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TG20:13 – What Does it Mean in Practice?

31st March 2014

The much-publicised TG20:13 (Good Practice Guidance for Tube & Fitting Scaffolding) has been released and is available to purchase from the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation. The NASC have also confirmed that TG20:08 will be formally withdrawn on 30 June 2014.

TG20 13The article below explains what all of this means in practical terms.

“Since the HSE withdrew its support for BS 5973:1993 on 31 December 2010, the standard to which tube and fitting scaffolds erected in the UK must be constructed is BSEN 12811. However, this document does not  give guidance on the safe systems of work for erecting, altering or dismantling tube and fitting scaffolds and in recognition of this, the NASC has produced the TG20 series which started with TG20:05 through to TG20:08 & more recently, TG20:13.

It should be noted that compliance with TG20:13 is not required in legal terms, but the Work at Height Regulations 2005 state that, ‘strength and stability calculations must be carried out unless the scaffold is assembled in conformity with a generally recognised standard configuration’ and BSEN 12811 is recognised as being a ‘standard configuration’. Consequently scaffold businesses are free to choose how they comply with the law, but in practical terms, this means that if they choose not to follow the guidance laid out in the TG20 series, then all scaffolds require bespoke design. This is slightly different for NASC member companies as they are expected to comply with NASC’s latest guidance.

TG20:13 has been publicised as a new guidance document and not merely an update of the outgoing TG20:08 and many of the changes within are fundamental and reverse previously accepted ‘norms’ in terms of what is and what is not acceptable in scaffold construction and configuration. Simian believes that this is borne out by the fact that the CISRS Scaffold Inspection Training Scheme (SITS) Basic Scaffold Inspection Training Course will change from two to three days duration to incorporate the changes.

The NASC has produced training aids for delivery of TG20:13 training and these include video toolbox talks (available freely at the NASC’s YouTube Channel) and the TG20:13 User Guide Handbook.

In recognition of the changes to much of what has been considered as custom and practice, Simian advocates that additional training will be required for all involved in scaffold activity whether that be in a management or operational capacity. Consequently, the depth of training should reflect this and courses run by Simian will be one day in length.