App Aims to Reduce Injuries and Save Lives

By Karen L. Edwards, RT3

A Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in the UK, Billy Hare, has developed an app geared toward architects and designers to help them improve the health and safety of construction workers, as well as those who will eventually occupy the building.

Using videos and images, the app notes health and safety issues related to a specific building’s design. Hare, a professor in Construction Management in GCU’s School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment, said in an article on the school’s website, “Academics in the past have attempted to create systems that tell architects and designers the ‘safest’ design option, but this approach is too simplistic and those who make design choices don’t work that way.”

“We wanted to create a knowledge database that recognizes there are many design options, and each has its own pros and cons when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, designers can make informed decisions.”

During the research phase of development, Hare worked with a sample of 40 designer, half were new to design and the other half were seasoned designers. They were all asked to review a set of CAD drawing to identify hazards and make design decisions.

The randomly selected half of the sample using the app identified hazards 599 times, or three times more than those who were not using the app.

The project was funded by a grant from grant from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). According to IOSH up to half of the accident in the UK are related in some way to the building design.

Mary Ogungbeje, Research Manager at IOSH, said in the article, “In today’s age of technology, being able to utilize digital training resources to help designers do just that is great. Such tools can make a real difference in upskilling professionals, irrespective of their level of experience. Architects and civil engineers can identify hazards and come up with better controls when developing and reviewing designs. Ultimately, this will reduce injuries and save lives.”

Hare says that he is now looking for partners to develop the digital prototype so they can release the app for industry-wide use.

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