In recent years, modular construction has gained immense popularity in the construction industry due to its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability features. What is sometimes overlooked is the significant health and safety advantages of modular construction, making it an excellent option for both construction professionals and consumers.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways in which modular construction enhances health and safety within the construction industry.
Reduced On-Site Exposure
One of the main advantages of modular construction is the significant reduction in on-site construction work. Traditional construction sites can be extremely hazardous environments with numerous risks for workers, such as slips, trips and falls, moving vehicles, falls from height, and exposure to construction dust and high levels of noise.
Modular buildings are manufactured off-site in a quality-controlled factory setting using specialist machinery and equipment. By shifting a substantial portion of construction activities to one location, modular construction minimises on-site exposure to the following risks.
- Reduced fall hazards: Falls from height are a leading cause of construction site incidents, accounting for 19% of injuries and 51% of fatalities in the industry in 2021/2022, according to the HSE. Modular construction factory-based assembly means that workers are less likely to be exposed to elevated surfaces, reducing the risk of falls.
- Fewer traffic hazards: Construction sites can often be located in busy areas with heavy traffic accompanied by a large number of vehicles moving materials around the site. Modular construction reduces this need, decreasing the potential for accidents involving vehicles.
- Less exposure to weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions can pose safety hazards for construction workers. Modular construction allows for work to continue indoors, shielding workers from adverse weather such as rain and extreme temperatures. This also reduces any delays weather conditions may cause to the project as work can continue.
Improved Ergonomics and work conditions
Modular construction offers a more controlled and ergonomic work environment for construction workers. Factories are designed for efficiency and worker comfort, which can lead to improved health and safety outcomes.
- Optimised workstations: Factories that produce modular buildings are designed to maximise efficiency and reduce physical strain on workers. This includes well-designed workstations and ergonomic tools that reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, accounting for 53% of work-related ill health for those working in the construction industry.
- Better ventilation: One of the construction industry’s biggest challenges is managing construction dust. Not only is this a nuisance, but it can also have seriously damaging effects on an individual’s health, leading to conditions such as occupational asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Manufacturing facilities typically have better ventilation systems and a more effective way of managing this issue, reducing exposure to dust, fumes and other airborne hazards commonly encountered on construction sites.
- Consistent lighting: adequate lighting in factories helps prevent accidents caused by poor visibility and reduces eye strain for workers.
Enhanced quality control
Modular construction benefits from stringent quality control processes during production in the factory. This not only ensures that the final product meets the design specification but also reduces the likelihood of safety-related defects.
- Precise manufacturing: modules are manufactured with precision, reducing the risk of structural defects that could compromise safety.
- Thorough inspections: Factories often have quality control procedures in place, including a thorough inspection of materials, components and the assembly process. This can help identify and rectify potential safety issues before the modules leave the factory.
- Consistent safety standards: Modular building companies can maintain consistent safety standards across their facilities, promoting safer practices and reducing the risk of accidents.
Accelerated construction schedules
Modular buildings have much shorter construction timelines compared to traditional construction. While this efficiency benefits project owners, it also contributes to improved safety.
- Reduced exposure time: with faster construction, workers spend less time on the construction site, reducing their exposure to potential hazards.
- Less disruption: shorter construction timelines mean less disruption to surrounding areas, reducing the risk of accidents involving pedestrians and neighbouring properties.
Mitigation of environmental hazards
Modular construction can also help mitigate environmental hazards associated with traditional construction methods.
- Reduced air pollution: Factory-based production often involves better control of emissions compared to on-site construction equipment, resulting in reduced air pollution.
- Controlled waste management: Modular building manufacturers can manage waste, including hazardous materials, more effectively, preventing environmental contamination.
Modular construction offers a host of health and safety benefits, making it an attractive option for not only the construction industry but also consumers when considering their options for their next project.
As the construction industry continues to evolve, modular construction stands out as a method that not only delivers efficiency and cost savings but also advances the safety of all involved.
For more information about modular construction, call our helpful team today on 01482 656590 or complete our contact form.