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FALSEWORK DISASTER POTENTIAL WORTH REMEMBERING

UK structural safety committee updates reminder on falsework safety

What appears to be a falsework collapse in Thailand points to the potential for disaster during the erection, dismantling and management of falsework.

The incident occured on a major university construction project. It is thought at least 2 people have died and others have been seriously injured. The collapse occurred as “cement was being poured on the 2nd floor of the building”. 

Government investigators are examining the cause of the collapse. The senior construction manger, site foreman, chief designer, and director have been “summoned to San Seuk Police Station to discuss the accident and who may be to blame”.

UK industry needs to beware of ‘collective amnesia’

The collapse of falsework has become a very rare event in the UK although a recent incident was triggered by removal of falsework at the wrong time.

The prime function of the UK Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) is to “identify in advance those trends and developments which might contribute to an increasing risk to structural safety”.

SCOSS has recently update a paper entitled Falsework: Full Circle? 

The article points out the need to avoid ‘collective amnesia’ whereby one generation often forgets, or is unaware, of the lessons learnt by the preceding generation. This process may undermine falsework safety.

Comment

HSE has published guidance on the Erection, use and dismantling of falsework and the above is a timely reminder to all those involved in falsework design, installation and monitoring.

Falsework collapses are low probability events but when they do occur the consequences can be catastrophic. It is wise to regularly review management arrangements and working practices for such high risk activities as control measures can become eroded and less effective over time.

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