Prevention through Design Pipeshaft Work

The Challenge

Executing shaft work presents major safety hazards, including prolonged exposure at leading edges. Working at leading edges makes workers vulnerable to multi-floor falls and falling objects during construction. On a recent seven-story university building project requiring a multi-floor shaft drop, our project team sought innovative ways to minimize worker exposure during installation and enhance overall safety.

Moving the Site Work, Offsite — The 'Aha' Moment

The key to mitigating risks is reducing the time workers spend at leading edges during the installation process. Our Prevention through Design (PtD) concept involved redesigning the work in order to prefabricate multiple pipes, racking them together, and spanning them across five floors. This innovative approach drastically reduced the amount of time workers needed to spend at leading edges by moving a significant portion of the work into a controlled manufacturing environment.

The Bottom Line

This PtD approach produced multiple results, addressing the major fall risk concern.  

By prefabricating the multi-pipe shaft drops offsite, the time typically spent at leading edges was greatly reduced. Instead of multiple workers spending days performing the work, this new method allowed for the installation of five floors of shaft piping in just one and a half labor hours. 

By optimizing the installation process and minimizing labor hours spent on leading edges, this approach shortened the project schedule, increased overall productivity, minimized hazard exposure, and enhanced worker safety.