Crane drama drills home safety issues
8:20am Friday 31st August 2012 in By David Wiles
AN INJURED man was saved from a tower crane at the construction site of the £350m Union Square regeneration yesterday – but no fear, the ‘drama’ was all part of a safety training drill.
A health and safety expert delivered the exercise for workmen on rescuing colleagues from cranes and tall buildings.
Two giant cranes are fully in operation at Union Square’s £25m first phase, which focuses on the site of the former police station and will start with a 850-space car park and 45 assisted living apartments.
Yesterday, staff from Heightec, the national access rescue centre, delivered a one-day working-at-height training course for two staff from John Sisk and Son Ltd, which is responsible for the construction project, as well as four from contractor Obor, which is doing the concrete frames of both buildings.
Ian Downing, contracts manager at John Sisk, said this kind of refresher training was important so workmen knew how to save someone who perhaps had broken a leg and could not descend the crane down the ladder as normal.
He said: “Safety is critical and important to everyone. Should a crane operator or anyone at the top of a crane need to be rescued through a medical problem or whatever, we have to have a plan in place to rescue that person or people.
“So specialist contractors provide that training and they’re training up some of our staff members and some contractors, so that there’s a breadth of knowledge and experience out there.”
John Sisk started on site on June 27, with the aim of completing the car park within 48 weeks and the apartments within 56 weeks.
The groundworks and piling are already finished on both buildings. The foundations are 50 per cent complete for the car park and 80 per cent complete for the assisted living apartments.
The cranes – one 32 metres high and one 43 metres high – started being assembled last week, changing Swindon’s skyline, and were fully signed off on Tuesday.
They will be used to help erect the concrete frames of both buildings and are already helping to move around some of the materials.
The small crane is scheduled to go at the end of January and the big crane will be taken away at the end of March.
Mr Downing said: “We are on programme. The weather has just made the ground conditions difficult with all the clay and the mud. But we’re still on programme.
“The project is technologically challenging, especially in the car park with the high grade materials and the interfacing of the material components.”
Union Square is the office-led mixed-use development, which is being pushed ahead by the council, economic development firm Forward Swindon, developer Muse and the Homes and Communities Agency.
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