Urban development and safety

Urban development

Bridge and flyover failures have marked our recent memory even before the monsoon had set in. As monsoon has trailed across India, road cave-ins, chunks of bridges and construction have injured citizens.

The simple fact that we aren’t able to ensure safety practices around upcoming construction, says a lot about our older dilapidated structures falling around us. Culture of safety doesn’t come naturally to India due to our hurried habit of quickly running through things – traffic, projects, constructions and what not.

The majority urban construction have adopted the model of selling first, rather than focusing on secure builds. Another aspect that has hurt safety is unthoughtful expansion within existing structures – columns being removed to create space while the overall structure collapses one silent day on its own.

Safety practices are largely ignored in a day and age where we wish to secure material possessions as soon as possible. But take a moment to also admire the countless workmen and women out there who are exposed to such dangers on-site.

Simple safety practices can reap more benefits than expenditure even in shorter runs. Just ask the complicit people involved in recent disasters (see here, here and here) causing widespread fatalities.

Safety starts even before the build has been sketched on a piece of paper. Safety survey of the site and its surroundings provides a general idea of what would it take to ensure a secure site.

  • Prior warning signs installed at crucial spots and ample signage at blind-spots creates more awareness.
  • Fall, slip and trip hazards are the most common reasons for accidents. Ensuring competent safety gear for all can decrease them.
  • Scaffolding safety is an exercise in itself and competent personnel should be in-charge of such operations 24×7.
  • Waterlogging at sites can wreak havoc on machinery and health of workers. Simple steps to ensure drainage and disposal should be checked from time to time.
  • Construction waste is now being regulated by the Government of India and should only be disposed-off in a manner specified under the new law.
  • Barricading is an often a missing agent from our worksites. Ensure adequate signage and barricading at necessary spots to avoid intrusion and unlikely incidents.
  • Public spaces and construction have a long standing history of incidents. Again, vigilance, barricading and proper signs can mitigate risk.
  • Public bodies and news outlets should be provided with proper information regarding the activities at site. Sometimes, informational awareness is enough on its own to create an impact.
  • Roads around such urban development sites should be managed and monitored. Choke points and hazards should be identified in advance and precautions must be introduced to mitigate them.

Overall, urban development more often than not, succumbs to popular time saving tricks and demands. Safety however costs nothing, if well laid plans are executed in line with stipulated guidelines.

Public safety has a lot to do with vigilance as well. Simple potholes and recklessness on road has led to disasters, hence exercise caution and remain vigilant on road. In the end, our safety lies in our own hands, however for a safety culture net around us, it would take willingness of like-minded safety prudent individuals.


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