HSE Safety Bulletin
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety warning bulletin that some suppliers are selling an extendable scaffold loading bay gate that does not satisfy legal requirements in some of its configurations. The warning was issued on 21st July 2015 by the HSE which is responsible for regulating health and safety in the construction industry.
The extendable scaffolding loading bay gates in question do not satisfy legal requirements or applicable standards in some configurations. When the loading bay gate is extended it forms part of the edge protection on a scaffold but it is not robust enough to fulfil this function and is therefore not suitable to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR).
The loading bay gates are being fabricated by a variety of manufacturers and are made from two panels made up of tube and mesh. One of the panel sections is of a fixed length while the other is telescopic and can be adjusted to the required width of the loading bay. This enables users to take advantage of a width adjustment from 2300mm to 3900mm while the mesh infill spans the full width and height of the panels. The loading bay gate in question is available in both steel and aluminium and does not feature a mid-rail.
This type of gate has been found on a number of construction sites. Because the gate must allow the telescopic panel to slide during adjustment, the mesh on this section is loose which constitutes a risk. When the mesh infill is loose, it is in danger of becoming de4tached if pushed – this means that a person leaning or falling against the panel would be in danger of falling. The gates open by rotating upwards around a pivot that is mounted 500mm in from the gate. The gate has very short rear levers and has to be opened by lifting the handles on top of the gate – this places the worker right at the edge of the platform with a gap beneath the gate that exceeds 1.5m in height.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that any edge protection used in construction should be of suitable strength and rigidity and t feature a top rail, a mid rail and a toe board. If there is no mid rail the mesh panels should be strong enough to achieve an equivalent level of containment. However, the mesh panels on the gates in question is 3mm gauge on a 50mm square pattern and, on the adjustable section of the gate, they are not welded to the panel.
The HSE alert outlines any interim actions that should be taken when using this type of gate and notes that one of the gate suppliers is already working on a redesign to bring the gate up to BS EN 12811-1:2003 standard.
Here at Safety Fabrications, all of our products comply with current safety regulations – we fully understand access requirements so that all of our customers can rest assured that our products are of the highest quality and offer the best safety options available.