CONSTRUCTION Plant-hire Association has launched a new guidance document – “Ground Conditions for Construction Plant”. Work on the guidance began in May 2011 and it was published in October 2014 and officially launched at the CPA Plant Hire Conference.
Failure of the ground on which construction plant stands and moves is a frequent cause of minor incidents and near misses on sites, together with a significant number of serious injuries and fatalities. In addition to the impact on the lives of those involved, these events can lead to delays in construction programmes and significant commercial loss such as unrecoverable management time, loss of reputation and effect on future workloads.
An HSE publication on the cost of accidents estimated that for each £1 of accident cost recoverable through insurance, a further £8 to £36 was unrecoverable and had to be borne by the employer. From this it can be seen that adequate assessment of ground to establish its ability to support plant, is essential if these incidents are to be avoided.
The aim of this document is to provide clear guidance on the assessment of ground conditions and the measures that can be taken to both improve ground and reduce loads imposed on the ground. Ground engineering can be a complex topic and part of the purpose of this guidance is to enable construction personnel to decide when they need to consult an expert geotechnical or structural engineer.
The new guidance deals with ground bearing pressures and loadings from mobile plant, and assessment and engineering of the ground’s capability to withstand the loadings. The guidance addresses coordination of duties, with reference to CDM and to Temporary Works, and contains technical guidance presented in an accessible way.