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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Fri, 30 Oct 2020, 12:41 PM


Cost cutting, lax attitude among problems at construction sites

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KUALA LUMPUR: USING reconditioned cranes, a lack of trained inspectors, cutting costs on safety nets — these are among the grouses aired by construction workers with regard to the alleged lack of adequate safety measures at construction sites.

The recent incident where a parapet wall slab fell onto a car at the Middle Ring Road 2 in Bandar Tasik Selatan here has once again drawn public attention to the safety measures taken at worksites.

Construction workers the New Straits Times spoke to claimed that dangerous incidents at such sites could be reduced if more attention and funds were allocated to ensure that adequate safety measures were in place.

One crane operator, who wished to be known only as Amri, said it was unfortunate that some contractors placed greater emphasis on cost-cutting measures at the expense of safety standards. 

Amri, a 17-year veteran in the construction industry, said developers must look beyond standard operating procedures (SOP) specified by the authorities for the sake of safety.

"For instance, if a project costs RM100 million, how much is spent on safety? Is it appropriate if the developer spends only RM10,000 on it?

"In Singapore, for example, every inch of the project must be covered with safety nets as part of safety measures.

"Machines must be properly maintained and checked regularly even when not in use. There should be skilled staff like crane inspectors to check machinery at the sites."

He said these measures, coupled with the SOP and guidelines by the authorities, were crucial to avoid any disaster that could cause not only property damage, but possibly place lives at risk.

He said there must be on-site supervision at all times.

He said some companies also resorted to using reconditioned cranes to cut costs.

"Reconditioned cranes are cheaper than new ones. However, the quality varies and it will depend on the level of maintenance as well."

Amri said the Public Works Department must play a more proactive role in monitoring and enforcing compliance at construction sites.

The NST has reached out to
the Construction Industry Development Board for comments.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof on Sunday said the ministry and the Malaysia Highway Authority were conducting safety checks and reviews of various aspects of the construction at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway site, where a car was hit by a fallen concrete slab.

He said the incident could have been avoided if all parties involved had adhered to the correct work and procedure systems based on the approved guidelines.

Work has since been stopped at the site.

The country's construction sector saw a drop in the rate of fatal accidents last year, which was equivalent to 3.83 per 100,000 employees, compared with 4.14 per 100,000 employees in 2018.

However, the sector still recorded the highest number of deaths due to workplace accidents with 84 cases last year.

Up to July this year, both the construction and manufacturing sectors each recorded 35 deaths due to workplace accidents.

For the construction sector, 35 deaths, or 25.5 per cent out of the 137 accidents, were reported, whereas the number was lower for the manufacturing sector (35 deaths, or 1.34 per cent out of 2,600 cases).


Past accidents at construction sites in Malaysia

Aug 5, 2020: A crane driver, 28, suffered a fracture on the left leg after being trapped under a 26-tonne crane that had toppled over in Alam Damai, Cheras.

July 20, 2020: A foreign worker, 35, was buried alive while assembling a waste disposal pipe at a construction site in Kota Damansara.

March 5, 2020: Two foreign workers were killed when they were buried by mounds of falling earth at a housing project construction site in Temerloh, Pahang. The duo were among three workers who were carrying out sewage pipe installation work when the accident occurred at 4.15pm.

Feb 14, 2020: The structure of a high-rise condominium project in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur partially collapsed after heavy rain. Six people were injured, including two Bangladeshi workers.

Dec 13, 2019: A girder beam collapsed at the Pujut section of Package 11 of the Pan-Borneo Highway construction site in Miri, Sarawak, injuring two workers.

Dec 14, 2019:A chain construction crane collapsed at a condominium construction site in Bandar Baru Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. The crane landed on three houses and two cars, injuring four people, including a 3-month-old baby.

July 12, 2018: Two construction workers were crushed to death when concrete slabs on the 15th floor of a building they were working on in Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur, collapsed.




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