Category Archives: Health & Safety

Galvanised Kee Fittings v Fabricated

In any area where there are people, it is vital they are protected and kept separate from hazards such as heights, perimeter edges or water. Guardrails and handrails serve as a barrier between the public or contractors and hazards.

Once installed, it is vital guardrails and handrails continue to offer the highest level of safety, and the best way to ensure this is by using the highest quality components

The problem with fabricated guardrails and handrails

A popular hazard protection option is fabricated guardrails and handrails. These are fabricated off-site and require a lot of preparation and design work which requires many draft versions. The prefabricated structures are then delivered to the site and must be installed by a skilled fitter with the required training and permits, creating many health and safety issues.

Furthermore, cutting holes for fitting breaches the railing’s anti-corrosion coatings which are further compromised by welding. This integrity can be restored via painting but this will have to be meticulously maintained once installed.

Guardrails and handrails

Many rails are exposed to corrosive conditions which can eat away at the material of the guardrail and once the structure is weakened sufficiently, the railing itself becomes a hazard.

Once fabricated guardrails and handrails become damaged, the only way to repair them is by cutting out the problem section and welding in a replacement, once again bringing up a whole host of issues.

Guardrails and handrails

The Kee Systems alternative

Kee Systems offers a simple, durable alternative to fabricated guardrails and handrails in the form of Kee Klamp® hot dip galvanised iron and Kee Lite® aluminium fittings. Slip-on components and lengths of tube ensure complete hazard protection without the issues that fabricated guardrails and handrails create.

Guardrails and handrails

Kee fittings are hugely flexible, only requiring a general arrangement drawing and removing the need for a highly skilled labourer and work permits, as anyone can fit the railing thanks to the use of simple hexagonal set screws locking the fitting to the tube.

There is also no cutting required, so the tube maintains its integrity, another benefit over fabricated systems.

In a modern marine climate, such as a town like Newcastle-Upon-Thames, the average lifetime of typical hot-dip galvanised fittings is calculated to be around 37 years.

The benefits of Kee Fittings

Kee Klamp® and Kee Lite® fittings offer a strong and durable solution to separating people from hazards, are more resilient to corrosion and can last up to seven times longer than fabricated barriers and handrails. They also eliminate the need for welding, cutting, threading or bolting and remove the need for skilled labour and permits for work.

With Kee fittings you can save time and money thanks to the quick and easy installation, as well as feel assured that your guardrail will do the job thanks to a wide range of components for every situation.

https://keesystems.com

Washroom design for the well educated

With so many rules and regulations surrounding the practicalities of washroom design in educational settings, Daniel Ward, Senior Ceramics Product Manager for Twyford, talks us through the dos and don’ts of sanitary specification for the school environment.

Specifying products for washrooms within the education sector may seem like a fairly straightforward task, but there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure not only that regulations are met, but that the space is well designed, comfortable and practical.

Lack of privacy, vandalism and inadequate cleaning and maintenance can make a visit to the toilet an unpleasant and unhealthy experience for students. In fact, recent research undertaken by charity Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC) highlighted that the quality of school toilets has a huge impact on pupils’ health, education and happiness. Therefore the design of washrooms in education premises needs to be about a lot more than simply providing enough toilets and washbasins.

Laying out the order

The overall layout of school washrooms is a good place to start. As well as adhering to regulations regarding wheelchair accessible cubicles, all standard cubicles must have a minimum 450mm-diameter manoeuvring space that is clear of the door swing. And of course, when you are designing spaces for growing children, the sizes and fixing heights of sanitaryware must be suitable for the relevant user age groups too. Short projection WCs offer a good solution here, creating the necessary space while still ensuring user comfort. Wall-mounting the pan with a suitable framing system will enable the height of the WC to be easily adjusted during installation, to better meet the needs of the user.

Hygiene first

Aside from layout, hygiene in this environment is extremely important too, with ease of cleaning being key to students’ health and wellbeing. So much so that the Department for Education offers guidance on the issue, stating that to avoid build-up of dirt and germs, the toilets in schools should be wall-hung or back to wall.. This also offers a solution with regards to ensuring plumbing work is tamper-proof, a particular point of note when specifying for colleges and universities which serve older children and young adults. The cistern and pipework concealed within the framing system, preventing interference, while being easy to access for maintenance purposes. A dual-flush cistern sitting neatly behind the wall will also help to significantly reduce the amount of water used, while not affecting overall flushing performance. This is particularly important in educational establishments, which are high-traffic areas with the potential for toilets to be flushed literally hundreds of times in any one day.

It is also worth noting that in schools, particularly where younger users are present, the recommendation is also to avoid urinals, but where they are specified to opt for individual bowls rather than a trough, with modestly panels for privacy.

sanitaryware
Twyford offers a Rimfree school pans and Flushwise water-efficient WC flushing options.

Water-saving pays off

The washbasins in school washrooms should also be subject to a number of practical considerations. Of course, ease of cleaning for hygiene reasons remains imperative, making ceramics that are coated with an easy to clean glaze a particular benefit, while the choice of brassware is also important. Not only should mixer taps for washbasins be robust and tamper-proof, ideally they should be fitted with an automatic shut-off too, either through a built-in timed delivery feature or infra-red sensors.

Energy and water are a major proportion of non-staff costs in schools, colleges and universities and a major part of their environmental impact. While some schools will have greater scope for savings than others, overall more than 20% of energy is wasted, and a school that is equipped with water conservation devices, such as taps with automatic shut-offs or flow restrictors, plus dual-flush WCS, typically use less than half the amount of water used in schools where such features are not present.

Longevity guarantee

Keeping maintenance levels as low as possible is an important requirement in school buildings, where downtime in washrooms can be at best inconvenient for staff and students. This makes the specification of quality sanitary fittings that will be hard-wearing and durable, of particular significance. To limit the frequency of replacing such fixtures and fittings, their life expectancy should be around 15-20 years, with a manufacturer’s guarantee providing the best scope for this.

There are undoubtedly a lot of things to consider when designing washrooms for educational establishments, with all elements really carrying an equal weight of importance. The trick to ticking all of them off and achieving a successful design is to establish a strong relationship with a manufacturer who is able to respond to all aspects of a washroom’s design, from layouts and dimensions to styles and materials as standard, so that there is never any need to compromise.

For more details contact Twyford on 01926 516800 or visit www.twyfordbathrooms.com.

Why you need to tread carefully on fragile roofs

By Soni Sheimar, General Manager, Easi-Dec

Every year nine people on average fall to their deaths from fragile roofs or through roof lights. Many more suffer serious, life-changing injuries.

Falls through fragile roofs or materials usually occur on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings where workers are carrying out repairs, maintaining or installing equipment, cleaning gutters and skylights, or whilst carrying out general roof work.   All these accidents are fully avoidable through careful planning and ensuring safe working procedures.

roof safety

What is a fragile surface?

Work on fragile surfaces is high risk, and as a result, the HSE requires that effective precautions are taken for any form of work on or near fragile surfaces.  Accidents can be avoided as long as suitable equipment is used and those carrying out the work are provided with adequate information, training and supervision.

Access onto a roof is often required for maintenance, inspection, cleaning or general repairs.   Fragile surfaces such as the ones we are reading about are typically found on factories and warehouses and can include:

·     Roof lights and skylights

·     Corroded metal sheets

·     Non-reinforced fibre cement sheets

·     Roof slates and tiles

·     Glass such as wired glass

How to tread carefully

The principles of working on fragile surfaces are exactly the same as any other form of work at height, so if you apply the hierarchy of control you should be able to ensure that the work can be carried out safely. 

In an ideal world, the preferred option is to avoid working at height, but as we all know this isn’t always possible, so the next consideration would be to look at methods which would allow work to be carried out without actually stepping onto the roof itself, such as MEWPs.

If access onto the fragile roof cannot be overcome then you will need to look at how the area can be accessed safely and then put into place measures that can alleviate the distance and consequences of a potential fall.   

This can be done in a number of ways, such as protecting the edge of the roof with guardrail, using staging or platforms with edge protection on the roof to spread the load or by protecting fragile roof lights and skylights with a cover to prevent access onto the surface itself.  

roof safety

When access is needed to run from the eaves to the ridge, mesh walkways could be used to spread the weight across the support battens so that workers can safely move along the full length of the systems.

Lightweight mobile walking frames on the other hand are ideal for maintenance of valleys and box gutters on fragile roofs and can provide safe access for up to two people.

A responsible approach

Falls through fragile surfaces account for nearly a fifth of all fatalities as a result of a fall from height in the construction industry.  The worker in the case I highlighted at the start of this post was lucky in that he survived.  However he did suffer serious injuries to his back and sternum and wore a full body brace for six weeks following the incident.

Companies have a legal duty to ensure they have done all they can to prevent accidents and with the range of products available today, particularly for working on fragile materials, there really is no reason for these accidents to still be happening.

For more information, visit www.easi-dec.co.uk

Top Tips for Safe Spring Maintenance

By Soni Sheimar, Easi-Dec General Manager

With the arrival of spring, and winter firmly behind us, now is the time for business owners and landlords to take a look at the roofs of their premises to see what damage the colder months left in their wake.

Whether you are a contractor or the owner of the premises, it is important you know the best way to safely inspect and maintain a building, to ensure the safety of yourself and any contractors in your care.

Planned maintenance can include both plant and equipment as well as repairs to the roof itself, dependent on the type of roof.

If you follow these top tips, you’ll be able to ensure you avoid any issues, such as serious injury or worse, when carrying out spring maintenance.

1. It doesn’t matter what height you’re working at, work at height is by nature dangerous, even more so in the months after winter, when all manner of horrible damage can be hiding away. When possible, try to avoid having to work at height, if this isn’t possible then look at alternative ways to do the work. For example, if cleaning windows, use a reach and wash system rather than a ladder. if you absolutely have to use a ladder then always take advantage of the Easi-Dec Ladder accessories range to provide further support.

Easi-Dec ladder safety

2. Make sure that you always carry out a risk assessment before starting the work to determine what equipment you will need and to identify who could potentially be in danger or be affected by your work. Is there the possibility that someone could be hit by falling objects?

3. When using a ladder, carry out pre-use checks to identify any defects or damages which could prevent safe use. Areas to inspect include the stiles, feet, rungs, steps/treads, platform and locking mechanisms. Make sure the ladder is long enough or high enough for the specific task. Make sure the ground is firm and level and clear of any debris.

4. Always make sure that the user is competent to carry out the work. Competency is essential. Only those who are fully trained in working at height and using equipment such as ladders safely will have the correct skills, knowledge and experience to work safely.

5. And perhaps most importantly of all, always plan the work carefully. This is even more vital after the winter months when there could be hidden risks.

Working at height can be dangerous at the best of times, so remember, if you are not sure about anything or do not believe you are competent or capable of carrying out the task at hand, always seek professional advice.

Good to know: Easi-Dec offers many different products and systems to make working at height all year round safer and more efficient.

http://easi-dec.co.uk/

Charcon’s Cycle Kerb Wins Top London Innovation Award

Cycle Kerb Segregation System

Charcon, the commercial hard landscaping division of Aggregate Industries, has been crowned the winner of the Innovation of the Year – Materials category at the 2016 London Construction Awards, thanks to its Eco Countryside™ Cycle Kerb Segregation System.

The judges were impressed by Charcon’s creativity and expertise in developing a bespoke hard landscaping solution that would serve as a safe and sustainable segregation system which, in the case of the Mayor’s Flagship Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2), is already helping to reduce the number of accidents on London’s roads.

The creation of this innovative product derived from TfL’s significant investment in the CS2 between Aldgate and Bow interchange to make the route safer for cyclists and other road users, following a significant amount of cycle related incidents in the area.

The challenge was to create a unique integrated system that reduced both installation time and traffic disruption.  The Eco Countryside™ Cycle Kerb Segregation System was subsequently developed by Charcon’s technical team as an alternative to the imported granite kerb configuration with concrete block paving inlay previously used.  Replicating the aesthetics of natural granite, it has offered a 33% carbon footprint reduction due to being manufactured in the UK, utilising 82% recycled and secondary material content.  Installation time for construction of the cycle route was reduced by 50%, which in turn impacted positively on the cost of preliminaries and traffic management.

Winning such a prestigious accolade cements Charcon’s position as the market leader for bespoke cycle segregation systems.  The Eco Countryside Kerb strengthens Charcon’s existing range of cycle kerbs which have been manufactured for various cycleway projects across the country, for the likes of Cambridgeshire County Council and Nottingham City Council.

The Charcon team attended the ceremony at London’s Royal Garden Hotel on Wednesday 26th October, with Mike Davies, Category Manager for Charcon, collecting the award.  On winning the award, Mike comments: “Being awarded Innovation of the Year for this particular project makes us incredibly proud. We worked hard to develop and supply 24,000l/m of a product that would not only improve the safety of the cyclists and other road users, but also that of the contractors due to the ease and speed of installation which also reduced the impact on road users during construction. We’d like to thank TfL and Ringway Jacobs for giving us the opportunity to partner with them on such an important project which, quite literally, will help to save lives.

“With the growth of cycleway infrastructure throughout the country, the potential for our segregation kerb solutions is significant and we have already seen an increasing number of Local Authorities showing an interest.”

For further information about Charcon range of products, visit www.charcon.com or call 01335 372 222.

Wallgate announces new Australasian distributor

Wallgate Limited, a market leading specialist in the design and manufacture of robust washrooms and sanitaryware solutions, has appointed Australia’s leading commercial tapware designer and supplier, Galvin Engineering, as its sole Australasian distributor.

sanitaryware

The addition of the Wallgate brand provides Galvin with increased access into a number of Australasian markets including commercial, secure, and healthcare as well as mental health and custodial environments.  It also reinforces Galvin’s purpose of working closely with leading designers and contractors to help them build world facilities for better health and safer communities.

Already established across these various markets as a tapware supplier, Galvin will now be able to offer a comprehensive package of highly innovative and suitable washroom equipment by having access to Wallgates range of sanitaryware and electronic water management systems.

Galvin Engineering has a team of over 80 people based in offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane that design and supply specialised taps and fixtures to commercial health and correctional building projects.  Sector expert Marco Bevilacqua will lead a new specialist team that will concentrate solely on the secure market out of the Melbourne office.

As part of the new arrangement, Wallgate will be distributing Galvin’s healthcare range in the UK and wider global markets. Specifically, the company will be responsible for supporting the GalvinCare, anti-ligature tapware and fixtures range (www.galvincare.com).

Marco Bevilacqua comments:

“This is a very exciting time for us – these appointments broaden reach and underline our ambition and focus to meet customers’ needs on a global scale. We are proud to distribute Wallgate’s robust, innovative washroom and sanitaryware range in our markets.”

This appointment serves to reinforce Wallgate’s commitment to the region and provide its Australasian customers with an enhanced service, both technically and commercially.”

Wallgate managing director, Trevor Powell comments:

“We are very pleased to welcome Galvin as a new distributor for our product range in the Australasian market. They bring a track record of delivering high quality products and have a proven reputation for markets that are key to us.

Expansion and innovation are key messages that we share with Galvin. This is already proven through Galvin working closely with us and our North American distributor, Intersan to develop and drive new initiatives in the North American behavioural health market which includes Mexico, Canada and the USA.”

For further details on each company, contact information and latest product releases for both Wallgate and Galvin please visit the respective websites:

www.wallgate.com, www.galvinspecialised.com.au  and www.galvinengineering.com.au.

Kee Systems keep rail safety on track

Kee Systems

Kee Klamp® guardrail fittings and BoxBolt® fixing solutions have been installed along a new railway line to provide safety for pedestrians, drivers and maintenance teams accessing electrical boxes along the train track. This installation, which saw Kee Systems provide the safety products, forms part of an £89 million project to improve commuter times into London from Bicester and Oxford.

Network Rail unveiled a joint scheme with leading integrated support services company, Carillion Plc, and Stowe-based multi-disciplinary contracting firm, Buckingham Group, to deliver the design and construction of the East West Railway route. Completed in December 2016, the project saw the refurbishment and installation of the new railway line to increase local connectivity and improve journey times into London. Working in collaboration with Carillion Buckingham JV, Kee Systems supplied 8,000 metres of Kee Klamp® fittings and 10,000 units of BoxBolt®. These systems were installed to prevent pedestrian and vehicles from straying into off limit areas and to provide safe access to maintenance teams on either side of the railway line.

The installation of Kee Systems products successfully met Network Rail’s design requirement for 1250mm high guardrail achieving a 400 n/m design load for the project. A variety of fixing methods were deployed throughout the project, with majority being fixed using BoxBolt® onto steel capping beams. All the holes had to be drilled with a magnetic drill to fix BoxBolt®. The project also involved the installation of 56 units of Kee Klamp® culvert headwalls, using a 114-8 off-set design to help accommodate the varying angles on each individual headwall.

“This was a large project requiring detailed logistical planning and scheduling to deliver the project on-time,” says Barry Mullen, Project Manager for Carillion Buckingham JV. “We chose Kee Klamp® fittings as they can be installed using a standard hex key, making it quick and easy to install. Kee Systems succeeded in delivering the project on-time and on budget, which resulted in an extremely satisfied client.”

The Kee Klamp® range offers outstanding versatility and is suited to a range of guardrail applications. Manufactured from galvanised cast iron, the Kee Klamp® system securely joins structural steel tube into almost any conceivable configuration across a variety of angles. Designed with ease and speed of installation in mind, the components completely eliminate the need for hot works on site, resulting in significant cost and time savings. Neither specialist labour nor tools are required as Kee Klamp® fittings can be installed using a standard hex key, with each fitting incorporating an internal set screw to lock the respective fitting safely and securely onto the tube. Complying with BS EN 1562 & BS EN 1563, the Kee Klamp® fittings are TÜV certified for strength, manufacturing quality and consistency.

The BoxBolt® range is the blind fixing solution for connecting into hollow sections or where access is restricted to one side only.  This system provides an economical solution to making blind connections when compared with traditional methods such as welding or bolting through. Featuring a hexagonal head design that helps installation with a standard wrench, BoxBolt® is suitable for use with rectangular square and even circular hollow sections. The range is available in three finishes zinc plated for the less aggressive environments, hot dip galvanized for the more aggressive environments, and stainless steel for the most demanding of applications. The system eliminates complicated fabrications such as welding internal nuts or providing internal stiffeners to reduce crushing from tightening. BoxBolt® is approved by Lloyds Register and also DIBt (Deutsches Institut fur Bautechnik) and complies with the design requirements to Euro code 3 and DIN 18800.

www.keesystems.com