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Acta Structilia

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Health and safety management practices in small and medium enterprises in the South African construction industry

J Agumba, JH Pretorius, T Haupt

Abstract


Considering its share in, and impact on national economies, the construction industry receives additional attention in terms of its performance and productivity, especially among small and medium contractors. However, with the extensive workforce it employs, health and safety (H&S) issues have become important, since the industry still has the reputation of being one of those with the highest fatality and accident rates. It has been well established from literature and previous studies (Fernandez-Muniz, Montes-Peon & Vazquez- Ordas, 2007: 636; Rajendran & Gambatese, 2009: 1072) that managing H&S helps to ensure that construction organisations are achieving their H&S objectives. As such, H&S management practices constitute a vehicle to improve H&S performance. Given the dominance of small and medium contractors in the construction sector, the challenge is to determine what needs to be measured and practised by these Small and Medium Construction Enterprises (SMCEs) at project level. The objective of this article is to validate the H&S practices that small and medium construction enterprises practise in order to improve H&S performance at project level.
A descriptive survey was done and data collected using a structured
questionnaire consisting of 31 practices. These practices were categorised in terms of five elements developed from an extensive review of literature and the participation of 20 H&S experts, 16 of whom completed all four iterations of the Delphi survey. A convenience sample of 1.450 SMCEs was used to gather data. A total of 228 questionnaires were returned, of which 216 responses were usable for analysis. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used to determine the convergent validity and the reliability of the proposed H&S practices. Furthermore, the respondents’ perception on H&S practices was also determined.
The five elements, namely upper management commitment and involvement in H&S, employee involvement and empowerment in H&S, project supervision, project H&S planning and communication in H&S, as well as H&S resources and training were considered key factors of H&S for SMCEs at project level. However, employee involvement and empowerment in H&S was the least rated H&S attribute within the SMCEs. It was, therefore, recommended that employees needed to be engaged in H&S at the project level of SMCEs.

Keywords: Elements, small and medium construction enterprises, validation

Die konstruksiebedryf ontvang op grond van sy aandeel in en impak op die nasionale ekonomie bykomende aandag ten opsigte van sy prestasie en produktiwiteit onder veral klein en medium kontrakteurs. Met ʼn uitgebreide werkersmag in hul diens het gesondheids- en veiligheidskwessies (G&V) belangrik geword, aangesien die bedryf steeds die reputasie het van een van die bedrywe met die hoogste sterfte- en ongevallesyfers. Die literatuur en vorige studies (Fernandez-Muniz, Montes-Peon & Vazquez-Ordas, 2007: 636; Rajendran & Gambatese, 2009: 1072) bevestig dat die bestuur van G&V help om te verseker dat die konstruksie-ondernemings hul G&V doelwitte bereik. As sodanig, bied G&V-bestuurspraktykte ʼn middel om G&V-prestasie te verbeter. Gegewe die oorheersing van klein en medium kontrakteurs in die konstruksiesektor, is die uitdaging daarin geleë om vas te stel wat op projekvlak deur hierdie klein en medium konstruksie-ondernemings (SMCEs) ondersoek moet word en watter maatreëls ingestel moet word. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die G&V-maatreëls wat in die klein en medium konstruksie-ondernemings ingestel is geldig te verklaar vir die verbetering van G&V-prestasie op projekvlak.
ʼn Beskrywende opname is gedoen en data is ingesamel deur die gebruik
van ʼn gestruktureerde vraelys bestaande uit 31 praktyke. Hierdie bedrywe is geklassifiseer volgens vyf elemente wat uit die uitgebreide literatuurstudie ontwikkel is asook die deelname van 20 G&V-kundiges van wie 16 aan al vier iterasies van die Delphi opname deelgeneem het. ʼn Gerieflikheidsteekproef van 1.450 SMCEs is gebruik om die data te versamel. ʼn Totaal van 228 vraelyste is terug ontvang waarvan 216 response bruikbaar was vir ontleding. Die Statistiese Pakket vir die Sosiale Wetenskappe (SPSS) Weergawe 20 is gebruik om die konvergente geldigheid en betroubaarheid van die voorgestelde G&Vpraktykte te bepaal. Voorts is die respondente se persepsies van die G&Vpraktyke bepaal.
Die vyf elemente, naamlik topbestuur se verbintenis tot en betrokkenheid in G&V, werknemerbetrokkenheid en -bemagtiging in G&V, projektoesig, G&V-projekbeplanning en kommunikasie in G&V en G&V-hulpbronne en -opleiding is beskou as die sleutelfaktore van G&V vir SMCEs op projekvlak. Werknemerbetrokkenheid en -bemagtiging in G&V was as die swakste attribuut binne die SMCEs beskou. Dit word dus aanbeveel dat werknemers op projekvlak binne SMCEs daadwerklik by G&V betrek moet word.

Sleutelwoorde: Elemente, klein en medium konstruksie-organisasies, bekragtiging

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