The Ultimate Guide to Temporary Pedestrian Barrier Hire
Things to consider
- Purpose – Are you trying to protect the public from hazards, manage and guide crowds, or protect your own equipment from damage or theft? Your purpose will affect what kind of temporary pedestrian barrier you go for, or if some other kind of temporary fencing would be more appropriate.
- Budget – Temporary pedestrian barrier hire is ideal for tighter budgets.
- Time – Temporary pedestrian barriers are a great choice for public events and short construction/maintenance works, but for larger, longer construction projects, Heras fencing and site hoarding hire might be more suitable.
Contractors and organisers need to make public safety a top priority when embarking on a construction project or organising an event.
Construction companies need to think about protecting the public from dangerous equipment, hazardous substances and uncovered openings in the ground. Event organisers need to think about crowd control, guiding people to where they need to be and preventing crowd crushes and disorder.
This guide will explain the benefits and limitations of temporary pedestrian barriers as a solution to these challenges.
What are temporary pedestrian barriers?
Temporary pedestrian barriers are an easy, cost-effective way of controlling public access and movement. They are also known as safety barriers, crowd control barriers and traffic barriers.
A type of temporary fencing, they are used at public events such as festivals, sports matches, street fairs and demonstrations to designate queue spaces and demarcate ‘no access’ zones. They are also used to protect pedestrians from getting too close to construction and maintenance works that are adjacent to footpaths or other areas that pedestrians have access to.
Temporary pedestrian barriers are typically lightweight, made of steel or plastic, and very easy to assemble. They are most effective when barrier panels are attached to each other in a line by means of hooks, clips or couplers; when interlocked, the barrier cannot easily be toppled over.
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The benefits and limitations of temporary pedestrian barriers
- Pedestrian barriers are typically very strong, and have wide metal or rubber feet for excellent stability.
- When interlocked, some barriers are nearly impossible to topple over.
- They are friendly to most budgets and considered a highly cost-effective crowd management system for events and small or short-term construction/ maintenance projects.
- They are lightweight, easy to stack and transport, and quick to assemble and dismantle.
- A pedestrian barrier is not impenetrable and can be jumped or climbed over. In a lot of cases, this makes it more of a psychological barrier than a physical one. It acts as a warning of hazards or marks a designated space for walking, standing or queuing.
- The short height and transparency of most temporary pedestrian barriers, together with the fact that they can be breached, means they are not an effective deterrent against theft of equipment or materials.
- Due to their nature, temporary pedestrian barriers are not suitable for longer or more extensive construction projects.
The laws on crowd control
If you are an event organiser and in charge of a business or other organisation, you have a number of general duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Your main duty is making sure that you properly control any work-related risks to the health and safety of employees, contractors, volunteers and members of the public.
In other words, the safety of the visiting crowds is your responsibility. You must assess and control the risk of crushing, trampling, moving vehicles, equipment failures, dangerous behaviour such as climbing on equipment or throwing objects, and any other crowd or venue-related hazards.
Organisers should first carry out a risk assessment. If you choose to control the above mentioned risks by means of a temporary pedestrian barrier or fence, then you will need to risk-assess the barrier itself as well. Depending on the barrier or fence you choose, you may need someone competent to help you, someone who is well versed in temporary barriers and the risks involved. If appropriate, you should consult with a crowd management director on the use of barriers.
More information about crowd control requirements for organisers can be found on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
The laws on securing construction sites
Contractors and construction companies have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of members of the public. Considering the dangers present on a building site, this implies the need for secure fencing, hoarding or barriers around its perimeter to stop access by unauthorised persons.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 set out a number of more specific rules. Regulation 27(2) says that, looking at the level of risk posed, the perimeter of a building site should either be identified by suitable signs, or fenced off (or both). This allows contractors to weigh up cost and practicality against the risk to the public. For instance, the HSE says that pavement repair works can be surrounded by temporary barriers to warn pedestrians, but major constructions will likely require hoarding or Heras fencing because of the greater risk of hazards.
More information about these requirements is available from the HSE website.
Tips before hiring
Before you hire a temporary pedestrian barrier, you need to make sure that it is the right tool for the job.
For instance, pedestrian barriers would not be appropriate for an extensive building site where long-term construction works are taking place. In those circumstances, you need much taller, stronger, anti-climb fencing, such as Heras fencing or site hoarding. (Hoarding has the added advantage of being able to provide privacy while you work and stop passers-by from seeing your project before it’s finished.)
For small-scale works and crowd management at events, temporary pedestrian barriers are normally sufficient, but as discussed above, it depends on the nature and extent of the risk.
You then need to decide if you’re going to look for temporary pedestrian barriers for sale, or whether it would be better to hire them. Hiring is often preferred because most small construction works and public events are temporary and/or one-offs. In circumstances where you’re organising a regular event, you might want to consider purchasing a barrier instead.
Having said that, it’s still worth looking at your hire options. Lakeside-Hire has prices starting at £6.00 per panel for a one-week hire period, whereas purchase prices are sometimes as high as £70.00 per panel.
If you do decide to hire, make sure you hire from a trusted, reputable supplier who won’t squander your budget.
FAQs about temporary pedestrian barrier hire
1. Do I need a temporary pedestrian barrier or some other kind of fence?
It depends on the nature of your project or event. For crowd management at festivals, shows and demonstrations and small, short-term construction works, temporary pedestrian barriers are a good choice. For larger, more major construction works, such barriers might not be sufficient. In all cases, you should carry out a risk assessment and weigh the cost and practicality of installing a barrier/fence against the risks to the public.
2. What rules do I need to consider?
Building contractors and event organisers both need to take account of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the advice and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. Building contractors also need to consider the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, which has specific rules relating to securing building sites.
3. How big are temporary pedestrian barriers?
Typical lengths for each barrier panel are 1 metre, 2 metres and 2.5 metres, while the typical height for optimum safety and visibility is 43 inches.
4. Why should I hire a temporary pedestrian barrier from Lakeside-Hire?
Our hire prices are in most cases 69% cheaper than our competitors. You also get nationwide, next-day delivery, which is free when you hire barriers for 3 weeks or more. We also boast an excellent customer satisfaction rating.
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