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1.1    Background of Study

What meaning is derived when talking about health & safety on construction sites? Firstly, looking at each individual term and giving its respective meaning and how it relates to the topic at hand.

The world health organization would specifically define occupational health by stating that “occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards.” Occupational health is a field of study that has everything to do with prevention of accidents and injury while trying to ensure the safety of employees while at work.

The ILO/WHO joint committee on occupational health tries to explain how occupational health should aim at the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of wellbeing for all employees and upkeep of an environment which can help employees adapt their physiological and psychological capabilities. (ILO/WHO Joint committee, 2003, p.10)

Occupational health and safety is a complex field of study that has to do with the general wellbeing of employees at their place of employment,

Occupational health has been defined as “enabling people to undertake their occupation in the way that causes least harm to their health” but the world health organization has tried to broaden this definition due to the fact that health is a much bigger matter, health can better be defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Putting the health of employees first is undoubtedly the most necessary element to achieve a productive and efficient work place mentality, this has been known to enhance efficiency and improve the mental state of employees.




1.2     Concept of Safety

Due to the diversity and uniqueness of jobs, certain jobs carry higher risks than others therefore employers are always responsible for the physical safety of their employees who regularly visit the place of work. These days it is not hard to find organizations being legally prosecuted due to work related accidents, generally we find these to be the most common causes of accidents at the work place: failures to assess risks accurately, plan tasks correctly, neglecting to provide the right training and supervision. These problems are mentioned time and time again (Correll, 2018)

Some observations can be taken from this, when it comes to avoiding health and safety problems, having the right procedures, systems and training in place is at least as important as the physical state of the premises and equipment. With these amendments into all organizations work ethic, the number of work-related accidents would drastically reduce.

The regulation of organizational health and safety is fairly recent phenomenon, even though work related accidents and hazards have been occurring since the beginning.

Organizational health and safety risk factor changes drastically depending on occupation, from workplaces where an employee would experience physical hazards such as falls to other workplaces where an employee would experience chemical or psychological work hazards such as doctors or lab technicians. The construction industry has been known to be the most dangerous modern day work industry.

Falls are one of the most common causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries among construction workers. Due to the fact that accidents may have disastrous consequences for employees as well as organizations, it is of utmost importance to ensure health and safety of workers and compliance with HSE construction requirements. Health and safety legislation in the construction industry involves many rules and regulations.




1.3     Health and Safety on Construction sites

It is imperative to provide safe working conditions to construction workers due to intrinsic hazards and risks associated with every work situation (Olutuase, 2014). It was observed that the performance of any construction personnel is usually a function of safe working conditions and deals with both physical and psychological wellbeing of workers on sites and other persons whose health is likely to be adversely affected by construction (Kheni et al. 2008). Therefore, it is necessary to provide and maintain relevant measures that would ensure high level of health and safety on construction sites to provide protection against risk and hazards arising from high technological advancement in the construction industry. The European agency for safety and health at work (EU-OSHA 2004) recommends that employers and project supervisors must cooperate in order to protect employees’ health and safety. The EU-OSHA (2004) provide a minimum requirement for preventing accidents on small construction sites. The check list of the preventive actions contained in EU-OSHA (2004) if properly implemented would go a long way in preventing accident at sites.


Figure 1.1: Construction Site in Abuja




1.4     Problem Statement

Due to the rapid industrialization of the Federal Capital Territory, there has been a substantial increase in construction projects, this automatically gives an increase in site related accidents and injury at the expense of the welfare and safety of workers. These accidents are attributed to improper enforcement of health and safety regulations. Without construction safety the rates of accidents and deaths can only increase therefore this research seeks to mitigate these problems.




1.5     Aims and Objectives of the study

The aim of this research project is to Investigate the practiced standards of occupational health and safety in construction sites in private companies within Abuja Nigeria and compare them to international best practices specifically the standards upheld in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This aim can be achieved through the following objectives outlined below:

  • To study various legislations regarding occupational health and safety in Nigeria and comparing these cultures to those used in the United Kingdom and United States of America.
  • To investigate the adherence to legislations in regards to health and safety on construction sites in private companies within Abuja Nigeria.
  • To highlight problem areas with the aim of improving health and safety practices in Nigeria.



1.6     Justification of the study

When looking at the adverse effects of ethics in the practice of health and safety on construction sites in Nigeria, the conclusion was arrived upon that there is a significant difference when compared to the practices in the abroad and what rings through is the fact that the regulatory agencies responsible in Nigeria have a lackluster attitude towards their duty and responsibilities to every Nigerian in the sector. Due to the behavior of these regulatory agencies, this lackluster attitude towards health and safety has been assimilated on certain sites to the highest degree, unfortunately, a large portion of the manual labor employed are illiterate. Therefore, they do not even know some of their basic rights as workers. This is most true when it comes to health and safety where laborers generally believe that when they are involved in work related accidents it is always their faults and they try to recover as fast as they can so that they can come back to site and continue earning the meager wages with which they cannot do without.

This is the sad truth for a large portion of Nigerian laborer and this has to do with different factors; firstly due to the fact that the Nigerian educational system has failed our youths for not providing proper educational opportunities, secondly some of the organizations that hire these laborers do not even have proper health and safety training or equipment to prepare these young men and women for what they are about to face on site and finally the regulatory bodies responsible for upkeep of health and safety guidelines in Nigeria has turned into corrupt organizations whose main objective is embezzlement and bending the law to benefit themselves is why these shortcomings must be rectified. The topic chosen for this research project aims to shine a light on these happenings and try to highlight what is to be expected.


1.7     Limitations of study

The comparisons made in this study are going to be limited to credible and available research in the United Kingdom and United States of America. While in Nigeria the study will be limited to construction sites of private companies and individuals within the Federal Capital Territory via online surveys and questionnaires.


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