The healthy construction workplace : best practices in the Swedish construction industry to prevent work-related musculosketal disorders among construction workers
Abstract: This thesis focuses on the reduction of work-related musculoskeletal disorders through the successful strategies contributing to a healthy construction workplace. The aim of this work is to contribute towards the understanding of a healthy construction workplace brought about by the best practices implemented by large construction sites. From a preventive perspective, a model for the construction workplace system balance can be used to identify strategies. Specifically this is aimed at: Identifying and describing the best practices conducive to work- related musculoskeletal health in the construction work environment.Providing recommendations to contribute to healthy construction workplaces, thus improving work-related musculoskeletal health and preventing the musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers.To identify the best practices in the Swedish industry to prevent work- related musculoskeletal disorders; several construction projects were investigated using interviews, site observations and company documents study. In every construction project, the investigation focused on six areas of the construction workplace system balance, namely the planning (including the pre-production planning), the technology used at the construction site, the work organization, the work environment, the work tasks performed and the individual worker. The results have shown that there are numerous best practices both in the pre-production and the production phases of the construction projects. Although, best practices were identified in the different areas of the construction workplace system balance, there seems to be a significant need for good practices in Systematic Work Environment Management (SWEM) and the implications of some payments methods on the production schedule had left much to be desired as far as construction workers' work-related musculoskeletal health is concerned. Limitations of the results are that there has been poor participation of the designers and the developers of the different construction projects investigated in the research study. Also, the participation of subcontractors' managers in this study was unexpectedly low. Another limitation of the study was a cultural attitude of interview respondents who did not often think that they had anything better than another construction workplace. This made it hard to ascertain the best practices from the interview participants. Based on the results and conclusions in this thesis a number of general recommendations are given: To increase the involvement of developers in the implementation of the work environment plan. Consider educating both the management and the employees about SWEM through workshops, and make an evaluation of SWEM with a procreative measurement. Housekeeping responsibilities should be spelt out in contracts and tender documents, and these documents should define the responsibilities. The management should consider providing opportunities to workers for physical fitness/training during work hours.
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