Our safety innovations

We’re using the latest technology to reduce the risks our people and supply chain partners are exposed to.

Innovation has a key role in keeping people and construction sites, and the environment surrounding them, healthy and safe. Technological advancements including off-site manufacturing, digital rehearsals, virtual reality simulators and other automations are moving work into safer, more predictable environments and allowing us to devise how to deliver tasks and projects safely and in a way that has the least impact on the environment. Balfour Beatty continues to invest in and roll out preventative measures through safety innovations such as 3D and 4D computer models that are produced by our in-house visual design team, allowing our project teams to test processes and procedures virtually before doing things on site

The tools we use are becoming lighter, faster and more responsive and new technologies, such as drones are reducing safety risks by making it faster and safer to inspect our construction activities, especially those at height. We will always continue to look for new ways to reduce the risks to our workforce. 

Working in collaboration with construction workforce technology specialists MSite, Balfour Beatty has developed an innovative mobile phone application to improve the health and safety of employees.

Downloaded directly onto employees and supply chain partners' mobile phones, the app provides each employee with a digital identity, enabling contactless entry to site using biometrics. The technology uses details of an individual’s training attainment (CSCS card details for example) along with data to support Fatigue Risk Management and a means to collect data to accurately monitor attendance levels and number of hours worked onsite.

A high potential incident (HiPo) where the consequences could have been much worse is a call to action and an opportunity to learn. Observations play a vital role in Balfour Beatty’s drive to achieve Zero Harm and ‘Report all unsafe events and conditions’ is our third Golden Rule. In 2021, we launched a new version of our Observation App across the UK and US businesses, responding to feedback raised via My Contribution, the company’s employee-led change programme. The App makes raising an observation quick and easy, streamlining the process to ensure the right information gets to the right people quickly, allowing people to be on-site doing their jobs rather than being tied up in offices filling in forms. The Observations App – downloadable freely on app stores – enables reporting to ‘celebrate the good’, ‘fix the bad’ and learn lessons from both.

One example of Balfour Beatty demonstrating leadership, setting the benchmark for best practise, and using its scale to help drive health and safety improvements across the sector, was in making cabbed dumpers mandatory across our c.600 sites across the UK.

Following reports of near misses around excavators and dumpers, Balfour Beatty worked with its supply chain partners to introduce impact-tested cabbed dumpers – the first in our industry to do so. The use of cabbed dumpers, where the cab is enclosed, has health and safety benefits for the operator as it provides better protection should an incident occur. The operator can also stay in the cab whilst being loaded removing the risk of getting on and off the dumper. Several of the cabbed dumpers can be driven by the operator in the direction that he or she is facing by rotating the seat, removing the need to reverse the vehicle, thereby making the operation safer for all around. The cab also ensures a better working environment, allowing workers to operate in a dry air-conditioned cab rather than an open-air seat.

SafetiBase is an award-winning system designed to improve the identification, management and communication of health and safety hazards for construction projects, allowing the sector to be increasingly data-driven in how it addresses health and safety risks.

It was developed collaboratively by a number of industry partners including Balfour Beatty VINCI, 3D Repo, Atkins, Mott MacDonald, Laing O’Rourke, Costain, Bentley, HS2 and Tideway. Funded through i3p and Innovate UK, SafetiBase stores structured health and safety risk data in the cloud to provide a better way to manage health and safety information than the unstructured and complex landscape that existed previously.

SafetiBase allows users to identify and manage health and safety risks within a 3D model. Because it uses a common coding language , it can be used to benchmark project safety performance and easily share lessons across disciplines. As it is a fully integrated element of the 3D Repo platform, users from any discipline, skill level or location can easily collaborate to mitigate risk in the context of the 2D, 3D or 4D model.

Users can draw on previously identified health and safety risks to inform the identification and mitigation of risks on their projects. The system records the issues that have been considered, actions taken and who has responsibility.

SafetiBase has been designed to conform with PAS 1192-6:2018: Specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health and Safety information using BIM.

SafetiBase is currently being utilised for some of our clients such as HS2 on the Area North and Old Oak Common station projects and for National Highways on the Lower Thames Crossing and M4/M5 Smart Motorway projects.

To find out more about SafetiBase visit here.