Cobuilder launches a new HSE tool for risk management of hazardous chemicals

Modified on September 4, 2020

In the past year, we have been working closely with the users of our solution Cobuilder Collaborate in Norway to develop a new tool that will help companies to better manage the risk associated with handling hazardous chemicals on the construction site.

In Norway, our home market, we have a long tradition of delivering solutions that facilitate regulatory compliance and aid construction industry actors in working safely with hazardous chemicals. In fact, this was the main purpose of our first digital solution, BASS, that was launched 20 years ago and was adopted across the entire industry in Norway. This project continued over the next decade and led to significant achievements for the entire Norwegian construction sector. It resulted in the almost complete elimination of some harmful substances on Norwegian construction sites.

New process for managing the risk

Today, we are launching a new tool for risk management that aims to help employers ensure the health and safety of their workers. By following the new step-by-step process in Cobuilder Collaborate, they can efficiently manage the risk associated with the use of hazardous chemicals, and make sure that all alternatives and measures for eliminating and reducing that risk have been taken into consideration.

The new tool for risk management is now available to all users of Cobuilder Collaborate in the Norwegian market.

‘It is estimated that just in Norway 800,000 workers are exposed daily to hazardous chemicals in the workplace *. Hazardous chemicals can trigger serious health damage if the employer does not take the necessary precautions to protect employees when using such chemicals in their work’, says Maria Andersen, Quality Manager Chemicals and Environment at Cobuilder.

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Maria Andersen, Quality Manager Chemicals and Environment at Cobuilder

 A better understanding of the risk

‘It is absolutely necessary that the employer has knowledge of the health hazards of chemical substances and ensures that employees receive training and information about this. It is easier to follow routines when you have knowledge of the risk and understand the implications.’

Trude Vollheim, Director of the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority
De farlige stoffene på arbeidsplassen, Arbeidstilsynet, 31 August 2018

With the introduction of the new tool for risk management as part of the Cobuilder Collaborate solution, the users no longer need extensive theoretical knowledge to be able to ensure proper handling of chemicals that constitute a health hazard on the construction site.

How did we achieve that?

Using digital product data from Safety Data Sheets, we have developed and implemented a designated filter for detection of undesirable chemical substances as part of our solution Cobuilder Collaborate. With the help of this filter the users can easily identify chemicals that are subject to regulatory requirements or other organisational and project-specific requirements. One of the most important benefits of the filter is that it enables the users to identify chemical substances where risk management should be prioritised.

Once the risk is identified, it can be easily evaluated with the help of the new HSE tool. Depending on the frequency of use and the intended use, it calculates automatically a value for the risk that occurs as a combination of the intended use, frequency of use and inherent hazards of the chemical.

By following the step-by-step process in the new tool, the users can consider eliminating the use of certain chemical substances or substituting these with others that are less hazardous. If substitution is not possible, the tool offers suggestions for various technical and organisational measures as well as relevant personal protective equipment that may reduce the risk.

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Pablo Gonzalez, Senior Adviser at Skanska

‘We have been looking forward to the release of this new functionality’, says senior adviser Pablo Gonzalez at Skanska. ‘As a test user, I have already had the opportunity to try the new tool and I am eager to see it implemented in all our projects in Norway. This will create a better understanding of the risk and will contribute to safer handling of the chemicals on the construction site, not only by our own employees but by all participants in our projects. Risk management is not just a legal requirement – it is about protecting the health of those who use the chemicals in their work.’

Using Cobuilder Collaborate for risk management of hazardous chemicals

The new HSE tool is at the moment only available to the users of Cobuilder Collaborate in Norway. Contact us if you are interested in using the new tool in your country.

Moreover, each organization is unique. Cobuilder Consultancy can also help you develop your own strategy and select the specific tools that will meet all your needs.