Policies and regulatory frameworks influencing trends of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in the construction industry in Dar-es-Salaam region, Tanzania, 1980-2009.
Introduction Despite the existence of data in the Labour Commissioner’s Accident and Occupational Diseases Register of Tanzania, trends in the frequency of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in the construction industry, in relation to the development of policies and regulatory frameworks over the years and their effectiveness as interventions, have not been systematically evaluated. Aim The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the regulatory framework, trends in the frequency of work-related fatalities and severe injuries among construction workers in Dar-es-Salaam Region, Tanzania, from January 1980 to December 2009. Methods The Accident Notification and Register was accessed from the Tanzanian Labour Department. Data were extracted from the register, coded and analyzed using SPSS. Chi square was used to test if injuries and fatalities in the construction industry and non-construction industries are influenced by introduction of regulatory bodies, legislation and policies during the baseline period (1980 – 1981) and subsequent time periods. Dependent variables were cases of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry and in the non-construction industries, while independent variables included duration during which the regulatory bodies, legislation and policies have been operational, age, sex, education and duration of employment. Results The introduction of regulatory bodies, legislation and policies was statistically significant in the reduction of reported cases in the construction industry across all time periods as compared to the baseline period. The adjusted risk of fatalities and work related injuries frequency in the construction industry decreased (OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.4 – 0.6 during 1998 – 2001) in almost all time periods compared to the baseline period except for the period between 1982 and 1985 (OR 1.2; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.3). Discussion This study is the first to be conducted in Tanzania. The study has shown that new governing bodies and the introduction of new policies and legislations that were introduced in the construction sector were effective in terms of reduction of reported accidents. The results of this study are similar to other studies that have conducted elsewhere. The studies that were conducted in US in 2001and 2003 to evaluate regulatory intervention on vertical falls found evidence that introduction of regulations was effective in preventing non-fatal and fatal injuries in the construction industry. Our results could have been confounded by other factors such as improvement of economic status, construction technologies and work practices. Recommendations In addition to establishment of regulatory bodies, legislation and policies to reduce the accidents, the focus should be also to change technology and practices on construction sites. A safety culture should also be emphasized
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