When we think about construction / excavation sites we think temporary fencing, business signage, sponsored logos -businesses keen to get their name out there. But why so often are these sites left unsafe? In 2008 it was reported that a 39-year-old man was found dead, head first in a 2 metre deep pier hole on an unsecured construction site in Sydney. It was believed that the man was trying to save his dog who was later rescued alive.
In the article published about the event, it was said that the site had not been closed off since the beginning of construction (6 months prior) and there were 20, two-metre-deep pier holes left unprotected.
“There are a lot of kids that live here. It’s tragic enough but imagine if something had happened to them.” (Alex Tibbitts)
Unfortunately, site security and safety are often overlooked due to pressures of building by a schedule even when the consequences can be fatal. To avoid accidents like this safety compliance should be considered in the planning stage of a project, not the build.
Safety and Pier Holes
While these tragic falls do not always end in fatality it is clear the holes are dangerous to leave uncovered. Too often, companies are reactive rather than proactive in changing their site operations before someone is hurt.
An example of a non-fatal case can be seen in a 2011 incident where a 46-year-old skid-steer loader / operator fell 6 metres into an unprotected pier hole, covered by the shade of the truck. He suffered serious back injuries and SafeWork (NSW) published an article that mentioned pier holes on construction sites as a known risk that should be planned for.
In the past pier holes and penetrations had been covered with leftover ‘temp’ fencing, plywood, unused site materials or simply marked with paint and tags while the site is locked (See incident space above). But none of these methods are fool proof without operators who take the time to put them in place -and the time it takes to arrange these materials, is often the problem.
Fast forward to today and those accidents from ground level could have been prevented with a Danterr Supplied Pier Hole Protector a collaboration product made right here in Australia by concreters themselves.
What is a Pier Hole Protector?
Simply, it is a lid for a Pier Hole. A simplistic yet innovative product it offers safety for work loads of up to 200kg and slots into the ground. It has teeth that grab the earth around the pier hole in order to register the cover immovable. The product eliminates costly and time-consuming alternatives as once the hole is dug it can be immediately placed over the site.
The product is reusable, FEA tested and RPEQ certified. It is available in a variety of fluorescent colours and comes with company logos for site showcasing before the concrete pour. A new product to our range it was the first product of its kind in Australia and referred to in the published SafeWork document from the 2011 incident as a keyway to make sure your site is safe.
There is so much waste in the construction industry. That’s why one of our favourite product features is the option to have the covers made from virgin or recycled materials. A key choice for the builder to showcase their pledge to do better for the world they are building.
As the world changes, so do we. We have started investing and supporting many products that have the environment and future in mind. So take the time to consider your impact. There is more to building and infrastructure than the bottom dollar -And there is no point in structures without people to live in them.
Look after your site safety and check out our Pier Hole Protectors here: