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15 Nov. 2012 Safety Aspects of Formwork N. KRISHNAMURTHY SAFETY CONSULTANT AND TRAINER Website: www.profkrishna.com
15 Nov.
2012
Safety Aspects
of Formwork
N. KRISHNAMURTHY
SAFETY CONSULTANT AND TRAINER
Website: www.profkrishna.com
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Case Studies

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New York Coliseum on May 9, 1955 The main exhibition floor of the New York
New York Coliseum on May 9, 1955
The main exhibition floor of the New York Coliseum
collapsed when concrete was being placed.
8 motorised buggies with concrete ran at 12 mph (19
kmph) each weighing 3000lb (13kN) Rapid delivery
Inadequate resista-
nce to lateral forces.
“If there had been
sufficient bracing,
collapse could have
been prevented
entirely …"
Second
https://failures.wikispaces.com/Concrete+System+Collapses+%26+Failures+During+Construction
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time!
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2000 Commonwealth Avenue: January 5, 1971 – a Progressive collapse of a cast-in-place R.C. flat-slab
2000 Commonwealth Avenue: January 5, 1971 – a
Progressive collapse
of a cast-in-place R.C.
flat-slab structure due
to punching shear as
triggering mechanism.
Real problem was in
numerous errors and
omissions by every
party involved in
project.
If construction had had
proper building permit
and had followed
codes, failure could
have been avoided.
https://failures.wikispaces.com/Concrete+System+Collapses+%26+Failures+During+Construction
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2000 Commonwealth Avenue: January 5, 1971 – b Not following structural engineers’ specifications for shoring
2000 Commonwealth Avenue: January 5, 1971 – b
Not following structural engineers’ specifications for
shoring and formwork
Lack of concrete design strength
Lack of shoring or removed too soon
Improper placement of reinforcement
Little construction control on site
Owner changed hands many times
Almost all jobs were sub-contracted
No architectural or engineering inspection done
Inadequate inspection by the city of Boston
General contractor’s representative was not a licensed
builder
Construction was based on arrangements done by the
sub-contractors
No direct supervision of sub-contractors
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Skyline Plaza: March 2,1973 – a Catastrophic collapse of 30 storey cast-in-place R.C. – also
Skyline Plaza: March 2,1973 – a
Catastrophic collapse of 30 storey cast-in-place R.C. –
also a flat-plate design structure failing in punching shear
on 23rd floor resulting in progressive collapse.
Forms were supported by floors
7-days old or older.
Failure occurred on the 24th floor,
where it was shored to the 5-day-
old 23rd floor.
Causes of failure:
1) Premature removal of shores
and reshores,
2) Insufficient concrete stength,
3) No plans of casting, form-
work erection or, removal, or
reshoring
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Skyline Plaza: March 2,1973 – b Lessons Learned 1) Contractor should prepare formwork drawings showing
Skyline Plaza: March 2,1973 – b
Lessons Learned
1) Contractor should prepare formwork drawings
showing details of formwork, shores, and reshores.
2) Contractor should prepare detailed concrete testing
programme, to include cylinder testing, before
stripping forms.
3) Engineer of record should ascertain that the
contractor has all the pertinent design data (such as
live loads, superimposed dead loads, and any other
information which is unique to the project).
4) Inspectors and other quality control agencies should
verify that items 1 and 2 above are being adhered to.
5) Uncontrolled acceleration of formwork removal may
lead to serious consquences.
6) Top and bottom rebars running continuously within he
column periphery must be incorporated in the design.
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Tropicana Casino parking garage in Atlantic City, N.J.: October 30, 2003 The structure collapsed during
Tropicana Casino parking garage in Atlantic City,
N.J.: October 30, 2003
The structure collapsed during construction killing four
construction workers and leaving more than 30 injured.
Floors were
not connec-
ted to walls
with required
reinforcing
steel.
“Built without
necessary
steel, it is no
wonder it
collapsed like
a house of
cards.”
https://failures.wikispaces.com/Concrete+System+Collapses+%26+Failures+During+Construction
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S’pore Worker falls with toppled formwork, 2006 On 3 Aug 2006, toppling formwork resulted in
S’pore Worker falls with toppled formwork, 2006
On 3 Aug 2006, toppling formwork
resulted in tragic death of a young
construction worker.
While setting up barricades at edge of a
table formwork on third storey, worker
fell to ground as formwork collapsed.
LESSONS LEARNED:
1. Prior to work commencement, risk
assessment should be conducted.
2. SWP and PTW to be implemented and communicated
3. Formwork must be stable during all stages.
4. No person should work on table form during adjustment.
5. If possible installation of barricades at height should be
eliminated by installing barricades in building or at G.L.
If unavoidable, proper PPE for work at height given
6. Workers should be instructed and closely supervised.
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S. Construction Worker Died of Heat Stroke, 2007 16 Apr 2007 A construction worker, collapsed
S. Construction Worker Died of Heat Stroke, 2007
16 Apr 2007
A construction worker, collapsed while dismantling the
timber formwork at a construction worksite under the hot
sun.
He came from a
temperate country
and had started
work two days after
arrival.
He was admitted to
hospital and died of
complications from
heat stroke the
following day.
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Singapore Worker Falls from Formwork, 2008 3 Nov 2008 A worker was working on the
Singapore Worker Falls from Formwork, 2008
3 Nov 2008
A worker was working on the formwork of a 2-storey
detached house.
While receiving a reinforcement bar from another
worker, he lost his balance and fell off the formwork to
the ground 9.8m below. He died.
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Singapore Worker Falls from Formwork, 2009 On 13 Feb 2009, a worker fell to his
Singapore Worker Falls from Formwork, 2009
On 13 Feb 2009, a worker fell to his death when he was
using a chain block to lift a wall formwork into position.
During the lifting, he was standing on top of formwork to
operate chain block.
At the time of the
accident, one of the
wire sling ropes
used for rigging
gave way, causing
both the formwork
and worker to fall.
He fell 3m onto the
floor slab below and
died.
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Singapore Case Study 13/48 Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com
Singapore Case Study
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S’pore FormworkShoring ToppledtoGround 6.4m formwork shoring being relocated with tower crane Worker had climbed up
S’pore FormworkShoring ToppledtoGround
6.4m formwork shoring being relocated with tower crane
Worker had climbed up formwork shoring to attach the
hook of the crane to it when formwork shoring toppled.
The worker fell together with the formwork shoring.
Investigations revealed:
Worker not provided work platform or safe access.
Formwork shoring was not temporarily tied to a fixed
structure or building, nor provided with outrigger.
Lapses:
No risk assessment
Failure to provide safe
means of access
Lack of SWP and
hazard analysis
No fall prevention
systems were used
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S’pore Downtown Line Collapse – 18 July 2012 Two construction workers died after an underground
S’pore Downtown Line Collapse – 18 July 2012
Two construction workers died after an underground
scaffolding collapsed at the construction site for the
Downtown Line at the junction of Victoria Street and
Rochor Road. Eight workers suffered minor injuries.
SCDF found both bodies one metre apart from each
other, sub-
merged in
wet cement
and pinned
under
planks of
wood and
scaffolding.
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/un
derground-scaffolding-
collapses-at-bugis-
downtown-line-construction-
site.html
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New Code of Practice

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(CP23) New Formwork Code of Practice Contents Page Foreword 7 CODE OF PRACTICE 1 Scope
(CP23) New Formwork Code of Practice
Contents
Page
Foreword
7
CODE OF PRACTICE
1 Scope
8
2 Normative reference
8
3 Definitions
8
4 Materials and formwork systems
11
4.1
Materials & accessories
4.2 Formwork systems
4.3
Metal formwork
4.4 Precast formwork
5 Design
12
5.1
Application of section
5.2 Design considerations
5.3
Loads
5.4 Analysis & design methods
6 Drawings
26
6.1
Information on drawings
7 Erection and use
29
7.1
Tolerances
7.2 Conditions of formwork & bracing
7.3
Shoring
7.4 Bracing of shores
7.5
Adjustment of formwork
7.6 Curing
7.7
Inspection and supervision
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New Formwork Code of Practice – Design Aids 18/48 Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com
New Formwork Code of Practice – Design Aids
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(CP23) New Formwork Code of Practice Contents 8 Dismantling 33 8.1 General 8.2 Formwork removal
(CP23) New Formwork Code of Practice
Contents
8 Dismantling
33
8.1 General
8.2 Formwork removal periods for cast in-situ concrete
8.3 Removal period for special conditions
8.4 Cracking control
9 Safety
34
9.1 Risk assessment
9.2 Safety precautions
9.3 Work at Height
9.4 Permit-to-work
9.5 Lifting
9.6 Modular and system formwork
9.7 Safe formwork construction practice related to design
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Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com Formwork Hazards 20/48 10

Formwork Hazards

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Safety and Risk Management WSH Act of 2006 imposes performance-based and pro- active criteria for
Safety and Risk Management
WSH Act of 2006 imposes performance-based and pro-
active criteria for safety, requiring:
Detailed identification of various hazards
involved in all phases of formwork fabri-
cation and installation,
Assessment of consequent risks, and,
Implementation of required control measures,
according to a ‘hierarchy’, i.e. a preferred
order of effectiveness.
Formwork Code CP 23 affirms:
“In addition to fulfilling the very real moral and legal
responsibility to maintain safe conditions for
workmen and public, safe construction is the final
goal, irrespective of any short-term cost savings from
cutting corners on safety provisions.”
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Inspection and Supervision The goal of inspection or quality-control programs is: to ensure that contract
Inspection and Supervision
The goal of inspection or quality-control programs is:
to ensure that contract documents and building
codes are fully and faithfully followed, and
to ensure structural safety and architectural
aesthetic compliance.
Mistakes can and will often happen, but an inspector is
expected to find them and have them corrected.
A quality control program by the contractor helps
reduce errors and makes final inspection easier.
Supervisor should be alert to any deviations from
standard practice and specs, and report any significant
or potentially dangerous problems when he finds them.
Incident reporting is now mandatory, as per the WSH
Act (2006), Incident Reporting Regulations.
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Basic problems with formwork Similar to scaffolds in erection, use, and dismantling Common problems: Additional
Basic problems with formwork
Similar to scaffolds in
erection, use, and
dismantling
Common problems:
Additional unique problems:
Structural deficiencies
From concrete
Weight of wet concrete
Fluidity of wet concrete
Chemical effects
Connection deficiencies
Sharp edges:
Cuts and bruises
Trips and falls
Working at Height
Sun, rain, dust, noise
Ergonomics MSD:
Awkward posture
Manual handling
Vibration
Uneven loading
Casting speed
Casting depth
Setting & curing effects
From rebars
Weight of rebars
Length and sharp ends
Impalement hazard
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Hazards in Formwork Fabrication & Installation - a (a) In all activities: Physical, ergonomic, mechanical,
Hazards in Formwork Fabrication & Installation - a
(a)
In all activities:
Physical, ergonomic, mechanical, electrical, and
psycho-social hazards. In physical –
Manual lifting and ergonomics hazards
Will be
Striking or being struck by objects
Working at height
covered in
another talk
(b)
Fabrication off-site/on-site, use, and dismantling:
Factory floor or site hazards
Crane and fork-lift hazards
Impalement on projecting rebars
Collapse of partial or finished formwork
Bad design or planning
Overloading or wrong sequence of loading
Wrong sequence to add or remove components
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Hazards in Formwork Fabrication & Installation -b (c) Transportation to and on site: Vehicular hazards
Hazards in Formwork Fabrication & Installation -b
(c)
Transportation to and on site:
Vehicular hazards
(d)
Material handling:
Hazardous material cement – chemical
Heavy and sharp steel – physical
Most failures are caused by:
Poor planning,
Poor design,
Inadequate inspection, or
The human element.
Almost all failures occur at the time when concrete
placement adds considerable weight and pressure on
the formwork.
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Collapse of formwork – a In theory, formwork must be designed so that they will
Collapse of formwork – a
In theory, formwork must be designed so that they will
be strong and stable under construction loads, which
should include delivery of concrete and rebar bundles.
Heavy loads must be placed only at specially
designed, designated zones, spread over a wide
area by means of planks, placed on or close to extra
supports underneath.
In practice, due to lack of clear instructions, design may
not cover construction loads.
At site, Safe Work Procedure (SWP) may not cover
alternative means to keep loads within safe bounds.
Arrangements made to open bundles at ground level
or on strong bases and distribute them on formwork,
may not always be followed.
Formwork is most unstable during concrete casting and
early stages of hardening and curing, and at its weakest.
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Collapse of formwork – b A bundle of 20 numbers of 15m long 32mm rebars
Collapse of formwork – b
A bundle of 20 numbers of 15m long 32mm rebars weig-
hing about 19kN may be placed on formwork designed
for 1.5kN per sq.m plus a concentrated load of 2kN.
Crane cannot place rebar bundle on formwork precisely
flat so as to ensure a uniform distribution of total load.
At least half the weight amounting to about 10kN will
be delivered as concentrated load to formwork, over-
loading the temporary structure by about three times.
To prevent this, design (and related SWP) must specifi-
cally cover placement of heavy loads on formwork.
There are rules for placement of concrete on form-
work, for height of drop, and spread area.
Multi-storey work has additional danger of shoring of
new work on to recently completed work which may not
have attained adequate strength, or which may not itself
be adequately shored – Engineer shall be consulted.
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Striking against objects With many loose/heavy materials/objects moving around under mechanical, electrical and human
Striking against objects
With many loose/heavy materials/objects moving around
under mechanical, electrical and human power over a
restricted area, with many workers focussing on indivi-
dual or small team work, even with supervision, there
would be occasions for workers to strike against objects.
Common situations are:
Rear worker in two-worker operation does not stop
when forward worker stops, and this pushes latter
against some sharp/hard object;
Worker is dragging something and moving
backwards in a bent position, and then straightens
up without checking if he is under something.
Impalement on projecting rebars
Supervisors must take special care to ensure workers
are alert in their work and vehicle drivers extra cautious.
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Struck by objects – a Even if workers are trained, given PPE, and supervised, chances
Struck by objects – a
Even if workers are trained, given PPE, and supervised,
chances of their being struck by objects are high.
During loading or unloading, or when moving formwork
components, often small items get dropped, and impact
on lower limbs of persons at same level or on torso of
persons at lower levels can be very traumatic.
Apart from helmets, use of chin-straps must be insisted.
All other PPE such as steel-toed shoes, gloves, etc.
are essential.
Problem is worse because of large weight of concrete
and steel, and high hardness of steel being moved.
E.g. Crane or forklift loads hitting workers.
Though velocity may be low, due to large weight,
momentum is high and movement cannot be stopped
even if operator sees the danger.
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Struck by objects – b Crane signallers and forklift supervisors must be alert in guiding
Struck by objects – b
Crane signallers and forklift supervisors must be alert in
guiding loads in their movement – continuous
supervison would be essential.
Sudden stopping of
truck with long rebars
will make them fly like
javelins into objects &
people in front, and/or,
impale riders at back.
Crane signallers and
forklift supervisors
must be specially alert
in guiding the loads in their movement.
Rebar movement is such a hazardous operation that
continuous supervison would be a must.
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Icons-land
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Impalement on projecting rebars – a Due to medium likelihood of occurrence & high severity
Impalement on projecting rebars – a
Due to medium likelihood of occurrence & high severity
of consequence, specific SWPs & safety devices against
impalement on rebars are in use in many countries.
In Singapore, it is neither required nor standard prac-
tice to provide safety cover for exposed rebar ends.
Inclined or even horizontal rebars are a threat for
impalement, because if a worker bumps into exposed
sharp end of rebar with sufficient force to puncture his
skin, and momentum can
cause heavy internal
damage.
Careless handling of (or
being near) rebars pro-
jecting from pre-cast or
already cast members
can cut & mutilate hands.
Fig. 9.2. Uncapped Rebars
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Impalement on projecting rebars – b Figure shows common practice to cover rebar ends by
Impalement on projecting rebars – b
Figure shows common practice to cover rebar ends by
rounded (‘mushroom’) or flat-topped plastic caps.
But these are only scrach and cut protectors and will
not protect worker from serious injury if falling >2m.
Fig. Rebar caps or guards
Fig. Rebar and cover
Caps with large contact area and sufficiently strong to
resist impact from large heights may be approved.
For real protection, line of exposed rebars should be:
(i) Covered by a protective shield (2 by 4 or plank); or,
(ii) Bent so sharp ends are pointing down or back.
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Tripping and falling Common hazards are: Tripping on formwork projections or depressions and falling Tripping
Tripping and falling
Common hazards are:
Tripping on formwork projections or depressions and
falling
Tripping on rebars and falling
Abrasions and cuts during
handling of rebars, wood or steel
components, some of which
may slice through palm to the
bone;
Pinching and crushing of fingers,
toes, hands, wrists, some of
which may necessitate
amputation.
Steel-toed shoes, thick gloves, and
thick full body clothing are essential
to prevent consequences.
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Mechanical hazards In formwork, receiving, storing, handling, cutting, bending, and moving timber and steel components
Mechanical hazards
In formwork, receiving, storing, handling, cutting,
bending, and moving timber and steel components are
quite common.
Hazards can range from cuts, bruises, and pinched
limbs, to eye inuries, amputations, fractures etc.
Conrols must follow usual hierarchy for these hazards:
Machine guards,
Safety interlocks for machine operation,
Up-to-date training,
Appropriate PPE, and
Strict maintenance, inspection,
and supervision regime.
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Electrical hazards Formwork involves more mechanical and manual operations than electrical. However, as electrically
Electrical hazards
Formwork involves more mechanical and manual
operations than electrical.
However, as electrically operated hand tools are
involved, or night work has to be done, electricity
becomes an additional source of danger to workers.
Possible consequences of frayed insulations, contact
with water, ungrounded circuits, etc. could range from
simple electric shock to fatal electrocution.
Shock may not injure worker but instantaneous jerk may
throw him off balance and make him and/or co-worker
on whom he may bump, fall and get hurt.
Electric shorts can result in fires & explosions.
Hand tools running on 110v safer than 220v.
All normal precautions, as well as strict maintenance,
inspection, and supervision regime must be observed.
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Noise Noise is a common hazard in construction sites, including formwork. Noise-induced hearing loss or
Noise
Noise is a common hazard in construction sites,
including formwork.
Noise-induced hearing loss or deafness (NIHL or NID) is
fully preventable but once acquired, hearing loss is
permanent and irreversible.
Use of earplugs, and isolation of noisy equipment must
be ensured.
The problem, is now addressed by authorities.
Construction industry should proactively control.
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Psychological hazards Psychological hazards have not been a serious problem in Singapore, if only because
Psychological hazards
Psychological hazards have not been a serious problem
in Singapore, if only because it has not been reported.
However, the largely immigrant workforce suffers under
communication and cultural handicaps
Heavy manual / mechanical handling, and highly
repetitive nature of formwork tasks can induce a lot
of mental stress and loss of concentration on top of
major physical labour.
It is worth relieving psychological stress by providing
good site facilities and rest breaks.
Chemical hazards
Skin Contact – burns, rashes, and skin irritations.
Eye Contact –irritation, to painful chemical burns.
Inhalation –Nose, throat irritation; lung disease silicosis.
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Chemical Hazards http://www.usmra.com/repository/search_category.asp?category=construction 38/48 Copyright Profesor N.
Chemical Hazards
http://www.usmra.com/repository/search_category.asp?category=construction
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Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com Ergonomic Hazards 39/48 Awkward posture – a Even without

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Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com Ergonomic Hazards 39/48 Awkward posture – a Even without

Ergonomic Hazards

39/48

Awkward posture – a Even without overload, many tasks in formwork fabrica- tion and erection
Awkward posture – a
Even without overload, many tasks in formwork fabrica-
tion and erection involve bending and twisting postures,
which if continued for too long without sufficient rest and
compensatory exercise, could affect the worker’s health.
Lifting and arranging formwork planks, cutting and
connecting components, etc. are common examples.
Most common consequence of such bad work posture is
MSD, short for ‘musculo-skeletal disorder’, over-straining
various muscles.
If not relieved by rest, medi-
cation, physio-therapy etc., it
may result in permanent
muscle and nerve damage
leading to paralysis, gang-
rene, etc.
Carpentry work
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Awkward posture – b In USA MSDs are most common injuries in construction industry, accounting
Awkward posture – b
In USA MSDs are most common injuries in construction
industry, accounting for over one-third of all lost workday
injuries and about half of all compensation claims.
Situation in other advanced countries is also critical.
In Asia the problem has not made itself felt, mainly
because culturally Asians are more used to bending and
squatting than Westerners.
But habits & lifestyles have been changing & Asians
too may become more
vulnerable to MSD.
Singapore authorities are
promoting awareness of
this recently recognised
hazard & its consequen-
ces to improve safety.
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Awkward posture – c MSD can be taken care of with various safeguards: Raising job
Awkward posture – c
MSD can be taken care of with various safeguards:
Raising job to a level not requiring bending back;
Providing lighter tools, with easier controls;
Replacing hand tools with mechanical tools;
Planning work and arranging materials to avoid
unnecessary movement;
Giving workers more breaks during task;
Increasing number of workers
– they don’t cost that much, but in Singapore,
availability may be a problem;
Rotating workers in such tasks;
Decreasing speed/rate of work;
Changing posture frequently;
Minimising the amount of such work by substitution,
pre-fabrication;
O
R
?
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Repetitive work – a Formwork fabrication will involve thousands of opera- tions of same kind,
Repetitive work – a
Formwork fabrication will involve thousands of opera-
tions of same kind, each of which requires concentration
and physical effort of same kind.
In concreting, vibration of cast concrete is a common
example.
In rebar work, a typical reinforcement cage
will involve thousands of operations of the
same kind, such as:
Arranging bar chairs under rebars,
Tying rebars with binding wire.
Limbs involved are fingers, wrist, hand, and elbow.
Repetitive use of these muscles and nerves will lead
to disabling conditions as ‘carpel tunnel syndrome’.
These may be relieved by worker-related safeguards
from list presented under (b) ‘Awkward posture’.
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Repetitive work – b Much of bending and doing repetitive work has been replaced in
Repetitive work – b
Much of bending and doing
repetitive work has been
replaced in Western
countries with mechanical
aids such as automatic
rebar tying device.
Fig. Rebar
tying
device with
extendable
handle
Fig.
Rebar
tying
device
Fig. Rebar work in bent position
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Manual handling – a For every kg we pick up from our foot level, our
Manual handling – a
For every kg we pick up from our foot level, our back-
bone is subject to about 12kg force.
So, if a worker picks up a cement bag, or steel decking
2m long and 200mm wide of 4.8mm thick metal, both of
which weigh 50kg, it puts a force of 600kg on backbone.
In addition, if he weighs
70kg, bending forward puts
weight of upper half of his
body, that is an additional
35kg acting at half distance
from the arm, with effective-
ly half magnification effect,
i.e. 6 times, or 210kg force
on his backbone.
Total force on backbone =
810kg
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Manual handling – b Most Asian backbones are designed (by nature) to take safely about
Manual handling – b
Most Asian backbones are designed (by nature) to take
safely about 500kg on a regular basis, with an occasio-
nal overload of 50% and a limit of another 50% before
permanent damage sets in.
Working backwards, we can show that worker can
carry (500-210)/12 i.e. 24.2, or about 25 kg routinely.
Unfortunately, overload effects on backbone cannot be
reversed after a time, and victim
is destined to endure pain and a
stiff back for rest of his life.
Hence workers carrying more
than about 25kg on a regular
basis are putting abnormal strain
on their backbones, which in a
couple of years, can lead to
permanent spine damage.
Fig. Form plank lifting
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Manual handling – c This is not as well known as other dangers such as
Manual handling – c
This is not as well known as other dangers such as fal-
ling from height, & many workers overstress their back.
This situation can easily be handled by one or more of:
Wherever possible, dividing loads into parcels of
25kg or less;
Assigning more workers to share the load;
Providing mechanised aids such as dollies (carts); &
Training – and insisting on – workers to squat and
carry instead of bend and lift.
How to lift a weight
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Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com
 
 

Copyright Profesor N. Krishnamurthy :: www.profkrishna.com

The End

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