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GSD highlights public safety issues

The GSD has flagged a number of public safety and safety management concerns following the major rock fall along Devils Tower Road and the collapse of scaffolding after the Rock was lashed by severe weather conditions earlier this month.

This follows a recent question and answer session of Parliament in which the GSD fired a number of questions on the subject at the Government.

In respect of questions on the rock fall that occurred on Devil’s Tower Road it became apparent that a bund specifically designed to mitigate the impact of a rock fall had been removed to facilitate another project.

In a statement the GSD said: “The wisdom of this decision must be called into question considering that this bund must have been considered necessary to enhance public safety when constructed by the GSD administration in 2009, you would think more so now with the construction of Beach View Terraces and the increase in public activity this generates in this area.”

“A temporary wooden hoarding is to be now constructed in the area, one must assume that this temporary measure is considered adequate,” it added.

In respect of the failed scaffolding at Ocean Spa Plaza, the GSD said the Health and Safety Directorate are to be congratulated on the swift and incisive report they have produced.

It has been identified that the canopy around the site used to inhibit dust caused the failure of the scaffolding.

The GSD has questioned why this was not identified prior to the collapse remain and why the canopy did not come loose as a safety mechanism prior to causing the collapse.

The recommendations made after the investigation included that the scaffolding be reinforced with additional ‘eye bolts’ as this area was particularly susceptible to high winds.

“However, when quizzed as to whether this measure would be extended to other construction sites in the area which might be equally susceptible to strong winds, the Minister seemed to think this unnecessary and that the regulations adequately covered this,” the GSD said.

“While it is accepted that the cause of the failure was the canopy, if the experts in Health and Safety have made additional recommendations through the lessons learned in this incident it is difficult to understand why they would not be extended to other similar sites in the interest of public safety.”

“Lesson learning of this nature is fundamental to safety management.”

Trevor Hammond, GSD Spokesman for Health and Safety, said: “Government will undoubtedly reply, as it always does, that it always places public safety above all other considerations.”

“Unfortunately these two events highlight that this statement should be challenged in order to press Government to achieve higher standards than at present.”

“We have been fortunate that no one has been harmed in these two incidents, other incidents have occurred and are still under investigation, in future incidents we may not be so fortunate.”

“While it is understood that accidents do happen, that does not mean we should not take anything but the highest standards when approaching matters of public safety, adhere to those standards and learn from incidents to constantly improve those standards.”

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