HSE urges safer systems for unpacking large sheets of glass

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is reminding those involved in the glazing and cladding industries of the importance of conducting suitable risk assessments and having safe systems of work in place for packing and unpacking large sheets of glass.

The warning comes following a recent incident in which a person was struck and injured by several sheets of glass falling from a crate held on a metal stillage. Construction inspectors are also witnessing examples of poor practice during routine visits.

The danger arises when packing and unpacking wooden crates containing large sheets of glass, on steeply inclined stillages (stacking platforms). It appears that such crates are commonly used to import large pieces of specialist glass from the Continent.

HSE’s review of the arrangements for the delivery, unloading & moving of glass and discussions with the Glass and Glazing Federation indicate a need to consider carefully the risks involved in releasing single sheets of glass. The review suggests a number of circumstances (site conditions, storage arrangements, ground and weather conditions) in which glass sheets are liable to become unstable when held vertically on steel stillages.

By conducting a suitable risk assessment duty holders will be able to identify circumstances where glass could become unstable and make arrangements to eliminate the risk of the glass falling onto workers.

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