The Hoover Dam - A Comparison of Regulations, Past and Present

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The Hoover dam's construction began in March 1931, amidst a time when great depression was having a large impact upon the worlds economy and unemployment rates were at an all time high. Named after the president Herbert Hoover, the construction of the dam was seen as a way of getting the unemployed masses back to work. The dam contract was fully state funded and awarded to "Six companies Inc", a consortium of companies. The project was completed in 1936, a full two years ahead of the deadline. the construction itself was a complete success standing today fulfulling its orginal purpose to provide electricy to the surrounding area. However the cost of it's sucess was in a number of lives lost during construction. A total of 107 workers reportedly lost lives due to various dangers and conditions such as heat exhaustion and crushing.

There are now far more regulations governing the way people work in order to minimise risk than there were at the of the Hoover dam's construction in the 1930's. If the construction were to take place now, the "Construction (Design and Management) regulations 2007, would have to be adhered to along with many other regulations such as HASAW (Health and safety at work act) and COSHH (Containment of substances hazardous to health.

With the employment of inspectors and criminal proseuction, companies are well aware of the effects that breaking health and safety at work regulations could have on their business. A simple spot negligence could lose a company enough money to see them go out of business. You only have to look at a piece of packaging to notice the effects that it can have. For instance, "Caution, Contents May be Hot", on the side of a cup of hot chocolate is a typical example. In the workplace, especially in construction engineering the fatality figures are drastically lower than they have ever been previously.

Steven Harris 2008

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