Safety in Design Manuals: The Missing Piece in Project Handover

Safety in Design Manuals: The Missing Piece in Project Handover

Safety in Design is a pressing concern in today’s construction and infrastructure landscape, with experts and seminars offering a wealth of advice. However, when it comes to project handover, it seems that the Safety in Design process is conspicuously absent. This omission becomes particularly significant when considering the legal obligations surrounding safety in design under Work Health Safety (WHS) legislation in Australia and New Zealand.

Work Health Safety legislation, specifically under the Commonwealth WHS Act, Part 2, Division 3, Section 22, Clause 4, mandates that designers provide essential information to all parties involved in the design process. This information includes:

  1. Purpose: A clear understanding of the intended function of the plant, substance, or structure.
  2. Evidence: Documentation of testing, results, and other relevant data.
  3. Conditions: Guidelines for ensuring that the designed entity poses no risks to health and safety during use.

While it may be tempting to assume that sharing Safety in Design reports and risk assessments with the client’s project manager fulfils these requirements, the next Clause 5 of the WHS Act introduces another crucial obligation. Designers must be prepared to furnish current and relevant information to any user upon request, provided it is practical to do so.

A recent examination of a major infrastructure project at its 50% design milestone revealed a comprehensive Safety in Design Report produced by the design team. Most safety recommendations had been diligently incorporated into the design, with only a few exceptions, primarily driven by security concerns. However, this report was merely handed over to the client’s project manager and filed away.

Further investigation uncovered an interesting aspect. Designers had included a wealth of operational and maintenance information in their reports, covering topics such as maximum safe live loads, inspection schedules for key structural and servicing elements, and methods of access and use. Strangely, this valuable information wasn’t part of the final handover process. Operations and Maintenance Manuals, which should ideally educate end-users, primarily focused on contractors’ instructions regarding the use of components, neglecting the broader facility safety aspects.

To illustrate, an electrician’s trade manual might detail everything about lighting, including the type of fixtures, manufacturer recommendations, warranties, certificates, and spare parts. However, it rarely addresses critical questions such as how to change a light bulb when the ceiling in the main entrance lobby stands 12 meters high. In our extensive experience using OmTrak to provide O&M Manuals for over 3500 projects, we’ve rarely encountered a single project that included a Designer’s Safety Manual to explain to new users how to safely interact with the facility in accordance with the Safety in Design and Risk Assessment.

It becomes evident that the purpose of the Safety in Design Report extends beyond informing the design process itself. It also serves as a vital tool to educate end-users on the safe operation of the completed works.

OmTrak: Enhancing Safety in Design Manuals

Incorporating OmTrak Operation and Maintenance manuals into your project handover process brings several invaluable benefits for users. These benefits extend beyond the traditional scope of documentation to enhance the overall experience:

  1. Streamlined Handover: OmTrak simplifies the handover process by providing users with a comprehensive, easily searchable, and indexed Smart PDF that includes hyperlinks. This ensures that users have all asset-related information in one place, reducing the time spent searching for critical data.
  2. Customisation: With OmTrak, users can customise folder structures to suit their specific requirements. This flexibility ensures a consistent folder structure across the entire project portfolio, making it easier to access and manage information.
  3. Enhanced Collaboration: OmTrak allows users to share large files with third parties for approval without the hassle of internal IT system restrictions. This feature streamlines collaboration and approval processes, ensuring that everyone involved can access the necessary documentation.
  4. Sustainability Integration: OmTrak simplifies the Green Building application process by capturing essential information required for NABERS and Green Star Rating. This not only simplifies certification but also supports sustainability objectives.
  5. Digital Handover: On project completion, users receive a high-quality set of electronic operations and maintenance manuals that comply with industry standards. These digital handovers provide users with a searchable and easily accessible resource for efficient facility management.

Using OmTrak to create your Operation and Maintenance manuals allows you to ensure that the Safety in Design Manual is included as part of the handover process, enhancing the efficiency and safety of end-users. It’s not just about fulfilling legal obligations; it’s about providing users with a seamless and safe experience. If you’re interested in making your project handover more effective and safer, reach out to our team at WebFM to see how OmTrak can easily implement this missing piece into your manuals. Safety is paramount, and with OmTrak, it’s easier to be safe than sorry.

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 No 10