We must create a safer workplace environment

I would like to respond to a news item on ‘Rise in construction accidents worrying, says minister’, which appeared on the frontpage of the Bulletin yesterday.

In my opinion, the workforce must be trained, from the labourers to the management, to improve safety on construction sites and reduce accidents.

To achieve that, there has to be good health and safety executive (HSE) awareness, safe practices in the use of tools and appliances, proper provision of suitable personal protection equipment for all workers, good communication practices, and the presence of supervision on site.

The use of sub-standard safety gear, tools and machinery are also partly to be blamed for the increasing number of accidents.

Often, there is no qualified HSE person on site, which is rather difficult to understand, given that there is no shortage of certified HSE candidates in the country now that so many have obtained the NEBOSH certification.

Having an HSE specialist would allow for a better appreciation of general hazard management and risk assessments, and assurance that the standard operating procedures are up-to-date and readily available.

Finally, I believe that the management must boost the morale of its workforce.

Perhaps the best place to start is by providing better living quarters to help them understand the importance of a safe working environment.