Recently I watched the movie Deepwater Horizon. The movie was the tragic story of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon which exploded in 2010, killing 11, spilling oil into the ocean which cost billions of dollars in compensation and mopping-up costs. Now I realize that much of the movie was pseudo historical and maybe wasn’t entirely factual. But, what got me thinking was how often our decisions are made on the spur of the moment, some decisions are driven by cost and time concerns, while some are made without the correct knowledge or experience. We also make decisions based on information which we made fit (and suit) our beliefs and ideals while discarding information which doesn’t suit us. (Maybe that sounds similar to politics and politicians – but that’s how many operate!) Sometimes we are browbeaten into accepting another person’s decisions, maybe a more senior person, or someone that is more forceful than us. Then of course, on occasion, we are just too tired to make a rational decision, or so tired that we make errors. But, sometimes, even not making a decision can have devastating consequences.
Yet, these decisions can often impact lives and cost millions. But, we hardly give that a thought, often more preoccupied with other matters, sometimes placing schedule and profit ahead of everything else. After all, disaster won’t happen to us!
Construction is an inherently dangerous occupation. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015 over 900 people died in the US in construction related accidents. Unfortunately, thousands more were seriously injured, some permanently disabled. But these figures don’t include those who were killed traveling to and from construction projects, and nor do they include occupants of the completed facility who are injured or killed by defective work, or unsafe workplaces. I wonder how many of those fatalities and injuries were a result of poor decisions?
But project safety isn’t just about what contractors do, it often starts with designers, and ends with owners. Often their decisions also have a profound impact on the project.
Designers have a responsibility to ensure they make the correct decisions, decisions which are based on the correct facts and not on wrong assumptions. Their decisions will impact the integrity of their designs which:
Owners are sometimes responsible for injuries and fatalities because their decisions also impact the project because::
Contractors’ poor decisions not only risk killing and injuring people during construction, but they could also endanger the lives of future occupants of the facility by constructing a project of poor quality, or one that contains hazardous materials.
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The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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