News & Views

Wet Paint – don’t touch!

We have all seen such signs and what is our natural reaction – you’ve guessed it we touch it to see if it is really wet! We have a propensity to put our hands and fingers into places of danger despite them being so essential to almost everything we do.

Within the geotechnical industry we are not only working with large piling rigs, our members also are often working with smaller drilling rigs installing mini-piles, soil nails, anchors, and the like. Historically these activities have relied on the physical strength of the front man to handle the casings, augers and drilling tools.
Unsurprisingly manual handling (even sometimes with the assistance of a secondary line) has led to fingers and hands being trapped between the rig and the tools being manipulated. This has resulted in operatives breaking bones and worse losing fingers as a result of putting their hands where they should not be.

Recognising this the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) members set up a working group to produce a guidance note setting out mechanised methods of handling casings, drilling rods and tools rather than relying on manual handling.

In many cases these methods allow the use of longer lengths of casings and tooling allowing productivity improvements to at least partially off-set the additional equipment costs.

This guidance is available on the FPS website here:
FPS members have all signed up to the following approach:

“Wherever reasonably practical, handling of augers, casings and rods during mini-piling and other specialist geotechnical operations shall be achieved by either of the following methods: a mechanised tool-handling system be fitted to the rig, for example a carousel, magazine; or a mechanised tool-handling device that can be attached to supporting equipment, such as an excavator’s quick-hitch.”

Going forward, hopefully, we will have less people putting their hands where they do not need to go – do not touch that wet paint!!