Basic Principles of Safety Engineering


Now we are living in the 21st century. In this modern world, there are so many jobs to do. Among them engineering takes an important place in the modern world. It’s because the need of engineers is very important nowadays. So there is a question that who is an engineer?.Dr Paul MaCombie,who is a famous lecture said that engineers need good mathematical ability, but much more than that ,they have to be imaginative, responsible, creative and they must be very good at working with all sets of people.

Geography, economics, art, history, modern language, psychology as well as the traditional mathematics and physics all can help to you to become an excellent engineer.

So engineering is a growing industry that gives competitive pay as well as new opportunities to develop and work with different technologies. Engineers must have to use science, critical thinking and mathematics to develop ideas, product and technologies, often to make the life easier and more efficient.

Engineers specialize in one branch of the field, such as, electrical aerospace, civil, mechanical….etc. So engineering is a broad field. The world is changing every day, and engineers are the ones behind so much of this thing. The large number of of today’s services and products had some element of engineering involved in their conception at least, paving the way to long, fulfilling and healthy lives for the people influenced by the engineers as well.

What is safety engineering?

Safety, those activities that seek either to reduce or to eliminate hazards that can cause bodily injury.

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“Safety first”. We all heard about this code word. Safety is very important in every field .In engineering also, safety took a major part in engineering work. So safety engineering is an engineering discipline which assures that engineered systems provide acceptable levels of safety. It deals with accidents prevention, reducing the risks that associated with human error and deriving safety benefits from engineered systems and designs.

So engineers will have to face several problems in the working places or other places. So they must have the ability to solve the complex problems and implements solutions in cost effective and practical ways. So it is important to utilize the principles of safety engineering, such hazard control in the preplanning design and layout of manufacturing. So safety concepts of engineering provide us the structure for both safety and industrial design engineers to elaborate intrinsically safe equipment, systems, process and facilities. So it is the key point for eliminating hazards.

Engineers work in different kind of industries such as construction industry, transport, oil, iron ore, machinery…..etc in the world. In every industry, engineers have to face and solve various problems, which would be small or large. So in this article, I just present about safety engineering in construction field.

Construction industry


Construction is the most largest industry in the world. Construction field includes building construction, bridges, factories….etc. Millions of people get jobs in construction industry through the world in all types of education. In the modern world, most of the countries highly get interested in constructing big building, different bridges, big factories…etc to show their power to others. So construction plays a major role in development.

The role of an engineer in construction field.

Construction starts with planning, design and financing. And it will continue until the end of that particular project. So firstly the architect develops the design by taking advice from specialists in the beginning stage of the project. In many cases engineers will be involved at the middle stage of a design. At the early stage engineers may not specify. But at the project progresses the engineers becomes more involved with the performance of components. There are several of engineering roles in the construction industry such as civil, structural, mechanical, electrical…etc. Engineers have to monitor the activities of the workers when the work has begun. They are the most responsible persons of that worksite. They have to inspect the work and advice their contractors. So we see that engineer is the key member of the construction team. So construction engineers have a lot of responsibility in their work.

Importance of safety engineering in construction industry

Every industry have various types of tasks or problems to solve. So in construction industry also there are some problems which are against to do the job properly. Building bridges, railway, big buildings…etc have so many risks. Construction is a hazardous task involving mostly workers who are not so educable to take care about their health or safety. Likewise other problems like poor facility in the work place, environmental pollution problem and other society problems have to solve by the engineers.

Major problems and the solutions in construction industry


Hazard identification is the most important thing to move on. So engineers must discover about the risks. Then they have to evaluate about that, whether that makes big loss or minor loss. Then they have to search for the solutions for the problems. This is the basic concept of the safety engineering.

Worker safety

Construction industry gives a lot of job opportunities to the workers through the world. Millions of people involve in the construction industry. So the fatal injury for the construction industry is higher than other industries. Workers safety continues to be an issue plaguing the construction industry as well. In the last few years, construction has led all industries in the total number of worker deaths. So keeping workers safe and protecting them against accidents and injuries should be the top responsibilities for all business owners and construction engineers.

There are varieties of potential hazards for workers in the construction field. They are falls from heights, trench collapse, scaffold collapse, electric shock and arc flash, failure to use proper personal protective equipment, repetitive mutation injuries etc. The workers, who are not so knowledgeable to take care of their health and safety, are affected by these hazards. Many people from Asia go to abroad countries to work in construction field. So they not much knowledgeable to handling equipment…etc. So engineers have to take care about their health and safety.

There are about 48,000 workers die in India due to occupational accidents of which 38 fatal accidents take place every day in the construction industry.

On September 7, 2011 a Mobile Crane collapsed at the National Cathedral Site in Northwest Washington

On April 18, 2013, a Masonry Wall collapsed during construction of the Goodwill Retail Store in Hendersonville, and two employees killed at the place.

Seven people died underneath a crane that collapsed in 2008 in New York city. Many construction site accidents happen in the world every day.

Fatality in Singapore construction field

year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

deaths 24 24 25 31 32 22 26 33


Fall protection

Hazard falls consistently account for the largest number of the fatalities in the field of construction. It is because of the unstable working surfaces, failure to use correct fall protection equipment and human error.


Safety nets, covers and restrain systems can reduce or prevent many injuries and deaths from falls. Engineers must consider about using aerial lifts or elevated platforms to provide safer elevated surfaces. By covering floor holes also, we can reduce falls injuries. Safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems also reduce or prevent these problems.


Hazard When scaffolds are not used properly, it may cause falls hazards. Protecting the workers from scaffold- nearly 4500 injuries and so 50 deaths are estimated by from scaffold-related accidents in each year.


The construction workers should be instructed about the hazards of using diagonal braces as fall protection. Unsteady objects, like barrels, boxes, loose bricks or concrete blacks must not be used to support scaffold. Scaffolds must not be moved, erected or dismantled without the supervision of the competent person. The platforms of the scaffold must be tightly planked with scaffold plank grade material.

Fires and explosions

There are many fire accidents happened because of unfinished piping, leaking gases, and incomplete electrical systems, fires and explosions are a common occurrence on construction sites. Nearly average of 36 fire and explosions deaths happen in the construction industry.


Electric shock

Hazard Workers have to handle electric devices in the construction area. Electricity is used in many things in the construction field. So it is much possible to get attacked by electricity.


It can be prevent by checking all electrical tools and equipments regularly for defects.

Electrical engineer is the main person to monitor this by putting an effective lockout systems, the electrical accident can be reduced overhead electrical power lines are located and identified in the construction place. Project engineer have to protect flexible cards and cables from damage. Safety glasses or face shields are worn anytime during welding, cutting, grinding, nailing…etc to protect eye and face.


Hazard Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries in each year in the world. Trenching deaths rose from 2003.


By using protective systems, this problem also can be reduced. They have to protect the workers by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins. They should make sure that trenches are examined by a competent person prior to entry and after any hazard- increasing event such as rainstorm, vibrations or excessive surcharge loads.

Materials Handling and storing


Handling and storing materials involve diverse operations like hasting tons of steel with a crane, carrying materials manually …etc. The efficient hand lying and storing materials are materials are vital to the construction industry. But unfortunately, the improper handling and storing of materials often result in costly injuries.


There are several ways to solve this type of problems. In addition to training and education, applying common safety principles, such as proper work practices, equipment and controls can help to reduce worksite accidents which involving the moving, handling and storing of materials. Employees should know and understand the hazard associated with the task at hand and how to control their workplaces to minimize the accidents.

So these are some major hazards in the work place, which are most connected with the safety of the employees. So engineers and the workers should also be aware about these hazards.

Communication with others

The construction industry is wholly reliant upon effective communication between individuals, teams, organizations…etc. Unfamiliar groups of people coming together for a short period to continue a construction project. So there are so many challenging problems they may well nominate a product. It is important to engage with the engineer because they are an important of the construction project team. Engineer has to maintain a healthy communication with architect, contractor and other employees. Engineers will need to collect input for planning and design and turn those accurate requirements, they will need to discuss and address issues that arise throughout the process and they will need to pull stakeholders together to make important discussions when things don’t go according to the correct plan.

It may seem to be easier to communicate with others in the construction industry. But the truth is that while we may be experts at many aspects of jobs, not everyone is a great communicator. So engineers have to adjust those types of people or express their ideas in a suitable way to those persons. Communication-the human communication is the key to personal career victory.

Managing daily works

Time management is one the major quality which an engineer must have. Construction engineers have many activities which have to do in each day. Those processes include drafting, design making, computer interaction, communication, documenting, creative thinking, organizing, information collecting, estimating, analyzing…etc. So they have to complete certain tasks every day in order to get the job done correctly. Keeping a safe worksite is key to have a successful construction company. So it’s the construction engineer, who has the responsibility to make sure that everything is conducted correctly. They have to test the quality of sails and materials used for adequate strength. Construction engineers have to provide construction information, including repairs and cast changes to the project managers. So it is the construction engineer, who must estimate casts and keep the project under budget.

Environmental problems and solutions

It is not a surprise thing that construction has a rather large impact on the environment. It requires an extensive amount of materials and energy to create buildings and infra-structure, often resulting is the production of harmful gasses like carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. Environmental issues are an extremely pressing topic in the society with the huge push towards alternative energy solutions.

The estimate of global pollution that can be attributed to construction field is air pollution 23%, climate change gases 50%, drinking water pollution 40%, landfill waste 50% and ozone depletion 50%.


Air pollution

Greenhouse gasses including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide…etc are produced in the construction industry. They contribute significantly to climate change and disturb the ocean layer also. So construction companies and workers have the responsibility to reduce this. Avoid using non renewable energy sources such as fossil fuel can reduce the production of these gasses as well.

Materials and waste

Construction industries produce a large number of material wastes. They include tiles, woods, insulations, concrete, plastic, wires, glass, metals…etc. This wastes lead to some impacts like methane emissions, odor problems etc.

“Reduce, reuse, and recycle”. We must follow this idea to minimize the wastages. Engineers and contractors have to plan for potentially hazardous waste and have a plan of how you will dispose of it.

According to new research which was conducted by construction blog bimhow, the construction sector contributes to 23% of air pollution, 50% of the climate change, and 40% of drinking water pollution and50% of landfill wastes. In a special research by the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC), the construction industry accounts for 40% of worldwide energy usage with estimations that by 2030 emission from commercial buildings will grow by 1.8%.

Many natural things like forests are destroyed for the construction works. It leads to many environmental problems like increasing heat, climate change etc. So the engineers should have to consider about the nature friendly construction ideas. That is more useful for the better life in future.

Illegal activities

There are various illegal activities done in construction sites by construction companies to get more profit or income such as using low quality materials which can get in cheap prices. It may cause bad effects in future. Especially in India, many construction projects like buildings, bridges etc fails after finishing the projects because of the illegal works. Construction projects must abide by lows and codes. So the Construction Company, construction engineer and employees must consider about the laws, codes and regulations of the government before construction project starts.

Current situation of construction industry

Modern world has many changes in every day. There are so many inventions have been introduced in construction field today. Constructions works today are found in many dimensions and it has passed many dimensions. So every developed country and every construction companies pay their attention in introducing new kinds of construction like solar road ways, smart highways, greener asphalt etc. Invention of robots plays a major role in construction industry. Automatic controlled systems were introduced after the invention of robots. Alarm systems, auto shut down systems etc are added for the safety of the workers in the construction sites. Construction companies use advanced hazard control methods today. New constructions make a great impact in human life and in the financial status of many countries. Safety systems also must have attached in those constructions as well.


A good engineer will create a good society and create a safe society forever. It is possible that a doctor can lose only one life at a time, which means it is more likely to occur during a surgical procedure, but when an engineering department works in a construction project, the whole picture is still available when it comes to overall human lives. That’s why security is a vital in construction field. Engineers should consider a number of factors that may affect the safety of a situation or product, including design, technical safety, material reliability, legislation, and human factors. These skills of engineers divide them from other jobs like accountant, teachers, doctors etc. They have to think about several facts. Engineering field encompasses whole industries that could include on-site, practical construction work as well as evaluating safety systems from an office. Engineers use the knowledge they have gain within a specific industry in order to make things work and solve problems, whether that be with transport, medicine, entertainment, space or the environment. In fact, engineering is behind everything. So engineering is one of the most important job which plays a major role in many industries. Keeping safety in industries will make a better future.


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Basic Principles of Safety Engineering. (2019, Dec 01). Retrieved from

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