A EUROPEAN threat to UK falsework safety standards was averted this week after intense lobbying by industry experts.
The new harmonised falsework Eurocode BS EN 12812 came into force this month and the existing British Standard BS 5975 should have been withdrawn at the same time.
But there was widespread concern that the new harmonised standard made inadequate provision for site safety, and the British Standards Institution (BSI) has now agreed that BS 5975 should continue in use in parallel with the new standard.
Pressure on BSI to keep the existing standard has come mainly from within its own falsework standard committee, B514/26.
'The harmonised standard is a limit state design code. It doesn't incorporate the lessons of the 1977 Bragg Report, which have served the UK well, ' said committee chairman and Norwest Holst chief engineer Frank Marples.
'If BS 5975 had been lost it is more than likely there would have been a significant increase in falsework collapses.'
BS 5975 was first published in 1982 in response to the Bragg Report, which was produced by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety after a series of falsework failures. One of the standard's main innovations was the requirement to appoint a falsework co-ordinator to ensure safe practice on site.
Marples said BS 5975 would be revised next year to make it more compatible with BS EN 12812. 'Everyone in the industry will be pleased with BSI's decision to keep this valuable standard going, ' he added.