A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Faculty of Civil Engineering, (FKE) Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia, and The University of Manchester (UoM), United Kingdom, (UK) was signed on 28th January 2021 to strengthen the bilateral friendship and cooperation, promotion of mutual understanding, academic, cultural and scientific thought, and personnel exchange.
The purpose is to exchange expertise and experiences on the practice of construction health and safety, focussing on the practice of Design for Safety (DfS) in construction. The practice of DfS has been receiving increasing attention in various countries, as part of an effort to enhance the practice of ‘designing out’ risks and hazards at the early stages of design in construction projects.
In the UK, Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) has been introduced to mandate the DfS practices since 1995 and was revised in 2015. In Malaysia, the Occupational Safety and Health in Construction Industry (Management) (OSHCI(M)) guideline, adapted from the CDM, was introduced in 2017, and to be mandated in coming years, as a measure to enhance the existing Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Act 1994.
This initiative aims to reduce the discrepancy of responsibility and accountability in compliance with safety guidelines among construction stakeholders. Currently, Malaysia is still at the initial stage of implementing DfS, while the UK has garnered years of experience in CDM regulations.
The UK’s’ years of experiences in CDM provides an opportunity for lessons learned, in terms of knowledge, skills, and experience of the DfS approach by the design organizations for Malaysia to emulate, in order to ensure the successful transition of the OSHCI(M) guidelines. This would activate various social layers in the Malaysian construction industry, both players and scholars, to work together in increasing their knowledge on DfS adoption towards OSHCI(M) implementation.
This collaboration led by Associate Professor Dr Che Khairil Izam Bin Che Ibrahim and his team, Associate Professor Dr Sheila Belayutham and Dr. Mazlina Zaira Mohammad from UiTM have been actively involved in DfS research in Malaysia. While the team from UoM consist of Dr Patrick Manu and Dr Clara Cheung are also members of the Thomas Ashton Institute at UoM, which was jointly established by UoM and the UK’s Health and Safety Executive as international research and educational center for risk and occupational safety and health (OSH).
With this program, it is hoped that knowledge and practice transfer from the UK to Malaysia on DfS adoption will enhance the interaction between academia, industry, and policy-maker, and continuous development in DfS in the construction sector.