Construction Site & Road Safety
Over the past 10 years I have seen construction site safety vastly improved here in Thailand, but there’s still a massive void to where it should be at. If you are a tourist and you are reading this I can imagine you must be thinking, “if its improved I would hate to have seen it ten years ago”.
With Pattaya, and Thailand in general becoming one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, sometimes I wonder what a tourist’s perspective of Thailand’s road safety would be – and with the construction industry at a peak again, there are construction sites on every corner of every road, so wouldn’t it be logical to make sure these sites are not health hazards to the tourists and those people working on them?
Some of the most basic safety aspects of the roads and construction sites are very cheap and so simple to implement, but it seems that Thailand’s authorities think it isn’t necessary and to make such a compulsory measure. Firstly, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should be compulsory on all aspects of construction, whether it be on the roads or an enclosed site. Hard hats, protective footwear, high visibility vests, are all very cheap items and can saves lives.
When it comes to the areas under construction, its amazing that site boundary fencing are not compulsory here. This leaves site safety wide open, allowing people to just wonder onto construction sites. Other items such as handrails, night safety lighting, sufficient waste disposal measures should all be implemented onto modern day construction sites.
In the UK there are rules and regulations that all sites have to condone to. It is the contractor’s responsibility to make sure the site is up to standards, not the property developer. With that the local authorities will have their own independent safety inspector that will make random site inspections to make sure sites adhere to the rules. I think this system would work well here and sites not adhering be fined or closed until they are up to standards.
This could be the chance for the local councils to set a benchmark in all types of general safety. The road safety in Pattaya is also a major concern and i see it very worrying that we are changing the image of the great town to become a family holiday attraction, but do little to improve probably the biggest cause of accident and death in the city.
Without pointing a finger you could say the authorities are to blame by not setting the standard. A start would to be to introducing better road safety standards, Highlighting road construction areas with sufficient lighting and barriers. Have you noticed lately the “Left Lane Can Go” at many of the traffic lights on Sukhumvit? So automatically when the lights turn Red everyone dives for the left hand lane so they don’t have to wait for the lights to change Green. This has been given little thought process to the pedestrian trying to cross the road. I see a lady nearly get taken out as she crossed the road at the crossing due to this new “initiative”.
It seems life has little value in this country and it’s a shame as we admire the “Land of Smiles” for the happiness it brings us. It would be a much happier place if the new Thai Government were to take a step back and to look at how all forms of safety could be improved.
Going back to site safety, a close friend of mine whom has worked for many different charity causes all over Asia, tackles one of Thailand biggest construction threats. The large majority of the workers on these construction sites only gain minimum wages, and therefore don’t have the funds to send their children to schools, and therefore you’ll see these children playing within the construction site.
This friend works very hard to raise money to form site schools, place teachers and staff in these schools and gives the children a chance to gain an education and not become endangered on these construction sites. Again it amazes me that you see these developers that do little to put a stop to this. They will state that it’s the main construction contractor responsibility. The developer as well as the contractor are gaining massive profits, don’t you think it should be compulsory for these developers to have some form of housing for the children during the working day. I do. Or even have the local authorities make some form of contribution.
Just lately we have been looking for commercial property in the Na Jomtien area close to the La Royale project for such a school as the area is becoming heavily developed and we wish to foem such a school in the area. To date we have struggled to find anywhere. If you know of such a place or can help in anyway please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.