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MAJOR INCIDENT POTENTIAL ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Industry body to take forward research findings on disaster potential 

The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has been engaged by HSE to explore the potential for major incidents in the construction industry.

The CIRIA report is expected shortly and HSE is “keen that momentum is maintained to ensure the findings and conclusions are acted on”.

Researchers identified the main types of event that have major incident potential.These are:

CIRIA will be undertaking activities to promote the findings and will publish a report in their own series later in 2010.

Emerging findings

Tentative conclusions have been identified and emerging issues include:

  1. Awareness – insufficient hazard awareness of incident potential at all levels in the construction industry;
  2. Learning – need to improve systems to enable the industry to learn from past events;
  3. Competence – need to improve the competence of on-site staff so they have the knowledge and experience to manage major incident potential processes;
  4. Management indicators – absence of meaningful performance indicators that would give senior management assurance that major accident potential control measures were in place and working effectively.

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) will be considering the matter on 21 July 2010

Comment

An interesting paragraph in the tentative conclusions states:

“It was apparent from many case studies that insufficient consideration was being given to the role of the temporary works coordinator. This role must be taken seriously and include all temporary works aspects, including scaffolding, plant and other management of impact of the works on adjacent structures.”

This is one area on which all projects could take some immediate action to review and support this important role.

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