Blog Posts

ATLS / Safeguarding Workers’ Well-being with Prevention through Design (PtD)

By Atiya Rahim, Project Manager

Every year, thousands of occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities occur on jobsites worldwide. But what if there was a proactive approach to mitigate these risks before they even emerged? That’s where Prevention through Design (PtD) comes in. This safety initiative is revolutionizing the construction industry by embedding safety considerations directly into the design process.

A shining example of PtD in action is the collaboration between Erland, EMD Serono, PM Group, and BR+A on EMD Serono’s Horizon Building. By identifying 175 considerations and implementing 122 of those design changes, we successfully minimized occupational hazards and risks. Now, this same passionate team is back, this time working tirelessly on the Bourne Lab project to ensure safety remains a top priority.

The EMD Serono Bourne Lab project is a 15,000-square-foot renovation within an active life science facility. The space will require a significant electrical and connectivity upgrade. Erland will also overhaul the existing mechanicals, HVAC, and plumbing systems to accommodate the new lab’s layout. New ductwork, fume hoods, and sinks will also be installed. 

In collaboration with PM Group, over 45 PtD considerations have been identified to date, and a significant portion of them have already been implemented. This project exemplifies a proactive approach to safeguarding workers' well-being. The renovation, spanning 15,000 square feet, involves intricate electrical upgrades, mechanical overhauls, and the installation of various systems crucial for laboratory operations.

So, how does PtD play a role in the Bourne Lab project? Let's delve into a few notable examples:

1. Beam Clamps for Fall Protection:
In the new UPS room, beam clamps have been strategically installed to enable personnel to work safely above and on the roof of the new UPS Room. This simple yet effective addition ensures that workers can perform tasks at heights without compromising their safety.

2. Shut-off Valves for Accessibility:
Accessibility to utility supplies is crucial for lab technicians and building service personnel. By incorporating shut-off valves above and below OSP, access to utility supplies becomes seamless, facilitating maintenance and emergency procedures.

3. Centrally Located Lower-level Exhaust:
The installation of a centrally located lower-level exhaust duct is a critical component of the Bourne Lab project. Designed to extract harmful fumes, this feature ensures a healthier and safer environment for all occupants.

These examples represent just a fraction of the meticulous planning and execution involved in integrating PtD principles into the Bourne Lab project. And the results speak volumes—zero lost-time incidents through countless hours of work and a safety culture that surpasses industry norms.

As construction safety continues to evolve, it's imperative that we continue to prioritize it at every turn. Prevention through Design isn't just a buzzword—it's a paradigm shift towards a safer, more sustainable future. By embedding safety considerations into the very fabric of our designs, we can protect the most valuable asset of any project—its people.

In the end, it's not just about constructing buildings; it's about building a culture of safety that reverberates throughout the industry, ensuring that every worker returns home safely at the end of the day.

For any questions regarding this topic, please contact Atiya Rahim at