Plant Platform Accidents Are Unusual In Modern Times

Plant Platform Accidents Are Unusual In Modern Times

26th November 2013

In March of this year in France two contract workers lost their lives in a serious fall at EDF’s Cattenom nuclear power plant.  The workers (who were employed by a contractor) were painting the walls of a reactor building.  They were working on a plant platform which became detached and dropped the men from a height of several metres.  These types of accidents are becoming rarer nowadays as health and safety at work has become a major consideration in developed nations.  

This incident highlighted just how vital it is that plant platforms and other access equipment is regularly checked and kept in full operational order.  Safety equipment can only save lives if it is regularly maintained to ensure that malfunctions do not occur.  Checking and maintenance is the responsibility of the employer/owner of the safety equipment.

In the past before legislation was passed to protect employees, accidents were commonplace and many workers were either killed or disabled due to accidents at work.  In ancient times, building work was usually done by slaves or serfs, none of whom had any civic rights at all.  This meant that the workers were actually expendable and enjoyed no protection whatsoever!  History is littered with accounts of workers being killed in accidents during major building projects such as the pyramids in Egypt or the cathedrals of Europe.

Thankfully, we now live in an enlightened age with laws in place to protect people in the work environment, especially in the developed nations of the western world.  In the UK, there are many regulations relevant to health, safety and welfare at work and breach of these regulations is a crime.  If a worker suffers damage caused by a breach of the regulations, they will have a cause for legal action against the employer under these regulations.  This means that employers who breach regulations will find themselves faced with a costly lawsuit that could result in the loss of their business or even criminal charges or even a custodial sentence.

This means that complying with all the relevant legislation is vital for any employer nowadays – it’s something that really cannot be avoided.  These regulations are designed to protect employees and employers alike in this modern world.  Although work is becoming more complex in this modern age, we now have the technology and the safety equipment available to make work safer than it has ever been before.  This is one of the benefits of living in the west in the 21st Century.

There are stringent regulations governing all kinds of work equipment, including machinery, vehicles and other gear, even clothing and footwear.  Ladders, fall arrest equipment and plant platforms all fall into the category of work equipment.  Not only do they need to comply with regulations as to materials and manufacturing processes, the finish also needs to be fit for purpose.  Even if the equipment does not need to be load bearing, equipment does need to have anti-slip surfaces to minimise the risk of accidents even further.  Plant platforms will also need to be equipped with safety rails and other safety devices.