Accident-free construction workplaces by design for safety

Samsung C&T is getting high scores for its pursuit of environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. Earlier this year it received an A-rating in an ESG Ratings assessment by Morgan Stanley Capital International. Samsung C&T does not stop here, but is also making great efforts in the safety field. As part of that, Samsung C&T Engineering & Construction Group is focusing on safety and joint prosperity with its partners. Safety in construction is no accident; it takes planning and thorough execution. Let’s look at how Samsung C&T’s E&C Group uses Design for Safety to build on its good record.

How to build up safety by taking down risks

The Global Construction Review defines Design for Safety (DfS) as “the process of identifying potential hazards at the start of design work to mitigate risk better throughout the entire life of a construction project.” The point is to identify possible risks as early in the construction cycle as possible so that an accident can be avoided by, in effect, “designing it out.”

The objective of Design for Safety is to establish a safety management system that encompasses the entire construction process (from planning, through design & construction, to maintenance) by reviewing the safety of implementation design to preemptively manage the safety of construction work from the pre-construction design stage.

Time/Safety Influence Curve (Source: Szymberski, 1987)

Design for Safety was enshrined in Korean law in 2016, and since then DfS assessments have been enforced by the Korean government. Elsewhere in the world, legislation concerning various safety design processes has been enacted in various countries since the 1990s.

For example, the United Kingdom’s Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations were first introduced in 1994. CDM mandates design safety audits by designers and clients. Since its introduction, the number of construction orders have increased by a factor of 1.5, while accident fatalities have decreased by more than 40% over six years.

Meanwhile, the United States has a “Prevention through Design” system, introduced in 1996 to protect construction workers and eliminate industrial risk factors. In this system, risk factors are identified at the start of the project, and at the 30%, 60%, and 90% stages of completion.

Singapore has Design for Safety guidelines too, established in 2008. In 2015, these guidelines were incorporated into the Workplace Safety and Health Act, regulating the removal and reduction of fundamental risk factors.

Dfs Using Hierarchy of Controls (Source: NISOH/PtD – Prevention Through Design)

Establishing Design for Safety objectives

Samsung C&T’s E&C Group’s Design for Safety system is built on a foundation of the experience gathered through the many projects it has already carried out. That accumulated expertise has enabled the establishment of a design safety review database, the preparation of external safety design guidelines, and the revision of external architectural design standards and detailed blueprints. Going further, the group has also established a DfS Library.

Safety design has become routinized by having multiple people participate in the process and through encouragement. This includes, for example, creating design safety review slogans, conducting regular training, reviewing design safety at the design stage, and reviewing and applying the design safety review database.

To make Design for Safety ongoing and sustainable, Samsung C&T’s E&C Group carries out safety design continually and trains up new experts. It has also established a plan for the continuous application and updating of the safety design database, using data gathered from projects as they are carried out. The Group will receive an ISO 45001 certification to verify the competitiveness of its ESG commitment by international standards. At the same time, it will constitute a specialist safety design committee and foster experts in this field.

Samsung C&T’s E&C Group established a Design for Safety process and a relevant team for preventive safety management that encompasses design, construction, use, and management. This system meets the needs of accelerating safety paradigm changes.

In the future, this Group plans to become a leading company in ESG management by fulfilling its social responsibility to establish a safety-first culture in the construction industry.

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