By Euan Youdale09 May 2008
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there were 77 fatalities in the UK construction industry between 2006 and 2007, a 28% increase on the previous year. Twenty-three (30%) of those were due to falls from height and 16 (21%) were caused by a moving or falling object. This amounted to 3.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers, up from 3 per 100,000 in the 2005 to 2006 period.
The figures show that major injuries to employees rose slightly in 2006 to 2007 to 3,111, compared to 3,706 the previous year.
On a more positive note, the rate of major injuries decreased by 4% from 307.8 per 100,000 to 295.4. This, says the HSE, continues the general downward trend since 1998 and 1999, and is the lowest rate since The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) was introduced into the UK in 1996.
HSE: Reducing falls from vehicles – case study 8
UK construction company Shepherd Group in the UK has a fleet of jackleg portable cabins that it uses for on-site accommodation. They are usually lifted from the back of the delivery truck using an onboard knuckle boom crane. Operatives had to mount the roof of the cabin to attach the lifting chains or slings at each corner, which led to a risk of falling.
By working with its employees, the company came up with a solution. Brackets were retrofitted to the bottom and top of each cabin jackleg. Four slings are then attached on each leg.
“With practice, the slings are relatively easy to position from the ground. The cabin can be loaded and unloaded by the operator alone. It is a relatively quick method once the operator is familiar with swinging the slings into place overt the brackets.”
Work at height is only necessary when the cabins are double or triple-stacked. In this case Shepherd designed a ladder that is fixed to the cabin jackleg. The company has also modified it equipment cages, using the same principles.
HSE: Reducing falls from vehicles – case study 12
Travis Perkins Group, in the UK, supplies a range of materials to the construction industry. It includes a fleet of about 1,000 truck mounted cranes. The company carried out a review with its drivers and truck body manufacturer Massey Truck Engineering to minimise handling required on the bed of the vehicle and improve access and working areas on it. As a result Travis Perkins has provided access at the centre of the bed. This includes handholds on the central posts and improved grip thanks to a new surface to the side rails of the body.