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HSE issues mobile plant warning to construction industry

HSE InfoLine : 07 October, 2005  (New Product)
The Health and Safety Executive has today issued a warning to the construction industry about possible dangers with two items of mobile plant commonly used by construction companies, mobile elevating working platforms and telehandlers.
Geoff Cox, Head of Operations Yorkshire and North East today said, 'There are common features to a number of fatal accidents, and it's those we want to bring to the attention of the construction industry. If you use these types of plant, you need to know what the risks may be and how to check whether you might have a problem yourselves'.

HSE are drawing attention to two specific risks. The first is when working from a MEWP there is a danger of the operator being trapped against an overhead or adjacent object that prevents the controls from being released. The second is when working on sites where a telehandler needs to be reversed, or where there is poor pedestrian segregation, there is a risk, due to the driver's limited visibility, of people walking around the site being struck.

Geoff Cox continued, 'It should be relatively simple to assess whether you might have a problem. Solving the problem may involve both management controls and physical measures. The management control issues relate to selecting the most appropriate equipment for the task and site, ensuring operators are properly trained and are familiar with the site and the equipment, and setting and enforcing site rules. Physical measures may also be appropriate, but HSE's advice is that users should

always contact the supplier or manufacturer concerned before considering taking any physical measures themselves'.

HSE is working with manufacturers and suppliers so that they can deal with some of these issues at source. For new plant, this includes changing the design to reduce or eliminate the hazard, or providing means to control the risk. Suppliers and manufacturers have also been encouraged by HSE to provide information to users of existing machines about risk assessment and any additional measures they could take.

HSE is also involved in joint working and visibility research with UK-based manufacturers and suppliers of telehandlers to improve the international design standards to which they are built.
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