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21 Sep 2023

MPA Precast launches Code of Practice for Safe Stressing

​A new edition of the Code of Practice for Safe Stressing of Prestressed Concrete Products has been developed by MPA Precast to communicate good practice in the management of health and safety when manufacturing prestressed concrete products. 

Prepared in collaboration with the membership of MPA Precast and with the support of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Code of Practice (CoP) applies to all companies with prestressing activity on their sites. The aim is for the CoP to be shared at all levels within the precast industry.

Stressing of prestressed concrete is acknowledged to be a potentially high-risk activity, involving the use of industrial prestressing equipment that uses hydraulic rams to stretch high-yield wires and strands with forces that can be more than 1500 tonnes. First published in 2014, this second edition brings together the many developments, not only in health and safety legislation, but also in good practice within the prestressing industry. 

Colin Mew, Head of Health and Safety at MPA said: “It is anticipated the Code will become the primary reference document when introducing and operating prestressing production equipment, along with ongoing reviews of process, systems, risk assessment, safe system of work for maintenance and training.

“It is recommended that all manufacturers involved in prestressing operations perform a detailed review of their prestressing operations and consider the content of this Code, implement improvements to their relevant health and safety policies, procedures, and physical controls, where required. Adherence to the Code of practice will be monitored during the annual audits and significant findings and learning points reported at the MPA Precast & Masonry Health and Safety Steering Committee meetings.”

The Code of Practice forms part of MPA Members’ ongoing commitment to Vision Zero, an unrelenting drive to eliminate incidents related to the so called ‘The Fatal 6’.

Asif Khalil, Head of Health and Safety at Ibstock PLC and Chair of the MPA Precast and Masonry Health and Safety Steering group said:

“MPA Precast is committed to achieving high standards through a universal approach to Health and Safety. The provision to employers, employees, and designers alike of clearly presented information about the systems of work employed is an essential element in achieving this. 

“I am delighted to see the development and launch of the new Code of Practice for Safe Stressing. We have seen a number of incidents in the past, but with the industry working together and sharing good practice, improvements have been made to reduce these.

This CoP has been produced to communicate good practice in the management of health and safety associated with prestressing activities. It also gives guidance on the operational processes around, planning, equipment, and training.

It applies to all with prestressing activity on their sites and is a guide which we should continually refer to and use to improve our processes. Please encourage this document to be shared at all levels from managers and supervisors to operatives. 

I also strongly encourage the continued sharing of best practice within the industry and sharing of any learnings as we move forward in our journey”.

As part of the continued collaboration between MPA and HSE, the HSE’s endorsement says:

HSE encourages and welcomes industry codes of practice such as this produced by MPA Precast, which receive careful consideration and input from key players within the industry who have the health, safety and welfare of those involved in prestressing work foremost in their mind. 

“If a stressing bed system were to fail, serious injuries or fatalities are a possibility. If the work is planned in line with this code of practice guidelines, and carried out by competent operatives, using equipment properly maintained and inspected then many accidents can be prevented. 

“We are pleased to acknowledge the work of the MPA Precast and those involved in preparing this code of practice. It brings together good practice within the industry and has the interest of those involved in the manufacture of prestressed concrete products at heart. It is only by the industry showing leadership, working in partnership, and taking ownership of the management of risk that improvements will be made, and we commend its use to all concerned.”

This edition can be downloaded from the Safequarry website here (where it will be continually updated), with printed copies made available to MPA members, training organisations and the Health and Safety Executive.