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Safety in Design

Posted by Andy Perry on 2 May 2017

Safety in Design is not a new concept for many designers.

A significant number of organisations are incorporating a systematic risk management approach into managing and mitigating risks when designing structures and plant.

Safe design means the integration of control measures early in the design process to identify and eliminate or, if this is not reasonable practicable, minimise risks to health and safety throughout the life of the structure or plant being designed.

A risk management process is a systematic way of making a workplace as safe as possible and it should also be used as part of the design process.

What could be the potential outcome, if risks are not controlled?

On 29 January 2015, an engineering company pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court for failing to design a crane for use at a mine in accordance with the appropriate Australian Standard after it modified the crane design to reduce the thickness and weight of boom support plates.

The Company was fined $16,000 and ordered to pay $5,000 in court costs for breaching the mine safety regulations.

What can duty holders do?

The Work Health and Safety Legislation adopted in some other States and Territories, now require designers to provide a safety report that applies to design of structures or plant that have unusual or atypical features, which present hazards and risks during the construction phase that are unique to the particular design. The safety report should include information about:

  • Any hazardous materials or structural features and the designer's assessment of the risk of injury or illness to construction workers arising from those hazards; and
  • The action the designer has taken to control those risks, for example changes to the design.
Author: Andy Perry
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