Project Management What Role Term Paper

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Project Management

What Role Does the Project Manager Play in Construction Safety Standards in Today's Environment?

The Project Manager must coordinate many aspects of the construction process, from the initial consultation with the client to approval of final project closeout documents. They play an integral role in all phases of the construction process and must interface with the client, government entities, and contractors in order to complete the project. They must wear many hats during the construction project. The task of assuring safety on the construction site typically falls on the contractor, and others on the "front line" of the project. However, the project manager plays an important role in construction safety by setting standards on the site in excess of those required by OSHA, NIOSH, and other entities involved in the construction process. This research will support that thesis that the project manager can have a measurable impact on the safety of the construction project.

Role of the Construction Manager

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The project manager performs many roles. They play an integral role in project coordination from the early planning stages until final site clean up. The project manager has a difficult task that can become more complicated when problems arise. Accidents are not only bad for the injured worker, they cost money and disrupt the flow of the project. For these reasons, the project manager must consider safety as a top priority throughout all phases of the project. Taking a proactive stance on safety is the best approach to the problem.

Term Paper on Project Management What Role Does the Project Assignment

In terms of project safety, the project manager has four roles. The project manager serves as a policy maker. They must set standards according to government guidelines and industry standards. Thy serve as a communicator. Once construction site policies are set, the project manager must communicate these policies so that they can reach all levels of the project. The project manager works as a facilitator. They provide the means for the manager and workers to carry out their jobs in a safe manner. They serve as a means for the worker to communicate concerns. The final role of the project manager on a construction site is that of an enforcement entity. The project manager is ultimately responsible for making certain that the rules are followed and that workers are operating in a safe manner.

Everyone is responsible for safety on a construction site. Safety is not something that occurs on the top level of the construction hierarchy. The worker is the most important link in the safety issue. The worker is the only one that can assure that all procedures are followed and that safety equipment is utilized in the proper manner. The project manager and other supervisory staff can provide the equipment and knowledge necessary to carry out the job, but they cannot assure that it is used properly.

Construction ranks as one of the most hazardous occupations in the world (Hendrikson, 2003). Safety is everyone's job, but it is ultimately in the hands of the worker. However, this is not to minimize the role of managerial staff in maintaining safety at the construction site. The project manager serves as point of contact for all of the various entities on the site. The project manager is a vital part of the chain when it comes to safety. The following will discuss the four key roles of the manager on the construction site and how the project manager can have a measurable affect on project safety in these various capacities.

The Project manager as a policy maker

The first role of the project manager is that of a policy maker. Every construction site is different and every construction project is different. With each jobsite and task to be accomplished, there are unique conditions and dangers inherent with that particular situation. One can set general standards, but this is no guarantee that any site will be safe. The general safety guidelines can serve as a place to start, but to address the conditions on a particular site requires an assessment of the hazards inherent on that site. In order to safety to be specific, safety policies must be site specific and address the unique situations that occur on that particular job site.

There are many sources of hazardous conditions on the job site. Some are general, such as dropping things, the potential to get a hand caught in equipment, or getting hit in the head with something. Some hazards are from a source on the site, such as an environmental source. Other hazards are the result of the specific work being done at the site and the need to coordinate phases of the project. For instance, when electrical contractors and plumbers are on-site together, their efforts must be coordinated carefully. Another example is when any excavating work is being done. Others in the area must be made aware of it so that they do not harm themselves or cause a potential accident. There are hundreds of examples such as these on the construction site and it is the project manager who is ultimately responsible for coordinating the various entities so that accidents can be prevented.

The most obvious source of safety standards with which the project manger must comply stem from government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Safety and Health, as well as state and local ordinances. However, in addition to these standards, project managers must also develop a set of site-specific rules and guidelines that address the needs specific to the worksite and phase. Standards may differ from phase to phase. New issues will continue to develop as the project progresses. Some of these changes can be foreseen from the planning stages, while others may develop unexpectedly. The project manager plays an integral role in managing changing worksite conditions and safety needs.

The project manager must work with other entities on-site in the development of the rules and regulations that will affect the worksite. OSHA standards are the most frequently cited source of construction rules and standards. The Construction Standard is found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 29, subpart 1926 (OSHA, n.d.). These standards cover many of the regulations in many of the more common areas of the construction industry. Their primary focus is on protecting the worker (OSHA, n.d.).

The second most important entity that the project manager must contend with is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH, 2007). NIOSH is a branch of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while OSHA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor. Both OSHA and NIOSH cover many of the same topics and areas, but have a different focus. NIOSH is more concerned with the potential dangers of construction work to the public, while OSHA is only concerned with the worker. The project manager must be familiar with the regulations of both of these entities and must integrate their guidelines into the policies and procedures of the construction site. The construction manager must be concerned with both worker safety and public safety from the standpoint of the affect of construction efforts on others.

Both NIOSH and OSHA stress prevention over reaction to a situation. It is recognized that emergency preparedness for any type of emergency that could occur on the job is an essential topic for the project manager. The project manager must include contingencies for both manmade and natural disasters (NIOSH, 2007). Planning for the unexpected means a better response should a situation occur. An emergency plan is required by the project manager, as well as cooperation with local fire and emergency personnel.

Government agencies have regulations that include the minimal standards that must be met in order to remain safe. However, these are only minimal guidelines and there is much more that could be done to make the workplace a safe environment. The question that must weigh on every project manager's mind is whether federal guidelines are enough, or whether they need to go above and beyond what is required in order to reduce workplace accidents. The choice regarding how strict the practices need to be is a personal choice, but may also involve other entities, such as insurance consultants and other persons that would be affected by the liability of work related accidents. The project manager must weigh the risks associated with the job and make a choice as to how far strict the policies need to be on their particular site.

The Project Manager as a Communicator

Once the project manager must develop safety policies and procedures that are suitable for the site and working conditions. They must the effectively communicate the policies and procedures in a way that is meaningful to the worker. Managers can play an important role in this communication process, but they are not the only means available for transferring the message to the workers. It is not enough to communicate the message, they must bring the message to the workers in a way that will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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