Tony Gould wins recognition for Groundforce safety solutions

11 Jul

Groundforce technical director Tony Gould wins an award for improving safety on site.

His response to a challenge to improve the installation methodology of shoring boxes and edge protection systems, particularly in the area of safety, has won the technical director of leading excavation shoring equipment supplier Groundforce a regional award.
Tony Gould, was nominated for the Certificate of Merit Award for the IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) West of Scotland branch by Alan Kirkwood, QSE (Quality, Health & Safety and Environmental) manager for Scottish civil engineering contractor George Leslie Ltd.

The award recognises those whose actions make a valuable contribution to safety in their organisation but who are not a safety and health professional. Nominees were judged by a committee of safety professionals and winners were presented with their awards at the recent IOSH West of Scotland Branch annual dinner at Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow.

Alan Kirkwood, quality, health & safety and environmental (QSE) manager for George Leslie Ltd said: “Our company set local suppliers of shoring equipment a challenge last year which was to improve the installation of shoring boxes further and Tony Gould responded in the most attentive and positive manner over the last year in finding solutions.”

An innovative solution was required to reduce the risk of falls from height during the connecting and disconnecting of edge protection barriers and also whilst connecting and disconnecting of lifting chains from lifting points on the top of shoring boxes.

Tony led on finding solutions by listening to problems encountered by ground workers by making product improvements, coupled with producing simple and easy to follow but nevertheless high-quality user instructions, making safe installation even easier for ground workers. By finding innovative solutions to the common safety problems encountered, the risk of injury is further reduced.

Alan added: “We are now in a position to share a best practice solution from one of the suppliers of excavation shoring equipment. Going forward the company expects the above innovative products, or similar, to be requested from all excavation shoring equipment suppliers at procurement stage.”

The specific improvements, driven by Tony Gould, were:

  • Introduction of a safe distance hand guide used for ease of manoeuvring edge protection barriers under suspension which keep the installer a safe distance away from the edge until the barrier is safely lowered onto connection points on the top shoring panels.
  • There is now a strategic opening within the mesh of the edge protection barriers to allow a hand to go through it for safe connection and disconnection of lifting chains from the lifting points at the top of the shoring panels.  Workers can now do this from the top without having to remove the guardrail and use ladders from the bottom of the deep excavation. This also removes the risk of workers taking a chance and connecting/disconnect chains from the ground when fall prevention may be compromised.
  • Most importantly, edge protection barriers are now off-set slightly behind the line of the trench allowing an excavator to push the shoring box down while a guardrail is already in place.  This is preferable to the previous system in which there could be a risk of a fall when placing the guardrail onto the top shoring panel,  The newly revised safe system of work ensures the edge is protected at all times, reducing traditional residual risks such as falling from height.

Tony also ensured that a new easily to understand product user manual was produced to incorporate the improvements, which is backed up by a safety video for ground workers, showing the safe system of work.