Bringing the work-at-height sector up to standard in keeping the construction workforce safe
Bringing the work-at-height sector up to standard in keeping the construction workforce safe.
As more projects and construction companies adhere to higher safety standards leading up to major regional events such as the Qatar-hosted 2019 World Athletics Championships and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as well as the the Expo 2020 in Dubai, the latest standards-compliant solutions like Rapid EPS Edge Protection could play a key role in keeping workers safe on construction sites.
According to Paul Gilligan, who is the general manager of Rapid EPS Middle East, “Rapid EPS (Edge Protection System’s) has unique ‘compliant-patented’ products, 90% of which require no drill and fix, which have already achieved some great results.”
He points out that edge protection – barriers that prevent persons and objects from falling to a lower level at construction sites – is a hot topic at the moment and the demand for his products is growing across the GCC.
He explains that the company has well established clients in Qatar, UAE, Oman, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Norway and Ireland and adds, “Around the world the product has protected the workforce of such clients as Brookfield Multiplex, Mace, Balfour Beatty, UrbaCon, Tridel, Altrad, Galiford Try, Bouygues and Coastal Construction, amongst many others.”
Gilligan points out that the Qatar Construction Specification 2014 (QCS 2014) came in to force in 2015 and since its introduction, there has been a significant change to the law with respect to working-at-height and explains, “All sites above one floor need to have a guardrail system to the height of no less than 950mm, a middle rail and a toe-board to the height of 150mm.
“The QCS 2014 also states that when using advanced guardrail systems (proprietary systems) most of the guidance will follow the content of the British standard which is BS EN 13374:2013.
“Rapid EPS is proud to have the independent testing certificates to this standard by Lloyds British,” and he cautions that construction companies should be on the look out for companies that have not been tested to the 2013 standard.
“The previous standard was 2004,” he adds.
Gilligan says that there is a significant change in the latest version of the standard which now insists that the fence panel has to be locked into place so that the panel cannot be removed by accident.
“The system has already been chosen by Grade ‘A’ construction companies in Qatar who are keen to protect workers and enhance their reputation. These include the likes of Urbacon Contracting and Trading (UCC) and Al Khayyat Contracting & Trading (KCT),” the expert claims.
“In keeping with the 2030 vision the product is highly sustainable and we guarantee the compression post for two million compressions, making it much cheaper in the long run,” he stresses and also points out that the product is presently deployed in numerous projects to protect its workers, including Union Tower Project in West Bay, Mall of Qatar, Lusail Tower and Panorama project for Hilton in the Abraj Quartier at the Pearl.
“UCC/ KCT are particularly keen on site safety and have already flown three of their senior managers over to the UK to train and become qualified in the British standards of edge protection at Rapid EPS’ training centre in Leeds UK, where the products are manufactured,” he attests.
KCT Corporate SHEQ manager Adnan Qamar states, ‘’KCT have found the system very cost effective for long term use and very fast installation and easy to relocate.”
Gilligan maintans that the product’s reputation is growing daily and highlights that Shapoorji Pallonji another Grade ‘A’ company in Qatar, has recently purchased for their four towers project, also at the Abraj Quartier in the Pearl Doha. “Moreover, Rapid EPS Middle East with its BS EN13374-compliant ‘Rapid Post’ system has also supplied Sun Engineering in Dubai for the Swarovski towers in Dubai Marina, and is also soon to announce some recently secured major projects in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia as well as further projects in Qatar,” he adds enigmatically.
“On a commercial basis, our goal is to have distributors all over the GCC and we plan to open a new office in Oman soon as there are a lot of changes happening there in terms of infrastructure. But more importantly, we want to build on our reputation of being first in terms of workers’ welfare,” the GM concludes.