Proper and Ethical Safe Design accounts for Human Rights

On my Friday morning drive to work, I listened to a US radio station, National Public Radio (NPR), and heard a story about worker safety and health in building and preparing Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.  While I was pleased to hear about worker safety and health in the media I was saddened to hear the story, so over the weekend I went to The Guardian website and learnt a little more, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-dead?CMP=twt_gu

While I am saddened and downright angry about how humans treat each other and the lack of respect for life, I think about safe design and this blog.  Safe design starts with the client making a conscious decision to engage in a socially responsible project that includes worker safety and health across the life cycle of the built environment.  The client in this case could be Qatar or FIFA. I say it is both. And both are accountable.

At the same time, one constructor is being lauded for its safety record, http://www.ameinfo.com/atkins-contribution-health-safety-recognised-construction-355659.  While I’ve been rightly accused of being a Negative Nellie in the past, I have to question any constructor in Qatar at this time, and I always question these sorts of safety “awards” and “records” especially when behavior based safety is at the heart of it.

Back to safe design…safe design is not solely about engineering specifications…it’s about a conscious decision to arrange conditions on site to allow workers to utilize their knowledge, skills, and abilities…it’s about pre-planning,  supervision, project management, all of which have been apparently lost here.  Safe design starts with the client or clients in this case making a decision to build something and not consider how it will be built and likely not how it will be maintained.  As humans, we learn from our mistakes, but in 2013, this is an unacceptable unethical mistake.

Boycott the World Cup!

Thanks to John Culvenor for allowing me to post here.

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