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Sub-contractors join forces for safe ground conditions

January 3, 2017 by NSC in News
nground-conditions1701The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA), Federation of Master Builders (FMB), National Federation of Builders and Structural Timber Association (STA), have joined forces to remind the construction industry about the need for safe ground conditions on construction sites, particularly during winter.

FMB Head of Policy Andrew Dixon said: “Ground conditions could be the difference between life and death for construction site workers. We were lucky to have a dry start to Autumn. But these weather conditions did not last and with the rain comes softer ground and danger.

“Mobile plant such as cranes and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) weigh many tonnes. If ground conditions are poor, they are at risk of sinking which poses a serious risk to life.”

BCSA Director General Sarah McCann-Bartlett added: “It is pleasing to see that main contractors are generally providing their sub-contractors with detailed information about ground conditions at the start of a job as required by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.

“However, the regulations also say they must undertake ongoing monitoring of ground conditions and where the ground is disturbed, consolidate and re-test it.”

A recent survey of BCSA members’ Health & Safety Managers found that most main contractors provide safe site handover certificates to sub-contractors and the Temporary Works Coordinator is usually made known and available to sub-contractors. However, the CDM Principal Designer rarely liaises with sub-contractors on site conditions.

While main contractors usually provide adequate ground conditions at the start of a project, these often deteriorate as work progresses and the ground is sometimes not properly remediated and re-tested.

National Federation of Builders Head of Policy and Research Paul Bogle said: “The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group’s Good Practice Guide for Ground Conditions for Construction Plant provides excellent guidance for all those working in the construction sector. The Guide aims to prevent accidents and save lives by ensuring that ground conditions are suitable for heavy lifting equipment used by sub-contractors on construction sites.”

The Good Practice Guide for Ground Conditions for Construction Plant can be downloaded from: http://www.cpa.uk.net/sfpsg/

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