Plant safety guidance publication

By Christian Shelton07 August 2017


Unintended machine movement can potentially cause serious injuries and fatalities

The UK Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group (SFPSG) has released a new publication on plant safety entitled ‘Reducing Unintended Movement of Plant - Managing Exposure to Consequential Risks.’ The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group was formed to produce good practice guidance on plant safety-based topics and is chaired by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA).

Unintended movement of plant machinery occurs when inadvertent operation of a control, such as a switch, lever or pedal, occurs causing unintended machine movement. This can potentially cause serious injuries and fatalities. The new publication, which has been developed in conjunction with the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE), provides guidance on a range of control measures to help prevent this from happening.

In identifying and documenting actions to help manage the exposure to the consequential risks of unintended movement, the following topics are covered within the guidance:


• Planning of the task and the selection of plant

• Attributes of personnel, supervision and training requirements

• Control of the working zones and those within the area

• Communication

• Types of operating controls and means of isolation

• Selection and fitting of additional control measures, including clothing specifications

• Checks, inspections and maintenance requirements

A large number of case studies of actual incidents have been documented in the guidance and it includes an analysis of the causes, consequences and outcomes of each, for which there are often a number of causal factors. This emphasises how incidents have occurred and how they could have been prevented.

This latest publication encompasses all plant types including those operated through a remote control unit, with the exception of mobile elevating work platforms as this has already been covered in a separate publication on crushing issues from the Plant Safety Group.

CPA director Kevin Minton said, “If construction plant moves unexpectedly, then anyone close to it is at risk of being seriously injured or killed. This new publication gives guidance on a range of control measures to prevent this happening. Drivers, people working near plant, supervisors and contractors all have a part to play. We urge all those in the construction sector and those involved with the operation of plant and machinery to implement the many recommendations in order to maintain safe plant activities.”

The publication is available to download for free from the CPA website at:


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