An exploratory study into promoting construction health and safety in Ghana through public works procurement

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Procurement has been found to be a tool that can help to promote social objectives and policies. Studies have shown that procurement can further help promote good occupational health and safety practice as it occurs throughout the life cycle of a project. However, the use of procurement as an instrument to promote health and safety practices in construction has not received much attention till date. For this reason, this research explores the promotion of construction H&S in Ghana through public works procurement. The research employed the qualitative research method to achieve the research aim which is to explore practical measures to improve construction health and safety through public works procurement in Ghana. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. In all, seven individuals (procurement managers, consultants and Quantity surveyors) were interviewed and thematic matrix analysis was used as the method for data analysis. A case study of the health and safety management of a project procured using the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 was also carried out. This was done to ascertain how public works is carried out in the Ghanaian public sector setting by determining the various stakeholders involved, the processes the project underwent and the various considerations looked at especially under H&S. The results however indicated that the Act 663 has no clause that addresses construction H&S. The paper also finds that, H&S does not form part of the criteria for evaluating tenders. To address the constraints so as to improve upon construction H&S, certain recommendations are offered. These include the inclusion of non-ambiguous H&S requirements as criteria for evaluating tenders and the pricing of H&S items in bills of quantities. The study also recommends the carrying out of risk assessment at the planning stage to determine the risks involved in the project. Additionally, practical measures to improving construction H&S in Ghana at the key stages of works procurement are also provided. The study also recommends potential contractor’s participation in the design process to bring their expertise to bear on the project. It also includes other specific roles and involvements of other stakeholders in the procurement process.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Procurement Management
Construction, Health and Safety, Ghana, Public Procurement, Act 663