Safety built-in

An app that will reduce injuries and save lives on construction projects around the world was developed by GCU’s Built Environment Asset Management Centre.

The app uses video and images to weave security into the fabric of a development by highlighting to architects and designers potential health-and-safety hazards in their building’s design.

Research to create the app was funded by a £102,800 grant from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s largest professional organisation for OSH practitioners. The IOSH says half of the UK’s construction accidents are connected to the design of a building. BEAM researchers found the app helped designers identify more hazards, such as welding fumes, emergency escape during a project’s build phase, manholes in traffic routes and foyer-entrance slips.

Professor Billy Hare, Professor in Construction Management, led the project. He said: “We wanted to create a knowledge database that recognises there are many design options, and each has its own pros and cons when it comes to health and safety.”

The study recruited 40 designers and asked half to use the app to review drawings, identify hazards and make decisions about design.

Architects using the app identified more than three times the number of hazards as those not using it. For civil engineers, the figure was five times as high.

Such tools can make a real difference in upskilling professionals, irrespective of their level of experience. Ultimately, this will reduce injuries and save lives.

Mary Ogungbeje
Research Manager at IOSH