Use new tech to curb construction hazards, speakers tell roundtable

The Daily Star and RFL Pipe and Fittings jointly organised a roundtable on “Comprehensive Proposal on Construction Hazard: Creating Awareness and Role of the Stakeholders” at The Daily Star Centre yesterday. Speakers at the programme advocated the use of new concrete materials like precast, blocks, and ready-mix to reduce construction activity-related hazards. Addressing the issue, Buet Prof AFM Saiful Amin spoke of the health hazards posed by unplanned stockpiling of materials like sand, bricks, and cement at construction sites.

He stressed the need to promote ready-mix concrete, which is much more environment-friendly. Several of the speakers also spoke about ensuring the safety of construction workers.

Abu Sadeq, executive director of Centre for Housing and Building Research, said when it comes to high-rise buildings, the use of precast technology instead of plastering and painting from the outside reduces risk for construction workers. He also said a significant number of construction site accidents go unreported.

In addition, he urged engineers to stop focusing exclusively on cost-effectiveness and consider air and sound pollution while designing a construction sites.

Moderating the roundtable, The Daily Star Associate Editor Brig Gen (retd) Shahedul Anam Khan said it is not uncommon for construction workers to work near public places without any safety net and precautionary notice. This puts the lives of workers as well as people in danger, he said, stressing the need to create awareness about construction safety.

Speakers also went over the need to bring construction workers within a framework that recognises their skills and ensures accountability. Building Technology and Ideas (BTI) Ltd Managing Director Faizur Rahman Khan stressed the necessity of initiating a framework that ensures proper certification of the workers.

Such a system can be found in Japan where rod-binders or welders must have certifications from the labour or other relevant departments, he mentioned. He urged all construction sector stakeholders to work towards implementing this in Bangladesh. RFL Managing Director Rathendra Nath Paul said his organisation’s responsibility as a major stakeholder is to provide modern products for construction and ensure safety for both workers and common people.

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