Posts by Katie Kennedy

Event

CIRIA Event: Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?

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CIRIA Event: Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?
2019-11-0808th Nov 2019
CIRIA Offices, Griffin Court, 15 Long Lane, EC1A 9PN

Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?
This event looks to discuss how construction professionals are managing hazardous ground gases.

When
Friday 8th November 2019
10:00 – 15:00 (Registration from 09:30)

Where
CIRIA Offices
Griffin Court
15 Long Lane
EC1A 9PN

This event will:
• Explore current issues with management of ground gas risk from risk assessment to verification
• Any gaps with current guidance and training and any other ways that we can improve practice further
• Discuss issues how as an industry could do better
• Share good practice and experience

https://www.ciria.org/CIRIA/Navigation/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=E19306

Event

CL:AIRE’s 20th Anniversary Conference: Innovation, Efficiency & Standards

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CL:AIRE’s 20th Anniversary Conference: Innovation, Efficiency & Standards
2019-11-1414th Nov 2019
One Great George Street, Westminster, London

CL:AIRE’s 20th Anniversary Conference: Innovation, Efficiency & Standards is being held on 14th November 2019 at One Great George Street, Westminster, London.

What you need to know….
• Two lecture theatres running parallel sessions
• Theatre #1 – Innovation in Brownfield site investigation and monitoring, sustainable remediation, data visualisation, ground gas risk assessment and a special focus session on PFAS treatment techniques
• Theatre #2 – Sustainable reuse of excavated site materials (including DoWCoP).
• >25 speakers
• >150 delegates
• Evening drinks & canapé reception for all attendees in The Great Hall
• 11 sponsors – Cornelsen, Ecologia, Geosyntec, GeoStream UK, John F Hunt Regeneration, Keltbray Remediation, National Grid, Shell Global Solutions (UK), Soilfix, SPASF Priroda, VertaseFLI
• For full information visit https://www.claire.co.uk/events-training/cl-aire-20th-anniversary-conference
• **Registration is filling up very quickly, so please book soon to avoid disappointment**

News

AGS Magazine: September/October 2019

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The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists are pleased to announce the August issue of their publication; AGS Magazine. To view the magazine click HERE.

This free, publication focuses on geotechnics, engineering geology and geoenvironmental engineering as well as the work and achievements of the AGS.

There are a number of excellent articles in this month’s issue including;
2020 AGS Sponsorship Packages – Page 4
AGS Commercial Risks & How to Manage Them Conference 2020 – Page 6
Reducing risk and preventing claims on complex brownfield residential sites – Page 8
Manual Handling Operations – Have you assessed your risk? – Page 14
Safety and technical concerns of using a DCP – Page 18
AGS Guide to Working on Rail Infrastructure – Page 24
Q&A with Adam Latimer of Ian Farmer Associates – Page 28
Working Group Focus: Loss Prevention – Page 31

Advertising opportunities are available within future issues of the publication. To view rates and opportunities please view our media pack by clicking HERE.

If you have a news story, article, case study or event which you’d like to tell our editorial team about please email ags@ags.org.uk. Articles should act as opinion pieces and not directly advertise a company. Please note that the publication of editorial and advertising content is subject to the discretion of the editorial board.

Article

Safety and technical concerns of using a DCP

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Introduction

The use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) also commonly known in the UK as the TRL Penetrometer or TRL Probe has been under discussion recently in the AGS Safety and Geotechnical Working Groups due to concerns raised by members regarding the significant danger of injury from damage to underground utilities, manual handling injury and the quality of the geotechnical data output.

The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) is an instrument designed for the rapid in-situ measurement of the structural properties of existing road pavements constructed of unbound materials. The robust and simple design means that the DCP is quick and easy to use, portable, low cost and suitable for use in locations where access may be difficult. It is commonly used in the UK to determine a California Bearing Ratio (CBR) profile for pavement design.

This article discusses the history of the test, the safety concerns and geotechnical design limitations of the DCP in modern practice and provides alternative methods which must be considered by the Designer.

Historical Background

The earliest technical references to the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) suggest that it was developed in 1959 by Professor George F. Sowers, Professor of Civil Engineering, Georgia institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA1. The original DCP used a 15 lb weight dropping over 20 ins and used a 40o cone. This DCP was originally developed for field exploration and for verifying individual footing foundations during construction. The DCP was further developed in South Africa for the evaluation of in-situ pavement strength or stiffness of newly constructed roads in the 1960s. Dr. D. J. van Vuuren designed this version of the DCP with a 30° cone2.

The Transvaal Roads Department in South Africa began using the DCP to investigate road pavement in 19733. Kleyn reported the relative results obtained using a 30° cone and a 60° cone. In 19824, Kleyn described another DCP design, which used a 60° cone tip, 8 kg (17.6 lb) hammer, and 575 mm (22.6 in) free fall. This design was then gradually adopted by countries around the globe including the USA and by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in the UK. In 2004, the ASTM D6951-03 Standard Test Method for Use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Shallow Pavement Applications described using a DCP with this latest design5.

Typical DCP/TRL Probe

DCP Procedure

The 8 kg free fall hammer is manually lifted and dropped through a height of 575mm. The distance of penetration of the cone tip is then recorded and the cycle repeated. Continuous measurements can be made down to a depth of approximately 850mm or when extension rods are fitted to a maximum recommended depth of 2 metres.

DCP testing consists of using the DCP’s free-falling hammer to strike the cone, causing the cone to penetrate the base or subgrade soil, and then measuring the penetration per blow, also called the penetration rate (PR), in mm/blow. This measurement denotes the stiffness of the tested material, with a smaller PR number indicating a stiffer material. In other words, the PR is a measurement of the penetrability of the subgrade soil.

Technical Output from the DCP

The most common use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) is to provide a quick and simple field test method for evaluating the in-situ stiffness of base and subgrade layers for roads and highways, and DCP testing has been used in many countries and US States for subgrade evaluation and QA/QC procedures. The greatest advantage offered by the DCP is its ability to penetrate underlying layers and accurately locate zones of weakness within the pavement system.

Correlations have been established between measurements with the DCP and conventional in-situ CBR so that results can be interpreted and compared with CBR specifications for pavement design. TRL Report TRL5875 is the most common correlation method used in the UK and is widely specified. A typical test takes only a few minutes and therefore the instrument provides a very efficient method for obtaining information which would normally require the digging of test pits.

Technical Limitations

This instrument is typically used to assess material properties down to a depth of 1000 mm below the surface. The penetration depth can be increased using drive rod extensions. However, if drive rod extensions are used, care should be taken when using correlations to estimate other parameters, since these correlations are only appropriate for specific DCP configurations. The mass and inertia of the device will change and skin friction along drive rod extensions will occur.

Correlations to CBR in homogenous, fine grained soil types are potentially the best use of the tool, or for finding boundaries of known (engineered or natural) layers where there is significant difference in resistance i.e. soft clay over dense gravel. Heterogenous soil types, e.g. Made Ground, with a recommended CBR from DCP may represent a false materials characterisation presented in a report to a civils designer not fully understanding the technique’s limitations.

Health and Safety Concerns

The nature of the test means it is manually operated from ground level without view of the materials and ground conditions being penetrated. The standard equipment comprises in basic terms a metal cone which is connected to metal rods which are driven into the ground using a metal weight and slide mechanism. Incidences of personal injury from manually driving or pushing metal spikes or road pins into buried services have been well documented and must be considered a significant risk. The equipment is not insulated and the procedure requires the operative to hold the equipment6,7 and includes the potential to force-drive through obstructions which might include unobserved buried services.

Although not a DCP test but effectively a similar process, AGS in 2017 (SP Energy Networks) reported an incident where an operative drove a steel road pin into a HV electrical cable and more recently a Safety Alert was released by Geoffrey Osborne in 2019 relating to a similar incident. Driving of road pins on Network Rail requires a permit as it is deemed a significant risk and many contractors have banned the use of road pins or the driving of other metal rods (i.e. earth spikes) into the ground.

With regard to manual handling, the equipment is bulky and unstable unless held firmly at what may be head height for some operators including the 8 kg hammer at the top. Generally, it requires two persons to perform the operation, but is often carried out by single operators to minimise cost. Although some DCP systems have mechanical jacks to extract the rods the typical use in the UK is by back hammering or manual pulling if there is resistance during extraction of the rods and cone. These practices could lead to not only damage of the equipment but the risk of musculoskeletal injuries must be considered.

The device was designed before modern standards in health protection, or the practicality of manual handling in a more regulated industry was considered. It is the role of the Designer in CDM to reduce or preferably eliminate risks. Designers specifying a DCP as part of a compliant ground investigation to obtain data for pavement design are simply failing in their CDM duty where this hazard is identified because a CBR value can be obtained in a safer way which can reduce or even eliminate the risk.

Alternative methods for CBR

The common practice to determine CBR values before DCPs were through collecting a bulk sample from hand excavated pits and carrying out laboratory testing. It is acknowledged that excavating a trial pit to obtain a sample is not without risk, but that is a recognised industry methodology and would be expected to have mitigation to avoid underground services strikes.

In situ CBR values can be obtained from surface or the base of a hand excavated trial pit using In-situ CBR equipment or Plate Load Test (PLT) equipment in accordance with BS 1377 procedures. The limitation of these tests is that they only provide a single value and not a profile and results can be detrimentally affected by coarse materials in mixed soils or near surface desiccation in fine soils.

If a CBR by depth profile is essential for design then the use of equipment such as the Lightweight Deflectometer (LWD) could be considered. The LWD is a device that estimates the in-situ modulus of a material using the impulse load produced by the impact of a falling weight. LWDs are particularly useful for estimating the moduli of asphalt, aggregate base, granular subbase and subgrade pavement layers. LWDs consist of a mass (often 10 kg), an accelerometer or geophone, and a data collection unit and are designed to be light enough to be moved and operated by one person.

Conclusions

The use of DCP to provide QA/QC data for newly constructed highways and earthworks where the location of buried services is known is considered to be a useful, quick, low cost and relatively low risk method. However, when DCPs are specified along routes for new highways or more generally to determine CBR values for pavement design the risk becomes significantly greater from injury through damage to buried services and the method has technical and quality concerns.

The method has been extended for purposes beyond its original design which often do not take into account the modern environment. The construction CBR value provided through laboratory testing which also provides soil type and compacted density, or through an in-situ surface test such as In-situ CBR/PLT is recommended as being faithful to the original correlation with Californian rock gravel performance under relevant loading conditions.

The use of LWD equipment could reduce both the risk of injury from damage to buried services and manual handling even further and this method will provide a CBR depth profile which is now the most common reason in ground investigations for specifying a DCP.

The justification for the Designer to specify DCP must be carefully considered and not driven by lowest cost and a robust risk assessment must be carried out. Ground investigations, especially those on brownfield sites, using the DCP may not be considering the technical limitations of the test and may not fully take into account the safety risks. Therefore, Designers under CDM may be failing in their duty to eliminate or reduce risk and through specifying DCPs are putting persons at harm.

The AGS is currently considering the safe use of DCPs and alternative methods in order to reduce or eliminate the safety risks to members. It would welcome opinions and thoughts from its members and also technical data which could support the promotion of alternative methods.

References

1 George F. Sowers and Charles S. Hedges: 1966 : Dynamic Cone for Shallow In-Situ Penetration Testing – Vane Shear and Cone Penetration Resistance Testing of In-Situ Soils, ASTM STP 399, Am. Soc. Testing Mats., p. 29.

2 van Vuuren, D. J. : 1969 : Rapid Determination of CBR with the Portable Dynamic Cone Penetrometer, The Rhodesian Engineer.

3 Kleyn, E. G. : 1975 : The Use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP). Transvaal Roads Department, South Africa.

4 Kleyn, E. G., Maree, J. H., and Savage, P. F. : 1982 : The Application of a Portable Pavement Dynamic Cone Penetrometer to Determine in situ Bearing Properties of Road Pavement Layers and Subgrades in South Africa. The European Symposium on Penetration Testing, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

5 ASTM D6951 / D6951M – 18 : 2018 : Standard Test Method for Use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Shallow Pavement Applications.

6 Zohrabi, M and Scott, P.L : 2003 : TRL Report TRL587, The correlation between the CBR value and penetrability of pavement construction material. Transport Research Laboratory

7 Done, S.; Samuel, P. : 2004 :User manual UK DCP 2.2. Measurement of road pavement strength by Dynamic Cone Penetrometer.

8 Jones C R and J Rolt (1991). Operating instructions for the TRL dynamic cone penetrometer (2nd edition). Information Note. Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory.

9 BS 1377 : 1990 : Methods of test for soils for civil engineering purposes. British Standards Institute

Article contributed by James Harrison, previously Delta Simons and Julian Lovell, Equipe Group

Article

Reducing risk and preventing claims on complex brownfield residential sites.

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NHBC is the UK’s leading warranty provider for new homes in the UK with a market share of around 80%. We deal with over 4,000 sites per year from 9,000 house builders on our Register with around 165,000 new homes currently registered annually.

 

Builders on the NHBC Register are required to build new homes in accordance with NHBC’s Standards to be acceptable for Buildmark warranty cover. The Standards specify the Technical Requirements of NHBC along with the performance standards to be achieved in the design and construction of new homes. Guidance is also provided on how the performance standards may be met.

Part 4 of the NHBC Standards covers foundations including requirements for; land quality, building near trees, strip and trench fill foundations, raft, pile, pier and beam foundations, and vibratory ground improvement techniques.

Consultants and/or specialist contractors preparing remediation strategies or substructure designs for NHBC registered house builders should be aware of the requirements of NHBC’s Standards. This is to ensure that the designs prepared will satisfy NHBC’s Technical Requirements and performance standards in order to be acceptable for Buildmark warranty cover.

Additionally landowners, land developers, development agencies and third parties remediating brownfield land for sale to house builders for residential development should also be aware of NHBC’s Standards and requirements. This will help house builders to avoid potential difficulties when they register the site for Buildmark warranty if the remediation strategy adopted, and the verification of any works undertaken, prior to acquisition of the land does not satisfy NHBC’s requirements. NHBC can offer support to non-NHBC registered companies remediating land for subsequent sale for residential development through a Land Quality Endorsement (LQE) service (www.nhbc.co.uk/lqe)

 

The NHBC Standards are available online at:

http://www.nhbc.co.uk/Builders/ProductsandServices/Standardsplus2019/#7

In Part 4 of the NHBC Standards, Chapter 4.1: Land Quality – managing ground conditions provides a framework for managing geotechnical and contamination risks with the objective of ensuring that:

  • All sites are properly assessed and investigated for potential geotechnical and contamination hazards.
  • Foundations and substructure designs are suitable for the ground conditions.
  • Sites are properly remediated where necessary or appropriate, and design precautions are taken.
  • Appropriate documentation and verification are provided to NHBC.

On potentially hazardous sites, NHBC seeks to adopt a pro-active risk management regime on developments registered for Buildmark warranty with the aims of:

  • Reducing the potential for defective or damaged buildings.
  • Ensuring risks to human health are addressed.
  • Mitigating the likelihood of claims against Buildmark and significant claims costs for both house builders and NHBC.
  • Avoiding reputational damage for all stakeholders.

With the increased use of brownfield and marginal land for residential development, sites frequently have significant geotechnical and environmental issues that need to be satisfactorily addressed in order to meet the requirements of NHBC.

It is essential that a holistic approach to the overall remediation strategy is adopted for all brownfield and marginal sites. This is to ensure that both the geotechnical and environmental issues are considered in tandem and are aligned, so that the aims and objectives of each individual strategy are not unduly compromised, and the overall strategy delivers the desired performance over the 60-year design life required for new homes.

When undertaking technical assessments for new residential developments on brownfield or marginal sites with complex geotechnical and environmental issues, typical areas of concern and focus on proposals and designs submitted to NHBC for Buildmark warranty cover include:

a) Geotechnical

  • Inadequate or insufficient geotechnical site investigation and testing.
  • The presence of soft and compressible alluvial soils prone to large and potentially long-term settlements.
  • Deep un-engineered or partially engineered fills within landfills and quarries.
  • Landforming on sites with deep Made Ground or compressible soils with significant cut and/or upfilling resulting in heave or significant settlements.
  • Clarity of objectives for geotechnical remediation strategy including proposed foundation solutions.
  • The appropriateness of proposed ground treatment(s) to achieve the required bearing capacity and settlement characteristics for the development platform.
  • Suitability of engineered fill specifications particularly when proposed for the direct support of spread foundations, including; compaction method, testing regime, testing frequency, treatment of failures and verification.
  • The potential for collapse compression/inundation settlement on deep fill sites due to rising groundwater or infiltration including consideration of building drainage solutions on the site.
  • The robustness of the verification reporting on the implementation of the earthworks strategy.
  • Planned development over, or in close proximity, to high walls.
  • Long term settlements secondary and/or creep settlements over the 60-year design life of the new homes. Typically, NHBC will require any assessment to demonstrate that angular distortions/tilts will be no worse than 1 in 400 over the design life.
  • Potential short and long-term differential movements between rigid foundations solutions (e.g. piles) and external areas over the design life of the new homes.
  • Robust analysis and assessment of short and long-term settlements due to; building loads, raised ground levels, consolidation of cohesive soils and long-term creep in deep backfills and/or Made Ground. This includes the adoption of appropriate geotechnical parameters in settlement analyses/estimates.
  • Theoretical settlement estimates/assessments validated by load testing and/or settlement monitoring to demonstrate the actual load/settlement characteristics of the remediated development platform.
  • Due allowance for negative skin friction in pile designs on sites with deep fills and Made Ground or significant upfilling.
  • Co-ordination of geotechnical and environmental remediation strategies.
  • Co-ordination of post-remediation infrastructure/development works to ensure the geotechnical remediation works undertaken are not compromised or adversely affected (e.g. further changes to ground levels after remediation)

b) Environmental concerns

  • The adequacy of desk studies/Phase 1 assessments.
  • Robustness and completeness of conceptual site models.
  • Inadequate or insufficient geo-environmental ground investigation, testing and assessment following Phase 1 investigations.
  • The appropriateness of the contaminant testing suite and the frequency of testing and distribution on the site.
  • The use of appropriate assessment criteria for contaminants in soils and controlled waters.
  • The interpretation and assessment of environmental data obtained from ground investigations and appropriate updating of the conceptual site model.
  • Appropriate characterisation of ground gas regimes and any protection measures that may need to be adopted.
  • The robustness of the verification reporting following implementation of the environmental remediation strategy.
  • Co-ordination of geotechnical and environmental remediation strategies.
  • Co-ordination of post-remediation infrastructure/development works to ensure the geo-environmental remediation works undertaken are not compromised.

Often when things go wrong, the investigation of claims against Buildmark identify how these could have been avoided as the following examples demonstrate:

Example 1 – Excessive ground movement

In this example, the new homes were constructed on a site with soft compressible soils, including peat, to depths of 9m below the original ground levels. The properties were on piled foundations with a cantilevered path around the perimeter of the building to support services and safeguard the threshold at entrances to the buildings. However, during development, a piling mat was installed, and ground levels were also subsequently increased by up to 1m to suit final development levels. No measures were implemented to mitigate settlement of the underlying soft ground due to the increase in ground levels. After 12 months, 200mm to 300mm of settlement was recorded around the properties resulting in excessive differential movement occurring between the rigid piled substructure and the external ground. This incurred significant remedial costs on the affected properties. Claims on these properties could have been avoided by ensuring that the strategy for the site not only considered the foundation solution for the buildings but also the effects of raising ground levels on the underlying soft compressible soils.

Example 2 – Excessive ground movement

This example is another situation where potential for post development ground movements was not considered. In this case, the site was underlain by soft and very soft alluvial clays to depths of 15m. Piled substructures were adopted due to the poor ground conditions, but no consideration was given to post development settlements that may occur. A piling mat was provided to facilitate the piling works and some upfilling of the site was undertaken. This resulted in consolidation of the soft alluvial soils with between 75mm to 100mm of differential movement between the substructure and external that compromised access to the building and incoming services. Once again, claims on these properties could have been avoided by ensuring that the strategy for the site not only considered the foundation solution for the buildings but also the effects of raising ground levels on the underlying soft compressible soils.

Example 3 – Contamination in soils

On this rural development of 5 plots with extremely large rear gardens, fibrous boarding was identified in the gardens following occupation by the homeowners. Subsequent investigations revealed the presence of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) in the topsoil and subsoil, typically within 500mm of ground level but locally up to 1m in depth. The volume and concentration of ACM in the soil was determined to represent a significant risk to human health and substantial remediation was required in the gardens. Investigations identified; inadequate site investigations were undertaken prior to development along with lax control during the decommissioning and demolition of buildings previously occupying the site. The claims on these properties could have been avoided with an adequate site investigation and conceptual site model for the site, together with appropriate controls during the demolition of the original buildings.

In the examples given above, the claims against Buildmark warranty resulted in significant claims costs and disruption to the lives of the affected homeowners. These could have been avoided had the ground conditions been fully appreciated and appropriately managed, during both the development of the scheme design and subsequent construction.

In summary, it is essential that all brownfield and marginal sites with complex ground conditions are appropriately investigated and assessed to identify the potential geotechnical and environmental risks. This should include consideration of; the works required to create the development platform and any additional risk this may create, the types of building proposed and the intended foundation solutions etc.

For residential sites registered for NHBC Buildmark warranty, development designs and proposals will be assessed against the requirements of NHBC’s Standards and expected to satisfy Chapter 4.1: Land Quality – managing ground conditionsAll designers providing services to NHBC registered house builders and/or land owners or land  developers remediating brownfield sites for residential end-use should ensure they are familiar with NHBC’s requirements to; avoid development proposals being determined as unsuitable for Buildmark warranty cover, to assist in reducing risks and to help prevent claims for the benefit of all stakeholders, particularly home owners.

If you’d like to learn more about our LQE service please visit www.nhbc.co.uk/lqe or contact us on lqe@nhbc.co.uk

Article contributed by Adam Gombocz, Senior Geotechnical Engineer and John Jones, NHBC Engineering Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Article Safety

Manual Handling Operations – Have you assessed your risk?

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As the litigious nature of society grows and employees appear to be encouraged more than ever to pursue claims with their employers, the likelihood of claims for manual handling injuries is also likely to increase. Manual handling injuries are part of a wider group of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The term ‘musculoskeletal disorders’ covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. HSE states that statistics from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicate that MSD cases, including those caused by manual handling, account for more than a third of all work-related illnesses reported each year to the enforcing authorities. So, what aspects of geotechnical site work may be exposing the workforce to risks of manual handling injury which could lead to an unexpected claim.

Legislative Background

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations, 19921 is the main part of legislation which employers should be familiar with but additionally they should also be aware of other related HSE guidance such as the Manual Handling Assessment Charts (the MAC tool), INDG383 (rev 3)2. This sister guidance to the Regulations provides a detailed insight into how an employer should assess the risk through three types of assessment: lifting operations, carrying operations and team handling operations.

Most employers and hopefully their employees will be aware that the law does not identify a maximum weight limit. It places duties on employers to manage or control risk; measures to take to meet this duty will vary depending on the circumstances of the task. Things to be considered will include the individual carrying out the handling operation (e g strength, fitness, underlying medical conditions), the weight to be lifted and distance to be carried, the nature of the load or the postures to be adopted or the availability of equipment to facilitate the lift.

The HSE MAC Tool

The MAC tool provides a colour coded and numerical approach to risk assessment which takes into account all of the above factors but in a pragmatic and user-friendly approach and defines the following levels of risk:

G = GREEN – Low level of risk   Although the risk is low, consider the exposure levels for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women,  disabled, recently injured, young or inexperienced workers.
 A = AMBER – Medium level of risk   Examine tasks closely.
R = RED – High level of risk   Prompt action needed. This may expose a significant proportion of the working population to risk of injury.
P = PURPLE – Unacceptable level of risk   Such operations may represent a serious risk of injury and must be improved.

 

The first part of the assessment is to assess the load weight and for lifting and carrying for individuals this requires the employer to assess the weight of the load but also the frequency/repetition of the task. Although most single person lifting operations have ‘manageable’ load weights i.e. bags of sand/gravel/bentonite are limited to 25kg and bulk samples are around 25kg, if there is a repetitive nature to the task then the operation may go into the RED or even PURPLE. Therefore, tasks such as manually loading a lorry with bulk bags or unloading a couple of pallets of bentonite/gravel may push the task into the RED which would be deemed a high-risk task requiring prompt action. This is not surprising and why the employer must ensure collections and deliveries are assessed and where required are made with hi-ab lorries or tail lifts and have pallet trucks or a forklift available.

Team Lifting

Team lifting operations in our industry are generally a two-person lift. In this instance the MAC tool requires the employer to simply assess the load weight and does not take into account the frequency. The tool indicates that for two person lifts a weight in excess of 65kg is a high-risk activity and lift weights in excess of 85kg is an unacceptable risk. Employers can obtain equipment weights from the manufacturers and suppliers and a list of standard cable percussion tooling weights is provided in the current BDA Cable Percussion Guidance3.  Therefore, as examples: a sinker bar of 80kg or a 6” casing lead length of 77kg would mean a high-risk lifting operation whilst a U100 slide hammer at 93kg and a standard SPT drop hammer at 115kg would be an unacceptable risk. The choice of core boxes is another area of concern. A 3m two channel core box containing S size core of Chalk (a relatively low density rock) can still weigh in excess of 77kg which takes the lift into a high level of risk whereas higher density rock may become an unacceptable level of risk. As the frequency of the lift is not a factor then for each and every lift where there is a potential for a manual handling injury there is a potential claim.

Other factors

The MAC Tool does not simply use weight and frequency alone to assess the risk and also requires the employer to assess:

B – Hand distance from the lower back

C – Vertical lift zone

D – Torso twisting and sideways bending

E – Postural constraints

F – Grip on the load

G – Floor surface

H – Carry distance

I – Obstacles on route

J – Communication, co-ordination and control

K – Environmental factors

Therefore as an example, the assessment for using wooden core boxes has to start factoring in: having to bend down to pick the load up (B), leaning to one side as the box is picked up and carried (C & D), the use of looped rope handles which cut into the fingers (F), potential lifting on slippery or uneven ground (G) and potential obstacles (I),  then the overall risk of the task becomes high risk as a minimum and therefore prompt action is required.

Risk Control Measures

The first step required to comply with the Regulations is that the employer should, so far as is reasonably practicable, avoid the need for their employees to carry out manual handling operations that involve a risk of injury. If this is not reasonably practicable then the risks to employees of the manual handling operations carried out in the normal course of their work should be assessed and reduced.

On geotechnical sites that means using hi-ab lorries, winches or other mechanical lifting devices where possible, reducing the length of casings and other equipment, working on hard standing or creating more solid work areas with bog matting, using mounted hydraulic SPT hammers and using support vehicles and trailers to move equipment and materials around the site.

So what about the wooden core boxes? The employer may be able to improve the ground surface conditions and use mechanical lifting devices when in the core store or once on pallets but the weights are still going to mean a high to unacceptable level of risk in the field and in many core stores. Improvements to the handles will also help but the overriding problem will still be the weight and therefore the only solution left open to the employer is to reduce the size of the core box.

Any claim for a Manual Handling injury will result in the court looking at the current Regulations and Guidance and the measures the Employer has taken to reduce the level of risk of the task so far as reasonably practicable. Have you?

References

1 HSE, Manual Handling Operations Regulations, 1992

2 HSE, Manual handling assessment charts (the MAC Tool), INDG 383 rev3, 2019

3 BDA, Guidance for the operation of cable percussion rigs and equipment.

Article contributed by Julian Lovell, Managing Director of Equipe Group

Article

Q&A with Adam Latimer

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Full Name: Jonathan Adam Latimer

Job Title: Operations Director

Company: Ian Farmer Associates (1998) Limited

Adam is an Operations Director with over 25 years of professional experience working in the ground investigation sector. Adam has worked on a wide variety of investigations, including land development, contaminated land, infrastructure (both road and rail) and utilities projects. Adam holds an undergraduate degree in Geology and holds a vocational qualification in NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety. Adam is also a Freeman of the City of London and is a committee member for both the AGS and BGA.

What or who inspired you to join the geotechnical industry?

There isn’t any one person who inspired me to join the industry, however I have always had a keen interest in Geology from a young age, growing up in the North Pennines with its rich Geology and Mining History. When I left Durham University in 1993, I had already rejected the opportunities of working in the mining and exploration sector (working in politically unstable parts of the world wasn’t really an appealing prospect). I studied a traditional Geology degree and the Geotechnical Industry wasn’t an industry I as was particularly familiar with or aware of. Many undergraduates from Durham would ultimately become involved in the oil and gas sector, law or accountancy. On leaving University I cast a wide net, applying to a wide variety of businesses so I suppose I stumbled into the industry partly by accident.

What does a typical day entail?

I don’t have a typical day and as such it can be quite varied. Like everyone else involved in this industry, the days can be long. As I have progressed up the managerial ladder my role has become more of a support function for the business. With multiple offices and the business now being part of the RSK Group, I have found my time split between all sections of the company. Typically, I will spend most of my time in business development, forecasting, budgeting, estimating, training, auditing and reviewing and developing new documentation. Sadly, my time visiting sites and undertaking reporting and technical reviews has reduced with more managerial duties being the norm.

Are there any projects which you’re particularly proud to have been a part of?

I have been involved in a number of large scale and challenging ground investigations during my time in the industry and I can’t really focus on any one project over another. I am very passionate about the ground investigation industry and the most rewarding part of my job is helping to inspire the next generation of ground engineers, whether this is through the work within the AGS and BGA or through mentoring and training within Ian Farmer Associates.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

My role within the business has developed over the past few years and has become more focussed on the business development side and as such a huge challenge is adapting to volatile market conditions. Our industry suffers historically from significant peaks and troughs and you need to react quickly during buoyant times and when there is a downturn. The industry as a whole has also suffered from an acute shortage of experienced engineers and this coupled with a reduction in graduates entering the industry has put enormous pressures on existing staff to meet ever demanding timescales.

What AGS Working Group(s) are you a Member of and what are your current focuses?

I am currently the lead for the Safety Working Group and a member of the Executive Committee. Currently we are working on delivering the inaugural safety conference (Safety in Mind) on the 21st November at the National Motorcycle Museum. We have secured an excellent line up of speakers and some thought-provoking presentations which I am sure will make it a success. As a group we are continuing to gather feedback from our members on trial pitting and whether it remains a safe and effective method in a changing geotechnical world. We are also at the early stages of a working group on avoidance of buried services with collaboration with the BDA and FPS.

What do you enjoy most about being an AGS Member?

The AGS provides a unique opportunity for like-minded people to discuss issues within the industry in an honest and frank way. The AGS membership is an essential vehicle to share good practices in an open forum for the greater good of the industry.

What do you find beneficial about being an AGS Member?

Being a member of the AGS provides members with an unrivalled opportunity to have a voice in how the Geotechnical Industry should operate. Fantastic work has been done by the members of the AGS to shape the future of the industry and that is credit to the diligence and tireless work of all the professionals we are fortunate to have working in the sector. There is a wealth of publications, position papers and articles which provides invaluable information and all this is available for the benefit of the members on the website or through the conferences held annually.  

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry?

The AGS offers a unique opportunity for like-minded professionals who are passionate about the industry to work collaboratively for a common goal to improve the image of the Geotechnical sector. The AGS is the only trade association which includes a mixture of contractors, consultants and clients which offers a wealth of knowledge and experience to help shape a strong and stable future and only with us working together can we make a tangible difference.

What changes would you like to see implemented in the geotechnical industry?

The Geotechnical Industry has seen significant strides in technology and health and safety since I joined in the mid-90s. There is of course lots of work to do and as an industry we can’t stand-still and need to continue to evolve. The recent survey between the AGS and BDA on the state of the industry offered some food for thought for all of us working in ground investigation and although the results may not have been a big shock, there is still much work to do in order to improve the image of the industry, not just within our membership but also throughout the wider construction sector.

Article Loss Prevention

AGS Loss Prevention Working Group Update

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Tags: Featured

Hugh Mallett, Leader of the Loss Prevention Working Group, has provided an update on the top issues the Loss Prevention Working Group discussed at a recent meeting which took place in September 2019.

Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conferences

The first AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conference took place on 3rd July at One Moorgate Place in London. Due to the success of the half-day conference, the conference is being repeated in Manchester on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at the Manchester Conference Centre. The CPD conference is aimed at both junior and experienced ground engineers, who are interested in improving their knowledge and skills within this sector. For information on speaker line-up, sponsorship packages and ticket prices, please visit the AGS website.

PI Insurance Premiums

There are concerns within the Loss Prevention Working Group regarding the significant increase of PI insurance premiums in the last year. This issue is confirmed to be commercially driven, rather than risk driven. However, the group are looking to discuss this issue further and draft an article on the topic to advise AGS members.

AGS Data Format

There is an ongoing discussion between the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group and the AGS Data Management Working Group about the issue regarding ownership of AGS Data. The issue first arose at the AGS Members’ Day in 2018 following a presentation given and the two groups are still looking for a conclusion to the issue. Once the issue has been concluded, the AGS will look to push out the information to the AGS members.

New Leader for 2020

After becoming the Leader of the Loss Prevention Working Group in 2014, Hugh Mallett has decided to step down from the role in 2020. Therefore, the role will be up for election next year and further details will be circulated in early 2020. If you are interested in the role, but have any questions, please contact ags@ags.org.uk.

Alternatively, if you wish to join the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group, please contact the AGS Secretariat at ags@ags.org.uk.

News

Major fair payment and mental health initiative launches

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Tags: Featured

The AGS is supporting a major new payment and mental health survey which has been launched by 27 bodies in the UK construction industry, to understand how poor payment practices are impacting mental health and business wellbeing.

The survey is being run by leading engineering services trade bodies ECA and BESA, in association with the Prompt Payment Directory.

The survey can be completed here – www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PLV22QP

The survey is open until 5pm Thursday 10th October 2019.

The overall data will be shared with survey supporters. (Individual data is strictly confidential and anonymised).

Event

Geo-Data for Rail Seminar

Tags: Featured
Geo-Data for Rail Seminar
2019-10-1616th Oct 2019
Steam Museum, Swindon

Fugro are hosting a one day seminar for rail professionals interested in delivering improved efficiencies in asset management and engineering through effective use survey data.  Speakers will provide advice on intrusive and non-intrusive survey techniques highlighting technical innovations.

They will explain how you can benefit from intelligent Geo-data across the whole of your railway operations to improve performance in key areas including safety, programme, environmental impact and cost.

To register, please visit:  https://www.fugro.com/media-centre/events/event/2019/10/16/default-calendar/Rail19

Article

2020 AGS Sponsorship packages

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Arrange your sponsorship for the year in one go, with comprehensive coverage across all AGS events in 2020. The sponsorship will cover the following events:

  • 22nd January 2020 – Commercial Risks Conference, Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
  • 2nd April 2020 – AGS Annual Conference, National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham
  • July 2020 – Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference, London
  • 23rd September 2020 – Data Format Conference, National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

 PACKAGES AVAILABLE

 Please contact AGS (ags@ags.org.uk) to discuss joint and discount packages. You can still sponsor on an individual conference basis. Prices follow. All prices exclude VAT & subject to availability.

Platinum (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500) 

  • Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
  • Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
  • Entry for three delegates into the event
  • Company logo on each attending delegates’ lanyard
  • A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
  • Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
  • Company logo and overview on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Diamond (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500) 

  • Catering sponsor with logo on menu
  • Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
  • Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
  • Entry for three delegates into the event
  • A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
  • Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
  • Company logo and overview on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Gold (AGS Member Rate: £750 / Non-Member Rate: £1000) 

  • Entry for two delegates into the event
  • A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
  • Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
  • Company logo and overview on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

*Limited packages available

Silver (AGS Member Rate: £500 Non-Member Rate: £650) 

  • Entry for one delegate into the event
  • ¼ page advert in AGS magazine
  • Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide
  • Company logo on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

All prices exclude VAT. Unlimited silver sponsorship packages available.

 

 

Event Loss Prevention

AGS Commercial Risks & How to Manage Them Conference 2020

AGS Commercial Risks & How to Manage Them Conference 2020
2020-01-2222nd Jan 2020
Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester

Following the success of the AGS Commercial Risks Conference in London, this half day seminar organised by the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists will provide a focus on the management of commercial risks.

Taking place on the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at The Manchester Conference Centre, in Manchester, this CPD conference is aimed at both junior and experienced ground engineers, who are interested in improving their knowledge and skills within this sector. The event will also be relevant to practitioners approaching Chartership, as well as those in smaller practices where there may be limited or no in-house legally qualified sources of help or advice. The conference will end at 4:30pm.

Chaired by Jo Strange, Technical Director at CGL, attending delegates will be provided with an introduction of the guidance and advice provided by the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group, with particular attention being given to recent hot topics.

TICKET PRICES
AGS members may attend for £70, whereas non-AGS Members may attend for £130. Prices exclude VAT.

To confirm your attendance please complete the registration form and return it to ags@ags.org.uk at your earliest convenience.

Spaces are limited so we recommend early booking. Application forms received after 8th January 2020 may not be accepted.

Registration and Lunch: 12:30

WELCOME ADDRESS AND INTRODUCTION
Jo Strange, Technical Director CGL

RELIANCE, COLLATERAL WARRANTIES AND LIMITING LIABILITY
Zita Mansi, Senior Associate at Beale & Company

THE IMPORTANCE OF DEFINITIONS WHEN AGREEING SCOPES AND OBJECTIVES
Hugh Mallett, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering.

GETTING IT RIGHT…. AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T
Stephen Hargreaves, Director at Griffiths & Armour

THE BATTLE OF THE FORMS – A FOCUS ON CONTRACT FORMATION AND PURCHASE ORDERS
Dr Russell Jones, Principle at Golder Associates UK

REDUCING RISK AND PREVENTING CLAIMS ON COMPLEX BROWNFIELD RESIDENTIAL SITES
Adam Gombocz, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at NHBC

FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OR REASONABLE SKILL AND CARE.
Rachel Griffiths, Contracts Manager at Fugro

POTENTIAL LIABILITIES FOR LANDFILL TAX
Jonathan Atkinson, Technical Specialist at the Environment Agency

CLOSING ADDRESS

Event to end at 4:30pm

SPONSORS

Geotechnics

Geotechnical Engineering

SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES

Diamond (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500) 

  • Catering sponsor with logo on menu
  • Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
  • Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
  • Entry for three delegates into the event
  • A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
  • Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
  • Company logo and overview on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
  • Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Gold (AGS Member Rate: £750 / Non-Member Rate: £1000) 

  • Entry for two delegates into the event
  • A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
  • Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
  • Company logo and overview on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

*Limited packages available

Silver (AGS Member Rate: £500 Non-Member Rate: £650) 

  • Entry for one delegate into the event
  • ¼ page advert in AGS magazine
  • Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide
  • Company logo on the event programme
  • Company overview on the AGS website
  • Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

All prices exclude VAT. Unlimited silver sponsorship packages available.

To register your attendance or for details on our available sponsorship packages please contact Joanna Franaszczuk on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk.