Assessing the impact of site layout on the accident levels in building construction sites
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The Construction industry in Uganda contributes about 12 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it is the second largest source of employment after agriculture (UBOS, 2005). The most common activity in construction is general building work which is domestic, commercial or industrial in nature. This work may be new building work, such as a building extension, or, more commonly, the refurbishment, maintenance or repair of existing buildings. Most construction projects cover a range of activities such as site clearance, the demolition or dismantling of building structures or plant and equipment, the felling of trees and the safe disposal of waste materials. Therefore, before any construction work commence, there are several factors that have to be considered for the successful completion of the project works and among these factors, is site layout plan. “Site layout planning” is referred to as placement of materials, facilities, and equipment within a construction project space (Pheng, 1999). Site layout planning consists of identifying the facilities needed to support construction operations, determining their size and shape, and positioning them within the boundaries of the site. During the design of the site layout many factors have to be taken into consideration including health and safety of the workers on site. Despite the construction industry’s clear economic benefits, it has globally experienced poor safety record over time (Rowlinson, 2004) and (Hinze, 2007). Many construction activities are inherently health and safety risks such as working at height, working underground, working in confined spaces and close proximity to falling materials, handling load manually, handling hazardous substances, noises, dusts, using plant and equipment, fire, exposure to live cables (MULINGE, 2014). In Europe, the construction industry produces 30% of fatal industrial accidents, yet employs only 10% of the population (Peckitt, 2004). According to the USA National Safety Council (NSC), there are an estimated 2200 deaths and 220,000 disabling injuries each year (Rowlinson, 2004). In the United Kingdom (UK), reported major injuries to employees in construction was 3677 in 2005/6, compared to 3768 in 2004/5 and 4386 in 1999/2000 (HSE, 2007.). The difference in accident rates between developed and developing countries is remarkable (Hamalainen, 2006.). In general, accident statistics from African Countries are higher than the average fatality rate of workers in developed countries (CIDB, 2010). Similar to the trends observed elsewhere in Africa, Uganda has registered high accident rates in the recent past. Between 1996 and 1998 a total of 146 accidents were reported in the construction industry, 17 of which were fatal cases (Lubega, 2000). During the period 2001–2005, the annual averages were 163 cases on building sites, 25 of which were fatal cases (Alinaitwe, 2007). During period 2006-2010, it is evident that the construction industry in Uganda has continued to witness a number fatal accidents with a total of 49 fatalities reported in Kampala metropolitan area alone.