Workers below 40 Years Most Prone to Injuries and Death in Construction Sites - Study

By HSE East Africa | Monday Nov 13, 2017

A recent study of accidents in construction sites in Kenya shows that 74% of the workers who were injured or killed when accidents occurred in construction sites were below 40 years old. 

The study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Construction and Building Materials included collection of field data using questionnaires and analysis of secondary data from Kenya’s Directorate of occupational safety and Health (DOSH) covering the period between 2010 and 2014.  

The study also quoted data from DOSH which recorded 237 accidents in a four-year period, with 32 fatalities in Nairobi. It also found that Falling from height and being hit by falling objects contributes towards about 64% of all construction site accidents. 

Some 26% of the accidents occurred during the busiest months of the year, June and July, a period which coincides with the closure of financial year. Also, about a third of construction site accidents occur during the busiest hours of the day (10-11 am, and 3-4 pm). The majority of construction companies in Nairobi allocate less than 1% of project budget to health and safety. This could be because most companies do not have a clear accident prevention policy. 

“It’s established that most accidents occur around just before the workers take a lunch break and it has been called 'lunch time effect',” says the study. The study came up with 10 main reasons for the increasing number of accidents at construction sites, top of these being reluctance to invest in safety, lack of training in safety and failure by regulators to enforce safety regulations. For example, while project managers are required to prepare a written budget for safety plans, almost all the sites visited by the research team lacked such plans. “The majority of construction companies in Nairobi, even with a budget of over half a billion shillings, allocate less than one per cent to health and safety per year,” reveals the study. 

While the law in Kenya requires every construction site to have safety officers to identify project risks, these were almost non-existent even on major construction sites. DOSH, on the other hand, lacks capacity to effectively supervise safety measures at construction sites in Nairobi, having only a third of the required employees during the study period. The report comes at a time when medical doctors have raised concerns over the increasing number of injuries being reported for emergency care. For example, a recent report shows injuries are the second most common cause of patient visits to the emergency unit of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. 

The report published in August by, among others, doctors in the Accident and Emergency Department of KNH, showed 23 per cent of patients at the unit were there because of injuries. Topping the causes of injuries reported at the unit were traffic and construction site accidents, violence and burns. Led by Justin Guy Myers of the University of North Carolina, US, the study says the increasing rate of injuries presents a new challenge to an already stretched emergency health system in Kenya. For example, the study says, the system suffers from serious transportation problems, with 39 per cent of emergency patients to KNH likely to arrive by bus or matatu, 28 per cent on foot and only 17 per cent by ambulance. 

You can read the whole report here.

Source: The Standard

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