A critical study of heat stress management in Hong Kong construction industry

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A critical study of heat stress management in Hong Kong construction industry

 

Author: Yiu, Sze Nga Nicole
Title: A critical study of heat stress management in Hong Kong construction industry
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2012
Subject: Construction industry -- China -- Hong Kong -- Health aspects.
Building sites -- China -- Hong Kong.
Heatstroke -- Prevention.
Industrial hygiene.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xx, 174 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2554574
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6879
Abstract: There are often many heat stroke cases in summer time due to the hot and humid weather in Hong Kong. Construction personnel working outdoors are at high risk of suffering from heat stroke, but no systematic methods or effective strategies are implemented at the present stage. Further clear warning systems, which include classified warning signals and corresponding practicable measures, are expected to be developed for implementation in order to mitigate the negative impact of the heat loading on construction workers. This study alms to identify the current heat stress control measures adopted on construction sites in Hong Kong and evaluate their effectiveness on the prevention of heat stroke at work. It will act as a strong support to the administrative control system of those construction companies participated in this study. The heat stress management system developed will serve as a useful reference for the Hong Kong construction companies and other government works departments to combat heat stroke at work. Site management staff are responsible for eliminating workers from exposing to hazards of having heat stroke while front-line team members, including the workers, are required to work under the sun. Structured survey questionnaires were distributed to and received from site management staff and front-line team members in order to assess their levels of knowledge, understanding and viewpoints which are important for the prevention of heat stroke. Supplemented with the data and information obtained from the questionnaire survey, case study investigations on six chosen construction projects and some informal follow-up interviews were undertaken with the interested respondents of the questionnaire survey to measure the actual performance of current site heat stress management and to assist in the development of a new heat stress management system. There were a total of 69 respondents participating in the questionnaire survey and 10 of them participated in the informal follow-up interviews. About half of the respondents were site management staff and another half of them were frontline project team members. Most of the respondents showed good understanding of heat stroke and found the current heat stress level uncomforted to work in Hong Kong. Eleven (11) heat stress control measures were identified and reviewed with their effectiveness based on the hands-on experiences of the respondents. Respondents' opinions were also collected in determining the necessary items to be included in the future heat stress management system within the Hong Kong construction industry. Although the respondents were generally satisfied with the current site heat stress control measures adopted at their workplaces, they did indicate rooms for improvement of the existing practices and agreed to establish a heat stress index and an effective heat stress management system. Therefore, it is recommended that the Hong Kong Observatory should develop a heat stress index which will be announced as part of the weather forecast during the summer seasons. Furthermore, proper heat stress guidance notes should be compiled by the government for implementation of an effective heat stress management system in the construction industry of Hong Kong.

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