A new safety standard has just been launched for podium steps, the low-level work platforms used in the building industry.
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Equipment currently in use is in no way considered inherently dangerous. But the increase in the use of podiums in recent years, and some concerns about stability, have led PASMA, the leading mobile access tower trade association, to take the lead in introducing a minimum standard where until now none existed.
The new design specification, PAS 250, sets out a new minimum safety standard, including a specific requirement for stability. Concerns over the stability of podiums were a major part of the decision to create the specification, as well as several other requirements considered in need of improvement, such as “anti-surf” features preventing users from moving podiums while in use.
Other recommendations cover materials used, specifications for guard-rails, toe-boards, access and mobility, and on labels and user guides. A series of strength and stability tests are used to confirm that podiums meet specified standards.It’s the first time such guidelines have been introduced.
PASMA’s move in setting new standards podiums have to reach to gain the PAS 250 accreditation is considered an important step towards eliminating the potential for falls from low levels. Although not enforceable by law, it will allow main contractors to state that their podiums comply with the new standards. As a result, it is expected that PAS 250-compliant podiums will begin to replace older models and become increasingly relied on in the future.
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The creation of the Publicly Available Specification (PAS), developed in line with British Standards Institution (BSI) guidelines and in collaboration with partners including the Health and Safety Executive, was sponsored by PASMA, whose members have taken part in a self-verification process to help to ensure they stock equipment which complies with the new standard.
Because until now there has been no minimum product standard, some inferior equipment has entered the industry when safer options might have been available but hard to find without any official stamp of approval.
If you are looking to use compliant equipment, ask your suppliers about PAS 250. Or you can purchase a copy of the PAS 250 specification through PASMA’s online order form, available at www.pasma.co.uk/pasma-products) or from the BSI online shop at http://shop.bsigroup.com/pas250).
Setting a safety standard for the equipment, covering all low-level work platforms under 2.5 metres used by one person, is the final step in a three-point plan by PASMA to ensure a consistent standard of safety. Earlier steps included a training course and a guidance DVD.
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