By Amr A.G. Hassanein and Ragaa S. Hanna
Manuscript developed by:
Amr A.G. Hassanein - Associate Professor, Department of Construction Engineering, the American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
Ragaa S. Hanna - M.Sc., Construction Management, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
The traditional method of improving safety performance in construction firms is to implement an effective safety program. This research is mainly targeted at investigating the safety programs applied by large-size contractors operating in Egypt as a means of revising them. A questionnaire survey was conducted among a selected sample of the addressed category utilizing a significant number of questions focusing on each company's safety policies and practices.
The results revealed that the safety programs applied by large-size contractors operating in Egypt are less formal than those applied by their American counterparts. Only a few companies out of the surveyed sample had accident records broken down by projects; provided workers with formal safety orientation, and trained safety personnel in first-aid.
Research findings revealed that reforms in the way of the employer's contribution to the social insurance were necessary; thereby, linking accident insurance costs to the contractor's safety performance. This is meant to serve as a strong incentive for safety management.
Keywords: Safety performance; Safety program; Egypt; Formal; Accident records; Safety orientation.
Traditionally, in small firms, safety programs are often very informal and unwritten. As the company size increases, safety programs become more formal and sophisticated (Hinze and Harrison 1981).
This research attempts to portray a profile of safety programs applied by large-size contractors operating in Egypt. Scarce research has been conducted in this regard, rendering the Egyptian construction industry lacking this type of knowledge and information.
The contribution this paper makes is to rigorously identify the safety culture within the Egyptian construction industry and to provide important insights into how companies operating in Egypt manage their safety programs on construction sites. This will be paramount to the success of industry practitioners including, international contractors contemplating construction projects in Egypt.
Hinze and Harrison (1981) surveyed the nature of safety programs in the largest 100 construction firms in the USA, and concluded that larger firms had more formal safety programs. They also had the safest performances. Lower injury rates were in companies that provided workers with formal safety orientation; companies that gave incentives to workers and foremen and companies that employed full time safety representatives. Safer performances were noted to occur when safety representatives were hired and trained by safety directors.
A subsequent study by (Hinze and Raboud 1988) on large building construction projects in Canada showed that larger firms generally had better safety records, which supports the previous study by Hinze and Harrison. The study by Hinze and Raboud concluded that lower injury rates were noted on projects that employed safety officers; those which conducted job site safety inspections; and those which included safety in coordination meetings. The authors also found that company level practices influenced safety performance. Safety performance was better on projects that employed full time safety directors and those which exhibited top management support for safety. The results also showed that safer performances were on projects that used sophisticated schedules and those which included the owner or his representative in coordination meetings.
Sawacha, Naoum and Fong (1999) discussed various variables that influence safety on construction sites. The impacts of the historical, economical, psychological, technical, procedural, organizational and environmental issues are considered in terms of how these factors are linked with the level of site safety. The results suggest that variables related to organization policy are the most dominant group of factors influencing safety performance in the United Kingdom construction industry.
Evelyn, Florence and Adrian (2005) presented the results of a postal survey of contractors in Singapore. The findings revealed that site accidents are more likely to happen when there are inadequate company policies, unsafe practices, poor attitudes of construction personnel, poor management commitment and insufficient safety knowledge and training of workers. The study recommended that project managers must pay more attention regarding the factors identified above to help enhance safety performance on construction sites and reduce the frequency of accidents.
Jaselskis, Anderson and Russell (1996) presented the results of a complementary study which tended to be more quantitative in comparison to other prior studies. The results pointed to several project-level factors that are statistically significant in improving safety performance. Further, the study provided contractors, specialty contractors and owners with objective strategies to achieve better safety performance.
Fang, Chen and Hinze (2004) identified key factors that improve safety management. The authors also developed a method for measuring safety management performance on construction sites. The results indicated that safety management performance was highly related to organizational factors, economic factors and factors related to the relationship between management and labor on site. Based on this benchmarking study, a practical safety assessment method was implemented on six construction projects.
Huang and Hinze (2006) described the practices implemented by owners that were associated with better project safety performance. The results showed that owner’s involvement can favorably influence project safety performance by setting safety objectives, selecting safe contractors and participating in safety management during construction.
A study by Hinze and Gambatese (2003) concluded that specialty contractors' safety performance was consistently influenced in part by a number of factors. The factors shown to improve safety performance include: minimizing worker turnover; implementing employee drug testing and training of workers. Further, the study by Hinze and Gambatese (2003) contradicted the previously mentioned findings by (Hinze and Harrison 1981) and (Hinze and Raboud 1988) that larger firms had the safest performances. The study by (Hinze and Gambatese 2003) found that growth in company size was not associated with improved safety performance.
Hinze and Wilson (2000) conducted a study on a selected group of large, primarily industrial firms to assess their safety records. The findings revealed that companies with good safety performance can still make improvements through implementing specific safety practices.
Koehn, Kothari and Chih-Shing (1995) concluded that a basic safety-control system, emphasizing the establishment of safety inspection, has been developed to control project safety. This system may be universally applied among developed and developing regions. Michael (2002) addressed many site safety roles that enhance management safety performance. Wilson and Enno (2000) stated that safety management is currently implemented in many construction companies to limit their liabilities and costs. The study presented the methods of safety management employed on projects in the Northwestern United States.
Fang, Chen and Wong (2006) conducted a comprehensive safety climate questionnaire on all sites of a leading construction company and its subcontractors in Hong Kong. The results of this study were then compared to previous research studies. The findings revealed significant statistical relationships between safety climate and personal characteristics, including safety knowledge, direct employer and individual safety behavior. Ultimately, these findings could provide useful information for construction managers and safety practitioners in the construction industry to improve their safety culture.
Kjoo-Jin and David (2006) considered the issue of safety risks on construction sites. The authors stated that safety managers needed to be aware of the direct causes of accidents as well as the indirect factors that adversely affect on site safety. In addition, the authors presented a theory of safety planning method which estimated the risk distribution of a project and helped the safety manager to both estimate situations of concentrated risk and to reschedule them when necessary.
Weinstein, Gambatese and Hecker (2005) analyzed the impact of a large-scale safety-in-design initiative during the design and construction of a manufacturing facility in the United States. The authors further considered whether accepted design changes ultimately impacted construction site safety on the project. The results proved that injury prevention efforts in the construction industry can begin upstream by involving designers, engineers and contractors in preconstruction processes.
Regarding safety and productivity, Hinze and Parker (1978) reported that good safety and high productivity are compatible. Superintendents with the highest rated ability to meet both cost and schedules had the best safety records. Another research study by Levitt and Parker (1976) showed that safer contractors recognize the link between safety and productivity, and that they charge accident costs to the specific projects where they occur. The same study also showed that safest companies were those that had accident records broken down by projects and that used this information in salaries and promotions.
Safety performance can be regarded as "the extent to which accidents and their accompanying costs do not occur during the management of a particular segment of work" (Levitt and Samelson 1994). The authors pointed out several measures of safety performance. The Experience Modification Rating (EMR) was used to determine the insurance premium paid by American contractors and in selecting contractors and subcontractors. Other measures were: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incidence rate and measures of supervisors' accountability. In Egypt, two safety performance measures are applied for the construction sector as a whole; a frequency measure and a severity measure (The Egyptian Labor Law 1981). The frequency measure is based on the number of accidents. A severity measure, on the other hand, is based on the number of lost days.
Generally, direct accident costs refer to those costs incurred as a result of insurance against accidents. In Egypt, these costs are fixed irrespective of the contractor's performance. They amount to approximately 18% of labor cost (The Egyptian Labor Law 1981). Indirect accident costs are the costs that are not covered under the insurance category. They include: costs related to lost time and productivity of the injured worker(s), his crew, other crews nearby, cost of replacement worker(s), transportation of the injured worker and the cost of processing claims. In Egypt, no information is available concerning indirect costs of accidents. Everette and Frank (1996) re-examined the total costs of accidents and injuries to the construction industry. The authors found that the total cost of accidents have risen to somewhere around 15% of the total costs of non-residential new construction.
Finally, many safety investigators have addressed the saving benefits of managing safety. Della (1991) conducted a study on the economic impact of jobsite safety, and found that for every dollar spent on accident prevention there are five dollars savings in accidents which will not occur. Barrie and Paulson (1992) concluded that for each dollar invested in safety, a $4-8 saving can be expected. This implies that a properly implemented safety program would at least pay for itself. A subsequent study by (Harper and Koehn 1998) in Southeast Texas found that the long term benefits of employing an aggressive safety program which emphasizes awareness, safer work practices and employee involvement, may outweigh the costs of implementation and management.
The objective this research aims to accomplish is to depict the nature of safety programs applied by large-size construction firms operating in Egypt. This enables the identification of both similarities and differences in corporate policies regarding safety among the surveyed sample of contractors. Achieving this objective helps improve safety management on construction sites, leading progressively to the enhancement of construction safety performances.
This study, unlike other prior research studies, did not aim at evaluating the effectiveness of the safety program aspects. This might be attributed to the novelty of the subject matter within the Egyptian construction industry. Therefore, the authors found it more reliable and practical to investigate the nature of the safety programs applied by a segment of contractors operating in the Egyptian industry.
The methodology used for this research was a questionnaire which was designed and used in personal interviews with safety practitioners in the Egyptian construction industry. The questionnaire utilized for this study was modeled after a prior study (Hinze and Harrison 1981) which surveyed the nature of safety programs applied by large-size construction firms in the USA. The questionnaire was modified in a manner to better suit the Egyptian construction environment and the time lag between the two studies.
The main intention of this study was not only to select a sufficient number of contractors to yield suitable results, but also to ensure that these contractors righteously reflect the image of the sizable segment of the Egyptian construction industry they represent. Along this line, some criteria were set for their choice:
Type of work: to get a broad sample, the selection included: building; industrial, highway; heavy and specialty contractors.
Company size: the study focused on the category of contractors designated as 'large-size' contractors with annual volumes of work greater than $100 million. The rationale behind this is that first, large contractors tend to have a high degree of safety awareness particularly in terms of their understanding of the concepts and notions of safety, thus providing a clear image about the safety environment in Egypt. Second, is to have the study consistent with the prior research study (Hinze and Harrison 1981).
Although fifty large-size construction firms were contacted to participate in this study, only thirty-five completed the survey, i.e. a response rate of 70% was realized. These were Egyptian as well as international companies located primarily in Cairo.
The main reference used for the survey ideology, questions and analysis was another study, as mentioned previously in (section 4). The questionnaire maintained more than thirty questions which included both project-level safety practices and the company's policies at the corporate level, (Please refer to Appendix A). The contents of the questions were based on an extensive review of literature in related fields and on organizational behavior. The questionnaire was designed and compiled in a manner that the questions were short and simple to minimize the respondent's effort in completing the questionnaire. Further, the questions elicited either short or multiple choice responses.
In most instances, interviews were conducted with the safety director or the safety engineer. Since most of the questions were factual and were not subjected to any bias on the basis of who was answering them, the variation in the respondent was not felt to be a serious limitation on the validity of the data obtained. The targets of the study were fully explained to each interviewee at the start of his interview and the questionnaire was filled out during the meeting.
In due sequence, items included in the questionnaire were:
Physical examination of workers as a prerequisite to employment: Generally, the Egyptian regulations exemplified by the Egyptian Labor Law require every employer to carry out medical inspection of workers as a prerequisite to employment. This policy of course was necessary to identify ailments that might have rendered an individual unfit for certain types of work.
Personal protective equipment: Again, the Egyptian regulations obligate employers to provide personal protective methods. Further, the employees must use personal protective equipment and carry out the provisions necessary for their safety.
Safety orientation: Orientation and training in safe work procedures to all workers and particularly to new entrants is a vital ingredient to the success of any safety program. It must be ascertained that workers do use safety devices and follow safe procedures of work. Further, retraining and reorienting workers who do not use safe work procedures contributes directly to safer site performances. Through reorientation, emphasis can be laid regarding the importance of safe procedures of work, and follow up can be made through supervision.
Field safety meeting (toolbox meeting): Toolbox meetings on weekly basis are useful to plan ahead for safety and productivity improvements. This way, workers can acquire additional orientation through attending these meetings.
Company organization with regard to safety: Company organization with regard to safety is a key element to the success of any safety program. This can be realized through the appointment of full-time safety directors at the project level.
First aid personnel: The field personnel involved with safety included those providing first aid services on the job. As a matter of fact, the Egyptian Labor law requires every employer to provide first aid measures in work sites.
Job site safety inspections: Continuous inspection for the possible safety hazards is a vital ingredient to the success of any safety program.
Discussing safety during site visits: Managers should talk about safety along with cost and schedule during their site visits. Clearly, talking about safety on job visits has a significant effect on safety. Making field personnel aware of accidents and their accompanying costs is an effective way to promote safety.
Safety awards: Companies should evaluate field and safety personnel for salary increases or promotions in terms of accident records as well as production and costs. This way, a strong signal would be sent out to all employees about the types of attitudes, behaviors and performances that would be awarded in the firm.
Safety budget: Annual allocations should be made in the budget for the purchase and maintenance of protective equipment, salaries of the safety staff and other aspects of the safety program.
Allocation of safety expenses: Safety literature revealed that safety expenses are best charged to the company overhead rather than to individual projects in order to encourage managers to spend money on their safety programs.
Safety performance measures: As pointed out earlier in (Section 3), this study did not aim at evaluating the effectiveness of the safety program policies and practices. Therefore, contractors were not obliged to apply a unified safety performance measure. Each contractor applied his own subjective measure(s). Contractors have applied these measures in order to monitor performance and track the company’s progress over time.
Safety inclusion in progress meetings: Incorporating safety in progress meetings demonstrates how planning can improve safety. Reviewing safety during these meetings makes safety problems anticipated beforehand.
Accident reports: Literature research demonstrated that in large firms, managers can rely on accident reports broken down by individual projects, which eases comparison between projects on the basis of accident frequency or any other measure of accident rate. This way, managers are kept informed about where accidents are occurring so that they can devote their attention to problem areas.
Due to the limited number of respondents, no statistical technique was applied; only simple analysis was performed. In brief, answers to the questionnaire are composed of concise answers to direct questions. In simpler words, answers of each question are compiled. Yes responses as well as no responses are totaled (short answer questions). The summation of both must amount to unity, i.e. 100%. On the other hand, multiple choice questions resulted in multiple answers. However, responses of similar nature are summed together so that the summation of all responses must also amount to unity.
The part to follow presents an independent analysis of the data collected for each question. Then, the meaningful relations among answers of the various questions as a whole are investigated in (Section 6).
In most instances, contractors were exposed to elements of the employer’s safety program even before hiring. 90% of the responding firms (31) had policies that required potential employees to take a physical examination as a prerequisite to employment. Some factors to be considered in making work assignments were: strength; endurance; coordination; visual and hearing acuity.
Nearly all respondents stated that free hard hats were issued to all workers, while 90% required free safety glasses to be worn on job sites.
Figure-1 presents the various types of safety orientation for newly hired employees:
a. No safety orientation.
b. Informal safety orientation. This covers in general, information about the project's safety policies and procedures and about pertinent Egyptian rules and regulations. This type of orientation is typically done by both giving workers short briefings and verbal instructions or through informal orientation sessions. Workers on the other hand can acquire extra orientation through toolbox meetings.
c. Formal orientation. This is a specific orientation which addresses any unusual or unique hazards associated with activities, and the control measures to be implemented to eliminate or reduce hazards to an acceptable level. Methods of formal orientation are: conducting job hazard analysis for all field operations; requiring workers to view video films and slides presentations; and training safety personnel in first aid.
d. Foremen orientation. In some instances, foremen are charged with the responsibility of new worker orientation. Methods and techniques used by foremen to handle such orientation are: describing the new job and job rules; giving workers a run test on equipment, and showing workers around site.
5.4 Toolbox meetings
The next group of questions focused on tool box meetings. 80% of the firms (28) conducted regularly scheduled toolbox meetings on their projects. Such meetings were 15 to 30 minutes long. They were held to: emphasize the project's safety requirements; review past activities; plan ahead for new or changed operations; discuss the causes of accidents in a particular craft and ways of preventing future accidents; and provide pertinent safety training and motivation. Figure-2 presents the frequency of these meetings.
As per the above figure, in most instances, these meetings were held weekly. The majority stated that these meetings were held on no definite day. In addition, a substantial number of respondents stated that no definite person presided at these meetings. Only in a few instances was the safety engineer in charge of these gatherings.
A large number of questions dealt with the organization of the company particularly with regard to safety. 90% of respondents stated that they had a full-time safety director at the corporate level. Besides, (Figure-3) depicts the managerial position that the safety director reported to.
At the job level, the safety director counterpart was the field safety director (safety representative). The number of safety representatives employed varied among the surveyed sample. In most instances, the company employed one safety representative for each project. In very few instances, two safety representatives were employed. This may be linked to the number of workers, job needs, or job complexity.
Additionally, in almost 60% of the responding firms (21), the field safety director was hired by the corporate safety director and reported to that position.
Answers to the question of the criteria used for employing a full time safety representative on a particular job, revealed that 60% of the firms tied the criteria to particular job needs, and 40% of the respondents (14) used the number of workers on the job as a determining factor. For the latter category, 10% placed a full-time safety representative on the project as soon as 100 workers were on the job, while the remaining 30% used the number of safety representatives specified by the labor law as their reference, which is one safety representative for every (50-200) workers.
Safety representatives have to be specialized in their work. For this reason, 70% of the firms (24) conducted safety meetings for their representatives. These meetings were held periodically ranging anywhere from weekly to annually.
In addition to safety meetings, safety representatives were required to have special training, which could be acquired through attending seminars or special classes. In 60% of the firms safety representatives had special training. Only in a few instances, safety personnel were trained in first aid. Only 20% of all firms (7) that were surveyed, safety representatives were certified in first aid.
In the last couple of questions for the topic company organization, 70% of the firms stated that safety directors trained workers under their supervision, while 40% stated that the safety directors trained their subordinate safety representatives.
The company must also recognize that supervisors are the key to success of the safety program at the job level. Two effective means for demonstrating this are: by holding safety meetings for supervisors; and by rewarding supervisors with outstanding safety records. The former item was typically asked to all the surveyed firms. 80% of the respondents (28) held separate safety meetings for supervisors.
In questioning the firms about the authority of the safety personnel, nearly all respondents confirmed that they gave such an authority to the safety personnel.
The field personnel involved with safety included those providing first aid services on the job. All the respondents indicated that they had first aid personnel. On the average, each company had two full-time first aid personnel. However, this difference may be attributed to the number of workers on site or the type of work performed.
Safety inspections were made by home office personnel in 70% (24) of the responding firms. In more than 86% of these instances, inspections were made by the company safety director. In only 14% of firms, the inspectors were representatives from the safety department. Several respondents indicated that these inspections occurred quarterly while others reported less frequent visits.
Top managers must continue to be involved in the safety program. One way that this can be done effectively, is for top managers to discuss safety along with other topics when job site visits are made. 60% (21) of the firms stated that they made a point of talking about safety when visiting projects. Questions about past accidents, ways to remedy hazards, or a comment about the safety environment of the project, all serve to convey the message that top management cares about safety.
To increase safety awareness, companies may employ awards for various company personnel. Awards can be either financial or non financial, based upon freedom from lost-time injuries or some other measure of safety performance. The results showed that only 30% of all the surveyed firms (10) gave their personnel safety awards. In most instances, rewards were given to the highest level field personnel. Only a few firms included safety personnel in these awards.
Annual allocations should be made in the budget for the purchase and maintenance of protective equipment, salaries of the safety staff and other aspects of the safety program. Despite that, only very few contractors responded to the question on the annual percentage spent on safety. Out of these responses, an approximate level could be established. Approximately 0.5-1% of the annual dollar volume was spent on safety.
Generally, safety expenses are best charged to the corporate overhead. This practice was encouraged in an attempt to encourage managers to spend money on their safety programs. Hence, supervisors will not be reluctant to spend more money on safety, resulting in fewer accidents on their projects. For this survey, none of the firms allocated safety expenses to the company overhead. Rather, they were charged to individual projects. The reasoning behind this is that in Egypt contractors are less motivated to spend money on safety, simply because the direct costs incurred as a result of insurance against accidents are fixed; irrespective of the contractor's performance.
As opposed to the USA, safety performance measures are developed for the construction industry sector as whole rather than individual contractors. Besides, contractors approached by the survey were not obliged to apply a unified measure of safety performance. The reasoning behind this was that, as mentioned previously in (Section 3) this study attempts to explore the nature of the safety programs applied by large-size contractors operating in Egypt. Along this line, each contractor was asked to provide his own subjective safety performance measure(s). These measures were either, a frequency measure, which is based on the number of accidents, or both frequency and severity measure. A severity measure on the other hand is based on the number of lost days.
Foreign companies operating in Egypt usually apply safety performance measures adopted by the mother company. However, the following is a sample of the safety measures applied by the companies participating in the research:
Injury frequency rate = the number of lost time injuries per 200 000 workers.
Cases with leave x 1000 000 / Working hours = Frequency rate
Days of leave x 1000 / Working hours = Gravity rate
Number of injuries x 100 000 / Man hours worked = Frequency index
Number of days lost x 100 000 / Man hours worked = Severity index
Frequency rate = Number of lost time injuries per 1000 man hours.
Incorporating safety in progress meetings significantly affect safety. The majority, 60% replied that safety was reviewed in progress meetings.
A large number of questions was devoted to accident reports. Nearly all respondents indicated that they had a standardized accident report form. This report was filled and submitted after any accident involving death or serious injury to contractor's personnel. Generally, the standard accident report requests the following information: name of the employer; workplace where the accident happened; data and time of accident; employee name; occupation; cause of injury; date and time admitted to hospital; and nature of accident.
Only10% of the responding firms (3) indicated that accident cost reports were broken down by projects. Literature demonstrated clearly that having accident costs broken down by projects was a dominant practice encouraged by the majority of large-size construction firms in the USA, (Hinze and Harrison 1981) and Levitt and Parker (1976). The reasoning behind this is that charging as many of the costs of accidents as possible to individual projects on which those accidents occur can help generate accident cost awareness and show true profitability. However, this is still not the case for this survey. This may be attributed to the differences that exist in handling accident costs between American and Egyptian approaches.
In addition, (Figure-4) depicts the distribution frequency of accident reports from the job site to the corporation level.
In order to make a closer assessment of top management involvement in safety, particularly at the presidential level, accident reports should be reviewed by the home office personnel. However, respondents indicated that in none of the surveyed firms accident records were reviewed by the president. In most instances, accident reports were reviewed by the safety department.
In the last question for the topic accident reports, only 10% of the respondents stated that they had a corporate accident report which was distributed to all projects. Worthy to mention is that such a report serves the dual function of showing superintendents how their projects are performing in safety in relation to other company projects, and of showing superintendents that top management is aware of safety.
Generally, safety programs of the surveyed sample were quite similar. Only a few discrepancies were noted. Rather than presenting them individually, a relevant analysis has been summarized in (Figure-5). A precise examination of the figure indicates that the majority of safety practices included in the questionnaire were prevalent among the surveyed sample of contractors. Among these are: physical examination of workers, contributing to 90%; toolbox meetings and safety orientation, each contributing to 80%; and conducting safety meetings for field safety directors which contributed to 70%. However, the predominance of these practices could be linked to the fact that these are the fundamental elements of a successful safety program, in addition to the requirement of most of them by the Labor Law.
Moreover, research results bear out this observation. Levitt and Samelson (1994) indicated that new worker orientation contributes directly to safer performances. Sawacha, Naoum and Fong (1999) identified safety equipment as being one of the issues associated with site safety. Furthermore, the authors stated that management talk on safety during site visits significantly affects it. Koehn, Kothari and Chih-Shing (1995), on another note, found that safety inspections significantly improve safety performances on construction sites.
At the other end of the scale, the least prevalent practices were: formal safety orientation contributing to only 20%; training of safety personnel in first aid contributing to 20%; awards for good safety performance at 30%; accident cost reports broken down by projects at 10%; and, allocating safety expenses to the company overhead, and having accident records reviewed by the company president each with a surprising 0% response. Worthy of mention is that these practices are more specific, thus increasing the cost of the safety program. In most instances, such practices were applied in complex projects by international contractors who are extremely aware of their performance as it might affect their reputation for bidding future projects internationally.
Hinze and Harrison (1981) revealed that these less prevailing practices are indicative of the formality of any safety program and conductive to excellent performance. Further, Evelyn, Florence and Adrian (2005) identified training and formal orientation of workers as one of the important factors that were associated with outstanding safety records. Sawacha, Naoum and Fong (1999) demonstrated that appointing a trained safety representative contributed directly to excellent safety performances. Finally, reviewing accident records by home office personnel was observed as a prominent signal of formality of the safety program, leading to exceptional performances, (Evelyn, Florence and Adrian 2005) and (Hinze and Harisson 1981).
However, the reasoning behind the non-predominance of the latter practices lies in the fact that applying a more costly and sophisticated safety program, i.e. a formal program will not affect the contractor's direct insurance costs. As mentioned previously, accident insurance costs in Egypt are not contingent upon the contractor's performance; rather they are fixed, amounting to approximately 18% of labor cost. Therefore, applying a formal safety program will simply be an added cost rather than contributing to decreasing the direct accident insurance cost.
This paper contains the results of a questionnaire survey that was conducted among a selected sample of large-size construction contractors operating in Egypt. Results revealed that safety programs applied by large-size contractors operating in Egypt are less formal than those applied by their American counterparts. The rationale behind this is that applying more formal safety programs will neither affect the contractor's safety performance nor reduce actual accident insurance costs. The contractor's safety performance as evaluated by the insurance sector is independent of his own safety record; rather it is maintained at a constant figure applied throughout the whole industry. Therefore, all contractors are charged the same percentage for their direct insurance costs.
Finally, the study recommended that the safety programs applied by contractors operating in Egypt have to be more formal, thereby providing newly hired workers with formal safety orientation; training safety personnel in first aid and employing safety incentives. Further, the authors acknowledged that countries like Egypt, where direct accident insurance costs are fixed irrespective of the contractor's safety performance must study the feasibility of linking accident insurance costs to the contractor's performance. This way, contractors will act upon improving safety programs, resulting in safer performances and accordingly, lower direct insurance costs.
The theme of the paper is of paramount importance and requires further attention within the Egyptian construction context. Needless to say, a natural expansion of this research would be to broaden its scope to include other categories of contractors, i.e. small and medium sized contractors. Further, an innovative expansion might be to select a suitable safety performance measure to base the study upon. The following step would be to evaluate the effectiveness of the safety program, thereby making correlations between the various safety policies and practices and the resulting safety performance.
|Safety Programs in Large-Size Construction Firms Operating in Egypt|
|1. Does the company require examination for certain craft workers?||Yes||No|
|2. Does the company provide hard hats?||Yes||No|
|3. Are the safety glasses required on the job?||Yes||No|
|If yes, does the company provide the glasses?||Yes||No|
|4. What type of safety orientation do the new hires recieve?|
|[ ] No Safety Orientation|
|[ ] Informal Orientation|
|[ ] Formal Orientation|
|[ ] Foreman Orientation|
|5. Are toolbox (safety) meetings held on the job site?||Yes||No|
|If yes, how often are they held?|
|[ ] Weekly|
|[ ] Biweekly|
|[ ] Monthly|
|[ ] Other|
|6. When are they held? (check one)|
|[ ] Saturday|
|[ ] Sunday|
|[ ] Monday|
|[ ] Tuesday|
|[ ] Wednesday|
|[ ] Thursday|
|[ ] Varies|
|7. Who presides at these meetings? (check one)|
|[ ] Assigned Worker|
|[ ] Foreman|
|[ ] Safety Manager|
|8. Does the company have a full-time safety director at the corporate level?||Yes||No|
|9. To whom does safety director report? (position)|
|10. How many field safety directors (safety representatives) does your company employ?|
|a. Does the corporate safety director hire the field safety director?||Yes||No|
|b. Does the field safety director report to the corporate safety director?||Yes||No|
|11. What is the criterion used in determining the number of safety representatives?|
|[ ] Number of workers|
|[ ] Job needs|
|[ ] Total contract value|
|12. What is the minimum size job that has a full-time safety director?|
|13. Does the corporation hold regular safety meetings for the safety representatives?||Yes||No|
|If yes, how often?|
|14. Are the safety representatives required to have any special training?||Yes||No|
|15. Are the safety personnel trained in first-aid?||Yes||No|
|16. Do the field safety directors train workers under their supervision?||Yes||No|
|17. Do the safety directors train their subordinate safety representatives?||Yes||No|
|18. Does the company hold safety meetings for supervisors?||Yes||No|
|19. Do the safety personnel have the authority to stop work?||Yes||No|
|20. Does the company have full-time first aid personnel?||Yes||No|
|If yes, how many?|
|21. Does someone from the home office make safety inspections on the job?||Yes||No|
|If yes, then who? (Give title only)|
|If yes, how often do the inspections occur?|
|22. Does top management discuss safety when job site visits are made?||Yes||No|
|23. Does your company give awards for good safety performance?|
|24. What is the percentage of annual dollar volume spent on safety?|
|25. How are safety expenses paid?|
|[ ] Job Site|
|[ ] Corporation|
|26. Safety performance is measured in terms of?|
|27. Does your company discuss safety during progress meetings?||Yes||No|
|28. Does your company have a standardized accident report form?||Yes||No|
|29. Are accident reports broken down by projects?||Yes||No|
|30. How often are accident reports forwarded from the job site to the corporation level?|
|[ ] Daily|
|[ ] Weekly|
|[ ] Monthly|
|[ ] Quarterly|
|[ ] Yearly|
|31. Who reviews accident reports in home office?|
|[ ] President|
|[ ] Vice President|
|[ ] Safety Department|
|[ ] Others|