The construction industry is one of the major industries in the world, employing from 9% to 15% of a country’s working population.
However it has been reported as the sector that exhibits the poorest record in health and safety (H&S) statistics with huge financial and human costs. Although it is acknowledged that many industry associations, contracting and governmental organisations and others have made significant efforts to improve H&S within the construction industry the construction H&S statistics are not improving at a desirable rate. Notably, construction continues to contribute to a large number of fatalities and injuries relative to other industrial sectors.
At the organisational and site level, poor construction H&S performance is attributable to a lack of commitment, inadequate supervision and inadequate H&S training. A lack of worker involvement, personal risk appreciation and work pressures (tight deadlines) also contribute to poor H&S. These contributory factors are further compounded by the lack of complete and reliable data on reported accidents and fatalities. Research data and information shows a remarkable disparity of accident rates in the world. South Africa has a fatality rate of 20 per 100,000 workers and an accident rate of 14,626 per 100,000 workers, while developed countries show a rate of 4,2 fatalities and 3,240 accidents per 100,000 workers.
The above factors (fatality rate) depict a bleak picture in respect of the adequacy of the risk management process in place and a cause for concern to the insurance industry.
In an effort to reduce the accidents, H&S considerations ought to be included, implemented and upheld in the entire life cycle of the construction project process (including design, procurement, testing, commissioning, maintenance, demolition, etc.) and not confined to a specific construction phase. In addition, safety and health implementation should include an endeavour towards the creation of tasks adapted to workers’ functional capacity, and regulated according to the highest labour standards. In summary, collaboration between the stakeholders (business owners, contractor’s, industry associations, government and the insurance industry) can help to curb the accidents on construction sites.
CC&A offers extensive Contractors All Risks and Contractors Liability which covers loss of or damage to (a) the Contract works whilst in transit, in storage or on the contract site and (b) accidental death, bodily injury, illness or disease and / or accidental tangible loss to tangible property arising directly out of the performance of the insured contract.
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