The Energy Wheel is a tool that helps those on construction sites identify commonly missed hazards that must be identified through complex problem-solving requiring relatively high cognitive effort.

May 7, 2024

Next-Level Safety: How the Energy Wheel Transforms Hazard Detection

Learn about Haskell's use of the Energy Wheel, a groundbreaking visual aid proven to improve hazard detection and ensure a safer construction environment.


Day 2 of Safety Week 2024 focuses on encouraging and welcoming new ideas, and Haskell is taking this opportunity to highlight the Energy Wheel. This visual tool provides next-level information that improves hazard recognition by 30%.

Studies reveal that workers generally identify 45% of hazards in and around their work area. In other words, they identify and discuss fewer than half of the hazards that can affect them. A study of a cross-section of construction personnel representing 23 different trades and worker experience levels ranging from zero to 43 years revealed that hazards are typically missed for one or two reasons:

  • The hazards are detectable, but the individual cannot identify them.
  • The hazard wasn't initially detectable, given the information available.

Data also suggest there may be biological, cognitive drivers at play. Hazards are often processed instinctively and with little mental effort, whereas those commonly missed must be identified through complex problem-solving requiring relatively high cognitive effort.

“The word hazard is traditionally understood as a source of harm or danger,” said Brian Roundtree, Haskell's Director of Safety. “While the traditional daily work plan can yield positive results, most daily workplace documents focus on checkbox hazard controls to assess worker safety but lack meaningful content on hazards not typically identified.”

The Energy Wheel is based on two observations:

  • A hazard can be defined as a source of energy that causes injury, illness or death.
  • All injuries result from undesirable contact between a person and one or more energy sources.

The Energy Wheel is based on two years of full-time pilot testing by researchers at the University of Colorado and Virginia Tech. Each of the 10 energy sources is represented by its icon and segment of the circle. Haskell’s tool allows users to click or tap each energy type to reveal vital information on the potentially dangerous forms it can take.

“Because energy can be abstract, it is best communicated as the simple forms in which it commonly occurs when a project,” Roundtree said. “It’s a tool used to prompt the identification of hazards not easily recognized during task planning.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Privacy Policy

Our website uses technology to offer you a personalized experience. We need your consent use cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. By clicking “Accept,” you agree to our use of cookies.