Safety in Construction Sites

Internationalcompanies in building and construction are forcing Indian companies to upgrade their safety norms and procedures. Safety in construction is frequently pushed to the bottom rung of priorities by the builders, contractors and engineers. While monetary loss heads the list, loss of man-hours and material progress are equally irreparable when scaffolding fails, a roof collapses or a fatal accident takes place at site of work, the human life is irreplaceable.

Finally the legal actions and vicarious culpability that invariably follow, haunts the management and chief executive too. Many builders have had the experience that once a worker loses his life in an accident at site, the morale of the working force sinks to a new low. The spirit of working and the progress of work never remain the same as before. With all this the safety aspect is often ignored. Only after some untoward incident occurs, do contractors begin to take safeguards. International companies in building and construction are forcing Indian companies to upgrade their safety norms and procedures.  

“It is high time that a Construction Safety Manual is evolved, made a part of decision-making criteria submitted along with standard tender document by every bidder and strictly enforced by the supervising agency”, says R.Sriram, Managing Director of SAAG RR Infra Ltd., a major player in infrastructure development with interests in Oil & Gas pipelines, Roads & Bridges, Water & Sewer as well as general buildings is a strong proponent of Construction and Structural safety.

Findings of the International Labour Organisation reveal that the accident rate among industrial workers is highest in India, touching 4 per 1000 and a major share of it is accounted by the building and construction sector. Indian construction industry is highly labour-intensive. Though mechanization in construction projects is inevitable, induction of machinery and equipment is taking place in a very slow manner. Unskilled and semi-skilled labour is cheap, unorganised, being unaware of their rights, builders find it convenient and profitable to use manpower than machines. Governments and private bodies worldwide have conducted a lot of research and numerous studies on the subject, which is of global concern.

However ECC Construction of L&T has a safety record that is among the best when compared to global construction companies. According to L&T management the appointment of safety officers and audit of safety in equipment and work place practices plus a clearly enunciated checklist of internal procedures have helped the company maintain the lowest accident rates in the industry. Since L&T Group has manufacturing facilities too, they are in interaction with the Inspector of Factories - a fact that keeps them proactive when it comes to safety.

Some of the findings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the field of safety in construction are:
1. The accident rate in construction is four to five times higher than that of the manufacturing sector on the global scale. There is an increase in the numberof work related diseases associated with construction all over the world.
2. After the initial employment, there is a dramatic increase in accident frequency over the following six to eight months. This shows that more workers meet with accidents during the first year of their employment.
3. A study conducted in four industrialised countries - Canada, Japan, UK and US - showed that danger in the construction industry was more than four times than those in the manufacturing industry.
4. Another study of seven industrialised countries indicated that the average number of such occurrences per 1,00,000 workers was 12 per year, with some countries reporting 35 instances per 1,00,000 workers annually.

However, compared to other countries, there is precious little authentic data in respect of the accident rates, causes or preventive measures taken by the Indian construction industry. No agency till date has been assigned the responsibility to compile such records, and no voluntary efforts have been made in this regard. However, as per one report at an all India level, 165 per 1,000 workers get injured during construction activities. This is very high compared to the rates in the developed countries and even certain developing countries.

The reason why no agency has made any efforts in this direction is the lack of specific legislation on safety in the construction industry till as recent as 1996. Before the passing of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act), construction safety fell within the mandate of Industrial Disputes Act, Central Labour Act and other related legislations. Central Rules and the State Rules need to be made and the enforcing agencies need to be notified. However, till now apart from the Centre only two states, namely Delhi and Kerala, have set up the necessary State Rules.

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53 Responses to “Safety in Construction Sites”

  1. 1 Murali krishna Nov 8th, 2007 at 6:22 am

    All the states has to make state specific rules and male it mandatory that the rules applies to all the construction industries.

  2. 2 Prof. Parmod Kumar Singla Mar 13th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Very nice and eye opening data

    I want to undertake some studies on Safety auditing and safety planning at construction sites. Please send me some relevant papers/material.

    Thanking you in anticipation!

  3. 3 Saurabh Srivastava Apr 2nd, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Very good initiative by the construction sector - if possible please share some checksheets and process for the construction safety.

  4. 4 Sukesh Kumar Nayak Apr 13th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Very good initiative by the construction sector - if possible please share some checksheets and process for the Scaffold & Electrical safety at construction site.


  5. 5 j.k.verma May 18th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    it is an eye opener for those builders who think spending on safety as an unnecessary burden,who has a policy of “Safety Last”and have at the maximum a reactive approach to safety.Not that they really save by cutting down on safety budget,on the contrary they end up spending much higher on treatment,work loss,litigations and bribes.I wish with your efforts they will come out of this “penny wise pound fool”attitude

  6. 6 Karunakar Reddy May 23rd, 2008 at 5:05 am

    If the Indian governmentinsist all state governments to appoint safety officers in all the contruction companies and also all the companies should be abide by the safety rules and regulations and to ful fill all thestaturary requirements.

  7. 7 Suhas Karadkhedkar May 31st, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Excelent work done.All construction industry people should
    give SERIOUS focus to this topic.Once again congrates.

  8. 8 Prof. Parmod Kumar Singla Jun 4th, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I am really happy to note that somebody in India is concerned about the safety of workers on the construction sites. I shall be really grateful if the authors of this article get in touch with me on the subject and we do some concrete work in this area. My contacts:


  9. 9 Prof. Parmod Kumar Singla Jun 4th, 2008 at 2:15 am

    I am really happy to note that somebody in India is concerned about the safety of workers on the construction sites. I shall be really grateful if the authors of this article get in touch with me on the subject and we do some concrete work in this area. My contacts:

  10. 10 chandralekha Jun 11th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Good work, things need to known and updated regarding this issue and a proper training and usage of PPE’s may very well help in this atttitude,awareness programme adds boost to this

  11. 11 srinivas Jun 17th, 2008 at 7:35 am

    plese send your guidence

  12. 12 vasudev joshi Aug 20th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    It is good to read construction safety concerns. Its a high time to go for standards for construction safety and implement for all construction works. Needs effective enforcement by government agency and close monitoring for all major/minor construction sites.
    Even all construction companies/builders to own the responsibilities, to keep their site free from injuries.
    Safety professionals/ NGO’s needs to spread construction safety, hazards involved in work, facilities required, etc.,

  13. 13 gautam kumar sil Aug 27th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I am a safety officer in simplex infrastructures ltd. i want some safety aspect picturised view in construction & others.

  14. 14 K.R.S.S.Murty Sep 1st, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    It is time to have seperate state stuatory authorities for construction Industry areawise/Zone wise similar to fatory inspectorate for close inspection and to enforce and implementation of BOWC act in construction Industry. Govt. should take further initiative for developing awareness among illiterate labour force migrating from various unorganised sectors. Stingent rules and plans exclusively for Construction activities even for a small contractor is to be enforced to strengthen Safety health and environment in construction sector.

    Senior Manager -EHS

  15. 15 mtram Sep 4th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    good start. it has to be implemented at site. every one has to raise the voice towards safety. welcome to share others views in construction safety

  16. 16 vinod shukla Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Very nice and eye opening data

    I want to undertake some studies on Safety auditing and safety planning at construction sites. Please send me some relevant papers/material.

    Thanking you in anticipation!
    vinod shukla

  17. 17 PRABHAT KISHOR. LANKA Oct 22nd, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Safety culture of an organisation is the product of th individual and group%2

  18. 18 Sanjay Hatmode Oct 29th, 2008 at 12:14 am

    In construction field main requirement,is to change thumb rule methods by scientific methods.And required implementation of those method.Contineous folloup of existing system by HSE dept maintain the safe working environment.

  19. 19 Vinayak Boga Nov 6th, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Very nice article, apart from can u give me in details about safety organisation, site management, management of accidents etc.

  20. 20 Jagdish Prasad Shrivastav Dec 1st, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Hai, its good initiative, keep it up. It will be helpfull for all safety professional. The more data should be add and updation process should be maintain about construction safety as accident rate, injury rate, dangerous occurances and how to accident/injury took place.

  21. 21 Ashish A. Deshpande Jan 31st, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Great Information with the data. Its high time now to implement the safety systems. Also it is required to go through each & every process of the construction industry.
    Its an unorganised sector. Even the small constructions shall be considered while making rules.

  22. 22 Rajiv Ranjan Feb 17th, 2009 at 1:45 am

    my project is under inital stage ,civil work is in progress .please send the checksheets and process for the construction safety.if possible please share some checksheets and process for the Scaffold & Electrical safety at construction site.

    Thanking you,

    With Regades,

    Rajiv Ranjan
    Aditya Aluminium Project

  23. 23 A.Venkata ramana Mar 13th, 2009 at 2:39 am

    very great information evry one must read this article,
    Once the legislation made for construction industry means it is for all,not one state and one company,
    ensuring coming years indans are also stand in the world best if the saftey legacy will implement.
    try to share the simple saftey measuresamong us to avoid accidents

  24. 24 K K MALHOTRA Apr 16th, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Dear Sir

    Could U pl send me Safety Norms for Construction sites. Also about material and equipment handling.

    Kind Regds


  25. 25 TIRUPATHI RAO Jun 4th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    its very much interesting to create safety awareness to every one

  26. 26 Partha Sarathi Panda Jun 9th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Dear Sir,

    Kindly help me regarding some construction safety guides.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Partha Sarathi Panda.

  27. 27 GMR BAIG Jun 26th, 2009 at 8:19 am

    ITs realy interesting to create safety awareness to work force and commen man

  28. 28 Pramod kumar panda Jul 21st, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Every work is full of hazard,and every hazard is full of risk, so awarness about safety is a good method of preventing accident at cinstruction sites, try to adopt a simple mantra before commencement of work——–100%safety and 0% accident bcz..if accient is less-production will be more-profit will be more….. and if accident is mor-production is less-profit will be less. safety rule should be implement form the starting phase of project of work
    From a safety personal

  29. 29 Harshad Patel Jul 26th, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Please give Guidelines for Pipeline ( Oil,Gas and Water )Projects construction Safety measures.
    All advance technology in PPE for safety in pipeline.

  30. 30 Srinivasan B Jul 31st, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Could you please send me safety manuals and guidelines for plie foundations and RCC wroks for multistoried buildings?

  31. 31 Prafulla Baviskar Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Resp sir,
    It is very good that you initiated about safety awareness for construction industry. I am an employee as Senior engineer in privet sector. Practically every engineer seems engaged to solve technical issues, so there is possibly he may not take attention for safety for higher level. he has to do that way. but if that engineer will be awarer with these all safety norms with a small workshop arranged by his company, it will definite help the industry to avoid related accidents. if that company will do this, that company should be awarded by a safety group to improve and increase safety awareness.
    u should send details to us in detail format for exact process for improvements, thanx.

  32. 32 Sanjeev kumar Aug 22nd, 2009 at 3:27 am

    hi, nice to see such article who really care for labourers.

  33. 33 V. V. Killedar Sep 11th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Need basic notes in construction Safety.

  34. 34 Deepchand Jhuriya Sep 22nd, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Most important to improve in construction site

  35. 35 Russil Kumar Sep 23rd, 2009 at 1:58 am

    A very fair comment made by Mr. Panda made on July 21st Quote ‘Every work is full of hazard,and every hazard is full of risk, so awarness about safety is a good method of preventing accident at construction sites”unquote. I really do not know how many of the people out there are really aware of the basic HSE Term ‘Hazard’. Where I come from (UAE), I was fortunate enough to work as a Health, Safety, Fire & Environment Manager for the construction of the largest Mall in the world ‘The Dubai Mall’ where during the peak there were more than 20,000 employees working at a time. Most of the workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Srilanka. Now since the Dubai Mall is opened there have been many workers who were given the basic induction and other such trainings and now are back in their home country. I am wondering - Are they still adopting safe working habits/procedures, if not, Why? Is it because they are not supplied with the right equipment/tools or is it because the company that they work for does not have a concept on Health & Safety. I strongly believe that we do have the resources, techonology and the skills but the knowledge pertaining to health and safety still needs an upper hand to ensure Health & Safety Compliance in the country and it has to come from the top management, down to the workforce. I strongly believe that in the month of November during the Construction Week Conference (11th & 12th) in New Delhi will provide a platform foar an increased awareness for Health & Safety on Construction Sites & like minded people exchange their views.

  36. 36 Banshidhar Sahu Sep 24th, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Now time has come we should be serious about safety while executing any construction activity. Our approach should be proactive and able to take responsibility then only safety can be implimented. Simply telling “Safety First” , “Don’t compromise safety” are the common dialogue by every body. Think about safety should come from your heart and mind- Thank you sir for your good concept on safety in construction Industry.

  37. 37 Shravani Killedar Sep 28th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Hi, nice to see such article. Its needed to increase awarness in workers working at construction sites. Need to train the supervisors to control the accidents at construction site.

  38. 38 Russil Kumar Oct 4th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    What Banshidhar Sahu & Shravani Killedar said is true. But more than the supervisors it is the senior management. Safety comes from ‘Top down’. Apart from that it must be made a law like here in the UAE that any construction site employing more than 150 workers at a time must have a full time competent & qualified safety officers. Now yet again, we have another accident at the Delhi Metro, who’s going to resign next. Why are we so reactive to accidents? Can we all be proactive? Why did a reoccurrence of the same accident occur? There are so many questions to ask? Definately I will be in Delhi this November to be a guest speaker on Health & Safety on construction sites. Please, attract more people on this forum. Jai Hind.

  39. 39 Anil Kaushal Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    The workers employed in construction sector are mostly illiterate having no formal training about proper work practices, requirements for their own safety & healthetc. Most of the contractors who engage them for construction work are also not much knowledgeable about proper construction techniques and therefore we can not expect them to be knowing A-B-C of occupational safety and health. The workers thus work without proper safety knowledge and supervision. Therefore the workers get exposed to hazards of construction. I have not seen any training programmes for the workers in India so far except ITIs. The Govt. should evolve some training centres for these grass root level workers and training should be made compoulsary that before employment on construction sites to achieve the desired levels of construction and safety.I have much to say but I close here.

  40. 40 Jagat Mohan Feb 14th, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Greetings to yourself.
    Good catch, this is real picture of our industry.

    There should be some learning process for labour contractors,too.

  41. 41 vikash Feb 16th, 2010 at 2:27 am

    hi i m vikash anand. i think safety is most important our life….

  42. 42 Manjusha Parial, Management Consultant Mar 6th, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Interesting fact. Safety is of foremost concern at construction sites.

    I want to undertake some studies on Safety auditing and safety planning at construction sites. Please send me some relevant papers/material.

    Thanking you in anticipation!

  43. 43 Russil Kumar Mar 6th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Manjusha,
    After 14 years of ‘vanvas’ in the middle east working for a UK Based Construction Site, now I am glad that I am back in India. For your questions - to be a Safety Auditor, approach some good training institute in India and do the Lead Auditors course in OHSAS18001. While I have a great respect to all the Safety Traniing Courses in India, we need to polish our ‘DIAMOND’. There are some UK accriditted courses IOSH - Managing Safely, Working Safely etc. that gives more information on Health & Safety. NEBOSH which is one of the Highest qualification for a Safety Professional (Internationally) is also a very good course.
    In India, there are different ‘perceptions’ on how they look at ‘SAFETY’. I had been conducting IOSH courses for a UK Based company in the Middle East & people do these courses to get jobs as a ‘SAFETY PROFESSIONAL’ specilly in the middle east. You are free to contact me for any further advise that you am require or visit my personal web site - - Good Luck, Jai Hind

  44. 44 Russil Kumar Mar 6th, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Manjusha,
    Hope that your questions were answered.

  45. 45 R.T.SWAMY Mar 12th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    hi, nice to see such article who really care for construction labourers. Need to train the supervisors to control the accidents at construction site.

    Can u please send a safety manuals / guide lines related to mechanical works like laying of pipe line in under ground and as well as above ground and plant constructions.

  46. 46 BV Rao Mar 24th, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Article is enlightening and let each one of us contribute to safety and well being of our staff and labour. Kidnly let me know the institutes in Southern India imparting such courses (recognised) whereby we can hire qualified safety officers.

  47. 47 Russil Kumar Mar 27th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Dear Mr.Swamy & Mr.Rao, we have a wonderful organisation by Name, the National Safety Council of India. Not many people know about this organisation but I know for sure that in the past couple of years this organisation had been contributing a lots towards construction & industrial safety. I am planning to launch a free website of safety professionals who are competent & qualified so that companies can select them at their descrition. Mr. Rao has stated ’southern India’, which State Sir. Each state, if I am not wrong, has got its independant chapters likned to the National Safety Council of India based in Navi Mumbai. Gentlemen, it is high time that likeminded people unite to promote safe workplaces in India. Jai Hind

  48. 48 Jagat Mohan Mar 27th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Dear Sir, Greetings!
    Its a fact that in construction industry, most of the workers are not educated, even if they are educated on safety by the employer, its not sure that they have received the training. In more than 90% cases they are the victims of accidents at work place. Formation of legislations and safety body may be help full on papers, but according to ground realities this uneducated, inorganised class of worker need to be educated at work place according to their task and they should have ’simple’ approach to enforcement agency for their griviences.

  49. 49 BV Rao Apr 4th, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Dear Russil Kumar,
    Tks for your quick response. Southern India was mentioned since I am in Hyd, AP. Availability of qaulified/trained personnel is more important

  50. 50 Dev Apr 19th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Good data on accident at construction site, safety is not only the resposibilities of an organisation or enforcement bodies it is the individuals responsibilities and it should be think by heart to impliment not by mind then only the accident can be reduce.

  51. 51 indraneel gaikwad Apr 27th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    i construcion safety program, weekly shedule, as well as safety cheklist’s.

  52. 52 jagan maohan reddy May 17th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    very nice bring awareness in safety in constrution i am jagan working in safety department

  53. 53 amar.s Jul 22nd, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    i never seen like dis.. it may help any one.., gud luckluck

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