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Safety Engineering and Disaster Risk


Chapter 7
Safety and Health Standards

Er. Umesh Sukamani

Khwopa Engineering College
Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational safety and health (OSH), also
commonly referred to as occupational health
and safety (OHS), occupational health,
or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a
multidisciplinary field concerned with
the safety, health, and welfare of people
at work.

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Occupational Health and Safety
The goals of occupational safety and health programs
include to foster a safe and healthy work environment.

OSH may also protect co-workers, family members,

employers, customers, and many others who might be
affected by the workplace environment.

In the United States, the term occupational health and

safety is referred to as occupational health and
occupational and non-occupational safety and includes
safety for activities outside of work.

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Construction work is dynamic, diverse, and

constantly changing. This leads to a great
challenge in protecting the health and safety of
construction workers.
They are at risk of exposure to many different
types of health hazards that can result in injury,
illness, disability, or even death.

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Risk Factors in Construction
 constantly changing job site environments and
 multiple contractors and subcontractors
 high turnover and/or unskilled laborers
 constantly changing relationships with other work
 diversity of work activities that happen simultaneously
 exposures to health hazards, both from their own work
as well as from nearby activities

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Construction Health Hazard Examples
Occupations Potential Health Hazards
cement dermatitis, awkward postures, and heavy
Brick masons
Drywall installers awkward postures, plaster dust, and heavy loads
heavy metals in solder fumes, awkward postures,
heavy loads, and asbestos
solvent vapors, toxic metals in pigments, and paint
Carpet layers knee trauma, awkward postures, glue and glue vapor

Insulation workers asbestos, synthetic fibers, and awkward postures

Roofers roofing tar and heat
Carpenters noise, awkward postures, and repetitive motion
Drillers (earth and rock) silica dust, whole-body vibration, noise
Excavating/loading machine silica dust, whole-body vibration, heat stress, and
operators noise
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Hazardous waste workers heat stress and toxic chemicals
7.1. Health Hazards in the Construction industries
 Construction workers are exposed to a wide variety of health
hazards on the job. Exposure differs from trade to trade, from job
to job, by the day, even by the hour.
 Exposure to any one hazard is typically intermittent and of
short duration, but is likely to reoccur.
 A worker may not only encounter the primary hazards of his or
her own job, but may also be exposed as a bystander to hazards
produced by those who work nearby or upwind.
 This pattern of exposure is a consequence of having many
employers with jobs of relatively short duration and working
alongside workers in other trades that generate other hazards.
 The severity of each hazard depends on the concentration and
duration of exposure for that particular job. Bystander exposures
can be approximated if one knows the trade of workers nearby.
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Health Hazards on Construction Sites
Chemical hazards
 Chemical hazards are often airborne and can appear as dusts,
fumes, mists, vapours or gases; thus, exposure usually occurs by
inhalation, although some airborne hazards may settle on and be
absorbed through the intact skin (e.g., pesticides and some organic
 Chemical hazards also occur in liquid or semi-liquid state (e.g.,
glues or adhesives, tar) or as powders (e.g., dry cement).
 Skin contact with chemicals in this state can occur in addition to
possible inhalation of the vapour resulting in systemic poisoning
or contact dermatitis.
 Chemicals might also be ingested with food or water, or might be
inhaled by smoking.

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Health Hazards on Construction Sites
Physical hazards
 Physical hazards are present in every construction project.These
hazards include noise, heat and cold, radiation, vibration and
barometric pressure. Construction work often must be done in
extreme heat or cold, in windy, rainy, snowy, or foggy weather or at
night. Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is encountered, as are
extremes of barometric pressure.
 The machines that have transformed construction into an increasingly
mechanized activity have also made it increasingly noisy. The sources of
noise are engines of all kinds (e.g., on vehicles, air compressors and
cranes), winches, rivet guns, nail guns, paint guns, pneumatic hammers,
power saws, sanders, routers, planers, explosives and many more. Noise
is present on demolition projects by the very activity of demolition. It
affects not only the person operating a noise-making machine, but all
those close-by and not only causes noise-induced hearing loss, but also
masks other sounds that are important for communication and for safety.
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Health Hazards on Construction Sites

Fig. Carrying without appropriate work clothing and protective equipment.

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Health Hazards on Construction Sites
Biological hazards
 Biological hazards are presented by exposure to infectious micro-
organisms, to toxic substances of biological origin or animal

 Excavation workers, for example, can develop histoplasmosis,

an infection of the lung caused by a common soil fungus.

 Since there is constant change in the composition of the labour

force on any one project, individual workers come in contact with
other workers and, as a consequence, may become infected with
contagious diseases—influenza or tuberculosis, for example.
Workers may also be at risk of malaria, yellow fever or Lyme
disease if work is conducted in areas where these organisms and
their insect vectors are prevalent. 9/19/2018
Health Hazards on Construction Sites
Social hazards
 Social hazards stem from the social organization of the industry.
Employment is intermittent and constantly changing, and
control over many aspects of employment is limited because
construction activity is dependent on many factors over which
construction workers have no control, such as the state of an
economy or the weather.
 Because of the same factors, there can be intense pressure to become more
productive. Since the workforce is constantly changing, and with it the hours
and location of work, and many projects require living in work camps away
from home and family, construction workers may lack stable and
dependable networks of social support.
 Features of construction work such as heavy workload, limited control and
limited social support are the very factors associated with increased stress in
other industries. These hazards are not unique to any trade, but are common to
all construction workers in one way or another.
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Health Hazards on Construction Sites
Psychosocial hazards
include risks to the mental and emotional well-being
of workers, such as feelings of job insecurity, long
work hours, and poor work-life balance.
 A recent Cochrane review - using moderate quality evidence -
related that the addition of work-directed interventions for
depressed workers receiving clinical interventions reduces the
number of lost work days as compared to clinical interventions
 This review also demonstrated that the addition of cognitive
behavioral therapy to primary or occupational care and the addition
of a "structured telephone outreach and care management program"
to usual care are both effective at reducing sick leave days.

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7.2. Government standards of Safety and Health
 The enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970
(the Act) and the establishment of the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce the Act made workplace
safety and health issues a national priority.

 For safety professionals and practitioners, this law has directed

their responsibilities and efforts towards assisting corporate
America in addressing these issues. It is evident that a forum and
role is needed to deal with the Act for these professionals and

 The ASSE recognizes the important role of government in

assuring achievement of occupational safety and health
objectives through setting standards, conducting inspections,
supporting research and providing consultation and training.
Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role
 Employers must have primary responsibility for occupational
safety and health. The Society believes that employers and
employees working together, with government support, can
attain excellence in safety and health performance.
 Government should encourage, through significant incentives and
recognition, voluntary employer programs for excelling in safety
and health achievement.
 Government standards setting must be conducted with
efficiency, maximizing use of public input and available data to
develop and publish reasonable standards in a timely manner.
 Government enforcement should be fair and consistent.
Penalties should not be set as a budgeted government revenue
source, but should be based on the seriousness of noncompliance.
A strong, objective mechanism must be in place to afford
employers avenues of appeal of enforcement actions and incentives
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to expedite corrective actions.
Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role
Government's support of research to improve
occupational safety and health is critical. The causes and
severities of accidents should be analyzed to prioritize
Government consultation for improving safety and health
should be made available to all employers, regardless of
size. Consultations must be without threat of
subsequent inspections and citations.
Government must utilize qualified safety and health
professionals in administering the OSH Act, and assure
that these professionals have opportunities for pursuing
nationally recognized credentials and participating in
professional development activities.
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Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role
Policy Priorities
 ASSE will take a proactive stance with federal and state agencies
in the development of safety and health legislation standards. The
Society will provide public written comment, oral testimony at
public hearings, and seek a broader influence through
discussions with regulators and legislators. Such involvement
will be guided by assessment of the needs of the safety profession
and its professionals.
 The Government Affairs Committee, with support from ASSE
staff and the Standards Development Committee, will provide
overall leadership to the Society in this effort. An essential
component of this leadership will be to nurture a government
affairs network among Society organizational units that supports
effective influence of occupational safety and health issues at all
levels of government.
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Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role
Policy Priorities
 The Standards Development Committee will assure that ASSE
is represented at ANSI/OSHA Coordinating Committee
meetings to maintain the awareness and provide leadership in the
development of reasonable and consistent standard related to the
safety profession.
 ASSE will support legislation that permits qualified safety and
health professionals to serve as third-party compliance inspectors.
 The ASSE will encourage OSHA staff participation in
professional society activities, chapter meetings, and
professional development conferences.
 ASSE will promote inclusion of OSH Act coverage to all state and
local public sector employees.

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7.3. Development of self applied
Voluntary, self applied standards:
The various interests, groups and
individuals engaged in the work of accident
prevention have developed standards
representative of good practice.
Since the purpose is to prevent accidents,
the standards amount to a crystallization of
experience and are accepted and are
observed only by virtue of their practical
value as aids to prevention.
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Development of self applied standards:
The value of uniform detailed standards of
industry wide acceptance for manufactured
products was highlighted by the production
failures of the first world war.
The municipality of conflicting standards
then in use by the various manufactures
proved so serious a hindrance to the large
scale production of military material that by
the time volume production was attained the
war was over.
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Development of self applied standards:
The lesson was a hard one but much good came
of it, for it led to the setting up of machinery for
the development of standards of national
The initiative toward this end was taken in 1918
by five leading engineering societies who joined
forces to form a national organization for the
(The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, The American Society for Testing
Materials, three departments of the federal
government, commerce, war and Navy, formed
the American Engineering Standards Association
, ASA.) 9/19/2018
Development of self applied standards:
 Boards of Directors
 The executive, financial and general administrative functions
 Standards Council
 Approval of standard based on:
 Regularity of procedure in the development of the standard
 Adequacy of representation of the committee responsible for the
development of the standard.
 The degree of unanimity reached in the committee
 The status of the proposed standard
 Standards Boards (12 boards)
 When standardization activities in a major industrial field are
sufficiently extensive to warrant it, standard boards aid the
standards council.
 Library and standards information
 Includes a library of approx. 20,000 American and foreign
standards and related material.
 ASA headquarters
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7.4. Regulatory Standards
Laws or rules, having the force and
effect of law, have been adopted by
governments for the purpose of securing
the correction of specific hazardous
conditions and setting forth certain
requirements deemed necessary to safety.

Benchmarks circulated by a regulatory

agency that were created to enforce the
provisions of a legislation.
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Regulatory Standards
The effort to eliminate hazardous working
conditions by legislative enactments has
through a long process of trial and error,
finally developed a method that, properly
applied, combines quite effectively the force
of law with the educative and simulative
methods through which national safety
council and allied agencies have made great
gains in reducing injuries.

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Regulatory Standards
This method necessitates detailed legislation, which involve the
following difficulties:
Legislative enactments are difficult to modify and thus
their detail cannot be kept in accord with the
changing needs of our developing industry.
Occupational hazards are so numerous and varied
that detailed legislation cannot cover them even
reasonably well without becoming impossibly complex.
Such detailed legislation cannot be enforced without
causing hardship in so many instances that it will
largely defeat its purpose.
Securing reasonable uniformity in such detailed
enactments by the legislatures of the various states
and the Federal Congress is a practical
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Regulatory Standards
The process of working out safety
standards by this method involves the
interchange of ideas among individuals
and groups who may not and often do not
have any other opportunity for such
This results almost invariably in fostering
cooperative effort in the interest of safety.
Furthermore, those who aid in the
development of such standards almost
invariably become advocates of their use and
thus their acceptance grows.
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Regulatory Standards
Safety standards, to be worth the effort that is
required to develop them, must not only be
practical, but they must secure a good degree
of acceptance.
If they are developed through the combined
efforts of all interested parties, they will be
practical. But they must be known about and
talked about, that is, adverse, if they are to secure
Safetymen everywhere should take an active
interest in developing and promoting the use of
suitable safety standards. 9/19/2018
Regulatory Standards
When drafting standards dealing with machinery, such as
elevators, for which the expenses of safeguarding
existing installations in accordance with the applicable
American standard would be unduly heavy, some states
adopt the American standard for installations to be made
after a specified date and relax its requirement reasonably
for existing installations.
Since a large proportion of injuries come from
equipment or machinery common to practically all
industries, most states find it advantageous to deal
with these hazards through standards covering the
equipment rather than the industry.
Standards on transmission machinery guarding,
portable ladders, stairways or powered hand tools fall
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in this class.
7.5. Plant standards
Each plant must have certain production
standards, even though in small, loosely
managed and relatively unorganized
establishments these may exist mostly in the
know-how of the supervisors and their
experienced workmen.

In addition to job safety standards, these include

standards for safeguarding and safety
equipment's, inspection standards, safe practices
and safety rules.
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Plant standards
In developing rules, essentials points are:
Every rule be practical from the view point of
those to whom it applies.
Each hazard or condition dealt with by a rule be
definitely demonstrable as unsafe.
Rules be limited to safety matters. Extraneous
matters, regardless of their importance should not
be dealt with in safety rules.
The workmen affected must have a full part in
developing the rules.
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Plant standards
If a plant is organized, the union can
contribute importantly to the safety of its
members by taking a position of leadership in
working out or safe practice and in promoting
their acceptance.

A rule that a workman had a part in developing

will be understood by him. If he knows that his
fellows developed the rules, he will be strongly
inclined to believe in them. He will accept them
gladly from a foreman he likes and respects.
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