The impact of unique physical features of mass housing projects on construction site safety

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June 2016
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Poor construction safety practices have been a major challenge to the construction industry. In order to effectively establish appropriate measures to curb the problem, there is the need for a thorough understanding of certain factors influencing accidents on sites. Mass Housing Projects differ significantly from the traditional “one-off” projects as such would require different unique management skills and approaches to its delivery. No specific focus has been accorded to examining the impact of unique physical attributes of MHPs on Construction Site Safety performance even though there have been studies on managing Site Safety in construction projects and on the impact of Construction project features on Health and Safety. The study sought to evaluate the influence of unique physical features of Mass Housing Projects (MHPs) on Construction Site Safety performance. Contextual definitions of MHPs and Safety on site were explored thoroughly and comprehensively through review of literature. Deductive research approach and Quantitative research methods became most suitable in addressing the research questions. The method of data collection was the use of questionnaires. Purposive Sampling became the most appropriate choice of sampling technique. Mean score ranking, Relative Occurrence Index and Structural Equation Modelling were the analytical tools used for the study. Out of 255 questionnaires administered, 202 were received from the various Health and Safety officers and Construction Site Engineers from 35 MHP delivery firms registered with Ghana Real Estate Developers Association. Data on the Site Safety performance indicators showed that falling of material from heights to injure workers, contact with underground power cables, collapse of excavations or trenches, slips due to oily/dusty floors, falling of persons from scaffolds, repetitive bending at the waist causing injury, lung problems from dust, back injury resulting from the repetitive nature of a iv work item occurs most in MHPs. In line with deductive research, the findings from the Structural Equation Model underpinned the development of a model of the causal influence of unique physical features of MHPs on Construction Site Safety. With respect to Multiple Construction Site physical features, Quality Management Style and Construction Technology and Method affect safety most. Safety Events occurring most due to the unique Multiple Construction Sites are; Exposure, Contact With, Fall Same Level and Repetitive Stress Injury. Cultural influence also showed high impact on safety due to Multiple Geographical Location. Safety Events that were identified to be mostly caused by Multiple Geographical Locations are; Repetitive Stress Injury, Struck By, Fall to Below, Overexertion and Caught In accidents. A framework was developed through the findings from the Structural Equation Modelling to establish the relationship between the major concepts and the substantial findings identified. The study adds significant contribution to the already existing body of knowledge in the field of safety performance in the construction industry in the area of MHPs. The developed framework should be the basis for developing a training program for the workforce and also the type of accident records kept on site.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy