Welcome to the Spring 2015 issue of Pipelines
In this issue we are focusing on the Concrete Pipe Lifter. For many, this incredible, award-winning piece of equipment may be an overlooked gem.
There is nothing more important than the safety of construction site operatives during the offloading and installation of pipelines. Often, the introduction of safer working practices can lead to lower productivity and higher costs. In contrast, the Concrete Pipe Lifter is a rare chance to greatly reduce risk on site with the combined opportunity to significantly increase productivity and reduce costs.
The sad news of the death of workman in Swindon during the installation of cast iron sewer pipes is a stark reminder of the real risks that workers are exposed to and the importance of proper risk assessments and safe working methods.
The Concrete Pipe Lifter is a major step towards safer, faster, cheaper pipeline installation. It must not be ignored.
Stuart Crisp, Director, CPSA
Lay concrete pipes quicker with less cost and less hassle
Traditional methods for lifting and offloading concrete pipes include the use of slings or chains connected to integrally cast lifting hooks built into the pipe. These methods require an operative on the back of a vehicle during offloading to connect the slings / chains to the pipe and in the trench during laying to disconnect the lifting tackle from the installed pipe. It is reported that more than 75% of major fall-from-vehicle incidents occur during loading and unloading activities. The HSE estimated in 2004/05 that the human and economic cost of reported fall from-vehicle incidents was over £36.5 million.
The Concrete Pipe Lifter is a simple-to-use, inexpensive system introduced to the UK by CPSA. It is a collaboration across all members of the Association who are actively driving to improve site safety and increase efficiency during the delivery, offloading and installation of sewer pipes in open cut trenches.
The Concrete Pipe Lifter is connected to an excavator via a quick hitch attachment and uses no motorised parts making it easy to maintain. The lifting arm is inserted horizontally into the barrel of the pipe and raised to make contact with the internal crown of the pipe. The clamp arm will press down onto the top of the pipe at the socket end and hold it in position. The pipe may now be lifted and transferred to a suitable storage location or placed into the prepared trench and jointed following the application of an approved joint lubricant to the pipe spigot, if required. The pipe may be tilted up to 30 degrees from horizontal and manoeuvred between struts on trench support systems. It can also be used to push the pipe home to ensure formation of the correct joint gap.
Lighter weight products made from other materials may initially appear easier to use and some suppliers have suggested that these items can be used without the need for mechanical lifting equipment. In fact, according to Health & Safety Executive guidance on weight limitations for manual handling, many lighter weight products are in excess of the upper limit for safe lifting. In many cases, this means that HSE guidelines and Safety Best Practice are not being followed and the use of “light weight” as a marketing tool could lead to lack of appropriate risk assessment and safety management on site. CPSA’s Information sheet on Manual Handling offers information on this.