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HSE SAFETY NOTICE: LIFT DEMO AND DISMANTLING

Call to action from HSE over poor standards of safety management  

HSE has published Safety Notice FOD 1-2013 following discovery of poor management of risks involved in the dismantling or demolition of lifts in buildings due for refurbishment or demolition.

Investigations and deaths led HSE to conclude that “poor work practices are commonplace during this activity”.

Preventive action required

The Safety Notice stresses the need to fully assess and manage the risks arising and HSE are calling from the following actions:

  1. Planning – lifts are complex machines which can be configured to operate in many different ways. Work on any lift should only be carried out after thorough planning to ensure the risks associated with the specific task and equipment are understood and can be managed to prevent anyone being harmed. 
  2. Competence – demolition and dismantling work must be planned by competent persons with knowledge of the principles and operating modes of the specific lift machine, its related safety features and the means by which it is incorporated into the structure of the building. All of these matters will help determine the most suitable method of work for the dismantling/demolition activity.
  3. Existing structures – consideration must be given to the effect any work will have on the structure of the building the lift is housed in. The method of work should take into account the features and current state of the installation such as any suspended masses and stored energy in the counter weights, lift cars, ropes etc.
  4. Release under load – suspended components should only be released under load where the risk assessment suggests that on balance this presents the lowest risk method of work. Where this is the case, a remote method of work should be used in conjunction with establishing robust exclusion zones. These should typically include the lift motor room and any pulley rooms, lift landings especially at lowest level, lift well and any accessible spaces under it, and any areas that material could intrude into. Release under load should not be used if damage could occur to structures or fittings that are to be retained.
  5. Clients and principal contractors – must satisfy themselves that any Contractors appointed to do this type of work are competent and adequately resourced to carry out the work. Consideration should be given to the appointment of specialist contractors to carry out this work. Those in control of the work should also ensure there is co-operation between contractors involved in working on the same project.

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