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The National Academies
500 5th St NW - KWS 502
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 334-2800
Fax: (202) 334-2139
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)
Establishment of a Center of Excellence to Conduct and Promote Construction Safety
Research, Education, and Training in Pakistan
US co-PI Dr. Salman Azhar of Auburn University speaking at the seminar held at NUST on July 26, 2011 (photo courtesy of Dr. Azhar)
Jimmie Hinze, University of Florida (before October 2013), Robert Ries, University of Florida (after October, 2013), and Salman Azhar, Auburn University
Rafiq M. Choudhry, National University of Sciences and Technology
Pakistani Funding (HEC): $107,661
US Funding (Department of State): $208,035
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through August 15, 2014)
Although state-of-the-art safety, health, and environmental management systems are common in the developed world as well as some developing countries, enforcement of safety regulations on construction sites in Pakistan is very limited. It is estimated that 6 to 7 percent of the labor force in Pakistan is directly associated with the construction industry, and anecdotal evidence indicates that construction worker injury and fatality rates are about four times higher in Pakistan than in the United States. This project aims to improve the safety climate in Pakistan by establishing a Center of Excellence to conduct and promote construction safety research, education, and training in Pakistan. The project will not only build the capacity of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), one of the country’s premier engineering institutions, but will also support the local construction industry in moving toward self regulation and realizing the need for establishing an administrative body for implementing occupational health and safety standards. The safety guidelines developed and training sessions presented through this project will support stakeholder organizations in designing and implementing safety management systems and introducing a safety culture within the industry. Consequently, the project should produce long-term social benefits by enhancing the safety and well-being of construction industry workers.
This project is currently under the leadership of Dr. Robert Ries, Director, ME Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction at UFL. As of Oct 2013, the team has completed the following tasks: 1) Conducting literature review and study of best practices; 2) Training programs for construction professionals and development of Center of Excellence on Construction Safety; 3) Co-organizing the International Conference on Safety, Construction Engineering and Project Management.
The project team is currently working on completing two more tasks, including developing the construction safety guidelines for the Pakistan construction industry and a strategic framework for construction safety in Pakistan. A first draft of the construction safety guidelines have been completed and sent to important stakeholders for review. The final guidelines are expected to be available in spring 2014. As to the strategic plan, a construction safety proposal was submitted to the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) which plays a vital role in encouraging the implementation of safety practices in construction industry in Pakistan. The proposal received positive feedback from PEC. The team is currently revising the proposal with input from PEC and will conduct formal presentation to relevant ministries and construction stakeholders in Pakistan in summer 2014.
An online construction safety training course is available at the website of the Construction Management and Safety Research Center (CM&SRC), providing comprehensive material on the basic and advanced concepts of construction safety and best practices. Two graduate students (One PhD and one MS student) are working on this project on the US side. Two graduate students who worked on this project on the Pakistani side have completed their degrees and now the project has hired another two graduate students at NUST.
Participants at Construction Safety Workshop
Meeting with the Chairman Pakistan Engineering Council
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2011 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
This research team reports substantial progress on the first phase of the project, which has involved an inventory of sources of all available construction safety-related data, including Pakistani government agencies and private organizations. They have also conducted a detailed review of existing literature and data on occupational safety statistics, relevant Pakistani health and safety legislation, and practices and procedures used in developing countries similar to Pakistan. A one-day seminar was conducted at NUST on April 18, 2011, to disseminate construction safety information and discuss possible means of improving safety culture in Pakistan. Participants included 18 stakeholders from construction companies based in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and the comments collected at the seminar will be used in designing future surveys for data collection. US co-PI Dr. Salman Azhar presented a paper on the team's initial results entitled “Comparative Analysis of Construction Safety in Asian Developing Countries” at the Sixth International Conference on Construction in the Twenty-First Century (CITC-VI), which was held in Kuala Lumpur July 5-7, 2011. After the conference he traveled to Pakistan, where he collaborated with his NUST partners on development of a survey questionnaire for benchmarking construction safety in Pakistan and participated in a one-day seminar for more than 200 participants on safety management and occupational safety and health (OSHA) standards at NUST on July 26.
2012 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
Construction Management and Safety Research Center. Upper - Safety Equipment on Display; Lower - Dr. Rafiq and his students working in the center.
During the last quarter of 2011, Dr. Hinze and his PhD student Ms. Adeeba Raheem focused on collecting data regarding construction safety culture, fatality/injury statistics, and relevant regulations in Pakistan. Previous research reports were thoroughly studied to assess the current safety situation in Pakistan and to establish benchmarks for further collection of safety data. In December 2011, Ms. Raheem visited NUST, where she discussed work on the project with the Pakistani counterparts and delivered a lecture on construction safety to graduate students in the construction engineering and management (CEM) program. In January 2012, she made site visits to 22 construction projects and sites in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Multan, during which she interviewed company representatives regarding safety practices. Of the companies interviewed, 12 provided copies of their safety manuals for analysis. In addition, Ms. Raheem also met with staff from the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to discuss ways of encouraging construction firms to incorporate safety into their field operations. One way of doing this could be by enhancing safety-related requirements for Pakistani contractors seeking to obtain or renew their certifications. In addition, a proposal was made to PEC to work with the University of Florida researchers to develop a standard safety manual that could be promoted as a model for Pakistani firms.
Meanwhile, U.S. co-PI Dr. Azhar and his student Ms. Amna Salman at Auburn University have been pursuing another aspect of the project, which involves development of an online course on construction site safety. All six course modules have been drafted, and a pilot version of the course should be accessible free of charge on the Web site of NUST’s Construction Management and Safety Research Center (CMSRC) once the site goes live in the summer of 2012. Meanwhile, Dr. Azhar has also completed the first draft of a set of educational modules that will help instructors to incorporate construction safety concepts in various construction and civil engineering curriculums across Pakistan.
On the NUST side, Mr. Hafiz Zahoor Ahmed Khan, a master’s student in the CEM program, has completed his master’s thesis on benchmarking the current state of safety practices in the construction industry in Pakistan. NUST staff have also worked to procure the necessary equipment for CMSRC, and the new center’s Web site should be online in the summer of 2012. Several training activities are scheduled to be held in Pakistan in connection with the project during the coming year, including a two-day construction safety training workshop at NUST (May 22-23, 2012) and workshops at NED Karachi (May 31-June 1, 2012) and the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (June 5, 2012), during which Dr. Azhar will introduce his new training modules. Additional seminars are being planned this summer in collaboration with PEC and the All Pakistan Contractors Association. Dr. Azhar and Pakistani PI Dr. Rafik Choudhry will also be presenting three joint papers at the Third International Conference on Construction in Developing Countries
in Bangkok, Thailand, July 5-7, 2012.
During the second quarter of 2012, the University of Florida team mainly focused on analyzing research data collected during Dr. Hinze's Ph.D. student Ms. Adeeba Raheem's visit to Pakistan in January. The results of the data analysis have helped highlight the real obstacles to incorporating safety into the operational structure of the Pakistani construction industry and have underscored the urgent need for specific regulations and greater safety consciousness among all industry stakeholders in Pakistan. During Ms. Raheem's January visit, the team started drafting a safety proposal to be presented to Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) in the coming months after consensus is reached with the NUST team. Dr. Azhar also visited Pakistan in May-June 2012 and conducted extensive safety training workshops and seminars. These events, which were held in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Gujrat, attracted more than 300 attendees from both industry and academia. On May 22, the new Construction Management and Safety Research Center at NUST was formally inaugurated by Lt. General (Rtd.) Shahid Niaz. A presentation was given by Dr. Azhar and Dr. Choudhry about the objectives and scope of the center. The website of the research center has been redesigned with input from both the US and Pakistani research teams and will be accessible to the public as of September 1. It will feature a series of training materials developed by Drs. Hinze and Azhar and their colleagues, with new materials to be continuously developed by both sides and posted on the website. Another important outcome of the summer meetings among Drs. Azhar and Choudhry and NUST officials was the decision to hold the First International Conference Construction Safety and Engineering Management Issues (ICCSEMI – 1) at NUST on October 9-10, 2013. The conference website will be maintained by NUST and the paper management system and its related website will be administered by Auburn University.
Following Dr. Azhar’s visit to Pakistan, he and Dr. Choudhry attended the Third International Conference on Construction in Developing Countries (ICCIDC-III) July 5-7 in Bangkok, Thailand, at which they presented three joint papers resulting from this project. In addition, another paper submitted by Dr. Hinze and his PhD student Adeeba Raheem has been accepted to theCIB W099 Construction Safety Conference, which will be held in Singapore September 10-11, 2012.
2013 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
Data collected during the first two years of this project lead the research team to realize the key role of the Pakistani Engineering Council (PEC) in encouraging the implementation of safety practices in the construction industry of Pakistan. Considering the influence of the PEC on different decision making processes for the Pakistani construction industry, the project team has essentially focused on the potential near term opportunities for improving the safety situation and increasing the cooperation between different stakeholders. Specifically, three key recommendations have been devised. Once implemented, these can have far-reaching impacts on improving construction safety in Pakistan within a short period of time. The team plans to present their recommendations at the international conference
The project team is organizing a one day international workshop on Construction Safety on August 19, 2013 followed by a two day International Conference on Safety, Construction Engineering and Project Management (ICSCEPM 2013) from August 20-21, 2013. The workshops will be held at the NUST campus. The purpose of the one-day workshop is to provide construction managers, professional engineers, practitioners and students with an understanding of theory pertaining to safety management and OSHA standards representing best practices need to be adopted on construction projects in order to make construction sites safer; identify problems of safety; suggest remedial measures; and create awareness among all stakeholders in the construction industry as well as government agencies, development organization and academia (http://apps.cadc.auburn.edu/icscepm/workshop/workshop.htm). The international conference will bring together renowned qualified health and safety professionals, engineers, contractors, project managers, clients, academics and other professionals from all over the world, for the presentation and exchange of their thoughts and experiences on health and safety, engineering, and management issues in construction and related industries. The conference is expected to provide a platform for discussion on real life case studies and present the status of the construction industry in the view of the participants. Such interaction will help to promote the development and implementation of modern health and safety, and construction engineering and management practices in developing countries. Several world renewed researchers and practitioners have agreed to deliver special presentations at the conference (http://apps.cadc.auburn.edu/icscepm/).Two new modules have been added to the NUST online construction safety course (http://cmsrc.nit.nust.edu.pk/onlineCourse.aspx).
From August 19-21 2013, the project team organized the International Conference on Safety, Construction Engineering, and Project Management: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Countries in Islamabad, Pakistan. The conference attracted about 200 participants and 64 papers from 19 countries. Conference proceedings, keynote presentations, conference and workshop presentations, and photos can be accessed and downloaded at http://apps.cadc.auburn.edu/icscepm/
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