Reports from Southampton in 2012 of children as young as 9 risking their lives by climbing up 100ft high scaffolding around 2 high rise buildings help to highlight the safety risks that exist, particularly for young people in gaining uninterrupted, unauthorised access to scaffolding.
In addition to these risks, there are also the security risks in terms of the site, its equipment and the surrounding properties that scaffolding can pose as a means of access for other persons who may be intent on theft, vandalism or arson.
While we accept that adherence to regulations and good practice means that the majority of UK scaffolding has already been erected with the safety of authorised users and users of the public highway in mind, what more can we be doing to reduce safety and security risks for all?
Scaffolding safety and temporary security systems specialist Matthew Webb of Site Security Services London Ltd explains a little about some of the new products and services available.
“Scaffolding alarms are a highly effective deterrent and early warning system that allow you prevent or nip safety and security problems in the bud e.g. overnight or at any time when your scaffolding is not in authorised use. The scaffolding alarms we supply and fit for example use the latest Infra-Red Beams and PIR sensors to give you immediate warning and to trigger immediate action should there be any abnormal activity in the area of your scaffolding.”
Matthew explains a little bit more about how they work.
“When the beams and sensors in the scaffolding alarms detect abnormal activity and movement, alarms and floodlights are triggered to act as a deterrent, and to expose the unauthorised activity. This also triggers an immediate warning call to either you, your monitoring station, your key holder, your Site Foreman, or your Site Security Operatives – whichever number you choose. We’ll try up to 4 numbers for you. Your chosen phone number then receives the recorded warning message giving the site / location information where the alarm has been activated. A historical log of alarm events is also recorded so you can track and analyse events and reduce false alarms. This is a fantastic and highly effective system that is already bringing huge security and safety benefits to its many users”
Matthew highlights the benefits mains free scaffolding alarms.
“With mains free scaffolding alarms you can effectively protect scaffolding and sites where mains power has been disconnected and cover large areas. They are reliable, there is no wiring and therefore no cable costs, and there are no electricians and installation costs. They have long lasting batteries and they give you complete flexibility of location of the alarms. They are a brilliant standalone solution to site and scaffolding safety and security problems. We supply and install scaffolding alarm systems in and around the London area. Demand is high because they’re reliable, effective, and they keep costs down. We provide plenty of information about scaffolding alarms on our website http://www.london-
Controlling access to scaffolding is a real issue in the UK mainly during the hours of darkness because this is the time when the scaffolding is not in authorised use e.g. by construction workers. It is also unlikely that there will be any numbers of security personal patrolling most sites due to cost restrictions, and CCTV cameras may not be a deterrent or a viable, useful option when the scaffolding area is in darkness.
It is of course important that any ladders, lifts, and other possible routes onto scaffolding are made inaccessible form the highway and are preferably hidden from view during times when scaffolding is not in use but this does not act as a total deterrent.
As well as installing scaffolding alarms other steps than can be taken to improve safety and security in construction site areas include the installation of Secure Timber Hoardings and Scaffold Security Lighting.
Scaffolding Lighting Systems
Typically Scaffolding Lighting Systems involve the use of red or white Festoon Lighting with polycarbonate domes, and vandal resistant Bulkhead Lights for use on hoardings or roadway timbers.
Secure Timber Hoardings
Secure Timber Hoardings serve a number of safety and security purposes including visually obscuring the site and parts of the scaffolding from the eyes of thieves, vandals and other unauthorised people, and making it very difficult anyone to scale or climb over to reach the site or scaffolding. They also help the site to satisfy legal requirements.
Legislation is one of the ways that safety and security on and around scaffolding in the UK is ensured and it could be argued that even more stringent legislation and its enforcement could be a way to reduce risks further.
At the current time for example, if you erect scaffolding on the highway in London you have a legal responsibility to take measures to prevent unauthorised access to the scaffolding. You are also legally responsible for the security of the building that scaffolding is being used on, and for the security of nearby buildings that may be compromised by the existence of your scaffolding.
A Range of Measures
The best way to ensure safety and security on and around scaffolding therefore is to take a range of measures, preferably as far beyond the legal responsibility that costs will allow. Scaffolding Alarm Systems however are now a vital component in achieving this because they can be installed quickly, they keep costs down, and they are highly effective.
For more information call Matthew Webb on 0845 528 0473 or visit http://www.london-