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Safety at Site School

Suren Vakil was invited to deliver a lecture on ‘Safety at Site’ for CEPT Conservation Site Schools in September 2021. Suren Vakil comes from a background of engineering consultancy having worked in the field from 1984-2018. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from the University of Leeds, UK. In his career spanning 33 years, he has worked on several hundred infrastructure projects at various stages in India and over ten other countries.


In his lecture, Vakil discussed the nuances around safety in construction sites and extended this to conservation sites. The notion of safety ranges from equipment like helmets, boots, eyewear and jackets/harnesses to evacuation plans, material toxicity mapping, and step-wise guidance on specific processes. He went on to say that the first step at any site was to understand its specific threats before engaging with the site. The next step was to ensure safety through steps of propping and safeguarding. Further steps on ensuring safety for site labourers and the essential amenities in the vicinity followed.


The theme throughout the lecture was the prioritising of human life safety over any other process of repair/reconstruction. The lecture's attendees posed questions around subjects such as the difficulty in ensuring that site labour follow protocols when supervisors are not on-site, the case of the labour's young children being brought to site, and the techniques to be deployed to understand material toxicology.

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