International Construction Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (ICSC) (5th : 2015)

A strategic safety-risk management plan for recovery after disaster operations Fardhosseini, Mohammad Sadra; Esmaeili, Behzad; Wood, Richard


One of the early activities in any post-disaster management plan is to remove debris, clean the area, and reconstruct the damaged properties. However, a major focus of workers involved in cleaning operations after a disaster are concerned about construction safety because there are several unknown hazards that differ from hazards in a typical construction project. The risk can be compounded by the fact that construction activities after a disaster are usually conducted by small companies or even property owners with limited knowledge of safety. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a safety-risk management plan for recovery after disasters. The objective was achieved in two distinct phases. The first phase of the study focused on risk identification. An extensive literature review was conducted to identify hazards in post-disasters operations. The primary list of hazards was identified and classified into seven major groups: (1) physical; (2) chemical; (3) biological; (4) weather and temperature; (5) ergonomic (6) psychological; and (7) other (e.g., natural hazards and noise). During the second phase of the study, risk assessment was conducted to quantify the safety risk of the hazards identified in the previous phase. Fourteen safety professionals with an average 18 years of experience participated in the risk assessment. It was found that being caught-in/between a trench, getting electrocuted while using cranes or boomed vehicles near energized power lines, and getting electrocuted while using conductive tools, ladders, or scaffolds near energized power line are the hazards that cause the most severe injuries. Concurrently, working in cold or windy weather is the most frequent and risky hazard in post-disaster recovery operations. A risk matrix was developed for post-disaster operations by determining the likelihood and consequence of potential accidents using a 5-point Likert scale. It is expected that the results of this study will transform the current safety practices in post disaster recovery operations by providing an easy-to-use safety-risk management tool.

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