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two people in hardhats and safety vests, scaffolding, construction site

Construction safety management has undergone significant transformations over the years as technologies continue to advance and the industry gains a deeper understanding of workplace hazards. Traditionally, the construction industry was known for its high risk due to the manual labor and challenging environments workers faced daily. However, modern practices and regulations have increasingly prioritized worker protection, leading to a culture that emphasizes safety first. Let’s take a look at how this evolution in construction safety began.

The Late 1800s

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, significant shifts occurred in the approach to safety in physical labor jobs. Initially, such roles had minimal safety measures, but post-Civil War, workers began to proactively manage risks associated with their professions. Many started saving money to purchase insurance to cover potential job-related accidents. As they slowly recognized the importance of worker welfare and construction safety management, some employers also started offering insurance plans or alternative positions for those injured on the job. The growing awareness of job hazards led many workers to leave high-risk positions, prompting employers to increase wages for dangerous roles to attract and retain labor. This period marked a pivotal change, as both workers and employers actively contributed to evolving industry policies towards better safety standards.


1970s

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 marked a pivotal moment in the history of labor rights and construction safety management in the United States. Passed with the intent to ensure safer and healthier work environments, the Act established enforcement mechanisms for safety standards and supported state efforts to protect workers. It also laid the groundwork for the creation of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is dedicated to conducting research and providing safety recommendations. 

A year after the Act's passage, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established. This body is tasked with assuring safe conditions by setting and enforcing standards and offering training and educational outreach. OSHA's effectiveness has been evident in its ability to lower injury rates and associated costs in the workplace without adversely impacting employment, sales, credit ratings, or the survival of companies.


1990s to 2000s

Initiated in 1996, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) was established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to enhance construction safety management through collaborative research efforts. Its primary goal is to reduce the frequency of work-related injuries and illnesses by providing a comprehensive research framework that various organizations can adopt and implement. NORA actively engages stakeholders across different sectors to identify and address the most pressing safety and health issues in the workplace. By fostering collaboration among industry leaders, labor organizations, and safety professionals, NORA aims to develop innovative strategies and practical solutions that significantly improve construction safety management to ensure safer working conditions across the board.


Fast forward to 2004 in the Philippines, the Building Code of the Philippines (PD 1096), a pivotal legislative framework, underwent several revisions to adapt to modern safety and health standards in construction. These updates are integral to ensuring the protection of life, health, property, and overall safety management in the construction industry. The revisions include stringent guidelines on structural design, fire safety measures, and the use of appropriate construction materials that are crucial for ensuring safety during and after the construction process. Additionally, the code emphasizes the importance of regular safety audits, worker training in emergency response, and the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE).


Following the approval of the Building Code of the Philippines is the approval of the Republic Act No. 11058, which aims to strengthen and ensure the rights of workers against occupational hazards resulting in injury, sickness, or death. Covered workplaces, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Information and Communications Technology, shall establish an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program.


Safety First, Last, and Always

The journey of construction safety management from the late 1800s to the present day shows a remarkable evolution driven by legislative action, technological advancements, and a growing awareness of workplace hazards. Significant milestones such as the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in the 1970s in the United States, the establishment of NIOSH, and the development of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) have played crucial roles in shaping the framework of construction safety management. Moreover, the continuous revision of the Building Code of the Philippines and the enactment of Republic Act No. 11058 showcase a global commitment to enhancing construction safety standards. These efforts not only safeguard the health and well-being of workers but also contribute to the efficiency and sustainability of the construction industry.

Moving forward, it is essential for everyone in the construction sector to remain vigilant and proactive in adopting and implementing safety measures. By doing so, we can ensure that the industry continues to progress in a manner that prioritizes safety and exemplifies best practices in construction safety management globally.


To learn more about what we do, email us at technical@jcvassociates.ph or visit www.jcvassociates.ph/ehs-consultancy.


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four construction workers wearing yellow hard hats, workers wearing orange vests, workers on a scaffolding
Construction Safety Week: Top Safety Practices in the Philippine Construction Industry

This week, we are putting the spotlight on safety. The importance of safety in construction cannot be understated. It is one of the main cornerstones of operational efficiency and worker welfare. Every year, safety protocols help prevent thousands of potential accidents and ensure that each worker returns home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day. Check out how the Philippine construction industry emphasizes safety inside the job site!


Safety Planning

As required by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), construction management firms must have a comprehensive safety plan to ensure the well-being of workers onsite. Safety planning in construction is a critical step that begins before the first worker ever sets foot on site and continues daily until project completion. At the onset of each project, a Job Hazard Risk Assessment is performed to proactively identify potential risks throughout the construction activities. This comprehensive assessment outlines the hazards associated with various tasks and suggests appropriate measures to mitigate these risks and ensure a safer work environment from the ground up. Additionally, a Job Safety Analysis is conducted by the foreman or supervisor to review the specific hazards the workers might encounter at work, which can vary based on their tasks and the environment. This ongoing dialogue about real-time risks reinforces a culture of safety and keeps the awareness and preparedness of the workers sharp. This, in turn, can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents.


Safety Monitoring

Safety monitoring at the construction site is a multi-layered process that ensures the implementation and effectiveness of safety measures throughout the lifespan of a project. A key component of this monitoring is the Safety Inspection Report, prepared by the contractor’s safety department. This report serves as an internal tool to verify the ongoing adherence to safety protocols. Following these reports would be the Safety Walkthroughs. These walkthroughs are critical for identifying any hazards, unsafe acts, or conditions on the site, allowing for timely corrections and interventions to maintain a safe working environment. Lastly, a more extensive Safety Audit is carried out across all company projects. This company-wide evaluation is conducted by the central safety department, and the findings are reported directly to the executive offices. This ensures that top-level management is informed of safety compliance and challenges, reinforcing the company's commitment to safety from the highest levels.


Safety Gears and Signages

Signages and gears play a very significant role in preventing accidents while working. Safety signs provide crucial information and warnings about potential hazards, directing traffic, marking off safe walkways, and indicating emergency exit routes. These signs must be clearly visible and understandable to everyone on site, acting as constant reminders of the risks present and the necessary precautions to take. On the other hand, personal protective gear is also equally important. Helmets, safety goggles, high-visibility vests, steel-toed boots, and hearing protection are just a few of the items that form the first line of defense against workplace injuries. This gear is specifically designed to protect workers from head injuries, flying debris, spills, and loud noises, thus maintaining a safe working environment. Together, safety signage and personal protective equipment ensure that safety standards are integrated into the daily routines of all site personnel.


Constructing Safety Onsite

Construction safety is more than just a compliance to law regulations. It’s one of the foundations of every successful construction project. From the intricacies of safety planning and monitoring to the crucial role of personal protective equipment and clear signage, each component contributes to a safer work environment. As we celebrate Construction Safety Week, let's continue to champion these safety measures. May we remember that above everything else, safety is a commitment to the people who build our futures.

Here's to maintaining vigilance and upholding safety standards that protect lives! Send us an email at technical@jcvassociates.ph or visit www.jcvassociates.ph/ehs-consultancy to learn more.


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three people working on a project, a woman in a neon vest and orange hard hat, man in button down with red tie

The essence of collaborative approaches in construction management firms’ safety lies in the power of unity. It's about harnessing the collective strength of every participant in the construction process, from the boots on the ground to the minds behind the blueprints, to ensure safety transcends individual efforts to become a unified endeavor.

A collaborative approach when it comes to safety in construction has a lot of advantages. It facilitates a proactive safety dialogue, making it easier to spot hazards, evaluate risks, and enact effective safety protocols. As a result, construction firms foster a culture where safety is a collective responsibility. Such a culture significantly diminishes accidents, mitigates financial risks, and cultivates a safer work environment, proving that when it comes to safety, unity is not just a strength but a necessity.

With that, here are some strategies we can employ in a collaborative approach to safety in construction.

Communication Among Stakeholders

The foundation for this collaborative effort is built on maintaining open communication channels, facilitated by regular meetings, adopting advanced digital communication tools, and implementing clear reporting mechanisms. These strategies ensure that updates and concerns related to safety are not just communicated but done so promptly, fostering a culture of readiness and vigilance. This real-time flow of information is crucial for enabling proactive measures against potential hazards, significantly reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring a safer construction environment for everyone involved.

Safety Education & Training

A safer construction site begins with a well-informed team. Safety starts with providing all team members with an exhaustive education and training framework. This initiative goes beyond the basics of safety protocols to encompass specialized training that addresses the specific hurdles and operational intricacies unique to each construction project. Emphasizing the importance of continual learning, these programs advocate for the periodic revisiting of safety procedures through refresher courses. This approach enhances the collective safety knowledge and solidifies a proactive, safety-first mentality across the workforce.

Safety Planning & Risk Assessment

Before the first shovel hits the ground, the foundation of collaborative safety is laid through meticulous safety planning and risk assessment. This proactive approach involves a detailed scrutiny of potential hazards, an evaluation of their potential impact, and formulation of strategic measures to mitigate risks before they materialize. This process demands the active involvement of all stakeholders, ensuring a collective effort in surfacing and preemptively addressing safety concerns. By prioritizing safety from the outset, this method ensures a safer execution of construction projects. It also enhances their efficiency, proving that thorough preparation is the key to safeguarding the well-being of all involved.

Regular & Continuous Monitoring

The journey of collaborative safety doesn't pause when the construction project kicks into full gear. Implementing regular safety audits, inspections, and performance evaluations becomes crucial, and it serves as the pulse check for the project's safety and health. This allows for identifying areas needing improvement or adaptation, ensuring that the established safety measures not only hold strong but also flexibly adapt to the dynamic conditions of the project and the emergence of new risks.

Teamwork Makes The Safety Work

In the Philippine construction industry, safety inside the site is mostly a team effort. Through collaboration, sharing ideas, and keeping everyone in the loop, we make construction sites safer places to work. Everyone has an important part to play, from the start of a project, through careful planning and training, to keeping an eye on things as work goes on. As a result, accidents are avoided, the construction firm saves money, and everyone gets home safe at the end of every day. Overall, it’s about building a culture where safety is everyone’s priority, proving that when we work together, we can tackle any challenge and make our workplaces better and safer for everyone.

Ready to build safer and better businesses? Send us an email at technical@jcvassociates.ph or visit www.jcvassociates.ph/ehs-consultancy to learn more about our environment, health and safety consultancy services.


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