Health and safety management of offsite construction - how close are we to production manufacturing?

Producing buildings in a factory, Offsite Production (OSP), dramatically improves overall health and safety performance, but there is no room for complacency. This paper presents the results of a questionnaire and interview survey using multiple sources of data linked with peer debriefing from eight major offsite production facilities. In particular, health and safety benefits along with the trend toward a production manufacturing environment are identified. The research found that attitudes toward production oriented health and safety in OSP are still in the embryonic stage, but are developing rapidly with increased awareness from management. To realise the positive outcomes from the health and safety benefits that OSP entails, OSP manufacturers must adopt a mindset akin to that already existing in the mainstream manufacturing sector. Many OSP manufacturers adopt site based techniques “under cover” of a factory. The health and safety benefits of OSP may be well understood and promoted in several arenas, academia, government initiatives and the health regulatory bodies, but unless the manufacturers themselves embrace the full health and safety potential of OSP, misunderstanding and ignorance will remain a barrier to improved health and safety performance. This work formed part of a UK government funded project, HASPREST.