design safety risk assessment
Design Safety Risk Assessment
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What is a Safe Design?

The designer must ensure, so far as it is reasonably practicable, that the plan, substance or structure is designed to be without risks to the health and safety of persons. The Designer must show evidence of systematic risk assessment process and provide a report to the person commissioning the design. Safe design is the integration of hazard identification, risk assessment and control methods early in the design process to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety throughout the construction and life of the structure being designed.

Major international studies show that up to 75% of workplace injuries could be avoided if safety was considered early in the design stage. Safety in design involves the design considering safety at the concept stage and assessing any hazards and implementing design solutions.

National safety legislation

Under the New Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Harmonisation, safety legislation will be harmonised across Australia. Five jurisdictions have confirmed readiness and have enacted the model Act and Regulations to commence from 1 January 2012 including the Commonwealth, Queensland, NSW, NT and ACT. Queensland have passed the Qld Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and QLD Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 based on this model.

As part of meeting designer's obligations under the 2011 WHS Act and Regulations you are required to prepare a safety report and issue this to the client where the client is a PCBU. The aim of this report is to help prevent possibly future injuries or death by identifying, assessing and eliminating hazards or potential risks at the design stage. You also have a legal obligation to do this under the legislation, specifically section 295 of the WHS Regulation 2011.

Designers should be familiar with the WHS Act and Regulations 2011 and Codes of Practice. In particular Designers should review s46, s61 and s294-296 of the QWHS Regulation 2011; s22 of the WHS Act 2011; and the Code of Practice ‘Safe Design of Buildings and Structures’ for information on their statutory obligations under the new legislation.

Duties of a designer under the national safety legislation

As a designer you have a duty under the Act and Regulations to consider that the structure be designed to be without risk any time that it is to be used as or at a workplace. The designer must also undertake any testing and analysis required to fulfil this duty. You must also ensure that the structure be designed to eliminate or minimise the need for any hazardous manual task to be carried out and give information to each person who is provided with the design about any features that eliminate the need for these task to be carried out.

Under Regulation 295 the designer must give a safety report to the person conducting a business or undertaking who commissions the design. This report must specify the hazards relating to that particular design. If you are working on a design that another designer has prepared (eg. as a drafting job or for a renovation) you must obtain a copy of the report from the original designer.

What is a systematic risk assessment process?

The Code of practice for Safe design of buildings and structures recommends that a systems approach that integrates the design process with the risk management process be used. This includes establishing client consultation, conducting a preliminary risk assessment process, determining how hazards will be prevented or eliminated through implementing standards controls or conducting a risk management process and review. These can be controlled by either eliminating the risk, substitution, isolation, engineering, administration and PPE (personal protective equipment).

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  Design safety risk assessment

Design safety risk assessment
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