Home » BIM and Safety » BIM for health and safety in construction

BIM for health and safety in construction

BIM for health and safety in construction

Discover the fundamental role of BIM in promoting health and safety on construction sites, thanks to innovative solutions to reduce risks and improve preventive practices.

Safety is a major concern in the construction industry, where workers face daily hazards and potential accidents. More and more professionals and companies are turning to innovative tools not only to improve their productivity and efficiency but also to enhance safety standards: VR and AR for experiential training, the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies for site representation, and RFID for real-time tracking of workers, machinery, and equipment.

The implementation of BIM is proving to be a valid and strategic solution to improve health and safety in construction; BIM’s ability to visualize, simulate, and coordinate various aspects of the project offers significant advantages in identifying potential risks and devising effective preventive measures. In this article, we explore how BIM is transforming safety in construction by mitigating risks and incidents on construction sites. If you want to see for yourself what your construction site will look like, how it will evolve over time, where and how activities will take place, and how to predict risks, I recommend trying out this BIM software for site management.

3D modelling site

3D modelling site

Understanding BIM and its benefits for safety

BIM has been supporting stakeholders in the construction industry for years in designing and managing buildings and relating infrastructure.

As we have learned, one of the major advantages of using BIM lies in its ability to represent and generate graphical drawings and reports containing information for every element of interest, accompanying the work throughout its life cycle. But BIM has proven effective not only in the design phase but also in the execution phase regarding predicting potential risks and simulating construction processes and safe working methods.

Creating a BIM model of the site allows the safety manager to design and manage the most critical phases of the site or the transitions between phases, monitor construction issues and interference, implement a training program for workers employed on-site tailored to the exact characteristics of the virtually produced site. The 3D model and construction sequences can indeed be used to create simulations and animations presenting and demonstrating appropriate work methods to site personnel. Animated and three-dimensional representation increases understanding and reduces the learning time for operations to be carried out, thus optimizing procedures and adopting best practices.

Identification and analysis of hazards

BIM applied to safety thus offers the opportunity to identify potential hazards and critical areas, and prevent health and safety risks from the beginning of the design phase through digital simulation of the site. As we will see in the video, taking a virtual tour of the site plays a crucial role in safety analysis, allowing risks and defects to be detected in advance and enabling the technician to intervene with quick and informed decisions, simulating site reorganizations and ensuring a safer working environment.

Improving layout design and site access

Proper site layout and access planning are essential for construction safety. BIM helps optimize these aspects by creating 3D visualizations that include temporary structures, traffic routes, and material storage areas.

Planning and positioning safety equipment

BIM can also be used to plan and optimize the positioning of safety equipment such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal protective equipment (PPE) stations. These virtual simulations facilitate better decision-making and ensure that safety measures are effectively integrated into the construction process.

Real-time monitoring and reporting

During construction, BIM enables real-time monitoring and reporting of safety. Sensor data from the site can be integrated into the BIM model to monitor worker movements, equipment usage, and environmental conditions. This allows for timely identification and effective response to safety incidents. Incidents that occur, as well as those avoided, can be recorded in the model, and corrective actions can be promptly taken to prevent further events. This not only improves safety on-site but also promotes a safety-conscious culture among workers.

Simulation of emergency response scenarios

Integrating emergency response simulations into BIM models is another powerful safety feature. By creating virtual scenarios, project teams can test the effectiveness of emergency plans and evacuation procedures. During these simulations, BIM can provide valuable information to responders, such as access points, utility shut-offs, and structural details. This helps to achieve more efficient and effective emergency responses, potentially saving lives and minimizing material damage.

Worker training and education

The virtual environment of BIM provides an excellent platform for worker training and education on safety practices. Workers can undergo virtual safety inductions that familiarize them with site-specific hazards, safety procedures, and best practices. Additionally, virtual reality (VR) can be integrated with BIM to create immersive training experiences.

BIM provides a detailed visual representation of site conditions, including topographic details, positions of underground infrastructure, and structural configurations. This allows workers to fully understand the working environment and anticipate potential risks or obstacles. Furthermore, BIM can be used to create interactive 3D simulations, allowing workers to explore the site virtually and plan activities more efficiently and safely.

BIM for health and safety in construction: a practical application, an innovative approach

An example of BIM modeling of construction site safety is the project of the “New Stella Maris Hospital” in Pisa.

This is a case study of BIM modeling of the construction site for the optimization of safety and productivity related to the project of the “New Stella Maris Hospital for Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry” in Pisa: optimizing production processes and increasing worker safety levels through the possibility of building, during the design phase, a virtual prototype of the site simulating its conditions, spatial organization as well as its dynamic progression over time.

To further explore the topic in the article: How to make a safer and more productive BIM construction site

The utility of a construction site management BIM software is well understood. I recommend trying it out for free now and see how you can model your site and assess safety aspects, optimize work times and phases, have a dynamic overview of risks and preventive measures to adopt, automatically produce all relevant site layouts, and even provide on-site worker training in a new and engaging way, thanks to an immersive virtual reality viewing experience.

Future perspectives of BIM in the construction industry

Through its collaborative and data-driven approach, BIM promotes a safety-conscious culture among all involved stakeholders, creating safer working environments and reducing the incidence of accidents. With the continuous development of technology, BIM will continue to play a crucial role in redefining safety standards in construction, making construction sites safer for workers and more efficient for project completion.