Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh initiative on construction worker safety and skill development.

Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh initiative on construction worker safety and skill development.

The construction workers are under privilege in our country. The construction worker is the key person to the civilization of a country. It will have to be taken the action for the train up the construction workers to develop their skilled and knowledge. Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh have been taken some initiative to produced some skilled construction laborer with the increasing knowledge of safety, quality and mobilization of works.

Bangladesh is the export leader of the skilled man power exporting in construction sector.
The construction industry undoubtedly plays a significant role in the economic development of a
country. At present there is a culture of high rise buildings, foot over bridge, building construction and repair of roads, placing of utility services etc. and it seems that the city is in building construction frenzy although it indicates the continuous development of the country. Unfortunately, it is done in a very careless and unprofessional manner without the safety practices.

However, statistics have proven this field to be highly hazardous. Construction workers are backbone of this industry as this sector is less mechanized and more labor intensive. Recent fire incidents and building collapse has made the issue live to us. Thus, ensuring workers safety becomes a major consideration. Bangladesh workers, human right organizations, informational concerned parties have raised the demand for ensuring workers safety in Bangladesh.

So we The Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh realize its importance and try to keep on track with the international standard. Four  major industries can be mentioned where the laborers are working with lack of safety and several death occurred every year. These are :
Ø  RMG (Ready Made Garments) industry
Ø  Ship Breaking Industry
Ø  Leather Industry
Ø  Construction Industry
Ø  Developer Firm
Ø  Real Estate Company
Ø  Builders company
Ø  Engineering firms  
v  Workers Safety:
For head safety helmets should be worn by the workmen and other personnel at all times during the work. Safety goggles should be used during drilling, cutting, welding to protect  the eyes. The welders and gas cutters should be used  gloves, safety boots, aprons and hand shields, filter glass of accepted standard to the eyes
v  Site Safety:
1.      Construction site should be surrounded by boundary walls or by fences. During the erection of tallbuildings, nylon net should be put around the building.
2.      Warning signs should be displayed, where necessary areas like high voltage zone, area of nosmoking zone etc. All electrically operated hand tools should be provided with earthing.
3.      Toilet facilities should be provided at all construction sites. The wells should be provided with proper covers, bad smell protector should be used. Men and women workers should have separate sanitary and washing facilities. Washing facilities provided at the site should be connected to the available running water supply.
4.      Safe drinking water should be provided to the site.
5.      Proper accommodation for taking meals and for taking shelter during work in night time, including provision for lights and fans should be provided.
v  Below Ground Safety:
1.      The type and design of the foundation should ensure the safety of workmen during construction. Sufficient care should be taken in areas, where withdrawal of groundwater from surrounding areas could result in damages to such foundations. During the construction of the foundation, it should be ensured that the adjoining properties are not affected. The process of excavation, filling in, pumping etc. should not affect the partially completed structure. Excavation of interrupted or temporarily suspended construction should be backfilled. During construction, inspection should be made by the engineer-in-charge. Before carrying out any excavation work/pile driving, the position, depth and size of underground structures, such as water pipes, mains, cables or other services in the vicinity to the proposed work, should be obtained from the appropriate Authority to prevent accidents of workmen engaged in excavation work and also general public.

2.      Heavy equipment, such as excavating machinery, should be kept away from the trenches. All excavating tools should be kept far away from the edge of trench. Proximity of buildings, piles of lumber, crushed rocks, sand and other construction materials, large trees, etc. may impose surcharges on the side of the trench to cause bulging, sliding, etc. Additional protective measures should be taken to support the sides of the trenches under these conditions. Where deep excavation is required, the location of water-bearing strata should be determined and the water pressure observed to take necessary precautions. Basements or pits below ground water level, which rely on the weight the superstructure for their stability against floatation, should be pumped day and night. Protective filters should be used during heavy pumping in excavations. The water should be drawn away from the excavation rather than through the ground towards the excavation.
3.      Effect of climatic variations and moisture content variations on the materials under excavation should be constantly watched and precautions taken where necessary immediately to prevent accidents at work site. Precautions, against pockets of poisonous/dangerous gases including protection to the workmen, should be taken during deep excavation.
4.      Overhangs in the trenches should be supported by props. Use of heavy machinery should be avoided under or over this area.
5.      Mechanical ventilation should be provided where gases or fumes are likely to be present in trenches. The precautionary measures provided shall meet the requirements of the local health authority. The owner should ensure that all precautionary measures have been taken and been inspected by the appropriate Authority.
6.      Materials required for excavation, like ropes, planks for gangways and walkways, ladders, etc, should be inspected by the Engineer-in-charge. Where excavation is going on, for the safety of public and the workmen, fencing should be erected. All piling and deep foundation operations shall be supervised by a competent foreman. Filtered compressed air should be supplied. Methanometer shall be used to detect hazardous gases. Pile driving equipment should be inspected by an engineer at regular intervals not exceeding three months.
v  Walling, scaffoldings & Formwork Construction Safety:
1.      Properly designed and constructed scaffolding built by competent workmen should be provided during the construction of the walls to ensure the safety of workers. The scaffoldin can be of timber, metal or bamboo sections and the materials in scaffolding can  be inspected for soundness, strength, etc, at site by the Engineer-in-charge. The scaffold should be checked after every 15 days in rainy season and 30 days in dry season.
2.      Before making an opening in an existing wall, adequate supports against the collapse or cracking of the wall portion above the opening or roof or adjoining walls should be provided. Care should be taken in carrying large bars, rods, etc, during construction of the walls to prevent any damage to property or injury to workmen.
3.      Formwork provided for horizontal projections out of the wall should not be removed till walls, or other stabilizing construction, over the supporting edge of the projecting slabs providing protection against overturning are constructed. In case of precast columns, steel beams, etc, proper precautions should be taken to correctly handle, use and position them with temporary arrangement till grouting of the base.
4.      No scaffolding, ladder, working platform, gangway runs, etc, should exist within 3 m from any uninsulated electric wire.
5.      Platforms, catch ropes, nets etc. should be provided during the construction of roofs. Precautions should be taken to employ the correct techniques. The floor of one storey should be used for storage of materials for the construction of roof, it should be ensured that the total load does not exceed the capacity of the floor.
6.      The formwork should be strong and rigidly braced so as not to bulge or sag when concrete is placed.
7.     The formwork should be water-tight especially for the roof slab and All formworks and scaffolds should be strong, substantial and stable.
8.      Adequate supply of bolts, washers, rivets, pins etc. of required sizes should maintained at all times.
v  Concrete Work Safety:
1.      All workmen in concrete work should be provided with helmet and hand gloves, especially when concrete pumps, concrete trucks or concrete precast elements are used. Precast piles should be lifted and driven by skilled workmen under the supervision of a foreman. Temporary fencing, either with bamboo or C.I. sheet, should be erected around heavy equipment delineating the danger zone. All centering and shuttering materials should be kept stacked at site before and after use.
2.      Scaffolds, formwork and components thereof should be capable of supporting without failure, at least two times the maximum intended load. All formworks and scaffolds should be strong, substantial and stable.
3.      The erection and striking off, especially of steel structural frame, should done by skilled workers. Built-up, swinging and suspended scaffolds should also erected by competent workers. Care should be taken to keep fire alarms, hydrants, cable tunnels etc. unobstructed during the construction of scaffolding and placement of ladders, concrete etc.
v Electrification, Equipment, Fire and Construction Hazards Safety:
1.      All temporary and permanent wiring systems should be designed by an engineer. All temporary wiring should be done by an electrician holding relevant license.
2.      Protection should be provided for all electrical wiring laid on floor.
3.      Lifts should be installed as per instruction of the manufacturer and under proper guidance. If necessary, guards should be stationed at the installation site. Building materials should preferably not be carried in a lift.
4.      The construction machinery should operated by competent operators only. The machinery should be checked thoroughly for any defect periodically, as well as each day before use.
5.      Exhaust of petrol or diesel powered air compressors, hoists, derricks, pumps and all such machinery should away from combustible materials.
6.      All welding and flame-cutting operations should be performed in protected areas; closed spaces should be properly ventilated. Suitable protection against the rays of the electric arc should be provided where arc welding operations might be viewed within normal range by persons other than the welding operators and inspectors.
7.      Gas cutting and welding torches should be lighted by special lighters, not with matches. The cables from welding equipment should not be run over by traffic. Double earthing should be provided to the welding machines.
8.      If welding is to be done near combustible materials, suitable blanket should be provided and fire extinguishers should keep nearby. Welding should not done in areas where flammable liquids and gases are stored. Gas lines and compressed air lines should be marked differently by suitable color codes.
9.      Precautions should take to correctly handle, use and position precast RCC columns, piles, steel beams, joists,angles and other heavy elements.
10.  A portable dry powder extinguisher of 3 kg capacity should kept near all flame producing equipment. Where electrical equipment is used, CO2 or dry powder extinguishers should be provided.
11.  In addition to fire extinguishers, other fire extinguishing equipment, e.g. sprinklers and hydrants should also be provided and conveniently located both within the building under construction and at the building site.
12.  A permanent hydrant system should be made available before the building has reached the height of 20 m. This should be extended with every increase in the number of floors. All construction sites with a fire risk should have at least two exits.
13.                         An independent water storage facility should provided before the commencement of construction operations for fire-fighting purposes.
14.  Highly flammable materials, such as gasoline, oil, paints etc. should be stored
15.  in approved containers. Rubbish, trash, nuts, bolts and small tools should not be allowed to accumulate on the site and should be removed as soon as conditions warrant.
16.  All temporary or permanent high pressure steam boilers should operate only by licensed operators.
17.  Noise should be controlled, if possible, by soundproof shields, baffles or absorbent lined booths being fitted near or around the source. Other general methods of control should include silencing of machine exhaust, choice of quite machines etc. Ear plug and ear muff should be used etc.
v  Finishing Safety:
1.      The quantity of paint and thinner required only for the day's work should be issued from the store. All unused containers of paint and thinner should be closed with tight-fitting lids, and should kept at a safe place away from the work site.
2.      Extra care should be taken while handling polish consisting of acid and other chemical ingredients. Protective clothing, gloves, respiratory equipment, etc. should be provided to the workmen applying polishes.
3.      Protective clothing, gloves and shoes should be used in terracing work, especially while handling lime and other ingredients.

The member of Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh is counseling the construction worker safety the skilled development programs.

Watch the Documentary on Mason in Bangladesh about to Construction and Building Safety

Engineers Without Borders Bangladesh                      
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