Relationship between degree of risk, cost and level of compliance to occupational health and safety regulations in construction

Abimbola Olukemi Windapo


Abstract

This paper investigates the role of statutory health and safety (H&S) regulations in managing construction project risks. The study examines whether the decision made by contractors to comply with the regulations, the cost of compliance and savings of H&S regulatory requirements is influenced by the degree or level of risk, which the regulations are trying to prevent. The rationale for the examination stems from previous studies which establish that building designers and contractors perceive the cost of complying with regulations as additional burdens, which they have to conform to, and which are in some cases unnecessary, and also the fact that construction related injuries and fatalities are on the increase. Qualitative and quantitative data obtained from a descriptive survey and H&S site audit by the Master Builder Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC) were used as the measurements of risk, level of compliance to regulations, cost of compliance and savings. By correlating the quantitative and qualitative data, there is empirical evidence to support a negative relationship between the degree of risk, level and cost of compliance and cost savings. Based on the study’s findings, this paper concludes that the decision made by contractors to comply with H&S regulatory requirements is influenced by the perceived cost saving on account of compliance and that cost savings are influenced by the probability of accident occurrence which is an element of the degree of risk which the regulation is trying to prevent or control.

 

Keywords

Accident; Cost; Health and Safety; Regulations; Risk

Full Text

PDF

References

Abowitz, D. and Toole, T. 2010, ‘Mixed Method Research: Fundamental Issues of Design, Validity, and Reliability in Construction Research’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 136, SPECIAL ISSUE: Research Methodologies in Construction Engineering and Management, 108-116.

Amaratunga, D. Baldry, D. Sarshar, M. and Newton, R. 2002, ‘Quantitative and Qualitative Research in the Built Environment: Application of “Mixed” Research Approach’, Work Study, 51, 1, 17-31.

Ang, G., Groosman, M., Scholten, N. 2005, ‘Dutch performance-based approach to building regulations and public procurement’, Building Research and Information (March – April) 33 (2), 107-119.

Ayininuola, G. M., and Olalusi, O. O. 2004, ‘Assessment of Building Failures in Nigeria: Lagos and Ibadan Case Study’, African Journal of Science and Technology, 5, 1, 73–78.

Baxter, P. and Jack, S. 2008, ‘Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers’, The Qualitative Report, 13, 544-559.

Baxendale, T. and Owain, J. 2000, ‘Construction design and management safety regulations in practice-progress on implementation’, International Journal of Project Management, 18, 1, 33-40.

Benjamin, P. and Greef, J. 1997, Report of the Committee of Inquiry into a National Health and Safety Council in South Africa, Department of Labour, Pretoria.

Bester M. D. 2011, Analysis of Occupational Health and Safety Audits Conducted in the Western Cape for period 2007 to 2010, Unpublished Report. Master Builder Association Western Cape, Cape Town.

Bettesworth, D. 2011, The compliance debate. [Online] Available at: http://dbtownplanner.co.za/2011/02/21/the-compliance-debate/ [Accessed: 15 April 2011].

Bland, J. and Altman, D. 1997, Statistics notes Cronbach’s alpha, British Medical Journal, 314: 572.

Ciobanu, M. and Mazilu, M. n. d., ‘Environmental Crisis Management through Risk Management’, Recent Researches in Tourism and Economic Development, ISBN: 978-61804-043-5, 537-541.

Coble, R. J., Hinze, J. and Haupt, T. C. 2000, Construction Safety and Health Management, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.

Coglianese, C., Nash, J. and Olmstead, T. 2003, ‘Performance-based regulation: prospects and limitations in health, safety and environmental protection’, Administrative Law Review, 55, 4, 705 – 730

Construction Industry Development Board (cidb) 2009a, Construction Health and Safety in South Africa: Status and Recommendations, cibd, Brooklyn Square, Pretoria. [Online] Available at: www.cibworld.nl/app/export/baPOuCHu/20102760/cidb01.pdf [Accessed 17 January 2010].

cidb 2009b, cidb Construction Industry Indicators Summary Results: 2009, captured by the Construction Industry Development Board in partnership with the Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management of the University of the Free State, Available at: http://www.cidb.org.za/knowledge/publications/industry_reports [Accessed 4 March 2011].

Dalton, M. 2002, Fatal Accidents in the Irish Construction Industry 1991 – 2001: A Survey of Contributory Factors, Health and Safety Authority Publication, November.

De Vellis, R. F. 2003, Scale development: theory and applications, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Department of Labour (DoL) 2007, [Online Resource] Available at: http://www.labour.gov.za [Accessed: 17 October 2009]

Emrath, P. 2011, How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, National Association of Home Builders, [Online Resource] Available at: HousingEconomics.com, http://www.nbnnews.com/NBN/issues/2011-07-25/ [Accessed 26 July 2011].

Gann, D. M., Wang, Y. and Hawkins, R. 1998, ‘Do regulations encourage innovation?’ Building Research and Information, 26 (5) 280 – 296.

Haupt, T. C. 2003, ‘A study of management attitudes to a performance approach to construction worker safety’, Journal of Engineering Design and Technology, 1 (1), 42-53.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2004, Improving health and safety in the construction industry, The Stationery Office, London.

Eppenberger, M. 2008, Older construction workers: a study of related injuries, underlying causes and estimated costs, Unpublished Masters Theses, Cape Peninsular University of Technology, South Africa.

Jaselskis E. 1996, Strategies for achieving excellence in construction safety performance, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 122 (1), 61-70

Lin, J., and Mills, A. 2001, Measuring the occupational health and safety performance of construction companies in Australia, Facilities, 19 (¾), 131-138

Master Builders Association Western Cape (MBAWC) 2011, Construction Occupational Health Safety Environment Regional/National Competition Audit System and Star Grading Program, MBAWC, Cape Town.

McConnaughey, J. S. 1978, An Economic Analysis of Building Code Impact: A Suggested Approach, National Bureau of Standards, NBSIR 78 – 1528, Washington, DC.

McGarity, T. O. and Ruttenberg, R. 2001-2002, ‘Counting the Cost of Health, Safety and Environmental Regulation’, Texas Law Review, 80, 1997-2058, downloaded from http://heinonline.org [Accessed 17 June 2010].

Mthalane, D., Othman, A. A., and Pearl, R. G. 2008, The economic and social impacts of site accidents on the South African society, School of Civil Engineering, Surveying and Construction, Faculty of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

McGeorge, D., and Zou, P. 2013, Construction Management: New Directions, 3rd Ed., Wiley-Blackwell, United Kingdom.

Odeyinka, H., Larkin, K., Cunningham, G., McKane, M., Bogle, G. and Weatherup, R. 2011, ‘Development of models for assessing risk impacts on the variability between contract sum and final account’, Proceedings 27th Annual ARCOM Conference, 12-13 September, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, London, 614-623.

Pillay, K., and Haupt, T. C. 2008, ‘The Cost of Construction Accidents: A Pragmatic Study’, , Proceedings of the 3rd Build Environment Conference, T. C. Haupt (ed), Cape Town, 6-8 July, 268-283.

Pinto, J. K. 2002, ‘Project management 2002’, Research-Technology Management, 45 (2), 22-37.

Runeson, G. and Skitmore, M. 2008, ‘Scientific Theories’, in Knight, A. and Ruddock, L. (eds), Advanced Research Methods in the Built Environment, Wiley-Blackwell, United Kingdom, 75-85.

Sidumedi, K S. 2009, ‘An investigation into the Relationship between the corporate culture of South African construction firms and performance’ [Online], Available at: http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/7942[Accessed: 28 June 2011].

Smallwood, J. J. 2000, A study of the Relationship between Occupational Health and Safety, Labour Productivity and Quality in the South African Construction Industry, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Construction Management, University of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth.

Smallwood, J. 2004, ‘The influence of engineering designers on health and safety during construction’, Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, 46 (1), 217-226.

Spence, R., 2004, ‘Risk and regulation: can improved government action reduce the impact of natural disasters?’ Building Research and Information, 32 (5), 391-402.

Stigler, G. 1971, ‘The Theory of Economic Regulation’, Bell. Journal of Econ. Man. Sci, 2, 3-21.

Tavakol, M. and Dennick, R. 2011, ‘Editorial: Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha’, International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 53-55.

Ulang, N.M., Gibb, A.G.F. and Anumba, C.J. 2010, ‘The communication of health and safety information in construction’, Proceedings of CIB World Congress, [CIB W099 Special Track], 1 May 2010, Manchester.

van Huyssteen, S. van Heerden, L. Perkins, P. and Gyimah, O. 2002, ‘The identification and measurement of performance indicators for the South African construction industry’, [Online], Available at: http://buildnet.csir.co.za/cdcproc/docs/3rd/vanhuyssteen%20_vanheerden.pdf [Accessed: 28 June 2011].

Viscusi, W. K., 1979, ‘The Impact of Occupational Safety and Health Regulation’, The Bell Journal of Economics, 10 (1), 117-140, downloaded from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3003322 [Accessed 17 June 2010].

Warwick, J. 2011, ‘Building industry safety needs to be of stellar standard’ [Online]. Available at: http://www.crown.co.za/news/2011/July/building_industry_safety_needs_to_be_of_stellar_standard.htm [Accessed: 23 July 2011].

Weil, D. 2001, ‘Assessing OSHA Performance: New Evidence from the Construction Industry’, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 20 (4), 651-674, downloaded from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3325777 [Accessed 17 June 2010].

Williams, P. 1995, ‘A regulation evaluation system: a decision support system for the Building Code of Australia’, Construction Management and Economics, 13, 197–208.

Winch, G., and Campagnac, E. 1995, ‘The Organization of Building Projects: an Anglo/French Comparison’, Construction Management and Economics 13, 3–14.

……………. 2011, ‘Investigation into the Level of Compliance to Construction Health and Safety Requirements within the South African Construction Industry’, Proceedings of the CIB W099 Conference, 23-25 August, Washington D. C.

Wolski, A., Dembsey, A. N., and Meacham 2000, ‘Accommodating the perceptions of risk in performance-based building fire safety code development’, Fire Safety Journal, 34, 297-309.

Yin, R.K 1994, Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 2nd Ed., Sage Publications, London.