Challenges in estimating cost of accident on construction site

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The statistic of accidents at construction sites give us a picture that Ghanaian construction industry is one of the critical sectors that need a huge and fast overhaul from the current site safety practices. Most accidents result from a combination of contributing causes and one or more unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. When these accidents happen it is always a challenge on the contractor or the employer to estimate these costs of accident. Therefore, this study was conducted to identify the challenges of estimating cost of accident at construction sites. This study was started out by reviewing literature from journals, books and web pages. Then reported accidents cases kept by Ghanaian insurance companies were examined to investigate causes of accidents. Surveys using questionnaires were carried out to obtain data from respondents who were mainly contractors, labour force and insurance companies. The finding of this study revealed that challenges of estimating cost of accidents are the result of many contributing factors. Some of the critical factors are lack of accident records, lack of insurance, type of employment, unsafe method, human element, unsafe equipment, job site conditions, management, and unique nature of the industry. The challenges of estimating cost of accidents in Ghana were found to be similar to that mentioned in literature review. However, some of the causes are low in frequency of occurrence. The main cause of construction accidents found were the workers’ negligence, failure of workers to obey work procedures, work at high elevation, operating equipment without safety devices, poor site management, harsh work operation, low knowledge and skill level of workers, failure to use personal protective equipment and poor workers attitude about safety improving safety performance. The costs of construction accidents are borne by the workers, employers. The study employed the quantitative and qualitative approach of data collection. Sixty five (65) questionnaires were sent out and thirty (30) questionnaires were received (from contractors, labours and insurance companies). Data collected were properly organized and analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) analysis software. The data was in tables and figures. The research findings show that construction accidents, especially the serious ones, can significantly impact the economic performance of a construction project. However, the expensive accident costs can be also considered as savings if the number of accidents can be effectively reduced through the investment into safety risk prevention programs. All these factors contribute to the challenges of estimating cost of accident at construction site. Based on the facts and opinions drawn from the study various recommendations have being stated. Contractors must be upgraded concerning the measures to put in place to mitigate the challenges of estimating the cost of accident.
A dissertation 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 Science.