Scaffolding loading bays safety alert published

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The Health and Safety Executive has published a new Safety Alert Bulletin for scaffolding loading bays…

A new safety bulletin has been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in relation to extendable scaffolding loading bay gates. The bulletin came about after the HSE became aware that a number of manufacturers and suppliers were marketing gates that did not satisfy legal requirements or applicable standards when in some configurations.

The loading bay gate is supposed to form part of the edge protection on a scaffold when it is extended. However, the structure is not robust and as such does not fulfil this safety function. The HSE said as a result it did not comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which relates to similar styles of loading bay gates.

The gates described in the safety alert must now adhere to new rules. Stainless steel cable ties will be accepted as a measure to secure the mesh panel in the interim. This will require on average one cable tie per 300mm. If the gate manufacturer allows lighter duty cable ties it should be rated at a minimum of 75kg loop tensile strength. The alert also warned most cable ties are are not designed to be reused so should be replaced after.

The HSE bulletin said installing the extendable gate in the fully closed configuration would comply with the safety alert, as cable ties would not be required. As part of the seven-day scaffold inspection stainless steel cable ties should be included.

Additionally, options should be available to allow the gates to be opened without workers being at risk of slipping or tripping through the gap underneath the open gate or the large gap while opening the gate.

While the HSE acknowledged cable ties would not offer a permanent safety solution, it said it understood many of the gates are manufactured and shipped from overseas. As such change will take some time to implement.

The use of stainless steel cable ties will be accepted as the correct method of securing the gates until the end of December 2016. After this time Enforcement Notices will be issued on a case by case basis for gates deemed to be inadequate. Gates that do not meet the minimum standard during the interim period will be subject to appropriate enforcement action.

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