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What Happened / Impact?

The 2018 Irish Water HSQE inspection programme identified a significant number of safety findings relating to temporary work platforms on shuttering systems.

Examples included:

  • Limited working space on platforms;
  • Inadequate access;
  • Missing or inadequate guardrails;
  • No guardrail/edge protection at head of ladders;
  • Failure to completely plank work platforms;
  • Standing or climbing on surfaces not designed for such use (due to working platforms not of correct height);
  • Failure to use fall arrest systems;
  • Tools or materials left underfoot and surfaces slippery from shuttering oil.


Immediate Learnings / Recommendations

  • All work at height should be properly planned and organised;
  • Temporary design certificate should be provided for all temporary working platforms associated with shuttering systems, where required;
  • Temporary working platforms should only be erected and altered by a competent person;
  • Temporary working platforms should be properly inspected and maintained;
  • Temporary working platforms should be of suitable & sufficient strength and rigidity for the purpose of which it is intended to be used;
  • Temporary working platforms should be dismantled in such a way as to prevent accidental displacement;
  • Careful consideration should be given to the selection of temporary work platforms so that a Safe System of Work is adopted. The Safe System of Work would take into account the following:
    • The hazards, including the distance and consequences of any potential fall (e.g. what material and equipment may a person fall on? / persons may be working at a relatively low height but at risk of falling on exposed reinforcing steel starter bars);
    • Any deviations from the design are communicated to the relevant parties (Designer, Temp Works Designer, PSP, etc.);
    • Safe access and egress to the working platform;
    • Number of persons working on the platform and equipment required;
    • Any supervision of workers that may be necessary (e.g. work equipment selected lower down the hierarchy of control, such as fall arrest equipment, will require a high level of supervision);
    • Emergency or rescue procedures that may be required (e.g. if persons fall while using a fall arrest system); it is not acceptable to rely on emergency services – it needs to be covered in the risk assessment and subject to appropriate planning prior to commencement of work.


Further Actions

  • Persons who make decisions at site in relation to temporary works may be deemed as designers. Also, those employing, or in the control of, people undertaking design work are themselves deemed designers, and should be aware of their duties.
  • Designers should consider the general principles of prevention and constructability in their designs.
  • The PSDP should ensure they co-ordinate the activities of designers in relation to temporary structures where required.
  • Contractors involved in this type of works should consider the various shuttering working platforms available and ensure systems used comply with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, Part 4: Work at Height.
  • See examples provided of shuttering platforms systems available

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