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Researchers Find Falls, Struck-by Accidents Globally Common in Construction Thinkstock

Researchers Find Falls, Struck-by Accidents Globally Common in Construction

The lack of regulation in the Persian Gulf region, the slow adaption of a safety culture and a multicultural workforce contribute to construction incidents.

University of Texas researchers compiled a sample of 519 incidents and interviews with safety experts to determine the most common causes of injuries in the Arabica Gulf region. Falls and struck-by accidents top the list of most common accidents in the region, similar to the construction industry in the United States.

However, the causes of these incidents, multiculturalism and the slow adaptation of a safety culture, are unique to the arewhich includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world,” said Dr. Simon Fass, associate professor of public policy and the lead author of the study in a statement. “In that part of the world, there’s a confluence of several factors that likely make it worse.”

The safety aspect is much the same as it is globally; workers lack training, experience and skills and little-to-no risk perception among the workforce. The most concerning factor, researchers said, was the lack of regulation in this region and the slow adaption of safety culture.

In addition, a majority of construction workers are from other countries, drawn in by steady, fast-paced jobs due to the region’s burgeoning infrastructure. Unions and litigation also are essentially non-existent in the region, meaning little to no incentives for construction companies to develop safety culture.

“They are working in groups that might have five or six nationalities and two or three languages, and they’re supposed to be working as a cohesive team,” Fass said in a statement. “But they cannot communicate effectively with a supervisor or each other, so that’s really raising the risk of bad things happening.”

“The money is good enough for them to come and send it back to their families, but they have no voice,” Fass said. “They have no unions, no advocacy groups, no one to fight for stricter enforcement of safety regulations.”

The study was published in the journal Applied Ergonomics.

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