Prevention Through Design: For Hazards in Construction
- Bruce K. Lyon (Hays Cos.) | Georgi Popov (University of Central Missouri) | Elyce Biddle (West Virginia University)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- September 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 37 - 44
- 2016. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 59 since 2007
- Show more detail
- As indicated in the prevention through design (PTD) hierarchy of controls model, the most effective means of preventing and controlling occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities in construction is to avoid, eliminate or minimize hazards and risks early in the planning and design process.
- Applying PTD concepts in the construction process in both the system’s physical design and the means and methods of executing the construction tasks are vital in eliminating and reducing risk to constructors and users.
- Despite the recent attention given to PTD in construction, many promising control technologies have not been transferred from research into practice. A significant hurdle to PTD adoption and implementation is the availability of common methodology and risk assessment tools. This article presents a PTD risk assessment tool methodology as a way to address that challenge.
Fatalities and serious incidents that occur in construction work can be directly linked to the level of prevention incorporated into the planning and design of the project. Studies have shown that more than 40% of fatalities that occur in construction work are connected to the design aspect (Behm, 2005). Therefore, decisions made by designers and engineers greatly influence the safety of construction activities.
OSH practitioners and researchers have suggested that one of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities is to design out or minimize hazards and risks early in the design process. The most current demonstration of this belief lies in the development and approval of a voluntary national consensus standard, ANSI/ASSE Z590.3-2011 (R2016), Prevention Through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes. The standard has incorporated key concepts from prior efforts, such as NSC’s Institute for Safety by Design and other existing standards.
Despite recent attention to the safety and health of construction workers through the application of prevention through design (PTD) concepts, many promising control technologies have yet to be transferred from research into practice. This leads to the question, why?
Preventing occupational injuries, illnesses or fatalities in construction has often driven industry to make changes. Construction companies continually face increased competition, rapidly changing technology and reduced access to limited resources. Under these conditions, OSH efforts to ensure a safe and healthy work environment must compete with other organizational needs. Without clear risk communication about the value of OSH efforts to the organization, management may view these programs and activities as a lower priority. Thus, the challenge for OSH professionals is to communicate the value of OSH efforts in terms that are understood and accepted within the C-suite. To meet such challenges, a fundamental methodology for assessing risk at the design and redesign stage is required. This article presents such a methodology.
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