Offsite construction for onsite safety

Modular building can help reduce risks on jobsites
Having a completed module limits unsafe environmental conditions, along with having fewer materials onsite to get in workers' way. (Photo: Sompom Suebhait, Dreamstime.com)

One of the biggest areas of concern for all contractors and builders is safety on the construction site. Crews and team members are the backbone of companies’ success, and making sure the team is safe on the jobsite is always a priority. There are big advantages for safety on offsite construction projects.

One in five worker deaths in 2018 were in construction, according to OSHA. The “Fatal Four”—falls, collisions with objects, electrocution and getting caught in or between equipment—were responsible for more than half of  deaths on construction jobsites, according to OSHA’s analysis of BLS data. The agency estimates that eliminating those four risks “would save 591 workers’ lives in America every year.”

[Related: Majority of construction workers at high-risk of severe COVID-19 infection: CPWR]

These are staggering facts our industry is facing, and improving safety measures is a must. For example, when framing a traditional building, there are many concerns like blocking a wall, falls or being struck by an object. Offsite construction projects reduce the risk of these accidents because the modules or prefab components are put in place as a completed structure. Having a completed module limits unsafe environmental conditions, along with having fewer materials onsite to get in workers’ way.

A McGraw-Hill Construction report, “Prefabrication and Modularization: Increasing Productivity in the Construction Industry,” reveals that industry professionals are realizing the benefit of reduced injuries in offsite construction. Over one-third of respondents said they believe modular building and prefabrication improve jobsite safety, and 58% of current users say project safety improvements are a factor in their continued use.

Prefabricated structures and the duplicatable build process allow crews to understand what’s expected. Team members can finish projects more efficiently and reduce the amount of time on site. From the management end, a superintendent has a smaller group of people to manage, and can assist in getting inspections completed in a timely manner. The HVAC contractor, plumber and electrician do not have to run lines throughout the building, limiting hazards and material waste, and improving the quality of their work.

[Related: Mitigate lost-time claims with return-to-work programs]

Offsite construction is a growing interest for many construction leaders due to the simple factors of improvements on the project and limiting hospital visits. Safety is the priority and with this process, the benefits are measurable and profitable. If we save one person’s life or minimize their risk of injury, changing to this form of construction is worth it.

Audree Grubesic is owner of Modular Sure Site, a general contractor on modular homes, and president of Connect Home Builders, a licensed modular home builder. She can be reached at [email protected].

Audree Grubesic

Audree Grubesic is owner of Modular Sure Site, a general contractor on modular homes, and president of Connect Home Builders, a licensed modular home builder. She can be reached at [email protected]

Audree Grubesic has 8 posts and counting. See all posts by Audree Grubesic

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