Worker safety should be a construction site foreman’s top priority. That applies to every aspect of the job, including setting formwork. Improper erection of formwork doesn’t just put workers at risk. It can also result in damage to structural elements. Read on to find out everything foremen need to know to ensure safe practices while installing formwork on the job.
1. Proper Design for Structural Element
Formwork should always be designed to meet the requirements of the structural element being constructed. Handset Concrete Formwork is lightweight and easy to work with, but it’s only appropriate for medium-duty applications. Common applications for this type of formwork includes walls, columns, pilasters, and slabs.
When choosing formwork materials and designs, consider all the loads it will be subjected to. That includes not just structural loads but also vertical and horizontal loads as they apply during pouring. In some cases, the formwork must also be capable of supporting workers, tools, and equipment.
There are also several other factors that affect loads. They include:
· Height of the pour
Rate of the pour
Sequence of pours
When designing formwork, make sure to keep detailed records. They should include dimensions like pouring pocket sizes and compaction openings. It’s also important to take the safe bearing capacity of the worksite’s soil into account when designing formwork.
2. Full Inspections of All Formwork Before Pours
All formwork should be inspected before the concrete pour begins. Foremen should check the system from top to bottom to ensure proper load transfers and inspect all scaffolds, ladders, ramps, runways, and crossings to ensure that they can safely support workers and equipment. There should also be adequate space for working and guards lining floor openings and edges.
3. Worker Training and Protection
Every worker involved in creating the formwork or pouring the concrete should receive dedicated safety training. Foremen should also ensure that they are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that workers know how to use it.
4. Ongoing Inspections During Pours
The foreman should inspect the formwork throughout the project. He or she should look for correct rigging inserts and connections, nails and clamps on adjustable props, and proper bearing below the joists or stringers. It’s also essential to check the alignment of props and shores to ensure that they can handle loads. The props should rest on bearing plates or hard, weight-bearing surfaces.
As work progresses, foremen should also check equipment for wear and tear and remove unused forms and loose materials. Keeping the worksite free of debris helps to prevent potentially dangerous slips and falls.
5. Ensuring Sufficient Concrete Strength Before Formwork Removal
If the formwork will be removed once the concrete has hardened, foremen also need to ensure that concrete beams or slabs have developed adequate strength before de-shuttering and prop removal. The formwork should not be removed until the concrete has reached the required strength, and construction loads should not be placed on freshly cast concrete.
Avoid Workplace Disasters
Following industry standards for safe formwork installation, use, and removal is about more than just ensuring OSHA compliance. It’s about protecting workers and avoiding unnecessary accidents or structural damage. Construction foremen should receive adequate training before overseeing formwork installation and should make a point of keeping up with changing OSHA regulations and industry standards.