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Construction App Developed to ‘Save Lives’

Monday, August 12, 2019

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A multimedia application has been developed by researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (Glasgow, Scotland) that will reportedly be able to save lives and reduce the number of injuries on construction projects worldwide.

The project was led by Billy Hare, a construction management professor at the GCU in the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment.

About the App

While developing the app, Hare’s team found that identifying hazards—such as emergency escapes during a build phase, welding fumes, manholes and foyer-entrance slips—became much easier for designers through the use of the application.

According to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, a building's design is connected to up to half of construction accidents that happen in the United Kingdom.

gorodenkoff / Getty Images

A multimedia application has been developed by researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (Glasgow, Scotland) that will reportedly be able to save lives and reduce the number of injuries on construction projects worldwide.

“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,” said Hare.

“A key factor for this research was the visual nature of the digital app’s content, which seemed to work best with new graduates. But its real potential lies in being able to capture knowledge from more experienced designers for the next generation to counter the age-old problem of ‘organizational memory loss’ and prevent the same old mistakes that cause accidents and ill health being repeated.”

To test the app’s efficiency, the team recruited 40 designers (20 novices and 20 experienced) from two different industry groups complied of architects and engineers. Of the participants, half were given the app as a tool to review a set of computerized design drawings while they identified hazards and made decisions about the projects design.

The others recruited were only allowed to use general internet searches in examining their projects, while their abilities were also examined in how they were able to foresee hazards in designs by measuring both the quantity of hazards and quality of resulting designs.

As a result, designers who used the app were able to locate 599 hazards. For those not using the app, this number amounted to three times the amount of hazards discovered by architects and over five times the amount for civil engineers. In both cases, the university reports that the hazards identified was double that of the group not using the app, suggesting that the development was helpful in improving designers’ knowledge of hazards.

“In today’s age of technology, being able to utilise digital training resources to help designers do just that is great,” said Mary Ogungbeje, Research Manager at IOSH.

“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.”

Research for this project was provided by a grant worth 102,800 pounds (roughly $124,295) from IOSH. The IOSH is the world’s largest professional organization for OSH practitioners, according to the university.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Apps; Architects; Asia Pacific; Construction; Design; Design build; Designers; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Engineers; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Latin America; North America; Research; Research and development; Safety; Tools & Equipment - Commercial; Z-Continents

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