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HSE Issues Loading Bay Gate Alert

22nd July 2015

HSE Issues Loading Bay Gate Alert

The Health & Safety Executive have taken the relatively rare step of issuing a safety alert in relation to loading bay gates they have encountered on several construction sites over concerns that they fail to comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 (2a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The alert raises concerns that the gates are not of ‘sufficient strength or rigidity’ due to the  design and the fact that the mesh infil between the top and lower rails can be displaced and therefore does not offer similar protection that would be afforded by a standard toprail and midrail. Manufacturer’s instructions seen by the HSE state that it is acceptable to use plastic cable ties to secure the mesh to the frame, but as this would be unlikely to resit the impact of heavy load of people or perhaps bricks falling against the mesh, this is not deemed to be acceptable by HSE. (See photos 1 & 2 – click to enlarge)

Additionally there are concerns that the method of gate design means that when in the ‘open’ position, there is a gap of approximately 1 metre through which a fall is possible. (See Photo 3 – click to enlarge)
Combined HSE PicsThe HSE alert does not apply to designs of upward rotating loading bay gate that are robust and are operated from the rear of the loading bay and which close off access to the loading bay when the gate is open. These should already comply with BS EN 12811-1:2003 ‘Scaffolds – Performance requirements and general design’ which sets out the standards expected for loading bay gates.

The HSE has taken a practical and pragmatic approach to this issue and is not suggesting these gates be withdrawn, but is instead suggesting: –

  1. that the mesh panels be secured with stainless steel ties, located at the intervals specified by suppliers (usually a maximum of 300 mm), that are rated at minimum 75kg loop tensile strength.
  2. that the gates be opened remotely using a temporarily rigged pulley system, or by moving the gate at least 2 metres ‘inboard’ of the leading edge.

Please note, that these are to be viewed as interim measures only and within a time scale limited to 31 December 2016, by which time a more permanent solution must be in place. Failure to adopt the actions within the HSE alert in the interim period could result in enforcement action being invoked and this will almost certainly be the case after the 31 December 2016 deadline.  

Read the full HSE alert here.

Although our Independent Scaffold Inspectors have yet to encounter these gates during their work, Simian clients are free to contact their Account Manager for further advice on 0345 602 2418 (option 1).