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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Establishment of a Center of Excellence to Conduct and Promote Construction Safety
Research, Education, and Training in Pakistan

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)

Project Overview

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.

Quarterly Update

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.

Progress Reports

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