Can prefabricated construction increase safety for labourers?
The construction industry is a crucial part of every country's infrastructure development and simultaneously overall economy. It is one of the largest sectors of employment in India, providing work to a large number of labourers. However, it is also the second most hazardous industry, with an average of around 38 fatal accidents per day.
As we celebrate International Labour Day 2023, let us take a look at what construction workers deal with in order to earn their livelihood, and if the situation can be improved with functional solutions and new-age technologies like Tata Steel Nest-In’s prefabricated construction.
Indian labourers and their concerns
Even today, the construction industry is an unorganized sector in India. Though the industry, like most other sectors, has been quick in adopting new technologies, it still remains to be largely labour intensive. Construction workers face unsafe and unhealthy working and living conditions – such as poor accommodation facilities, inadequate food and sanitation, unsafe working practices, and deficient healthcare provisions. In spite of all the risks and challenges, they are still attracted to the construction industry, as it offers better wages and more reliable employment as compared to agriculture.
Major causes of accidents in the construction industry
For most construction workers, their workplace is a dangerous site and is often ill-equipped to provide safe working conditions for humans. The work is full of risks such as heavy objects falling from a height, electrocution, unsafe handling of heavy materials, and unexpected collapse of structures. Labourers often work at heights without adequate safety measures. The accidents caused by such unsafe conditions often prove to be fatal. In a study carried out by the National Institute of Technology Surat and IIT Delhi, the researchers estimated that every year over 11,650 casualties are reported in the construction industry.
Can prefab construction provide a solution for improving labour safety?
Prefabricated construction is a system that uses structural components made off-site in a factory, which is then transported to the actual site to be put together to build a structure. It offers several advantages in terms of time, cost, quality control, material waste, reduced environmental impact, and other factors. Extensive research is going on to evaluate if prefab construction can actively increase labourer safety.
Why is prefabricated construction safer?
Traditional labour-intensive construction methods often expose labourers to many hazards. The use of prefabricated construction potentially reduces exposure to manual activities and ergonomic hazards on the site. Various studies have confirmed that the use of prefabricated construction would lead to improvements in construction health and safety performance. Here are some ways modular construction can enhance safety for labourers.
- Better control of working conditions: Because prefabricated modular construction solutions are manufactured in a controlled factory environment, labourers have better access to safety equipment and tools, improving safety standards.
- Reduced manual work: As compared to traditional construction, prefab construction is less labour intensive and therefore, reduces the possibility of humans getting exposed to dangerous and potentially life-threatening on-site work.
- Reduced exposure to harsh weather: Prefab construction can typically be done 2X or 3X faster than traditional construction. This reduces the possibility of humans being exposed to on-site harsh weather conditions over a prolonged period. Besides, the factory environment also eliminates exposure to harsh weather.
- Lesser possibility of unsafe material handling: As the factory offers better access to tools and equipment, there is a lesser possibility of unsafe material handling, as on the construction site.
- Enhanced safety because of the different nature of work: Modular buildings lower the need for formwork and scaffolding, and also reduce the exposure of workers to on-site steel reinforcement and chemical hazards. Besides, there is a lesser possibility of construction falls.
As a conclusion, prefab construction offers huge benefits for improving labor safety. Plus, it is high-speed, uniform, quality-certified, and convenient. If more and more architects and builders opt for prefab construction like Tata Steel Nest-In, we will be able to create a safer and happier world for labourers and their families. When such a day will dawn, International Workers’ Day will be celebrated in its truest sense.
Read more: 5 benefits of prefab construction
Posted in HabiNest on Apr 27, 2023.