Health and Safety - The Big 4 killers in construction sites

Is it laziness? Lack of training? Lack of adequate safety gear?

 To work in construction is to be plagued by financial issues, delays, belligerent civilians complaining about noise and endless debates on what the design of the window should be like. But most tragic and terrifying of all, is that on top of all that; people in construction also have to deal with working in a dangerous environment. It is simply the reality and nature of construction sites, similar to the people working in mines and oil & gas. This is why safety has mattered so much more in recent times.

In a country such as Indonesia, where a whopping Rp.400 trillion of foreign investment has been poured for infrastructure, construction is the name of the game. However, there is a catch to it.

Source: Indonesia-investments.com (2017).

In 2013, Indonesia ranks as one of the worst performers of occupational safety, as there were more occupational fatalities in Indonesia than countries such as Syria and Costa Rica. It seems that amongst all this growth, several contractors have forgotten the “safety” aspect of work.

Source: Ryoichi Horiguchi (2013)

There are however ways to reduce the risks on construction site. One of which is to know the main causes of fatalities and accidents on site. Although this list isn’t restricted to only Indonesia, these fatalities do happen here.

1. Falls from height

Falls from height account for almost half of all construction accidents (47%) as of 4 November 2020, according to roofingtoday.co.uk. In Indonesia, at least 100 fall accidents occurred in 2019 alone, and is the no.1 killer on site.

Is it laziness? Lack of training? Ignorance?

The blame cannot be pinpointed onto a single factor. Perhaps what most people underestimate is the lack of training and education in Indonesia. It is important to promote the duty of care and ensure that falls from height do not occur. A well detailed safety policy, along with contractor and vendor training, such as the one that PT Kandu uses in their construction sites have been implemented successfully.

Wearing the proper PPE when working at heights, such as harnesses, is an absolute must.

2. Crushed/ Snagged / Pulled

It may sound horrible. Getting crushed. But the unfair reality is, it’s a lot more common than you might think. You see it all the time in news articles. In January 2020, a teenager was crushed and the company was fined 500,000 pounds sterling.

Situational awareness and avoiding getting too close to the transportation of heavy objects is key.

Getting crushed in this context means to be caught in between two objects. Horrific deaths from getting crushed are usually the result of negligence and obliviousness to one’s surroundings. A truck in reverse with a person standing behind it, a wall that is about to collapse, and the list goes on.

It doesn’t stop at crushed. Improper uniforms and work clothes can result in individuals getting pulled into machinery, trip hazards and catching fire.

Situational awareness is man’s best friend when it comes to avoiding these types of injuries.

3. Electrocution

One of the most common sights you’ll see in construction sites in Indonesia are cables laying around everywhere. No organization, no sense of tidiness, no neat coils – just cables strewn across the floor regardless of weather, water in the vicinity, situation or condition of the building. Lack of housekeeping, inspection and monitoring can be the difference between life and death.

Faults with electricity can result in electrical bursts that can cause collateral damage through explosions and fire.  It is important that site areas are routinely checked for stray or untidy cables (among other things) and that immediate action is taken when electricity danger is aloof.

As a responsible construction management consultant in Indonesia, Kandu takes these issues seriously. Action is needed and even a single stray cable cannot be dismissed, along with posting clear visible danger signs. Electrocution can be especially deadly, as handling an individual that has been electrocuted has cautions and protocols of its own.

4. Struck by flying objects

There’s a good reason why hardhats, gloves and goggles exist. Falling debris, flying projectiles from jackhammers, steel saw blades that haven’t been installed properly, are all intimidating enough as they are. It’s even worse when they are in the top 4 causes of construction injuries and fatalities.

Safety equipment does in fact save lives! In the photo above, the grinder disc exploded and nearly cost this man’s right eye.

OSHA defines this cause as injuries produced by forcible contact or impact between an injured person and a piece of object or equipment.

Struck by objects don’t necessarily have to be flying projectiles. It could also be rolling or swinging. Much like Number 2 on this article, it all boils down to situational awareness and training. There is also the addition of equipment maintenance, where inspection of With the construction management services that Kandu provides, we never forget to train and mentor everyone on site on safety.

Sensible Approach

Safety is an element of construction that should be taken seriously. PT Kandu, as a responsible construction management consultant Indonesia, operates under a rigorously tested health and safety policy. All of Kandu’s construction engineers are motivated and have been trained in construction safety. In addition, Kandu’s engineers are aware of the big 4 causes of injuries and fatalities, and we take these issues seriously and we make sure that all projects under our supervision have zero accidents. 1 accident is too many.