Data flow analysis of plant and equipment health and safety management

Riaz, Zainab, Edwards, David J., Holt, Gary David and Thorpe, Tony (2011) Data flow analysis of plant and equipment health and safety management. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 9 (2). pp. 178-203. ISSN 1726-0531

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An earlier version of this paper was published in The International Journal of Project Planning and Finance. The paper is presented here at the invitation of JEDT and with kind permission of the former publishing journal's editors.

Purpose – Construction plant and equipment accident statistics suggest constant re-evaluation of health and safety (H&S) systems is beneficial. This paper aims to process analyse plant and equipment H&S management systems on UK construction sites, with a view to applying information and communication technology (ICT) to them as an improvement mechanism.

Design/methodology/approach – Five construction project case studies drawn from members of the former Major Contractors Group yield rich H&S process data. These are analysed using data flow diagram (DFD) techniques, to evaluate processes and proffer system improvements incorporating ICT.

Findings – Causes of unsafe practice regarding management of construction plant and equipment are found to include: aspects of the plant itself, management processes and operator competence. A new ICT “process paradigm” is suggested, the architecture of which incorporates mobile computing, automatic identification and data collection and a management information system.

Research limitations/implications – Findings contribute particularly to the fields of plant and equipment; and managing H&S.

Practical implications – Suggested ICT direction might form the basis of commercial interest in developing an all-embracing H&S control mechanism for plant and equipment operations.

Originality/value – Application of DFD analysis in this setting is quite new.

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