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Edge protection

  • 12 June 2017 - 09:56

    If I asked you to write me a blank cheque, sign it, don’t put in the payee name or cheque amount, would you do it? I don’t think so.

    What if I said leave the amount blank but just put in the payee name, would you do it then? Again, I don’t think you would.

    But, in a way, that is exactly what you are doing if you don’t put good-quality edge protection on haul roads, benches, stockpiles and ramps.

    I know of five companies in the last six months that have had Fee for Intervention (FFI) invoices for lack of adequate edge protection. Money for old rope.

    £500 – £1,000 for something that is so easy to sort out. And how much machine time do you get for £1,000 – probably enough to sort out all your edge protection.

    The HSE has been discussing edge protection for years. The Quarries regulations (now more than 17 years old) have some great images and guidance on what to do. The HSE is fed up with finding poor standards, but, more importantly, your employees and contractors are at risk.

    The guidance talks about the minimum standard being 1.5m or half the height of the largest wheel. 

    BUT REMEMBER, THIS IS A MINIMUM STANDARD.

    There will be areas that need more than 1.5m, for example:

    • Tight turning circles on haul roads
    • The bottom of ramps near quarry edges.

    These areas may need 2m or more and the protection may need to be wider.

    There are also areas that tend to get overlooked, such as:

    • Lagoon banks 
    • Edges of ramps leading to feed hoppers
    • Overburden stripping
    • Stockpiles.

    I have seen roads running along the top of lagoon embankments. These still need protection.

    I’ve also seen ramps only a couple of metres high. These still need protection too.

    Only this week I found a contractor stripping overburden in a quarry and the area where the material was being tipped had no edge protection. This is totally unacceptable, although it was put right immediately.

    Stockpiles can lose edge protection as they get loaded out, so once you start loading from a stockpile block off any access on top.

    Some other simple things to consider:

    • On a front-end loader mark a line about 1.75m high and ask your operator to routinely check the height of the edge protection
    • Place some markers that are about 1.75m high along haul roads so drivers can easily see when things are deteriorating
    • And, when walking around site, challenge yourself; if you can see over the edge protection it probably isn’t quite high enough (unless you’re very tall).
    • If there are disused parts of your site and you are not sure whether the edge protection in these areas is OK, block off the access so that vehicles can’t get in there.

    So, don’t throw money away, invest it in your site.

    Colin Nottage

    www.influentialmg.com

    Tel: 07799 656303


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