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May 2013 – Steel sets a safety example

May 24, 2013 by NSC in Comment
News from the BCSA’s members that the steel sector’s already highly creditable health and safety performance has improved further in 2012 makes happy reading in our News section this month. The number of reportable accidents recorded under RIDDOR, the Reportable Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, fell by 24% during the year.

This is all the more encouraging considering that there was a reduction of 25% in 2011 and a reduction of 25% the year before that as well. A bit of complacency might have been expected after even one year’s success on that scale, but the steel construction sector is committed to continually improving safety, as these statistics indicate.

There were no fatal accidents during 2012 and there was a reduction of 60% in accidents involving ‘slips, trips and falls’. Somebody – a lot of people actually – is obviously doing something right. Steel has for long been able to boast that it is an inherently safer construction technique than alternatives, with most work carried out by highly trained and skilled workers in factory controlled conditions, rather than on potentially hazardous construction sites amid the confusion of multiple trades operating hard up against one another.

When steel comes to site for erection work is mostly carried out from the relative security of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) where erectors are harnessed and all possible fall prevention procedures are adopted. Steel erectors are highly trained and experienced in working with MEWPs, which is why their safety record when using MEWPs is excellent, something not all trades can boast of.

Improvements from these levels only come from a lot of focussed hard work on the part of all those involved, including the increasingly safety conscious site operatives themselves, supervisors and site managers, main contractors taking their safety responsibilities very seriously, and safety managers.

n the steel sector credit has also to be given to the BCSA’s health and safety committee which encourages the spread of safety best practice among members. The target for the construction industry must remain zero accidents and the steel sector is showing the way to go.

Tough task for awards judges

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, says Chairman of the judges of this year’s Structural Steel Design Awards David Lazenby. The shortlist is announced this month, see News, and16 steel projects have been selected to go forward for final judging.

Despite the continuing poor workloads the awards, now in their 45th year, brought forward an extremely high quality of entry, with projects from all over the UK and from a wide variety of sectors including commercial, transport, bridges, industrial facilities, energy, education and tourist attractions. They are also of varying sizes, proving that to succeed at the SSDA not only big is beautiful. Good luck to all on the shortlist.

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