Skip to main content

Prioritising Construction Safety: Necessity for Reform After Recent Incidents

By January 8, 2024No Comments
Malaysia's Rise as a Pioneer in Sustainable Construction Materials

Safety should not be taken for granted in the construction sector. Whilst many companies in the industry purport to have safety policies and standards, the reality is that on-site conditions are dangerous and potentially fatal if not properly supervised.

In Hong Kong recently, two experienced workers died in a routine underground inspection of pipes in West Kowloon overcome by noxious hydrogen sulphide fumes to which they succumbed. They did not inform their co-workers that they would go into the underground chamber and did not bring breathing apparatus as they did not expect to encounter gaseous emissions. Perhaps the alarming point is that their absence was not detected until at least 24 hours after the workers’ families contacted the contractor concerned. Hong Kong is considered to be one of the places with the best safety record, but there have been nine deaths recorded so far this year. Construction safety is a universal concern.

New Initiative Boosts Access to Quality Building Materials for Small Malaysian Contractors

Lastly, embedding a safety culture is an imperative. The untimely deaths of the two workers in Hong Kong could have been avoided had the risk of working in an underground chamber been properly assessed beforehand, and the main contractor and other staff had been advised that the pair were going to undertake the work. The contractor was fined, punished and barred from future work. But that will not bring back the two tragically lost lives. Safety must always come first.


Written by: Dr Thomas Tang, CEO of PJ Sustainability Consulting Limited, is a professional advisor to corporations on sustainability, climate resilience, urban design and social innovation. He is a UN Scholar, an adjunct professor and an author.


This will close in 20 seconds