Safety at work is a complex phenomenon, and the subject of safety attitudes and safety performance in the construction industry is even more so.
In the construction industry the risk of a fatality is five times more likely than in a manufacturing based industry, whilst the risk of a major injury is two and a half time higher.
In the US construction industry has a very high fatality rate of workers (Abudayyeh et al., 2006). In the UK construction industry, reported injuries continue to place the safety issue as a prime concern though fatal accidents were seen to fall recently to around 90 deaths per annum (Cameron and Duff, 2007a).
Although the accident rate in the construction industry of Hong Kong is argued to decline in recent years due to improved safety measures, it still remains higher than that of other developed countries (Choudhry et al., 2009).
Notably, many of these work-related deaths and injuries are preventable. As Williams (2000) advised, site safety should be enhanced since construction projects have become more complicated in recent times.
Construction sites are crowded with workers who undertake numerous high risk duties such as operating at height and outdoors and with heavy machinery and equipment (Tam et al., 2004).
Human performance is arguably linked with safety (Bottani et al., 2009). Human errors are one of the major underlying causes of industrial accidents, and are perhaps the core component of various safety problems in high risk facilities (Jacobs and Haber, 1994; Llory, 1992).
Hinze’s (1996) Distraction Theory suggests that workers who are distracted by physical hazards or mental diversions are at increased risk of accidents.
One school of thought has established the Accident Causation Theory, which pinpoints the importance of error identification (human, site management, project management, or policy errors) in accident prevention (Suraji et al., 2001). Mitropoulos and Cupido (2009) also suggest that production practices can prevent production errors.
Therefore, it is believed that safety practices can prevent human errors, thereby reducing the likelihood of accidents if these practices were shaped by the guiding principle and its associated strategies focusing on avoiding construction errors and rework.
What Mazda Corporation did can be emulate. Mazda is working to develop people, workplaces, and mechanisms that ensure the safety and health of the people who work at Mazda. Since 2008, the company has been implementing its three-year plan, called the “One Mazda Movement for an Enjoyable Workplace” which carries the slogan : Safety and health first in One Mazda, 24 hours a day!
In addition, Mazda implements voluntary and continuous safety and hygiene management through its Safety and Health Management System. This system reduces the potential risks for work-related accidents and enhances overall levels of safety and hygiene standards.
Mazda has established the General Safety and Health Committee, whose members include management executives (executives responsible for safety and health, and each division’s general managers) and labour representatives (Mazda Workers’ Union leaders).
In line with official agreements, committee members meet to discuss and decide each year’s action plan and priority measures concerning safety and health.
Occupational safety and health activities extend to all companies in the Mazda Group.
Specifically, these activities include sharing of information by safety and health committee observers, workplace observation and guidance, and educational support.
Mazda conducts safety and health training within the Company, throughout the Group and with suppliers on safety and health management, training to enhance the skills of safety and health management and supervisory personnel and training for work-related risk prediction and traffic risk prediction.
Since 2005, Mazda has conducted risk assessments at all facilities to determine potential dangers and risks in manufacturing, development, management, office operations and other processes, in order to determine suitable countermeasures.
Through these efforts the Company reviews and identifies risks each year, improving the level of workplace safety.
(this article written for 1BINA.my)