Successful Trials for Doncaster Highways
Doncaster Council like many other local authorities have traditionally used concrete products such as kerbs and channels in both new construction schemes and also in maintaining the existing highway infrastructure. As awareness of Health and Safety has increased, the knowledge around Hand Arm Vibration (HAV’s / White Finger), and the implications of silica dust which is produced when cutting concrete products has also improved as has the methods of handling these products such as the introduction of mechanical lifting aids, and dust suppression systems.
Whilst using mechanical means helps reduce the need for manual handling, this is not always feasible due to possible site restrictions and access.
Highway Operations in collaboration with the Highways Asset Management Team have been looking at alternative methods to design out (1st principle in Risk Assessment) or greatly reducing the need for manual handling of concrete kerbs and channels, the same H&S principles apply to alleviating or reducing the exposure to Silica dust. We also need to consider the impact of the carbon footprint involved in the both the production and cutting of the concrete products.
The early indicators for the kerbs that have been installed at the above two sites are proving to be positive in that they have allowed safe, single person manual handling, and also adherence to social distancing. The initial works were completed in February 2020 and although there is clear evidence of vehicle override in the above photos, the kerbs have not become damaged or displaced.
Although it was originally intended to monitor the durability of the kerbs over 6/12 months, due to problems brought about by the Covid-19 situation, and inability to replace / install conventional kerbs whilst adhering to social distancing and reduced resources it was decided to accelerate the use of plastic kerbs in other areas, both in safety works (i.e. localised individual replacement) and in smaller construction projects.
Consequently it is proposed to extend the use of the plastic kerbs to other suitable projects across the borough with a view to them becoming the norm rather than the exception, this will be subject to the existing sites continuing to evidence the durability that they are currently showing.