Occupational Health and Safety Practices and Challenges in the Construction Industry of Bhutan: A Situation analysis

Deki Pelzom Dukpa, Phuntsho Dendup


Introduction: The construction industry is one of the most hazardous industrial fields, wherein the construction workers are prone to work related accidents resulting in disabilities and/or deaths. The probability of fatality in the construction industry is five times more likely than in the manufacturing industry. In developing countries, construction work is ten times more dangerous than in industrialized countries. ILO (2016) estimated that of all workplace accidents, about 30% of fatal accidents occur at construction sites. Similarly, the construction industry in Bhutan accounts for 60% of total workplace accidents in the country.

Objective: This paper will evaluate the existing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) practices in the construction industry of Bhutan. It will also identify the challenges and problems faced by both the contractors and those attempting to implement OHS policies and procedures.

Methods: A study was conducted involving 119 participants from several construction companies and government regulatory organizations relevant to the construction industry in Bhutan. Data was collected
through questionnaire surveys, interviews and discussions.

Results: The study identified a number of OHS problems in the construction industry, including: i) Low priority given to safety; ii) Poor attitude of contractors and laborers towards OHS; iii) lack of competent manpower to enforce regulations; iv) lack of safety promotion; and v) poor health and safety management systems.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the biggest challenge faced is to shape the safety culture through behavioral change, of employers and workers. Perhaps most important, however, is the education and training component - not only for the workers, but their managers and supervisors, who must be held
accountable for workplace safety.


Construction Safety, Hazards, Safety and Health Standards, Construction, Accident

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