Concerns raised over safety of dismantling lifts
Posted by Ben Alexander
Concerns have been raised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over whether engineers and construction workers are carrying out the proper precautions when dismantling lifts.
According to the industry watchdog, it is concerned about the "poor management" of risks involved in the dismantling or demolition of lifts in buildings due for refurbishment or demolition.
"Recent accident investigations, including fatalities, have suggested that poor work practices are commonplace during this activity," the HSE said.
In a bid to reduce these casualties, it has issued a document that reminds those undertaking or controlling such work of the need to fully assess and manage the risks arising, and to heed safety signs and other warnings at all times.
"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," the watchdog noted.
Existing legislation requires dutyholders to assess, plan and carry out the dismantling work in a manner that avoids injury to any person - something that entails adhering to a certain set of principles.
These include ensuring that demolition and dismantling work is planned by competent workers and engineers with knowledge of the principles and operating modes of the machine, as well as related safety features and the means by which it is incorporated into the structure of the building.
The HSE also reminded people that 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 counterweights, lift cars and ropes, to eliminate the risk of danger.
"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. Those in control of the work should also ensure there is co-operation between contractors involved in working on the same project," the watchdog concluded.
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