CIQ Pile breakdown paper 2007 pre-print version incl images.pdf (654.39 kB)
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Designing for health – reducing occupational health risks in bored pile operations

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journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2011, 13:55 by Alistair Gibb, Roger Haslam, Trevor C. Pavitt, K.A. Horne
Insitu concrete bored piling is a common foundation solution for both major building and civil engineering projects. The technique is used both for individual or grouped piles topped with a pile cap, or a line of piles, contiguous or secant, topped with a capping beam as part of a basement or abutment construction. There are many health hazards associated with bored piles. One of the main risks is the breaking down of the unwanted pile-top, typically using hand-held pneumatic breakers. This operation creates particular problems for hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), dust and noise. But there are several viable alternatives to this procedure that remove or significantly reduce these risks. These innovations have been developed by the construction supply chain and are readily available. D4h, a UK Government-funded research project by Loughborough University and the European Construction Institute, has demonstrated that designers can play their part in encouraging their adoption, without straying into the perceived danger of specifying means and methods. If designers are willing to identify pile-top break down as a significant residual risk in their health and safety assessment, thus requiring the Principal Contractor1 to provide proposals to address this risk – this may be the only push needed to get the industry to eliminate the major HAVS problem from insitu bored piles. This paper will benefit the health and safety research community, especially those working on designer intervention. The paper will also be of use to industry practitioners, providing innovative solutions to a significant occupational health risk as well as challenging designers to take construction health and safety more seriously.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


GIBB. ... et al, 2007. Designing for health – reducing occupational health risks in bored pile operations. Construction Information Quarterly, Special Issue: Health and Safety, 9 (3), pp. 113-123.


Chartered Institute of Building


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