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Posted by David Cant on December 19, 2016
Real time Health and Safety monitoring
A team of researchers from Loughborough University have this week begun a major study into how Health and Safety issues are identified and managed on major projects. The aim is to discover what does (and does not) work on site, using their findings to help improve standards across the industry as a whole.
What makes the project unique is that the researchers will be based on site, monitoring activities in real time. They will witness for themselves how businesses balance their occupational health and safety obligations with strategic needs – like maximising profits.
One of Europe’s largest construction projects
To ensure they secure the data they need, the Loughborough University team have set themselves a serious challenge – they will be working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel. This construction project involves building a much-needed 25km long sewer for London, running 65m below the river Thames, and will take another six years to complete.
The construction project is further complicated thanks to the way in which the tunnel will be built by three different joint ventures – one from the UK, a second from France, and the third from Spain. The team plan to monitor each venture in real time to track a range of factors:
- Key health and safety processes.
- Events and incidents.
Because the researchers will be observing operations constantly, they have a unique opportunity to see exactly what happens in every day. Typically these kind of research projects are conducted over the course of several visits, providing nothing more than a snapshot of operations at that specific point in time.
Being embedded on site, researchers will be able to observe the tiny actions that contribute to overall successes and failures – the sort of details that can be missed in higher-level studies.
What does this study mean for you?
The Loughborough University team will not be publishing their complete findings until 2023 at the earliest. But there are lessons to be learned before then.
Every detail matters
By being on site at all times, the researchers hope to capture every detail, comparing activities against risk assessments. When preparing risk assessments, your business is duty bound to consider, and mitigate, foreseeable risks to the health and safety of your employees.
Through trial and error, experience, and by applying best practice guidelines, the accuracy of your risk assessments will improve. And the general insights created by projects like the Thames Tideway Tunnel can be applied to keeping your workers safe.
Continuous monitoring protects employees
The use of continuous monitoring helps to spot gaps in your assessments, providing an opportunity to create “just in time” adjustments to prevent accidents. Unfortunately you probably cannot afford a separate team to conduct real time supervision like that on the Thames Tideway Tunnel Project.
Instead you will need to build safety observation routines into every activity on site, you too can create a culture of constant improvement and reduce accidents.
The results of the Loughborough University study are still some time off. But your business can still apply some of the team’s methods now to raise standards on your own projects.
For more help and advice about improving your health and safety monitoring, please get in touch.
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