The Key to Designing Safely
We have come a long way since the first recordings of workplace
related incidents and over the years the UK construction industry has
witnessed a steady decline in the number of accidents and fatalities.
However, compared to other industries these figures are still
unacceptably high. Formally, safety held its domain firmly within the
construction phase where it was perceived most accidents were caused.
Over the last twenty-five years fundamental changes to UK legislation
have seen health and safety being addressed in the design phase. The
initial response is that the CDM Regulations have raised awareness of
health and safety issues throughout the industry. However, for many
designers the application of such regulations is intuitive and relies
on the attitude and behaviour of the designers towards safety and
their ability to communicate the identifiable risks effectively.
Encouraging designers to think safely will only flourish in an
environment where technical information is freely available. This
paper will address some of the problems associated with CDM and look
at the importance of communication and possible ways of enhancing
Keywords: Communication Design Safety
The CIB/ECI Design for Safety and Health conference has drawn on
research from a wide geographical area. From the USA and South Africa
to Japan and Europe and although the inference is on Designing for
Safety and Health, the issues generated range from design for
construction, operation, maintenance and temporary works to tools and
techniques, education and training and legal aspects associated with
health and safety. Whilst causational criteria may hold the route to
many a solution it is communication that binds together all the
influencing issues. If we are to address workforce safety issues from
ergonomics to long term health problems we must begin with open
communication and dissemination of information.
A TIME FOR CHANGE
Fundamental changes to UK H&S legislation began with the Health and
Safety at Work Act (1974), which provided a comprehensive system for
dealing with health and safety in the workplace and the hazards
created by it. Subsequent European Directives have reinforced this and
currently the driving influence in construction has been the
introduction of the Tempory and Mobile Sites Directive 92/57/EEC. In
its UK guise the CDM Regulations (1994) represented a significant
development, in that it widened the scope of previous legislation by
imposing new legal responsibilities on clients and designers. In
addition, the Health and Safety Executive has published supporting
documentation in the form of guidance notes, which address specific
elements of work.
The industry recognises that CDM has delivered...