Increasing Site Safety With Modular Construction

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Panel Built, Inc. manufactures prefabricated buildings and mezzanines. By using modular construction the overall safety of the project increases, saving lives and funds.

The construction industry has to keep a constant eye on the overall safety and security of its employees due to the potential danger of all of their projects. No matter what the job, there can be a chance for accidents and injuries. In 2015, the construction industry had the highest number of fatal work injuries, 937, out of all other industry sectors, and 204,700 total injuries and illnesses. In fact, 21.4% of work-related deaths came from the construction industry.

Due to these alarmingly high numbers, it is in the best interest of the construction industry, construction companies, and the construction workers themselves to do whatever possible to lower these statistics and improve on-site safety.

For the industry itself, the reputation of stick-built construction hinges on this improvement, resulting in fewer workers wanting to put their lives on the line. For the companies, they must pay high premiums on insurance and workers compensation to help the injured party. And for the workers themselves, they just want to stay safe. However, the problems still persist despite these increasing safety regulations. 

Looking at a typical construction site, it is easy to see all of the hazards and potential accidents that may occur. Between the heavy foot traffic and large amounts of giant machinery, as well as tons and tons of materials, there are just so many things that could go wrong. Here are some of the most common accidents reported from construction sites, named as the “Fatal Four” by OSHA and are responsible for 64.2% of construction worker deaths in 2015.

The "Fatal Four" Accidents


Falls are the number one cause of construction industries and fatalities, and to look at it, it is easy to see why. For a construction worker, oftentimes the work that needs to be done occurs in an awkward or hard to reach area off the ground. 

Struck by an Object

The second most common accident, being struck by an object cause 90 out of 937 fatal construction accidents in 2015. Struck injuries refer to “injuries produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment.” 


The third most common fatal construction accident is electrocution. With 81 deaths in 2015, electrocution accounted for 8.6% of all fatal accidents that occurred. 

Caught-In or -Between Hazards

The last of the fatal four, caught-in or -between hazards accounted for 67 or 7.2% of construction fatalities in 2015. From OSHA, “when the injury is created more as a result of crushing injuries between objects, the event should be recorded as Caught.” So, this can refer to as cave-ins, pulled into machinery, or crushed between two pieces of machinery.

What Does Modular Construction Do to Help?

Modular construction can provide a great amount of help to alleviate the problems and causes of the “Fatal Four” of construction sites.

First, modular construction takes place away from the construction site. This is significant for one major reason, a severe reduction in the amount of foot traffic occurring at the job site. The manpower that would have been needed in a condensed area is now taking place in another location freeing up space for the other workers. Due to this, there is a lot less chance of a person being caught-in-between or struck by an object.

Second, since the structure is indeed a module, workers have one large object to focus solely on rather than many moving parts. For all of our “Fatal Four,” lack of concentration on the hazard proves to be the main cause. With focus centralized on the modular structure, workers can focus on one thing at a time during the installation of the module. Overall, these pre-assembled structures allow for much lower site disruption.

Third, the overall construction process is sped up compared to traditional, stick-built construction. With less time at the construction site, naturally, there is a lower risk of injury at the construction site. By finishing the project roughly 30% to 50% faster, construction workers will be spending far less time in a potentially hazardous situation, reducing the chance of all potential injuries. 

Safety in a Modular Construction Environment

Now, increasing safety at a construction site is worthless if the modular construction environment is not any safer. Luckily, modular construction boasts its own impressive safety practices. 

First, and probably the most glaring difference to stick-built construction, modular construction takes place in a completely controlled factory environment.  An assembly-line-like work process is set up for the complete manufacturing of the building. All team members know their work area incredibly well, know the areas of caution, and are specialized in their duty. Because of this well-organized workflow process, there is much less chaos, meaning there is a far less chance of being struck by machinery, equipment, or other objects.

Second, and similarly to the first, the controlled environment keeps out any weather hazards that may present themselves in a traditional construction environment. With the process taking place indoors, no rain delays or slippery surfaces should occur due to weather.

Third, thankfully in the modular construction process, there is no need for climbing to ridiculous heights to build each module. The typical height of prefabricated modular is from 8 to 10 feet tall. This alone prevents a huge number of accidents that occur due to falling.

Finally, and most importantly, modular construction companies can more strictly regulate safety measures within their facility. In fact, according to “Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report,” 73% of modular construction users have a fully inclusive safety program in place, in comparison to the 48% of their non-modularized counterparts.

Overall, modular construction can provide a variety of advantages of stick-built, but perhaps the most important are the safety it provides the employees working on the project. The modular construction process itself sets up standardized workflows that encourage specialization and a full understanding of your duties and surroundings, allowing for far fewer accidents to occur in comparison to a typical construction site. Then when the structure is delivered to the project site, all that is left is installation. For more information on how you can increase site safety, contact Panel Built Inc.

Source: Panel Built


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