Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Clean up Operations will Cost Japan Billions
Posted by David Cant on March 12, 2011

Health and Safety of Major Importance

The clean-up that will be needed to repair Japan after the massive 8.9 quake will run into the billions.  This could damage the already fragile Japanese economy and also have negative effects on the European economy.   More importantly in an effort to find survivors and help prevent further injuries and loss of life health and safety procedures will need to be followed carefully.

Building Code helped to Prevent Huge Loss of Life

As it stands the death toll in Japan stands around a few hundred, although it is suspected that it may rise as the clean-up begins.   Had the earthquake hit any other country there is a large possibility that the amount of people killed in the disaster would have been far more.  Japan has very strict regulations which mean that skyscrapers and other buildings are built to withstand earthquakes.

Reports from eye witnesses stated that the skyscrapers in Tokyo were waving like trees in the wind.  Billions have been spent evaluating the health and safety of buildings in order to cope with the everyday dangers concerning earthquakes and tsunamis.   In addition to the building codes attention is given to the training of people in order to help them stay calm and safe in a natural disaster.

Drills are frequently practiced and in areas close to the coastline warning systems are installed in homes.  This is so local authorities are able to reach the residence even if other methods of communications are down, such as the mobile networks, which were reported to be down today.

There are carefully planned out networks of escape routes which lead residents up to higher ground.  These footpaths are clearly marked and well known to all the locals. Many coastal towns have gone as far building seawalls, some of which are 40 feet high.  Sensors are also installed which sound alarms in each home.  These also automatically close flood gates to help prevent surges of water up the rivers.

Some of the seawalls were unable to withstand the Tsunami which struck on Friday, but time will come to prove how effective the defence system and evacuation drills were in preventing a huge loss of life.

Health and Safety is Key to Survival and the Clean-up Process

Thanks to the health and safety drills and the money spent on ensuring buildings are able to withstand what Mother Nature throws at them, many lives were saved today.  This is testament to the dedication of Japan who manages to live and work in the earthquake zone.

Despite all of their hard work the country will need to repair the damage which has been caused by the earthquake, tsunami and series of aftershocks.  The health and safety implications will need to be continually realised.  Workers will need to carefully search for lost survivors in extreme situations where fire, water and threats of buildings collapsing is a constant threat.

Health and Safety needs to be adhered to closely to make sure that lives continue to be saved, rather than adding to the problem.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction Health and Safety


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