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FPS issues guidance for geotechnical-related manual handling operations

The Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) has established and agreed guidance for the specialist geotechnical manual handling operations.

The new guidance covers the handling of augers, casings and rods during mini piling and other specialist geotechnical operations undertaken by manual labour, which may typically involve lifting, moving and positioning often heavy components during the drilling process.

Publication of the guidance document follows the analysis of accident reports which highlighted the handling of specialist geotechnical operations as a high-risk activity. There was also evidence that this heavy manual labour and the awkward postures often involved are all risk factors in the potential development of musculoskeletal disorders. FPS members have reported a number of incidents where operative’s hands have been trapped and injured in the process.

The guidance states that wherever reasonably practical, handling of augers, casings and rods during mini-piling and other specialist geotechnical operations shall be achieved by either of the following methods: “A mechanised tool handling system be fitted to the rig, for example; a carousel, magazine” or “a mechanised tool handling device that can be attached to supporting equipment such as an excavator’s quick-hitch.”

In addition to the new guidance, members are working on sharing best practices both with each other and with machine manufacturers to ensure the necessary tools are available.

Speaking about the guidance, FPS chair Alasdair Henderson said: “The Federation of Piling Specialists promotes best practice to ensure that its members maintain the highest standards of safety and this new guidance is a part of its commitment to driving industry safety standards forward.”

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