Data flow analysis of plant and equipment health and safety management

Purpose: Construction plant and equipment accident statistics suggest constant re-evaluation of health and safety (H&S) systems is beneficial. This paper aims to process analyse plant and equipment H&S management systems on UK construction sites, with a view to applying information and communication technology (ICT) to them as an improvement mechanism. Design/methodology/approach: Five construction project case studies drawn from members of the former Major Contractors Group yield rich H&S process data. These are analysed using data flow diagram (DFD) techniques, to evaluate processes and proffer system improvements incorporating ICT. Findings: Causes of unsafe practice regarding management of construction plant and equipment are found to include: aspects of the plant itself, management processes and operator competence. A new ICT "process paradigm" is suggested, the architecture of which incorporates mobile computing, automatic identification and data collection and a management information system. Research limitations/implications: Findings contribute particularly to the fields of plant and equipment; and managing H&S. Practical implications: Suggested ICT direction might form the basis of commercial interest in developing an all-embracing H&S control mechanism for plant and equipment operations. Originality/value: Application of DFD analysis in this setting is quite new.