IRATA Safety Notice- keeping our industry safe

1. Summary

Incidents have been reported to IRATA where technicians have not followed the clients or employing companies’ procedures;

  • “A worksite visit was being carried out and it was noticed that one of the Abseil team was not wearing a life jacket whilst working overboard. The job was stopped and work party came back in board. Discussions followed with team leader and manager. L3 and team brought in for investigation.”

  • “A team needed to lift a 900mm C-Beam (3kg) from roof deck to the 8th floor of the derrick. When lifting commenced, the beam jerked due to the ropes rebound and slipped out, falling down 3m. No barriers or signs were put up during the task. Nobody got hurt when the beam fell. The site manager immediately stopped all ongoing task on the derrick and barricaded the location. Investigation carried out found improper rigging methods were used.”

  • “The technician was abseiling down the rock face, carrying a hedge cutter on his harness to pass it to a competent person to use. The hedge trimmer was hooked on to the IPs harness and hanging at his side. During transportation it bounced on a rock and swung round making impact with his left hand. The technician was fairly inexperienced (level 1 with only 5 months experience), the hedge cutter was being carried incorrectly allowing the hedge trimmer to bounce of the off the rock.

The hedge trimmer should either have been lowered on a rope, raised to the operator on a rope or hang from a lanyard below the operative carrying it down the slope in accordance with the IRATA Code of Practice.”

2. Recommendations

The IRATA ICOP makes clear reference to the requirement for suitable procedures to be in place to help protect personnel and property (A.1.2). Employers and technicians should ensure they fully understand the contents of procedures prior to commencing any task (A. Detailed information relevant to the task should be available prior to the task commencing (B.2) and toolbox talks should be used to confirm that technicians understand what is required of them from the safety method statement (annex B) and if they identify that they do not have the correct equipment or PPE (B.2.2.e) or are not suitably qualified ( to carry out the task then the work should not go ahead until all the correct resources have been found.

Exclusion zones with adequate signage should be set up prior to tasks commencing ( & 2.11.8) and prior to any work commencing proper pre site planning ( should be carried out including hazard identification during the risk assessment phase (annex A) and any safety method statements (procedures) should be strictly adhered to during the task and may not be deviated from.

If technicians are unable to comply with any requirement of the procedure or do not understand the procedure then they should not commence the task without reporting the issue to their supervisor or employer. They must not recommence the task until they clearly understand what is required or until the issue has been adequately addressed.

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