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TEACHING OCCUPATIONAL RISK PREVENTION FOR UNDERGRADUATE COURSES IN CIVIL ENGINEERING

M.A. Sanz, A. Lozano, C. Torres-Machí, E. Pellicer

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
Due to the high accident ratio in the construction industry, teaching occupational risk prevention is a key issue in any university degree focused on building and civil engineering works. The School of Civil Engineering (Universitat Politècnica de València) teaches the Bachelor Degree in Public Works Engineering. In this program, there is a specific course entitled Occupational Risk Prevention in Construction in the second academic year (spring semester). At that time (second academic year), students are not mature enough to approach this subject in a traditional way; furthermore, they still lack some basic concepts on construction technology and methods. Therefore, the main goal of the teachers is to motivate the students, so prevention is ranked in their minds at the same level as production, management or quality. Other learning objectives of this course are to get familiar with the legal regulations and the specific terminology of occupational risk prevention. In order to meet these objectives, the students are encouraged to do different practical works. One of them is the identification of occupational risks at the construction site; every team has to choose a different one according to a set of predetermined requirements, analyze the site and provide justified recommendations for improvement. Another exercise deals with the selection of a real event, revealed in the public media; the students have to investigate the incident, analyze it, and propose the measures that could have avoided it. Thus, through the study and analysis of real-life examples, students gain a greater awareness of the importance of risk prevention in the Spanish construction industry.