Awareness about occupational hazards and workplace safety measures among construction workers of AKUH: a qualitative exploratory study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Policy & Management (MSc Health Policy & Mgmt)


Community Health Sciences


There are a many hazards associated with working at a construction site that poses great impact on an individual and on the institution. Statistics on construction industry has shown increase in occupational hazards and injuries around the world especially in developing countries where workplace safety is a least priority area. According to International Labor Organization (ILO) the highest proportion of occupational hazards observed in construction industry. It is because many occupational risks are associated with construction work for example: working at heights, using and lifting of tools, bricks and cranes. In Pakistan, lack of Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) has made this industry most vulnerable. Additionally, there is minimum awareness present about safety measures among construction workers. The. reasons behind low awareness among them are low education level and no proper institutional trainings. Thus there is a need to explore the awareness about occupational hazards and safety measures from construction workers to identify the hazards, their impacts, associated factors and strategies for preventing hazards in developing country setting. Study objectives: The study aimed to explore the "awareness about occupational hazards and safety measures among construction workers in AKUH". It also explored the perception of EHS experts regarding workplace safety among construction workers of AKUH. Methodology: A qualitative exploratory design was used including Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informants Interviews (KID from construction workers and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) experts respectively. Using purposive sampling, participants were recruited for the study. Five FGDs were done from different groups of workers (carpenters, electricians, roofer, filter technicians and painters) and three KII were conducted from EHS experts. Transcripts of interviews were developed and manual data analysis was carried out in the study. Results: Construction workers were generally aware about many occupational hazards around them. Physical and environmental, chemical, biological and ergonomics hazards were highlighted. Additionally, effect of occupational hazards on health which includes, musculoskeletal problems, carcinoma and respiratory disease were mentioned by the study participants. Furthermore, diverse perception about work place environment exist i.e. satisfactory, harmful and stressful among construction workers. Study respondents (construction workers and EHS experts) also mentioned certain strategies for preventing occupational hazards. At individual level construction workers identified their role in reporting hazards and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While hazards identification and its prevention and control were also mentioned by other respondents. Other factors included: contributing to workplace safety in which personal attitude of a construction workers, adequate management support and rewards are the few example there were reported in the study. Conclusion: The participants were familiar with their work place environment and occupational hazards in them. Also the use of safety measures which includes PPE was commendable in the organization. Still the OHSMS of AKUH needs to focus specifically on construction workers to eliminate the hazards around them.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library