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High winds – don’t put the public, your workers or your site at risk

High winds around construction areas can be particularly hazardous for the general public in the vicinity of the site, and in these circumstances companies have a duty of care to keep the public safe at all times. That duty of care also applies to workers and visitors on site.

A lot of information exists about operating at height in wind with cranes and other construction equipment, but little is provided on the importance of safeguarding individuals at ground level. This type of safeguarding protection is essential not just for workers and visitors on site, but also for the general public outside the site too.

Site hoarding is a great solution for perimeter protection

Site hoardings are one of the most popular methods of wind protection on building sites. These robust timber fences, typically erected around the perimeter of demolition and construction sites, are often a first choice for contractors and developers because of their durability and hard-wearing, solid structure.

Construction companies find that site hoardings are an incredibly cost-effective way to protect a site. Not only are they cheaper than other weather protection alternatives, but they can also help prevent financial losses resulting from theft or damage caused by trespassers to equipment or indeed themselves.

Hoardings are also quick and easy to install, reducing labour costs and enabling your project to get underway as soon as possible.

Do your hoardings meet the regulations?

Hoardings on building projects have to follow specific rules to be permitted for use. These are laid down in the Health and Safety Act 1974 and are also dealt with in HSE’s ‘Protecting the Public’ document.

It’s recommended that building sites should have a barrier or fence erected to a height of 2.4 metres. This guideline height increases to 3 metres for higher security fences or barriers on construction sites. While these general guidelines should be adhered to, not all sites are alike. Some circumstances might call for even higher barriers, particularly for building sites located in town centres.

Hoardings can be installed as temporary or longer-term solutions. They may be freestanding or built into the site for more permanence.  They can be manufactured from steel or timber, and can combine additional security features such as barbed or razor wire. Barriers need to be capable of resisting impacts and sustaining heavy loads.

In strong winds, there is a greater chance of your construction fences toppling over – this can be an immediate danger to both workers and the public. It’s the site owner’s responsibility to check that the site fencing is strong enough to meet all regulatory standards. It should withstand all types of weather, including heavy winds.

A perimeter barrier should be inspected, tested and serviced periodically, like any other vital piece of building equipment on the site.

Hoardings solutions in the UK

There is a range of products and services which can be put in place to secure a site and ensure it is safe for workers and public alike. In today’s Britain, you’ll almost never pass a construction site without fencing or hoardings around it because the consequences of not protecting a site are well known.

If you’re concerned about high winds on-site, contact industry expert SafeSite Facilities, whose specialist consultants are experts in fencing and hoardings. They will devise a suitable solution for the site that considers location, wind speeds and the space around it.

SafeSite Facilities have a selection of solutions available, including timber hoardings and solid steel hoardings. They can also supply Kentledge blocks, which are giant concrete stackable blocks designed to reinforce an existing structure’s strength.

Kentledge blocks are stackable, cost-effective and can be moved with relative ease – weighing 18kg each. Larger concrete blocks can also be arranged, being placed in situ by machine.

SafeSite Facilities offers the opportunity to hire wind load protection on short or long-term bases. If they’re needed for longer than expected, you also have the chance to buy back the product – it’s a win-win.

Trust the nation’s experts

Many construction companies are now members of The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) which seeks to enhance the public perception of the building trade. If your construction project adheres to the CCS, you are expected to comply with stringent procedures including the safety of the site for workers, visitors and members of the community in which you’re operating.

Phil Evans, Commercial Director at SafeSite Facilities said: “It’s not unusual for customers to come to us after hoarding or barrier work has been incorrectly specified or installed by others. We are the country’s leading provider of building site facilities that ensure your people and goods are safe and secure.

“Are you confident that your current supplier has installed barriers tested to withstand high winds and extreme weather? The consequences of misplaced confidence in this area could be catastrophic for your people and your business. With our experience and range of options, there’s no reason to go anywhere else the first time.”

For more information, about our fencing and hoarding solutions please click here.


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