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Fixing system keeps workers out of trenches

COMBAT POLYSTYRENE has developed a new fixing system which enables clay heave protection panels to be fitted to foundation trenches from the ground surface. The system is said to be quick and easy to use and avoids the temptation of working in unsupported trenches.

HSE guidelines strictly prohibit workers from entering unsupported trenches, but that can present difficulties when installing clay heave protection.

'There was wide concern in the industry over the dangers posed by trench working, and our discussions with the HSE, NHBC and groundwork contractors highlighted the need for a practical solution,' says Combat's Richard Simmons.

The tool mechanically attaches 300mm steel twist pins through the EPS and into the side of the trench. The pins are held in a magazine fitted to the tool which is lowered into the trench and operated using a lever at surface level, eliminating the need for workers to enter the trench.

Andrew Harrison, site manager for Tony Harrison Construction in Redbourn, Herts, already has the new tool. 'Safety is very important to us. This tool is very simple to use and is very effective at holding the Clayshield in place so nobody climbs into the trench. It is a genuine step forward in safety and also saves us time,' he explained.

Richard Ash, inspector with HSE's construction sector, added: 'We are always looking for ways to prevent the need to enter excavations and welcome any manufacturer's initiatives.'

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