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Guidance Bulletin 31

Overprotective. When is it right to overprotect a site?

Unprotected hazard

There are certain situations where the traditional plastic barriers used to protect works may not be sufficient for the risk posed by the activity we are trying to protect and the risks it can pose to pedestrians and other road users. Such as:

  • Water filled excavations
  • Plant and machinery
  • Exposed Apparatus such as valves, cables, or joints
  • Deep excavations over 1.2m
  • Excavations in high pedestrianised areas or outside heavily populated shops or other premises

In these circumstances we should always consider whether our protection is enough or do we need to take additional measures. The Red Book says:

If it is necessary to leave a site unattended, then remove as many hazards from the site as you can before leaving it. For example:

  • remove or securely immobilise all plant and machinery.
  • remove as much equipment and material as possible. Make sure any that is left on site is stored in a tidy manner and in such a way that it cannot fall, be knocked over or tampered with.

If an unattended site contains an open excavation within 2 metres of a temporary or permanent footway, then you should consider either:

  • putting temporary covers over the excavation (see page 99); or
  • providing an enhanced barrier around the excavation. unless a site-specific risk assessment shows that such additional protection is not justified.

  • DO Carry out a site-specific risk assessment of the risks posed by the works inside the barriers.
  • DO Pump out any standing water from an excavation if possible before leaving a site unattended.
  • DO Cover any deep excavations or water filled works with appropriate boards or plates to arrest the fall of anyone entering our works site accidentally or through intent.
  • DO Remove any plant, machinery, tools, or materials likely to cause injury if the site was entered by unauthorised persons.
  • DO Check all barriers are linked and secure before leaving a site unattended.
  • DO THINK IS IT SAFE? before leaving a site unattended.
  • DON’T Leave sites with water filled excavations of depth without considering the above.
  • DON’T Leave a site unattended without checking your barriers and signs TAKE PHOTOS.
  • DON’T Miss the risk off your risk assessment.

HAUC(UK) thanks Morrison Water Services in their help in the creation of this guidance.

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