17 Nov 2015

#StormBarney's on his way - how will it affect us in the UK?

Throwback Thursday

Today, the second named storm of the season “Barney” will approach our shores. Unlike recent storm Abigail, which hit the north of Scotland the hardest, it will be the southern half of the UK that will feel the impacts from Barney the greatest.

With severe wind warnings issued now seems a sensible time to remind people working with/on scaffolding of the dangers and precautions that should be considered during such periods of inclement weather. Regardless of weather conditions it is always important to ensure that all scaffolds are erected in accordance with guidance from manufacturers' user guides, technical guidance such as the NASC's TG20, and / or with the appropriate scaffold design.

Of particular concern during periods of strong wind are bracing and tie arrangements. When ties are properly installed (correct tie pattern, sufficient coupler connections to scaffold, adequately tested etc) the chances of failure are significantly reduced. Scaffold designs do account for high wind speeds in the calculation of tie loads (70-80 mph wind or greater is usually built into the equation) as, let’s be honest, such wind speeds are not that rare within the UK.

Knowing that strong winds are on the way also allows for additional safety preparations to be put in place in advance of the storms arrival. Boards can be tied down with retaining couplers sheeting/netting can be removed or secured with additional ties (the last thing you want is for the sheeting/netting to act like a sail determined to bring your scaffold down). Remove any loose items/tools/equipment from atop the scaffold which could become a lethal weapon if whipped from above.

The Good to Go Safety checklist can be used to help indicate that pre-use checks have been carried out and a “Good to Go” message displayed in the tag window to inform people of its status. Such inspections take on extra importance during stormy conditions - Is your scaffolding Good to Go?

For more information on scaffold safety click here

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