Offsite Construction providing safer working conditions
It is estimated that Offsite Construction accounts for approximately 10% of the UK construction industry, it is forecast that this will rise to over 20% in the next ten years, thanks in part to Government endorsement of Offsite Construction through Homes England funding.
With over 80% of Offsite Construction projects being completed in a controlled factory environment, the benefits of increased productivity, improved quality and reduced carbon are well documented, but will MMC also be a safer way to build the homes of the future.
The latest HSE report released in December 2021, showed 74,000 construction workers suffered from work-related ill health. Of these 54% related to musculoskeletal disorders, 27% related to stress, depression, or anxiety, with the remaining 19% associated with other conditions. There were 39 fatalities with around 50% being falls from heights and 61,000 non-fatal injuries of which 41% involved over 3 days and 25% over seven days absence.
Whilst there is unquestionably an improvement in Health & Safety performance in delivering a reduction of accidents and fatalities there is still more to be done. Offsite Construction offers an opportunity to create safer working conditions within the construction industry by using quality-controlled factory environments. Factory fabrication offers an enhanced working environment using specialist machinery, automation, lifting tools, precut materials and provides a dry, warm, height restricted and level surface for the workforce, eliminating several of the common causes of workplace accidents within the construction industry.
As the Modular units can be pre-fitted with mechanical and electrical services, windows, doors and other fixtures, there is a reduced need for time spent onsite, this allows for health and safety risks to be more easily managed during construction by integrating them into a standard operating procedure within the factory environment. The pre-fitted modules delivered to site significantly reduce the need for onsite manual handling, thus eliminating one of the most common causes for injury.
When using Offsite Construction there will also be the hidden Health & Safety benefits to the local communities with reduced noise from less onsite activities and air pollution with fewer vehicle movements.
The construction industry will by its nature always carry inherent risks, and it may never be possible to completely remove that risk, however Offsite Construction creates an environment that by design reduces the health and safety risks whilst also increasing productivity and as such should represent an ever-increasing part of the construction mix.