Safety-in-design

There is no specific way to run a safety in design practice for a design project. This often leads to a wide array of methods that are utilised to draw out the safety-in-design issues associated with a project. This variation also leads to a significant variation in the suitability of safety-in-design issue identification.

There are also many different mediums that are utilised to seek comments on safety-in-design issues. These have been found to have varying degrees of success. For example comments via email or over the telephone are much more difficult to obtain often due to a low commitment threshold by those people who have their comments requested. The comments obtained are likely to be more linear in nature, i.e. the comments will only follow the train of thought of the respondent at the time of the email or telephone conversation. The more successful method for collating appropriate safety-in-design comments is to hold a workshop for all appropriate stakeholders to be present to provide their input during a set time period. Holding a workshop allows attendees to hear what other attendees responses are, and to build off each other to exhaust safety-in-design issues for the project as a whole. Hearing one attendee talk about their specialised area may prompt other attendees to identify additional issues that they would not have though of had they only been exposed to the linear thought processes of the telephone or email methods.

To run an effective design you need to have the following pieces of information going into the workshop:

  • An effective convenor: If you have a effective convenor of the safety-in-design workshop you are more likely to get effective comments in the limited time people have. A good convenor will know when the conversation is heading in an appropriate direction, or is starting to wander off relevance.
  • Obtain the basic project background data for the project including understandings and omissions.
  • An understanding of the requirements of the Australian Commonwealth Government WHS Act 2011, particularly Section 22 about the Duties of persons conducting businesses or undertakings that design plant, substances or structures
  • An understanding on appropriate documentation of relevant to WHS including (but not limited to) Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice produced by Safe Work Australia, and Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice produced by Workcover NSW.
  • Preparation of an appropriate way to record who was consulted.
  • An appropriate method to record the issues with an appropriate way to record their risks and ways to solve or reduce them in accordance with the appropriate WHS documentation.

One method that can be utilised to run safety-in-design workshops is the DG Method. This method focuses on the road users through the different phases of a projects life cycle.