Occupational safety and health begins in the design phase, before a workplace or a piece of machinery is constructed or process is developed. During this phase, an organization makes decisions that will affect worker safety and well-being, potentially for years to come.
Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University, working with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, have published Improving designers’ knowledge of hazards which aims to improve awareness among designers involved in construction projects about their impact on occupational safety and health management.
The study involved a sample of 40 designers, comprised of novice and experienced architects and civil engineers. The goal was to study the effectiveness of multimedia tools in helping designers identify hazards and design for occupational safety and health, when compared to an internet search.
The results showed that those in the experimental group, who received the multimedia materials, identified more hazards than those in the control group, who used Internet search for assistance. The most common hazards identified by both groups were associated with working at height. The report also notes that civil engineers identified more hazards than architects, and that architects were more likely to identify building-related hazards.
The study advises that the use of similar multimedia technology as a training tool offers the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of visual learning in identifying hazards. Furthermore, it can help develop additional tools and resources to assist architects and engineers in implementing occupational safety and health into their designs.
Safety Interventions: Strategies for Effective Design
Prevention Through Design For Hazards in Construction
ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2011(R2016) Prevention through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes
Workplace Hazard Prevention Management
Risk Treatment Strategies: Harmonizing the Hierarchy of Controls & Inherently Safer Design Concepts