Construction safety and proper material handling are important issues all over the world. We tend to think about them only in the domestic sense since that’s what’s right in front of us, but such safety regulations a actually less tangible in other parts of the world where materials that we take for granted and regulations we have in place aren’t something that skilled laborers are able to rely on.
But back in December, Ghana’s first National Building and Construction Safety seminar took place in Accra, as part of activities marking their Annual National Building and Construction Safety Week celebrations.
Speaking on the topic ‘Building and Construction Safety–Lessons from the First World’, the Ambassador of Israel to Ghana and Guest of Honor, Sharon Bar-li, called for improvement in legislative and enforcement systems in Ghana to better ensure safety in the building and construction industries.
Bar-li urged that standardization was a crucial factor, and she blamed collapsing buildings on greedy attempts to cut corners, unlawful employment of unskilled laborers, lacking supervision and unapproved, ill-conceived changes to existing structures.
She said collapsing buildings were not an act of God, as some of the area’s more spiritually-minded groups might infer, but rather the result of negligence, urging that such indiscretion and lawless behavior should meet with strict penalties and punishments.
She, therefore, stressed the need for the safety training of construction safety engineers, better material handling and the importance of the approval of construction permits to ensure that contractors adhered strictly to safety measures in order to avoid additional incidences of collapsing buildings.
Bar-li said it was time Ghana leapt forward in ensuring safety for its building and construction industry and to become an industrial leader for the West African sub-region.
Whether working with lifting slings, learning crane training or how to work with fall protection equipment, construction workers need to be properly schooled, not just in how to perform the construction tasks, but how to best utilize the safety equipment. It sounds like the rest of the world is just starting to catch up.