Safety and Health standards, whereas in small construction projects, following these criteria depends on the conscience of each worker.
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Often, a small renewing a facade or remodeling is done without an engineer or architect's supervision, and it is not uncommon that the bricklayer decides the criteria to carry out the work. In such cases, he may even outsource to one or two assistants, but the issues of safety and health are left aside. Situations can occur, for example hanging on railings to place frames or not even wearing a mask for sanding plaster when lowering ceilings. In addition to these risks to the safety and health of the worker, there may be structural risks in the workplace.
The worker himself may or may not know whether these risks exist, depending on his level of education. Very often, however, this knowledge is only acquired through practice. Regarding the different views on small construction projects, the divergence between what the respondents interpret by small projects is very shocking. It appears that even engineers are unaware of the NR criteria describing small construction projects as those that have fewer than 20 employees, as having more personnel would mean the rules apply.
They consider that a small construction site may have from to employees. It has been pointed out that the lack of knowledge of what constitutes a small project is very common and, in this sense, there are only few who realize that the work of remodeling a facade is considered to be a small work [2, 4].
In this sense, other researchers have shown that the rules should apply to every type and size of work, as long as they are clearly adapted according to the size. However, the lack of knowledge and doubts were clearly reflected by the respondents' answers . As for Occupational Health and Safety in small construction projects, the employee who is blamed when involved in an accident or becomes ill because of a situation in which the PPE was not used, is considered negligent. However, a safety engineer commented that, "safety is paramount, and the aim of accident prevention is the human being".
In this aspect, it does not matter whether the bricklayer works at a large construction site or performs a particular service for the owner of a residence: Thus, "every individual should be subject to accident prevention in the workplace ".
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The cause was the lack of safety and supervision in the small task of remodeling of an office in the largest building with more than 20 floors. This required the removal of the internal structure of its floor, which caused an accident that had a "domino effect".
If the workers and users of the commercial buildings had understood the rules, and the safety of the work itself, as well as necessary supervision perhaps this accident could have been avoided. The literature showed that the nomadic nature of construction workers makes it difficult to control the works and, therefore, work at small construction projects can be a real danger . Another study summarizes that the very construction process leads to a weakness in the health of the worker . Regarding the relationship between small-sized construction projects and the knowledge and the applicability of the rules, the result of the interviews unveiled that more than half of those interviewed were unaware of the NR If engineers and employees of a Municipal Office of Works are ignoring them, how is it possible to make an individual worker with less theoretical training such the site manager, bricklayers, and support staff, etc.
The standard should be simplified in order to be applicable to small construction projects . Perhaps, in this way, a handbook for contractors and employees would be a more practical way to raise awareness. Several Researchers consider that accidents in CCI and its causes are due to the lack of notification, that is, supervision . According to one respondent, an auditor who is an engineer, the cause of the high rate of accidents lies in the size of the work: Therefore, it was considered that it is important to clarify to those who are self-employed or working in small construction projects the importance of equipment, safety, and protection of their own health and that of their colleagues.
It is also common that many workers - regardless of the size of the work and provided there is no visible inspection - consider safety items unnecessary to prevent accidents. This is also more common in small construction projects. Therefore, promoting education, training and health are essential in this context. Finally, concerning the fragility of the public policies, it is the Government's responsibility to ensure the Welfare of all.
However, the States often fails to monitoring the construction sites and to fulfill their obligations to the construction companies . Yet, for one interviewee, a civil engineer, the Government is negligent in terms of this issue and there is no effective supervision.
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The rules exist but are not used, and there is a lack of supervision, creating a negative snowball effect . All around the world, studies are being held on the on the health and safety of workers in the construction industry and. In the European Union- at every economic level- countries are seeking to adapt to new realities and advocating a greater protection for the workers in this important sector.
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They are seeking to review accidents to improve prevention programs. Similarly, countries with economies that are still being consolidated in the EU, such as Poland and the countries that recently joined, such as the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Hungary, are still reviewing the causality of accidents in the construction industry to create or adapt good practices for safety and prevention. Thus, this study recommends a review of workers' safety and health policies, an accurate review of accidents, improvement of audit reports and consultation with workers, since they are the ones who deal with the risks on building sites every day .
Another study evaluates the importance of training for professional assistants in small companies in the construction industry, explaining that, in France, the small businesses are those with fewer than 20 employees. Another study shows that the construction industry is characterized by the high rate of accidents and that, in Poland, in ; this figure reached 9.
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This is the highest percentage of all EU countries. In this context, the authors present three models to analyze the causes of accidents in the construction industry: With these few examples, it is possible to see that Brazil also falls within the same international context of accident prevention and evaluation of worker safety and health in the construction industry.
Admittedly, in the United States and Canada, as in many European Union countries, some problems in relation to work in the construction industry are region-specific and are not found in Brazil. For example, we can highlight the use of foreign labor, unskilled or even illegal immigrants, which is not the case in Brazil or the problem is minimal. The international financial crisis that is affecting the construction industry worldwide is also a factor; however, this has so far not affected Brazil.
What can be observed in the international literature, is that in relation to the risks of accidents at work, there is a common element, i. Good safety and prevention practices are not always applied and, finally, there is a need to review these best practices, in particular when it comes to small construction sites that are remodeling a building or perhaps repairing a facade, which worldwide, and especially in Brazil, still remain 'invisible' [23 - 26].
The discussion, as it has been presented, had the intention to suggest the adaptation of the current standard and the creation of a specific legislation for small construction projects, emphasizing only the most important items of safety and accident prevention. The fact that the accidents are mainly falls, electrocution and perforation accidents, these three aspects should be prioritized. It also seems clear for the authors that the Municipal Office of Works needs to have engineers and safety technicians who are responsible for certain areas of the city.
These professionals would be responsible for visiting small construction projects that, under some criteria of classification and inspection, would be the responsibility of their office. Thus, simplifying does not mean diminishing the responsibility of employers, but rather helping small construction projects so that they can meet the minimum requirements regarding accident prevention. Another suggestion is the regularization of small construction projects. If these small projects, within the appropriate parameters, were officially notified, there would be a greater awareness and wider application of safety and accident prevention regulations at all building sites.
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