Construction Industry Hazards and Government Solutions
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Throughout the twentieth century, the construction industry has achieved unfortunate notoriety as one of the most potentially hazardous in terms of occupational risk for workers employed in the field. In the early 1900s, it was the rapid proliferation of injuries and fatalities in this field that played a significant role in galvanizing the movement for federal regulations ensuring worker's compensation and protection.
Occupational Health and Safety Act
The next major milestone in worker safety in the United States occurred in 1970 with the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by Richard Nixon, which established a government agency to regulate workplace safety, namely, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Congress developed the legislation creating and empowering OSHA in response to statistics that reported that in the 1960s, workers were becoming injured, disabled, and afflicted with occupation-related diseases at an alarming rate.
Instances of Worker Disability
Although the rates of occupational illness had diminished radically in the years since workman's compensation was implemented, the federal government held that the annual averages of 300,000 cases of occupational diseases, 2.5 million instances of worker disability, and 14,000 work-related deaths were far too excessive for a nation with the economic resources of America.
Synthesizing all of the data that has been presented in this investigation, it is evident that there are several issues that must be addressed in the context of risk management protocols for construction organizations.
- First, this research demonstrates that there are general trends in the construction industry that must be reversed in order to improve risk management for a construction companies. Fragmentation, cost-cutting and deceptive practices make it difficult for legitimate operations to effectively develop bids and successfully complete contracts.
- Second, risk management can be aligned with other issues in the organization such as quality. When quality issues take precedence in the organization, risk management becomes an integral part of the methods used to ensure quality in the final product.
- Finally, managers attempting to find the right solution to risk management in construction projects must consider strategies that are integrative across the entire project.
Strategies which attempt to track and mitigate risk across the entire project will enable managers to more effectively balance problems as they arise. In doing so, managers will have a comprehensive understanding of how risk issues in one area can impact the entire scope of the organization. Further, risk management that spans the entire scope of the project will enable managers to mitigate risk in one area by redistributing resources, diminishing the impact of a particular risk.