Being a health and safety advisor and Construction Safety plus trainer, I’m often discussing in depth the five principles of risk assessment:
- Identify the hazard
- Who may it affect
- Evaluate risk and severity
- Record your findings
- Review and monitor
Recently, while having these discussions, I was considering non anti impalement methods of protection on reinforced steel starter bars and wondering its inclusion as an adequate control measure regarding the foreseeable risk of impalement.
I wondered how effective standard mushroom caps are as a control measure for reducing risk when installing reinforced steel starter bars.
- The first step would clearly be to identify the hazard. In this case, the task was installing reinforced steel starter bars and leaving a long row of knee height starter bars on completion. The hazard clearly being impalement on exposed steel starter bars.
- This exposed hazard would pose a risk to steel fixers, site managers and site visitors.
- The initial evaluation would conclude that without adequate control measures the risk factor of fatality would be high.
Now it’s fair to say most risk assessments would identify mushroom caps and good house keeping as a control measure due to previously having no feasible alternative and the only option available.
The issue we have to consider now is have we gone far enough.
I would say we have not!
As competent persons and safety professionals, we need to be aware of our duties regarding being aware of new innovations in the market.
In fact, under the Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999, General principles of prevention (e) It clearly states adapting to technical progress. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3242/schedule/1/made
Fortunately there are cost and time effective innovations in the market today that will provide adequate protection and potentially eliminate and reduce the risk of impalement on your construction sites.
I would argue to adequately reduce the foreseeable risk of impalement on reinforced steel starter bars, competent persons should identify and implement an anti impalement system . Only then, can we guarantee a safe system of work when installing steel bars, providing safe access and egress from that place of work.
The WISAblock system is the only reasonably practicable solution which effectively reduces your risk factor when assessing reinforced steel starter bar installation. 80% quicker, 50% cheaper and 100% safer.
Please make sure your risk assessment and safe system of work goes far enough and ensure the task has been planned correctly and that suitable and sufficient equipment is available on your sites. It maybe the difference between life or death!
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