The effect of offsite construction on occupational health and safety
thesisposted on 22.06.2010, 15:09 by Lawrence J. McKay
The continuous desire to improve health and safety in UK construction has in recent years been challenged to adopt offsite strategies in order to address the poor health and safety record of construction. Despite the benefits of using offsite there has been little research on the actual benefits and disadvantages of the effect of offsite on occupational health and safety. This is important given that the UK government has promoted the use of offsite to improve health and safety performance. This thesis provides a strategy for the management of offsite risk and a risk management tool has been developed. The study investigated offsite manufacturers views on offsite activities and risks in comparison with insitu activities and risks. This was achieved through three phases: phase I comprised two expert group interviews, phase II involved ergonomic audits and phase III consisted of three semi-structured interviews with three offsite manufacturers. The thesis identified that there are significant health and safety benefits of offsite. The benefits relate to specific activities within the offsite categories and context studied. Examples include the elimination of work at height, reduction in noise, reduction in work in confined space, reduction in congested work with trade overlap and greater control over work in the factory. The research revealed that there are still potential health and safety risks with offsite. Examples include; transportation and delivery of units of large size and weight with associated high consequence craneage and handling risks (unit fall and hand injury), whole body vibration, cuts, MSDs, RSIs, fumes and slips trips and falls. There appears to be little in the literature to support the identification of offsite risk issues. The study identified strategies to eliminate and reduce offsite residual risks. The case study investigated solutions to further reduce residual risks, which were further explored in phase III the semi-structured interviews. The solutions are grouped into four approaches: process change, workplace environment designing out risks, automation and the use of tools. An offsite risk management tool was developed which transfers knowledge from the study to provide awareness and management of offsite risk. The thesis provides a contribution to knowledge by providing a better understanding of offsite risks, offsite residual risks and strategies used to reduce residual risks.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering