Friday, November 23, 2012


*This is a common unsafe practice at construction site.

"A scaffolding erected at 2 m high which used for block works. What is commonly happening at site is that, an unauthorized worker or personnel will modify the structure of the unattended scaffold (e.g removing the brace of the scaffold structure and use it on another purpose or any other reasons on it). Apparently, the scaffold will now be "unsafe" to use and the risk will be high that can lead to serious injury whoever will work on the modified scaffolding structure."

I will share one real event sample which is related to the above mentioned:

A scaffolding erected at 2 m high used for block works collapsed and two masons suffered minor injuries.

What happened?
Upon investigation, it was revealed that the cause of the collapse was unauthorized modification of scaffolding structures. Two masons (uncompetent scaffolders) who are working on the area remove the cross bracings of the scaffolding because it was obstructing their path for shifting the concrete blocks manually without informing to anybody. Apparently, this made the scaffolding structure unsafe and unstable and possibility to collapse which actually happens.

Minimum Requirements must be adhered to prevent such unsafe act or practice:
  • Certified/Competent Scaffolders must be deployed on site for erection, dismantling and modification of scaffold.
  • Unauthorized scaffold modification should not be allowed.
  • Proper supervision on part of the Foreman or Engineer.
  • Work to be carried out under competent supervision.
  • Safe work plan must be prepared and communicated to all concerned.
  • Emergency response procedures must be available and followed.  

 "Communicate site rules regarding scaffolds during site inductions and refresher awareness through tool box talks. Supervision required by management, appoint responsibilities to foreman and supervisors. Workers should be informed during tool box talks about the effects of unlawfully altered scaffolds. Ensure proper bracing, mid-rails and toe boards. The scaffold tag must be near a safe and secured access point". 

See illustration: (Proper scaffolding erection)

Monday, November 19, 2012


Description of Accident: 
Some personnel were busy dismantling the erected scaffold in an excavation area when an operator of a dump truck suddenly park the equipment too close in the vicinity. The scaffold chargehand gave an instruction to the operator that he have to move his equipment away from the working area to protect it from falling materials. The operator started his engine right away and directly reversed it without checking the surrounding area. The dump truck hit the barricade protection around an excavation, breaking through and overturning into the excavation.
Luckily, the operator escaped from injury but some damage was found on the rear of the dump truck.

Photo of the overturned dump truck:

Root Caused:
  • The operator was not thinking and paying attention.
  • Human Factor - Attitude of Operator.

Preventive Measures:
  1. Training session to all operators.
  2. Vehicle inspection to ensure no failure of equipment as contribution to incident.
  3. Concrete ballards should be installed as barricading around excavation.
"This type of vehicle equipment should not be permitted to drive too close to any excavated area. A banksman must be appointed for traffic management system. The operator must be trained and qualified".

Friday, November 16, 2012


At construction site, a fire incident was reported on one of the porta cabins installed for cooking purposes. The cause of the fire was an electrical hot plate get overheated which was left switch on.

Investigation Report:
There was a fault on the electricity and was tripped off when the electrical hot plate was on operation or switch on. The circuit is fed from the temporary distribution board at the site. The user left the area without disconnecting the main plug and leaving the hot plate's switch in the "ON" position. Meanwhile when the electricity was restored, the hot plate (left in "ON" position) got overheated and it caught fire eventually spreading to the whole cabin and all items inside the cabin were burned. Although a worker who first noticed the fire unsuccessfully attempted to put out the fire with Co2 extinguishers. It took approximately 30 minutes, before the fire was controlled and put out completely. Apart from the significant loss of property there was no reportable injury from the incident.

Porta Cabin after the fire inciedent

Preventive Measures:
  • Always "switched off" any type of electrical equipment when it is not in use.
  • Never leave electric appliances unattended as far as reasonable practicable.
  • Tool Box Talks to be conducted on awareness about safety use of electrical appliances or equipment.
  • Fire/Smoke detection & Fire fighting systems MUST be available near the vicinities or living quarters and ensure it is in good condition.
  • Fire risk assessment for the living and cooking area must be conducted and control measures to be implemented accordingly.


Saturday, November 10, 2012


Brief Description of the Incident:

The pump helper was getting into position putting the remote control over his head and ready to proceed with the pumping. While stepping backwards, he was tripped over an unprotected reinforced rebar and stuck into his left thighin three places. He then received a total of three stitches.

Image of unprotected rebar:

Root Cause:
Not paying attention and due care on site.

Action Taken to Prevent a Recurrence:
Conduct toolbox talks to all pump operators and helpers regarding the risks and possible dangers of working/operating that can lead to serious injuries on construction sites.


"Safety rebar caps should be placed on top of all the rebars to prevent this type of injury (See illustration)".

Where the rebar cap cannot be obtained, suggest to cut blocks of wood size 1"x1" and hammer them into the top of the rebar which is just as effective.


Monday, November 5, 2012


The above photo shows unsafe act or practice during maintenance work of heavy equipment in a workshop. Apparently, there is no proper or standard safety arrangements in place whatsoever.

Number of pieces of wood served as support is broken, substandard and unstable. Jack was being used and is not suitable for the job. There was no evidence that a tool box talk was conducted and that the specific risks associated with this activity were acknowledge and properly explained to the operatives involved. It was then identified that there is no supervisor or person in charge monitoring the said activity.

Situation has become worst, it was also observed that the operator/driver stayed at the cabin during the maintenance. But so far, there were no reports on major accident or fatality on this such type of unsafe activity.

Main contractors must take note the following points and immediately review safety procedure or standards involving such type of maintenance.

The following must be adhered to:
  • Any activities that involved such maintenance of heavy equipment must adhere in accordance to the contractor's approved HSE plan.
  • International or local standards must be applied or to be referred on such type of activity.
  • Use standard or proper support pads that would hold and distribute the weight of the load properly.
  • Support jack that is to be used must be standard as per required on such activity.
  • The main contractor must ensure that all workers are inducted before they start work on the project.
  • At this level of risk, maintenance regime are to be in placed, safe method of work to be introduced and training to be developed and implemented accordingly.
  • Risk assessment must identify the safe system of work and be communicated normally to the workers involved in the operation through tool box talks.
  • Close monitoring and maintain proper supervision on such type of activity.
  • Avoid driver or operator staying on the cabin during the time of maintenance.