Back pain is the most common cause of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the UK and within the construction industry accounts for 45% of all injuries lasting over three days. Unsafe manual handling injuries affect around 70,000 building workers every year, costing the industry an estimated £335 million.
Leading aircrete manufacturer, Thermalite, is only too aware of the Health and Safety issues that arise within the construction industry and aims to develop services and information that help to educate the industry and products that help to reduce potential problems.
The risk of an injury caused by handling is largely determined by the weight of the material – the heavier it is, the higher the risk of injury. In the case of block weights, for example, CONIAC has concluded that there is a high risk of injury in the single-handed, repetitive manual handling of blocks heavier than 20kg, stating: ‘…if single person handling is needed, either blocks of 20kg or lighter should be specified and used, or other precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of injury by, for example, the provision of mechanical handling.’
The properties of Thermalite blocks, result in a unique material that is both strong and exceptionally light to handle, with all standard blocks weighing less than 20kg in accordance with guidelines. In addition to the lightness of materials, other adaptations help site workers to avoid injuries. For example, Thermalite is the first manufacturer to offer blocks with hand holds. These are incorporated into Trenchblock for use in foundations, a feature recommended by the HSE, who advocates that, where possible, blocks with hand holds should be used to aid the process of lifting and laying.
The light weight also means that CDM Regulations can be met on projects using a larger sized block. Thermalite’s Large Format blocks, equivalent to two normal blocks, still weigh less than 20kg and independent tests have shown that building with these blocks can result in time savings of 50% compared to laying heavier aggregate blocks.
Paul Reed, Head of Marketing at Thermalite, commented: “Thermalite is at the forefront of product development to ensure that the industry benefits not only from innovative products, but also those that comply with regulations and guidelines. However it is also the responsibility of designers and builders to ensure that good H & S products and procedures are used on site in order to prevent injury to themselves or others.
“Health and Safety is a major issue with new legislation and guidelines being constantly introduced. Thermalite allows compliance with all relevant regulations and the company is dedicated to reducing the amount of work related injuries in line with the Health and Safety Executive.”
Source: Communique PR