Ethentic Ethentic Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data Ethentic Ethentic

    PREVENTING CATASTROPHIC EVENTS IN CONSTRUCTION

    Report examines key corporate issues for industry leaders to address

    HSE has published a report RR834 – Preventing catastrophic events in construction. The report examines the type of event, why they occur and how the probability of such incidents might be reduced.

    ‘Catastrophic Events’ are descibed as involving multiple casualties on and/or off-site or other gross impacts including serious disruption of infrastructure and/or services. In addition, such events may adversely affect organisations commercially and create public demand for action e.g. a public enquiry and/or changes to relevant legislation. 

    Beyond the ordinary or routine

    The report describes such events as “beyond the ordinary or routine …characterised by being of low probability but high consequence” and examples provided are:

    • Structural collapse of permanent structure;
    • Collapse of temporary works;
    • Collapse of plant or equipment, such as cranes;
    • Fire;
    • Tunnel collapse; and
    • Disruption of underground services.

    In the chemical, oil and gas and the nuclear and rail industries, major hazard scenarios are required to be examined in depth. These potentially catastrophic events are sometimes referred to as ‘Top Events’. It is appreciated that they can have a disastrous impact on a company’s reputation and well-being and upon society. The process of examining the risk of a catastrophic event requires that a ‘safety case’ is prepared, based upon a safety risk assessment.

    Report conclusion

    It was clear that there have been ‘catastrophic events’ with major consequences in construction. Their importance is recognised by the industry, although the report considered that in their day-to-day work few people realised the severity of what might happen if things went seriously wrong. Examples of ‘catastrophic events’ are given in the report.

    Catastrophic events in construction are real issues which require proper consideration by all stakeholders, led by directors and senior staff. There are opportunities for improvement of performance and all stakeholder groups should be involved in agreeing what should be done and making the necessary changes.

    Issues requiring attention

    Issue 1: The industry should recognise that catastrophic events need further attention

    We found that Catastrophic Events are a significant cause for concern and have not received the attention they deserve. Accordingly they should be considered in an appropriate manner and preventative action should be taken as an inherent part of normal construction activity.

    Issue 2: Corporate risk management systems should be improved

    We found that many events had occurred which had significantly impacted at board level upon both construction organisations and upon clients. In order to respond to obligations imposed by legislation and The Turnbull Report, companies’ organisational risk management should include consideration of how well Catastrophic Event risks are being managed. The use of industry-relevant indicators should be explored to support such activity.

    Issue 3: Knowledge, skills and experience of safety risk management should be raised

    The case studies frequently demonstrated a failure among project personnel at all levels to adequately identify the full extent of hazards and address the risks arising; other sources demonstrated a considerable degree of uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the industry’s knowledge, skills and experience of safety risk management. This suggested that more emphasis needed to be given to:

    • Education of those who will be entering the industry
    • CPD and on-the-job training
    • Development of more effective safety risk management systems.

    This issue offers the best promise for long-term incremental improvement and involves all stakeholders.

    Issue 4: Communication and interface management should be improved

    The research emphasised the need for effective communication about hazards and particularly the importance of effective management of risk at interfaces between and within organisations. The report explores areas where improvements can be made.

    This issue underpins the improvement of performance in other issue topics and involves all stakeholders.

    Issue 5: Competence is key

    As expected, the issue of competence (which underpins CDM 2007) was seen to be important. In particular the competent fulfilment of the role of Principal Contractor on site was identified as central to avoiding Catastrophic Events in construction.

    The industry should develop proposals for ensuring that inappropriate Principal Contractors (or more accurately inappropriate persons) do not become responsible for sites where there are risks which could lead to Catastrophic Events; all stakeholders need to be consulted on how this might be achieved.

    Issue 6: Effective management of temporary works is crucial to success

    It was apparent from many case studies that insufficient consideration was being given to the management of temporary works in its widest sense. This work must be taken seriously and include all temporary works aspects, including issues relating to cranes and scaffolding.

    The potential impact of failures of temporary works needs to be considered carefully to reduce the likelihood of a Catastrophic Event occurring and the industry needs to seek to improve performance in this vital area. All stakeholders should be consulted on how to achieve this improvement.

    Issue 7: Independent reviews should be employed

    Evidence was found that the effective use of independent review, from an early stage and ongoing, would have reduced the risk of a catastrophic event.

    Evidence was also found of projects where there was inadequate independent review of what was happening on site and there was concern in the industry that levels of effective supervision had been stripped away over recent decades.

    These issues need to be explored further and encouragement given for clients to seek independent authoritative advice.

    Issue 8: The industry should learn from experience

    Learning from experiences was not found to be well-rooted in the industry. There was lack of confidence that:

    • Learning was shared rapidly;
    • Lessons were incorporated into the education and training process; and
    • Information could be easily accessed.

    There was however activity which needed to be encouraged and supported:

    • The work of SCOSS and CROSS (which needs to be more widely appreciated and publicised); and
    • The work of the various industry bodies and groupings that provide guidance. Ways to improve their effective performance should be investigated and their activities should be inclusive of all industry stakeholders.

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    MAJOR FM FIRM FAILED TO MAINTAIN BACK-UP POWER

    Power loss at laboratory site created potential risk from biological agents

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th November 2018

    IGNORING HSE PROHIBITIONS COST FIRM £250,000

    CDM 2015 and work at height requirements repeatedly breached

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 16th November 2018

    ROOF COLLAPSED UNDER EXCESS LOADING

    Director and company fined over roof design failures

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th November 2018

    FORK LIFT OVERTURNED IN SCAFFOLDING YARD

    Untrained operator suffered life changing crush injuries

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th November 2018

    STRUCTURAL SAFETY ALERT: EFFECTS OF SCALE

    SCOSS issues alert after concerns disclosed over ‘large structures’

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th November 2018

    ASBESTOS EXPOSED BY UNTRAINED WORKERS

    Contractor failed to act properly despite HSE intervention

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th November 2018

    GAS MAIN STRIKE REPAIR CAUSED SEVERE BURNS

    Contractor excavator damage to gas pipe ends in £1.2m fine

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th November 2018

    REBAR FELL FROM FLT IN UNSAFE LIFTING OPERATION

    Multiple fractures caused by inappropriate use of fork lift

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th November 2018

    HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 7th NOV 2018

    hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices register latest version

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th November 2018

    POORLY PLANNED LIFT DISMANTLE INJURED WORKMAN

    Counterweight or suspension rope struck worker in lift shaft

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 1st November 2018

    CONSTRUCTION INJURY AND ILL-HEALTH 2017/18

    hselogo1Fatal injury rate in long term decline whilst ill-health trend flat lining

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 1st November 2018

    DUMPER DRIVEN INTO OPEN UNGUARDED EXCAVATION

    Contractor fined over absence of suitable excavation / dumper precautions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 1st November 2018

    DEATH FAILED TO TRIGGER PREVENTIVE ACTION

    Prison term for director whilst his company ordered to pay £3/4m

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th October 2018

    FAILURE TO MAINTAIN GUARDS PROVES COSTLY

    Woodworking machinery defective despite previous HSE advice

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 26th October 2018

    CISRS LAUNCH SYSTEM SCAFFOLD INSPECTION COURSES

    Training courses prompted by growing use of system scaffolding

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 25th October 2018

    HSE INSPECTS CLADDING REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT

    hselogo1Advice to Inspectors published on fire risk during work on tall buildings

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 25th October 2018

    HIGHWAYS, RAIL AND WATER HEALTH & SAFETY HUBS

    Websites provide useful information, alerts and tools

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2018

    ELIMINATING CONCRETE DRILLING VIBRATION HAZARD

    Cutting specialist innovation avoids vibration exposure management

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2018

    NEW MEWP WORK AT HEIGHT RESCUE GUIDANCE

    Industry body publishes simple guidance on MEWP stranding actions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2018

    HSE PUBLISH RIDDOR DATA VISUALISATION TOOL

    hselogo1Construction injury records made more relevant and easily used

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2018

    COUNCIL OVERLOOKED ICE RINK SLIPPING RISK

    Obvious risk of employees falling on ice rink was left uncontrolled

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 22nd October 2018

    STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

    CROSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 22nd October 2018

    YOUNG WORKER FELL FROM PETROL STATION CANOPY

    Steel fabricator after young construction worker falls on first day at work

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th October 2018

    FIRM FINED OVER FAILURE AT ASSESS VIBRATION RISK

    Vibration regulations not acted upon until seven years in operation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th October 2018

    FAILURE TO ISOLATE LEAVES WORKMAN PARALYSED

    Conveyor guards removed before power source isolated

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 16th October 2018
    Ethentic Ethentic Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data Ethentic Ethentic

    3 Responses to “PREVENTING CATASTROPHIC EVENTS IN CONSTRUCTION”

    1. FALSEWORK COLLAPSE DURING CONCRTE POUR IN NEW YORK | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

      […] been no major UK falsework collapses in recent years. This incident highlights the potential for catastrophe in the absence of proper planning, erection, loading or dismantling […]

    2. SCOSS HIGHLIGHTS LESSONS FROM MAJOR STADIUM COLLAPSE | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

      […] report pulls no punches and is a useful reminder of the catastrophic potential for injury always present during major construction projects. Many conclusions in the […]

    3. MANAGING RISKS WITH CATASTROPHIC POTENTIAL | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

      […] potential in the construction sector. In February 2011 the findings were published in Contract Research Report RR834 – Preventing Catastrophic Events in […]