KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 ― The numerous reports on accidents at construction sites of late indicate the need for stricter enforcement of compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to avoid further mishaps.
This is because most cases of accidents at construction sites are due to failure of contractors or construction companies to comply with the SOPs set by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
The frequency of accidents at construction sites has raised questions on whether those responsible are turning a blind eye or not firm in enforcing the safety regulations.
In fact, efforts to curb accidents at construction sites are a priority for DOSH, as well as improving the SOPs, said DOSH director-general, Ir Zailee Dollah.
“However, it cannot be denied that these untoward incidents continue to happen and thorough investigation is required to determine the cause, as well as the need for improvements to be made immediately to avoid a similar incident,” he told Bernama.
He said this when asked on the frequent accidents at construction sites lately, with the latest case of a launching gantry falling at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) construction site near Puncak Banyan, Persiaran Alam Damai, Cheras, last Monday.
Refuting claims of poor supervision or monitoring on compliance with the SOPs at construction sites by responsible parties, including DOSH, Zailee said that monitoring on the progress of projects, especially the high risk ones, including the construction of the 31.8 kilometre SUKE highway, is always done.
He said that before commencement of any construction project, the developer is required to adhere to the prescribed procedures, including regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.
“In principle, the existing (Occupational Safety and Health) act is for the purpose of ensuring the safety, health and welfare not only of workers at the construction site, but also to protect the public.
“It is the responsibility of the contractor to appoint competent individuals, including safety and health officers, to assist the project management in ensuring the construction site is in a safe and healthy environment,” he said.
In the incident at Persiaran Alam Damai, last Monday, three construction workers were killed when a component of a gantry crane fell at the SUKE highway construction site. A passing motorist was also injured in the incident.
Prior to that, on March 3, two people were killed and three others were injured when the structure of the SUKE highway bridge near Desa Tun Razak collapsed after a trailer crashed into the iron scaffolding of the highway.
In September last year, a woman cheated death when a concrete slab from the construction of the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) fell and hit her car.
According to Zailee, risk assessment should always be done by the contractor to identify the possibilities of accidents that may occur so that preventive measures can be taken.
Apart from that, training for workers should also be conducted so that construction work can be carried out smoothly and safely, he added.
Meanwhile, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive Datuk Ir Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid said the board would not compromise with any contractors that failed to perform their responsibilities in ensuring safety at construction sites.
Since amendments to the Construction Industry Development Board Act (Act 520) came into force in late 2016, nine contractors have been taken to court for failing to comply with the provisions in the law, he said.
He also said a total of 628 contractors had their registration either suspended or revoked, while 312 company directors had been blacklisted for various offences during the same period.
“Contractors should be more sensitive and take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the public, including by diverting traffic or to completely close the area to motorists, when high-risk construction work is being conducted.
“The move will not only eliminate the risk of danger to road users, but also maximise the space that can be used for construction, hence speed up implementation of the project,” he added.
The Construction Industry Development Board Act provides a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both in the event of death due to negligence at construction site. ― Bernama