During large construction operations when contractors are forced to stick to tight deadlines it is sometimes tempting to ignore or at least somewhat neglect construction safety measures, especially those measures which are perceived as time consuming. Unfortunately contractors who adopt this approach may actually be losing more than they are gaining, as an incident in Brazil has proven.
The contractor responsible for the construction of the final stadium to be used during next year’s FIFA World Cup has lost valuable time as work on the site has been halted due to safety concerns. The stadium’s construction is running behind schedule and this may have been why certain safety controls were neglected, prompting the court to have work on the stadium stopped until safety is brought up to standard.
The judge ruled that work could not continue on the site until the risk to workers was addressed. Specific hazards include fall hazards, risks of collisions and struck by accidents and the risk of workers being buried. The incident has put the timeous completion of the stadium by FIFA’s deadline date in jeopardy.
The following excerpt from an article on www.FootballAustralia.com.au explains:
As Brazil gears up to host the world football pinnacle, stadium safety concerns at Curitiba Stadium have stopped workers in their quest to meet their December deadline for stadium completion.
Judge Lorena Colnago has halted construction until an inspection is completed at the stadium because of the inherent risks to workers.
“(There is) a serious risk of workers being buried, run over and of collision, falling from heights and being hit by construction material, among other serious risks,” Colnago said in a statement.
The stadium, owned by Brazil SerieA club AtléticoParanaense, is set to host four matches at FIFA’s showpiece event next year.
To make matter worse, reports say that the construction of the stadium was already behind schedule before this episode. This may explain why safety wasn’t being addressed, perhaps contractors were so focused on productivity and getting the project completed on time that they failed to recognise the many hazards to workers on site.
On larger sites in particular it is easy for safety issues to slip through the cracks, but when there are such strict deadlines to adhere to, it becomes even more tempting to ignore controls. Controlling the risks is often associated with unnecessary costs and valuable time being wasted, but the thing that contractors need to realise is that if an accident occurs, a substantially larger amount of money and time will be lost, this case is proof of that.
FIFA is also not happy and have warned that delays will not be tolerated. The deadline for this stadium’s completion is December this year.
The post went on to explain:
Construction was already behind schedule before it was ceased, despite plans for a retractable roof being abandoned to save time.
FIFA have warned that delays will not be tolerated.
The price of stadium refurbishment has also taken a lot of criticism from the Brazilian people as widespread protests marred the Confederations Cup in June.