HSE reinforces guidance…

Health & Safety Executive calls for thorough planning of demolition.

Following the airing of the first episode of the Channel 5 documentary “When Demolitions Go Wrong” HSE is reminding demolition and construction firms of the need to review their processes with a particular focus on thorough planning, management and control of demolition and refurbishment work.

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s Head of Construction Operations in the Midlands and North West, says: “Structural instability can be a problem in buildings that are old, decayed, poorly maintained, and in newer buildings that have been badly designed and constructed or abused in use. Even sound structures can become unstable because of a lack of planning of construction and demolition work.

“Demolishing large, complex structures is a particularly high-hazard activity. Doing it safely is highly complex and technical, and relevant expertise is vital. These jobs require careful planning and execution by contractors who are competent in the full range of demolition techniques, and who have access to designers and engineers with the right knowledge, skills, and experience in this area.”

Mrs Jardine explains that businesses that properly plan, organise, manage and monitor their work and use competent people are not only avoiding accidents and ill health to their workers, but are also more efficient. She is adamant that up-front planning pays dividends with contracts generally coming in on time and budget with fewer added costs, and often to a higher quality.

She added: “Accidents caused by poor planning and risks management can have substantial human costs that are felt for many years by the victims and their families.
“In addition to the impact on people’s lives, accidents can also lead to substantial remediation costs, higher insurance premiums, and, if HSE investigates, court fines and prison sentences., with the inevitable impact on an individual’s and a firm’s reputations. As well as being morally right, it is simply common sense and good business to ensure rigorous planning, organising, managing and monitoring of the whole project.”

HSE publishes guidance for businesses involved in construction and demolition. http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/demolition.htm