WorkSafe Victoria Issues Safety Alert for Prevention of Structural Collapse

A building collapse in Bangladesh has led to the death of at least 150 people. The incident has been blamed on shoddy construction work and lack of structural stability. The building was not built in compliance with the safety rules and regulations, which is common in developing countries where funds are usually low and safety is often compromised.

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Disturbing image of chaos that ensued after structural collapse in Daka, Bangladesh

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130425-bangladesh-dhaka-building-collapse-world/

This incident reminds me of a safety alert issued earlier this month by WorkSafe Victoria to raise awareness for the prevention of structural collapse.

The WorkSafe Victoria alert highlights the importance of making sure that buildings and structures are stable whether during construction, demolition or refurbishment. The tragedy in Bangladesh is an example of what can happen if structures are unstable.

The alert highlighted the fact that when a building or structural collapse occurs, it can be fatal not only for construction workers but innocent members of the public, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to the alert there are a number of reasons why structural and building collapses occur including bad whether including rain and windy, temporary supports or foundations which are undermined, lateral supports of a structure that has been taken away, the structure sustains some sort of heavy impact or a combination of these factors.

These are some of the incidents that have occurred, (SafetyCulture.com.au posted this about alert)

worksafe-vic-logoSome of the incidents have been:

 

–       The collapse of a portable steel building whilst it was being built

 

–       A house sliding off jacks during restumping

 

–       A carport wall collapsed during a storm onto workers that were sheltering there

 

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/safety-alert-released-for-the-prevention-of-structural-collapse/

The alert also details some of the control measures that can be employed to ensure structural collapse does not result in injuries.

Read what the post goes on to state about control measures:

Structures need to be periodically monitored by duty holders to ensure that the stability is adequate and that nobody is at risk in case of collapse

 

They need to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions including high winds and heavy rain or water run off. They should also be able to withstand dynamic forces and the foundations must be solid.

 

If a structure or building is unstable, an exclusion zone needs to be established around it until the rectification of the problem is satisfactorily completed.

 

Temporary bracing can be used for partially built structures or in case of missing roof framework or other lateral supports. All temporary bracing needs to be devised by qualified personnel such as an engineer.

 

Temporary bracing inspections

 

A qualified person needs to inspect any temporary bracing and supply written verification of the stability of the structure when first installed as well as regularly to ensure that the stability hasn’t been compromised in any way.

 

Additional inspections need to be conducted after extreme weather that may have affected the stability of a structure.

 

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/safety-alert-released-for-the-prevention-of-structural-collapse/