Design for safety and the use of a multimedia tool.

As a designer you can directly influence safety. Some of the well-proven ways of reducing risk include:

  • Choosing the position and design of structures to avoid or minimise risks from known site hazards, including: buried services, including gas pipelines, overhead and underground power lines.
  • traffic movements to, from, around, and adjacent to the site
  • contaminated ground (for example by using driven rather than bored piles)

Recent studies carried out by IOSH explored the impact that multimedia can have on reducing hazards on a project at the design stage. From review of the study and its findings, the study was very successful and further iterates the importance of design safety on projects, more particularly the impact competent designers can have. The study also found that the quality of controls implemented to mitigate against the risk were of better quality/ impact when using the multimedia tool.

The experiment determined whether use of the multimedia materials improved users’ ability to foresee OSH hazards in designs by measuring both the quantity of specific hazards identified and the quality of design outcomes (design controls) put forward.”

When they refer to a “multimedia tool”- they used CAD drawings for this study but the reports recommends that for further impact, The BIM standard could have on a project.

“The digital tool should be developed and expanded for eventual use as a project tool, aligned with BIM PAS 1192-6 as a means to help designers identify hazards and recommend suitable controls when developing and reviewing designs and specifications”.

“Participants were asked to review the set of CAD drawings in these sessions, to identify hazards and make decisions about designing for OSH. A weighting was allocated to designers’ decisions based on their recommendations”

In our role of PSDP and indeed the responsibility placed on designers, there is further guidance required and a change of culture toward “designing for safety”. By bringing the new BIM Standard PAS 1192-6 to the forefront of the design stage, as a means to help designers identify hazards and recommend suitable controls when developing and reviewing designs and specifications.  Some the key objectives of the PAS 1192-6 involve the

  1. “adopt a H&S risk management strategy across the project lifecycle (see Clause 5);
  2. generate, use and share H&S information based on requirements, expectations and deliverables specific to each participant’s role (see 6.1 to 6.5); and
  3. populate relevant and structured H&S information models of the project and built asset (see Clause 7) using consistent information exchange formats (see Clause 8, 9 and 10)”.

In our capacity as PSDP on a large number of projects, the next step in identifying hazards needs to move along with technology and this is naturally pointing in the direction of multmedia use, software and via BIM.

The main recommendation we see for Ireland is the use and intervention of multi media software similair to BIM PAS 1192-6 as a means for helping designers, which in turn means that the client receives a more efficient, safe and comfortable project for their staff/tenants etc.

For more information, contact Alison Dale, Team Leader of the ORS Health and Safety Team.

Report extracts from Design influenced hazards

Key points from the report;

  • Ability to foresee OSH hazards in designs by measuring both the quantity of specific hazards identified and the quality of design outcomes (design controls) put forward
  • “Civil engineers identified more hazards than architects; 318 and 281 respectively. Architects tended to identify more building-related hazards: open edges and structural openings, trip hazards and so on. Civil engineers gravitated towards civil engineering issues such as piling, temporary works and excavations.”
  • The experiment determined whether use of the multimedia materials improved users’ ability to foresee OSH hazards in designs by measuring both the quantity of specific hazards identified and the quality of design outcomes (design controls) put forward.
  • Filtering architects and civil engineers into experimental (multimedia user ) and control (non-user) groups revealed a similar pattern: architects using the tool identified over three times the number of hazards as their control group post-intervention; for civil engineers the figure was five times. In both cases the scope of hazards identified was double that of the control group.- Figure out what was the difference between the experimental and the control group.
  • What was the intervention they keep referring to. “Mean averages were used to measure changes pre- and post-intervention.”
  • Participants were asked to review the set of CAD drawings in these sessions, to identify hazards and make decisions about designing for OSH. A weighting was allocated to designers’ decisions based on their recommendations against the following hierarchical list:
  • (5) Eliminate (through design): prefabrication; locate item at ground level;
  • (4) Reduce (through design): design in edge protection; substitution of lesser hazard;
  • (3) Reduce (engineering controls): local exhaust ventilation; temporary edge protection;
  • (2) Inform of administrative procedure: ‘contractor to provide method statement’;
  • (1) Control through PPE: ‘contractor to provide PPE’.
  • Data was compared for multimedia user and non-user groups and also between novice and experienced designers.
  • Results concluded; “ The results showed that all experimental groups out-performed control groups, with the novice groups demonstrating the greatest increase in both hazards spotted and quality of alternative options recommended. This means that using the multimedia digital tool was more effective than merely searching the internet, especially for inexperienced graduates.”
  • The prototype database and CAD drawings make for excellent training and educational resources. These should be recommended for training and educational purposes, particularly for architects.

The digital tool should be developed and expanded for eventual use as a project tool, aligned with BIM PAS 1192-6 as a means to help designers identify hazards and recommend suitable controls when developing and reviewing designs and specifications.

The digital tool should be owned by an organisation capable of monitoring, updating and sharing its contents in a transparent way. It is anticipated that its future success will depend on an ‘open’ format, with gatekeepers, so that experienced designers can continue to share their experiential knowledge with novices. This way, the content will grow and remain relevant.

The release of this report and research project further supports the use of BIM in assisting designers in assessing risks on their project. This research also further emphasies the quality of controls that were also implemented as a result of identifying these risks.

BIM;

The PAS specifies how to use H&S information in order to: provide a safer and healthier environment for end-users;  mitigate the inherent hazards and risks across the asset lifecycle;  result in improved construction H&S performance, fewer incidents and associated impacts;  provide for clearer, more assured and relevant H&S information to the ‘right-people’ at the ‘right time’;  reduce construction and operational costs.