Unloading Glass, Good Practice at Planet Partitioning
Planet Partitioning’s Health & Safety Director, Chris Byng discusses how Planet is tackling the issue of unloading glass onto site:
At Planet Partitioning, we aim to achieve a working environment which is free of work-related accidents, incidents and ill-health, and a culture whereby every opportunity is taken to identify and control hazards and reduce risk.
We have a commitment of continual improvement and, in all areas, look to introduce best practice guidance to employees and sub-contractors to ensure that we are all working towards the company’s safety goals.
One aspect of recent focus is the unloading and distribution of glass in and around a project site – particularly where a quantity of glass needs to be moved to upper floors. Planet often have to overcome pitfalls when straightforward distribution is limited due to site restraints, i.e. where no external hoist is available or the building’s lift is inadmissible or too small to carry the glass.
A solution to this problem was recently demonstrated with the use of a bespoke stillage. The external hoist had been removed by the Main Contractor during Planet’s programmed works, meaning we had to consider how to deliver glass to the project site without manually handling the glass via the stairwell. It is vital to avoid manually handling glass as far as is reasonably practicable and this was at the forefront of our Contract Manager’s mind.
He had considered the unload as soon as he was instructed on the project and engaged the Main Contractor early. He explained the use of the stairs was not safe and he was not willing to put the operatives and the reputations of both companies at risk.
The lift was not large enough to take the glass (2500mm high by 1000mm wide), but a solution was found in the form of a bespoke stillage to maximise the available height within the lift. This, coupled with limiting the width of the panels, removed the need for manual handling up the stairs or in the lift.
Planet’s Contract Manager had the bespoke stillage manufactured in good time and the specification meant the stillage was fit for use on the project in hand and robust enough to be retained and used on future projects (having been certified with a safe working load of 750kg following testing and examination).
This practice was also used on another of Planet’s projects when a generic glass trolley was adjusted to enable it to fit in the building’s lift, meaning 300 panes of glass were distributed safely, and without the need for any manual handling, to the 8th floor of a building in Cardiff City Centre.
The actions of Planet’s Contract Managers, on both of these projects, ensured a swift, cost-efficient unload was effected with a low risk of damage. It also portrayed a professional image and demonstrated the Company’s commitment to maintain the safety of our workers.