February 27, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on The Health and Safety Management in the Construction Industry in the Case of Singapore




This essay utilized the Code of Practices for Site Safety Supervision in Singapore as the model legislative policy to review its present construction site safety management and how it dealt with critical situations. From the analysis, key trends in its construction site safety management were identified, how it worked and its effectiveness in dealing with critical situations was ascertained. The paper then moved on to assess its component construction site safety management strategies with regard to its suitability to critical situations, during which the internal capabilities of these safety management strategies in relation to the strategy being followed by most construction firms in Singapore was determined also. An overall analysis of the performance and effectiveness of the Code of Practices for Site Safety Supervision in Singapore was also conducted to assess and compare the capabilities of its construction site safety management strategies with those of others. Gaps in its construction site safety management capabilities were then identified.

Finally, several choices of strategies to improve the construction site safety management of most Singapore construction firms as effective means in critical situations were recommended and evaluated in terms of appropriateness to the issues reviewed, feasibility in carrying out the options and acceptability within the key stakeholders and decision makers. Several key implementation issues related to managing strategic change were also addressed as well.




Literature Review


Construction site safety management can be defined as the efficient and effective implementation of the policies and tasks necessary to satisfy the safety of a construction firm's employees and management. Construction safety management focuses on the careful management of the processes involved in the production and distribution of products and services within construction sites (Bernold et al. 1993). Activities such as the management of purchases, the control of inventories, logistics and evaluations are often related with construction site safety management. A great deal of emphasis lies on the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Therefore, construction site safety management includes the analysis and management of internal processes (Blackmon et al. 1995).

Production safety planning is a necessary function indicated in the Code. In most construction companies this process is often very difficult because of the fast rate of change and the occurrences of unplanned events. Most companies also use several methodologies depending on what the situation demands and the price of the construction materials. Nevertheless, the objectives of the production safety planning do not change: efficiency, effectiveness and safety (Everett, 1999).

Production safety planning is being implemented by the Code in order for its activities and resources to be coordinated over time. This enables the construction firm to achieve overall safety in all of its operations with minimal resource utilization. Production safety planning also enables the construction firm to monitor the progress of their safety plans at regular intervals and maintain their control over operations. Production safety planning according to the Code involves four elements: scheduling, labor safety planning, equipment safety planning, and cost planning.

  • Scheduling involves the specification of the beginning, the length or the duration, and end of the planned activities geared towards achieving overall safety within the construction site.
  • Labor safety planning involves allocating the necessary personnel and delegation of responsibilities and resources to ensure the overall safety of all construction workforces.
  • Equipment safety planning involves identifying the types and needs in terms of safety of the equipments being used in the construction site.
  • Cost planning involves determining the costs and the possibility of their occurrence in terms of achieving the overall safety within the construction site.

The occurrence of construction site safety analysis within the construction sites of Singapore reflects the growing difficulty in the management of most Singapore construction firms that require the safe use of valuable construction resources such as money, materials, equipments, and people. This is perhaps the reason why construction site safety analysis is being emphasized in the Code in order to determine the most effective ways to coordinate these resources through the application of analytical methods derived from fields of studies such as mathematics, science, and engineering in order to create the safest construction site possible.

Through this process, safety concerns and problems within construction sites are solved in different ways and alternative solutions are then relayed to the construction firm's management concerned. The management then selects the appropriate course of action in line with their goals. More often than not, construction site safety analysis is concerned with complicated issues such as top-level construction safety strategy, construction safety resource allocation, and designing of production facilities and systems for construction site safety (Gans, 1981).

Construction site safety analysis actually may vary according to the structures and philosophy of the construction firm. But according to the Code, it centralizes construction site safety analysis in one department. Construction site safety analysis may also have the possibility of working closely with top level construction site managers in order to identify and solve a variety of safety problems.  No matter what the type or structure of the construction company is, construction site safety analysis operates under similar sets of methodologies in order to carry out the analysis to support the construction company's goal to improve the overall safety of its construction sites. The process is started by the description of the symptoms of a construction safety problem, followed by the formal definition of the problem. For example, a construction site safety analyst might be questioned regarding the most effective safety precaution for every needed part on a production line. Also, the analyst might be asked to determine the optimal number of emergency tools needed to be kept in inventory (Garza et al. 1998).

For Singapore construction sites to become effectively safe, the following construction site safety management improvement factors are critical:

·        Financial Stability

Financial stability is crucial especially in the pursuit of construction site safety management and development activities. In the construction industry, it is important to remain updated with the latest construction site safety management developments to be able to stay competitive in the market.

·        Construction Materials Performance and Price

The safety of the construction sites is dependent on well-funded construction safety management and development activities. The safety of the construction sites could also be linked to their cost-effectiveness. However, the construction firm has to be aware of the positioning in terms of process so as to maintain satisfactory profits margin and remain competitive in the market.

·        Safety Strategy and Implementation

High construction site safety awareness among the clients has created the need for aggressive lobbying of safety policies, and access to strong distribution channels is critical for the introduction of new safety precautions.

Research Aims and Objectives


            The aim of the study is to identify the health and safety issues in the construction industry of Singapore through descriptive research that seeks to develop new insights about how the industry handles health and safety issues, and how effective their policies are.


            The study will address the following objectives:


·        To conduct a comprehensive literature review on the different health and safety issues in the construction industry in Singapore.

·        To conduct interviews with Construction Company's manager and ask them about the different policies they implement to promote health and safety within the workplace.

·        To categorize the data collected and analyze them using both statistical and non-statistical means.

·        To provide recommendations as to how the health and safety policies of the construction industry in Singapore can be improved.


This research requires organized data gathering procedure to meet the identified objectives. In this study, the descriptive research strategy proved useful. 

A descriptive research is a type of study that tries to explore the cause of a particular phenomenon, present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study, and portray an accurate profile of persons, events or situations (Creswell, 1994; Robson, 2002). The approach undertaken for such type of study was chosen for a number of reasons.

The descriptive approach is quick and flexible giving rise to three advantages: first, when new issues and questions arise during the duration of the study, this approach allows a further investigation. Secondly, when there are unproductive areas from the original plan of the study, the researcher can drop them; and thirdly, the approach is more practical in terms of time and money (Creswell, 1994).

Basically, descriptive research uses observations and interviews. For this reason, the researcher chose this approach because it is the intention of the researcher to gather first hand data from the key people to determine the current health and safety status in terms of success and problem areas and the responses to their present condition. With the help of the descriptive approach, a clear picture of the said phenomena may be provided (Saunders et al. 2003).

Finally, this type of study may serve as an extension or a forerunner to a piece of exploratory research, a valuable research approach employed to: discover what is happening; seek new insights; ask questions; and/or evaluate a phenomenon in a new light (Robson, 2002).

For this study, the interview method was used to gather the pertinent data. This strategy allows a researcher to have more control over the research process and obtain wide-ranging data (Saunders et al 2003).




The following hypotheses were derived from the analysis of the literature on health and safety in construction industry of Singapore which is the focus of the study.

1.         Compliance with health and safety standards is highly considered by the construction companies because of the risk involved equates to a corresponding expected returns so that controlling risk means ensuring great returns.

2.         Health and safety issues arising in the construction industry revolve around the integration of the health and safety practices of each company in terms of identification of health and safety plan, approval and consensus building, implementation and evaluation.

4.         Responses to the health and safety issues cover the differences in the health and safety practices of each company, operations leadership and control and the goals and objectives of the construction industry.


Time Table

            This study is expected to be finished for approximately six months. The following is the estimated time schedule:





Ø      This month involves the approval of the proposal as well as other modifications that should be made with it.



This month will be dedicated to field research, particularly on construction companies and the Singapore government.


This month will be crucially for publication materials research for the body of the study.


This month will be research, survey and reviews.


Analysis of data and writing.


Presentation and Defense of the study.



Structural Organization of the Dissertation


Chapter 1 of the research introduces the entire study by offering the reader a basic understanding of the concepts covered by the research topic and the context in which the study will proceed. Chapter 2 provides for a review of the books, articles and researches related to the subject of the research as theoretical and practical foundations for the research. The theories and concepts in the literature review becomes the basis for identifying and understanding the health and safety issues and responses to these issues of the construction industry in Singapore. Chapter 3 explores the methodological guide for the conduct of the study particularly the data to be gathered, the data gathering method, data analysis approaches, and ethical concerns such as credibility and reliability of the research. Chapter 4 contains data presentation and analysis directed towards answering the problems identified in the research. Chapter 5 contains the conclusions and recommendations of the researcher based on the data presented and analyzed.

1 comment:

iyenoma osazee said...

Thanks for this your work. I am intereted as I am about undertaking a similar work. The title of mine is: "An Appraisal of health and safety standards in NIgerian constuction sites". I will appreciate if you can send me the list of references in cited in your proposal including the sample of your questionnaires. Thanks to hear from you soon. Iyenoma Osazee on E-MAIL: iyenomaosazee@yahoo.com

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