The construction sector is highly affected by new technologies and new generations of tools and machinery used in the sector. This interaction of new techniques and technologies and existing work processes and the integration of new technologies in production may result in new hazards and possible unsafe work situations. Even though we have improved standards of machinery and (in tendency) there are less accidents, we still face too many serious and fatal accidents.
Against this background, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), and the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE) decided to apply for a joint project aiming at improving the safety and health conditions when working with construction machinery. IndustriAll was an associated project partner and represents the workers in the manufacturing sector.
The overall objective was to increase workplace safety and health by direct collaboration between producers and users of specific types of machinery. Several deliverables have been produced, giving easy understandable information on various topics for both sides, manufacturers and users, employers and workers and their representatives but also for experts of occupational safety and health in companies. Furthermore, the project also provides information to the European standardisation institutions and formulated policy options to foster the future improvement of machinery design, the underlying standards and their safe use in construction work.
The project contributed to various EU-principles and policies, i.e. among others: social dialogue, subsidiarity principle, occupational safety and health at work, new approach for standardisation. The structure of the project partners allows for the project results to be disseminated all over Europe. Expertise from this project and all its results can be used as input for any activity of the European legislator on both levels, legal as well as standardisation.
Main objectives of the action
The overall goal of the project was to better protect operators of construction machines and the surrounding persons. To this end, we gathered producers and users of some types of machinery, allowing them to have direct communication on specific aspects of the respective machinery. This direct relation between manufacturer and user aimed at creating a shortcut for the improvement of machinery design.
Furthermore the project aimed at improving the influence of stakeholders in the standardisation process, mainly by providing specific information on some aspects that are relevant for the health and safety of workers, but also on topics that deal with European Standards. This message will be directed to the European policy makers and the concerned standardisation bodies
In terms of practical project activities, the project partners organised five workshops that dealt with the following contents:
- Access to the machines and other person related aspects of ergonomics
- The operator’s view/visibility
- Quick couplers
- Safety in general
- Safety on construction sites when using earth-moving machinery
- Training of operators and other workers
- The European Standardisation process
The publication of five deliverables in the form of: 4 fact sheets, each dealing with a specific topic and a memorandum of understanding.
Key results of the action have been the execution of five one-day workshops and the elaboration of a folder with five documents: a joint Memorandum of Understanding and four fact sheets (one on the European standardisation process, one on ergonomics, one on collision avoidance and one on site organisation and the training of workers.
The five workshops provided input regarding the respective topics by form of presentations from experts representing the manufacturer side and the user side/employers and workers/science and practice. We used various methods to stimulate discussions and document the contributions of participants. By this, we ensured that the workshop directly contributed to the elaboration of the four fact sheets but also of the Memorandum of Understanding. We had a very heterogeneous participation in our workshops and felt that this resulted in very fruitful discussions and a colourful picture of information.
The four fact sheets on Standardisation, Ergonomics, Collision Avoidance and Worksite Organisation/Training give direct instructions to practitioners from both sides, the user in the construction sector and the designer in the manufacturing companies.
The Memorandum of Understanding formulates a number of expectations from the European legislator, mainly aiming at a better involvement of all stakeholders in the European standardisation process and especially bringing users’ experiences to bear in the standardisation process. The Memorandum of Understanding also documents the partners’ goal for a closer cooperation between the two concerned sectors (construction and the machinery producing metal sector) and names some specific follow-up activities.
The dissemination activities done so far, give us the impression that the results and the concept of the project achieved high interest and a very positive feedback.
- Start: 01/2016
- End: 07/2017
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