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A Guide to Site Safety & Chapter 8 Compliance
17 Sep 2019
Site Safety and Chapter 8 Compliance Guide
Whether you are undertaking small renovations or are the manager of a number of major projects, safety is a crucial, yet often overlooked aspect that must be considered. Safety is often built into the design of building projects but is often forgotten when it comes to actually executing on that project.
Although being safety conscious can be a headache and an additional time drain, which is often seen as unneeded, ultimately it is both ethically and legally very important in protecting yourself and other site users or those who may otherwise be impacted by a project.
By taking the time to understand the requirements placed upon you as an industry professional, you ultimately make it a lot easier to quickly apply best practices to each project, saving you time and money in the long run.
In this guide, we cover one of the most important safety aspects that industry professionals should be aware of. This is specifically applicable when dealing with projects which do or might concern any public roads or highways.
Chapter 8 – what is it?
Chapter 8 is an important document which outlines best practices with reference to traffic safety where temporary risks may occur. The chapter is included as part of the 2009 Ministry of Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual.
Broken into three key sections, Chapter 8 is essential reading for any industry professional who is dealing with work which may impact areas where traffic occurs, but only applies where works are not permanent. These three sections include:
Section 1: Outlining the design of signs and other relevant safety measures
Section 2: Outlining where and how to place the relevant signs and warnings
Section 3: Outlining additional guidance which has been updated since the release of The Traffic Signs Regulation & General Direction 2016.
Difficulties with Chapter 8
Although Chapter 8 is a government issued document, its recommendations are not legislation in themselves. This often leads to industry professionals believing that they do not always need to adhere to the guidelines laid out in its pages.
Although this is the case, Chapter 8 has actually been created in order to help professionals to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978. So, understanding and applying the guidance in Chapter 8 correctly will help ensure protection over any legal action being taken under these specific set of rules. Not only does it help protect professionals legally, but it also applies good ethics, ensuring that all individuals are kept safe.
When does Chapter 8 apply?
Chapter 8 applies widely across any professionals that are working on public streets, from communication specialist through to highway maintenance. It provides guidance to these businesses and individuals on the recommended minimum standard required to ensure their safety when working on or near roads during temporary situations.
Complying with Chapter 8?
How industry professionals apply the recommendations outlined in Chapter 8 widely depends on the individual circumstances in which they are being applied. For example, highway maintenance will likely apply much of the guidance in the section detailing how to make vehicles safe and visible on highways.
Other businesses will need to focus primarily on creating a safe barrier around the area in which they are working or where a hazard may be occurring. This is used to protect workers from traffic, as well as to ensure no traffic or pedestrians can access hazardous areas. This will often be done via the use of Chapter 8 compliant safety barrier such as reflective barriers or water-filled protective blocks.
Choosing the correct safety barriers for the job is made simple by the details outlined within the guides. For example, the details on which protective safety barriers should be used are laid out specifically in Part 1, section D3.10, and Part 2, Section O4.11.
Industry professionals may see applying the guidelines of Chapter 8 as a needless hassle. After all, they are not themselves legislation. However, these important guidelines help protect professionals from potential legal issues concerned with health and safety legislation. This guide will help you to understand where Chapter 8 applies and how best to comply with requirements and avoid a lot of wasted time in the long run.
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