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Integrated Safety in Design

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Abstract

An on-going research project investigates the inclusion of health and safety considerations in the design phase as a means to achieve a higher level of health and safety in the construction industry. Moreover, the approach is coupled to the overall quality efforts. Two architectural firms and two consulting engineering firms are project participants. The hypothesis is that health and safety problems in execution can be prevented through better planning in the early stages of the construction processes and that accidents are prevented by providing safety. In the first stage of the research project a theoretical framework is developed from a combination of existing literature on health and safety and a mapping of existing practices based on interviews in all four companies. The interviews revealed that the basic knowledge on OHS among architects and engineers is limited. Also currently designers typically consider OHS in execution as a responsibility of the contractors. The output of this stage is a systematic and structured conceptual framework that couples OHS-risks in construction (health, safety and mental health) to the stages in the design and engineering processes. Moreover the framework includes a focus on processual elements, constraints and prevention strategies and also includes a tool to address OHS risks in the design processes. The approach stresses how complying with legislation should only be seen as a minimum condition in design and engineering. Incentives to prioritize OHS in design and the possibility to cultivate OHS under agendas on quality and sustainability are discussed. The second stage of the project test the framework from intervention on up to four construction projects followed by an evaluation of the results and processes.<br/>

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