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June 16, 2014

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SHE 2014: guidance document on ground conditions for construction plant equipment


The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) is exhibiting at this year’s Safety & Health Expo. Kevin Minton highlights the CPA’s new guidance document, which is available as a draft for public comment.

Failure of the ground on which construction plant stands and moves is a frequent cause of minor incidents and near misses on sites, together with a significant number of serious injuries and fatalities.

The new guidance from CPA deals with ground bearing pressures and loadings from mobile plant, and the assessment and engineering of the ground’s capability to withstand the loadings.

The Ground conditions for construction plant guidance document covers the coordination of duties, with reference to CDM and to temporary works, and contains technical guidance presented in an accessible way. HSE, the Environment Agency, UKCG, CECA, the Temporary Works Forum and specialist contractor organisations were among those that contributed to the guidance document.

CPA will also be promoting the new Competence to operate construction guidance, which has also been developed in conjunction with HSE, CITB and the industry.

Many organisations see training and the possession of a card as a proxy for competence; however this is a dangerous assumption. It may indicate a general level of ability to operate plant but does not take into account the difficulty of the task, the complexity of the environment or the experience of the operator.

These all have a bearing on the successful management of the task. The new document is intended to provide good practice guidance on the management of the competence of plant operators, clarifying methods for employers to manage, develop and record their employees’ competences. 

These two documents are part of a wide range of guidance published by CPA, including industry standard publications on mobile cranes, tower cranes, telehandlers and MEWPs.

CPA works through the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group to develop and publish guidance to help the construction industry to reduce the incidence of accident and ill-health. Although these two documents are centred on construction plant issues, the principles are adaptable to other sectors, and can have resonance and value outside the world of the plant operator.

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