How BIM is Making Construction Industry Safer

Among the many benefits of BIM, safety gained though it has received less attention. From 3D models presented in the design phase to 4D animations, BIM is capable of providing support to health and safety practices on the construction site.

How BIM is Making Construction Industry Safer
How BIM is Making Construction Industry Safer

How BIM is Making Construction Industry Safer

The construction industry is considered as one of the most dangerous sectors which bears a lot of casualties and accidents. The work involves building, repairing, and maintenance of houses, roads and other infrastructures. The process includes many hazardous tasks like working at high elevations, deep excavations, noise, pollution, dust, heavy machinery, power tools and equipment.

The potential hazards that construction workers face on the site are- falls from heights, Scaffold collapse, electrocution and arc blast/ flash, trench collapse, repetitive motion injuries and failure to use the required PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment).

According to the estimations of the International Labour Organization (ILO), every year at least 60,000 people are killed on construction sites, i.e. one death every minute approx. One in 5 of all fatal workplace accidents is taking place in construction. A construction worker has a 1 in 200 chance of being involved in a deadly accident during g a 45-year career. 

Safety management system in any construction company normally includes- moral obligation, regulations like making it a legal responsibility for companies to promote and maintain safe working environment and the cost-effectiveness which means time, effort and money spent on safety measures is less than the money spent after an accident.

How BIM helps in preparing a safer environment?

Among the many benefits of BIM, safety gained though it has received less attention. From 3D models presented in the design phase to 4D animations, BIM is capable of providing support to health and safety practices on the construction site. Emerging technologies like BIM, drone photography, IoT-connected tools, and machine learning are helping in improving workplace safety and providing a good cost: benefit ratio overall.

When we talk about BIM, i.e. Building Information Modelling, the future of the construction industry, we refer it as a collaborative method of working which generates and exchange data and information between various project parties. Apart from these benefits, the use of BIM provides a better insight into what's taking place on the site and helps the construction managers and other agents in predicting any dangerous situations and eventually avoid them.

BIM helps in project planning and establish better communication between different sites. It also helps the efficient management of Big data. To ensure safety at the construction site, one can use BIM technology at the initial stages of the project, i.e. the team can design the project and stages in such a manner that it is less hazardous for the labour.

Virtual safety tours

Being able to monitor a project's progress virtually, enhances the quality of the construction process and makes the site safer. If you can simulate every single construction process, you could easily detect any malfunctioning at early stages before any tragedy.

Following such steps helps the building team and members to prepare safety guidelines and first aid measures. Besides this, if an accident takes place, BIM will help in looking after the causes and preparing for the future to prevent the repetition. If the process is properly documented, it will also help in resolving legal issues raised after an accident. If Big data is appropriately managed, a trustworthy safety plan can solve problems of the whole project.

Recently, the HSE's BIM 4 working group has drawn up new guidance for incorporating safety risk into digital models, with input from major clients and consultants. Health & Safety Executive ( HSE) BIM 4 group has members like National Grid, the Environment Agency, Network Rail, TfL, Arcadis and Arup and is chaired by HSE inspector Gordon Crick. The guidance also includes liaising with the principal contractor to help in the planning, managing, monitoring and coordination of the construction phase.

Ways in which BIM reduces accidents

Prefabrication is also a useful aspect to improve safety on-site. Model-driven prefabrication of materials which is done off-site, not only reduces the mess on the site but also provides a safe and controlled environment. BIM gives visual communication to all stakeholders so they can see how the asset is best constructed. It helps a non-specialist to get involved in the process and understand what is going on.

BIM provides automated checking against set criteria. When a structure has already been constructed virtually, the contractor can explore all the possible risks and probability of failures. Collision on site is another common reason for construction site accidents. Clash detection can be done with the help of tracking and sensing, which helps in identifying collisions and mitigating them early.

Any technology is said to be successful when it ends up in helping humanity. BIM is an example of such a technology, which not only designs the infrastructure but also provides a safer environment to the labour class, which is the foundation of every successful economy.