plant and structure design

Importance of Plant Design and Structure

Identifying and eliminating potential safety risks is an important part of setting up any project.

If the complete elimination of a risk is not a feasible option, then risk minimisation should be undertaken to ensure that every work site is as safe as possible to all those involved.

In the design phase, safety consideration should include the following:

  • Safe entry to and exit points from all work areas
  • Designing safety rails or other forms of edge protection to prevent falls
  • Any possible future maintenance requirements, especially building exteriors and windows, to ensure any additional maintenance in these areas can be safely carried out
  • Identifying the strength of roofs and other anchor points to which guardrails or other equipment may need to be attached

Safer building practices can relate to the following examples:

  • Mounting roof vents at a lower level
  • Positioning satellite dishes and air conditioning units away from edges
  • Placing air conditioning units and similar equipment at ground level whenever possible
  • Avoiding the use of fragile materials in roofing
  • Using permanently fixed safety mesh
  • Installing safer guttering that requires less access for cleaning, or using ground guttering if possible.

There may also be a need to ensure specific safety requirements are in place for specialised trades workers attending the site to complete work. These could include:

  • Installation and maintaining television antenna and satellite dishes
  • Contractors installing or repairing air conditioning equipment
  • Window cleaners, gutter cleaners and any associated repairers
  • Designing any pre-fabrication of structures on the ground before they are positioned for construction



Safety considerations at the design stage could include:

  • providing relevant safety rails on vehicles when necessary
  • incorporating fall prevention systems for any elevated work areas
  • Making sure any workers that need access to work areas for cleaning purposes can do so safely

Site safety designers have a responsibility to ensure all workers at the plant site have been made aware of safety procedures and requirements before undertaking work. Plant safety induction for every worker is necessary.

Buildings and Structures

Site operators have a responsibility to ensure that and workers required to attend the site for construction or repairs are not unreasonably exposed to risks associated with working at height. This means that the planning stage is a critical point for identifying the need for fall prevention systems and arranging the installation of such as necessary.

Because site safety design is often carried out by multiple people, adequate consultation and coordination is necessary to make sure that all site operators are aware of the required safety provisions on different areas of the work site.

When safety risks are not able to be eliminated in the design and planning stage, all minimisation factors should be clearly outlined in the plans and communicated to all relevant workers. Notifying workers of potential hazards on site is a key requirement of ensuring a safe work environment.

The design and planning for the construction stage should include:

  • Installing railings and relevant anchoring and safety equipment to all workers exposed to heights
  • Minimising time spent working at heights by completing any prefabrication on ground when possible
  • Ensuring all work at heights is properly and efficiently sequenced
  • Proving safe access to site via access roads that are clear and in good condition in the most appropriate location for the safe unloading of goods that reduces the necessity of heavy lifting.
  • Ground beneath the work area should be level and well compacted to reduce the risks of accident when using machinery at ground level such as cranes and scissor lifts.
  • Clear identification of underground structures and risks like electrical cables, sewer systems and telecommunications equipment.
  • Installation of permanent safety mesh where required

Planning For Building Maintenance

Careful considerations should also be given to how maintenance and repairs will be carried out on site when building or renovating a structure. For example:

  • Designing gangways and other access to windows for cleaning and repair
  • Providing permanent safe anchorage points for working at height

Planning The Site Layout

When designing the layout of the worksite, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Some of these include:

  • Providing firm and level surfaces for the safe and proper usage of heavy equipment at ground level
  • Access roads that are in good condition and in the correct position of efficient and safe delivery of materials reducing the needs for manual handling
  • Clear and safe access to all on site amenities
  • Proper signage and clear identification of safety hazards and equipment
  • Adequate access to safety equipment and designated assembly points in case of emergencies.

For all your expert safety advice and requirements for scaffolding, contact our office to discuss your needs with one of our highly experienced and fully qualified team today on 1300 266 607 or contact us via our website.

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