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Safe Design and Holidays

At weBETA, looking after all of our stakeholders, including employees, business partners, clients and the general public is absolutely paramount. The main way we do this is by strictly adhering to the NSW legislation, Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations, and utilising codes of practice (COP) made publicly available on the SafeWork NSW website. [1][2]


As structural engineers, safety is at the forefront of the engineering advice and design we provide to our clients not only because it is the right thing to do but also because we have a duty of care under the NSW legislation. By practising safe design methods as outlined in the Safe Design of Structures COP, we not only comply with the law but also ensure that all of our stakeholders, from builders to end-users, are protected from unnecessary harm as a result of our design over the life of the structure.

According to SafeWork NSW, safe design is “the integration of control measures early in the design process to eliminate or, if this is not reasonably practicable, minimise risks to health and safety throughout the life of the structure being designed.” [3]


This means during the design phase, we need to consider the entire project lifecycle of the structure:

1. Design

2. Construction

3. Use

4. Maintenance & Repair

5. Modifications

6. Demolition & Dismantling


For example, we may allow for added redundancy in our design by specifying additional connections to a beam or we may specify the use of durable materials that do not need to be re-coated, which will omit or extend the period between maintenance (essential for significant elements with difficult access) and minimise construction risks during maintenance (e.g. falls and injuries). Other examples can be found in the Safe Design of Structures COP. [3]


Now we can't end this post on safety without mentioning the current COVID-19 situation we are facing in NSW, where over 5,600 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours at the time of writing and where many people are (yet again) spending Christmas time away from their loved ones as a result. It’s times like these where we should all remember to support and check up on each other whenever possible.


It is also a reminder that just following the regulations set by the government will not necessarily protect you from every situation and taking extra precautions is sometimes just as important. Whether it be engineering or living your day-to-day, we should take this approach of following the guidelines set by the government while also using our good judgement wherever appropriate.


We hope you all take care over the holidays and look after each other!


See you all in 2022!

- weBETA




REFERENCES:


1 – https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2011-010


2 – https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/list-of-all-codes-of-practice


3 – https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/52158/Safe-design-of-structures-COP.pdf


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