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New guidance in bid to cut fatal trench collapses

Efforts to cut deaths in trench collapses have led to the publication of a Construction Plant Hire Association guide to safe excavation management.

It is aimed at preventing deaths and injuries caused by incorrectly supported or unsupported ­excavations. The CPA says that, on average, excavation collapses kill two construction workers every year, and cause many more serious injuries.
Most of these incidents occur in and around excavations that are less than 2.4m deep with either little or no temporary shoring.

The CPA worked closely with the Health & Safety Executive to produce the Good practice guide for the management of shoring in excavations, which summarises current best practice and offers a simple temporary works process for planning, design and construction.

Subsequent publications will include best practice and technical advances in excavation support systems.

“By following this advice, those engaged in the planning and execution process will generally be doing enough to satisfy their health and safety obligations under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007,” said support systems manufacturer and supplier MGF engineering director Steve Hesketh. He is the guide’s prime author and chairman of the CPA’s shoring technology interest group.

He added: “In addition, for the first time, simple industry-wide advice is given on assessing the competence of the duty holders identified in the process.”

Hesketh said the guide has widespread support across the industry, and hoped that industry-wide adoption would lead to “significant improvements in safety, programme and cost control”.

  • The guide can be downloaded at­technology-interest-group

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