H.S.E & Temporary Masonry Support

Authority Without The Correct Level Of Knowledge Is Dangerous To The Public.

 In their own words, the role of the H.S.E is to provide advice, information and guidance, to raise safety awareness, to Inspect, investigate and to take enforcement actions.

 –

Temporary Masonry Support

(The H.S.E’s Achilles Heel)

Due to taking unsound advice from the Temporary works forum and the “learned” IstructE and due to a lack of integrity and insufficient temporary masonry support knowledge, the inability to adapt to progress, inadequate guidance and misleading instructions, every past and future accident caused by misuse of a Strongboy or any similar designed product is the fault of the H.S.E’s temporary works team.

SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT

When the same accidents continue to reoccur they become the responsibility of the H.S.E as they could be prevented through providing the public with further information and a safer level of guidance and ensuring all equipment has the correct procedures and instructions and that the Strongboy and all the cheaper copies comply with the provision and use of work equipment regulations.

Knowingly or unknowingly, the H.S.E have compromised the safety of the Strongboy user and when the misleading instructions were changed in November 2015 there were no warning of this sent out to hire associations, retailers or the structural engineers, nothing was provided by the H.S.E, not even an explanation of why the instructions were changed.

To change the rules and instructions to suit the design of an existing product after twenty five years with no explanation or further research or testing can not be lawful when dangerously endorsing further overloading & misuse of which will cause further cases of collapse during alterations.

It is the role of the H.S.E to re-educate the structural engineers, retailers and builders, not to make a task more dangerous by accepting wrong instructions and allowing further eccentricity over the 215mm and hiding the facts and to cover up their predecessor’s old agreements & mistakes.

A user is only as knowledgeable and as educated as their temporary support equipment instructions and guidance allows them to be.

Every structural engineer and builder must be made aware by the H.S.E that a Strongboy or any similar designed product is not designed to avoid internal 1st floor wall damage upon finished rooms and should not be used to do so as the already low safe working load is reduced down to an unknown level when exceeding the measurement of 215mm from the centre line of the 9″/cavity wall to the centre line of the Acrow prop.

Every Task Is Different!

To ensure future generations are taught safely and correctly a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable should be used during masonry alterations as it;s not possible for the design of a Strongboy to offer the correct fitting/work access for every task without dangerously overloading itself.

The H.S.E, the manufacturer’s and retailers of the Strongboy (and of similar designed products) have dangerously devalued the correct method of using needles when a needle uses the Acrow prop/s safely and correctly, is at least five times stronger and offers the correct safe working load to prop at 900mm intervals within a typical two storey residential property and also offers a superior and safer fitting work space than what Strongboy’s can safely offer without dangerously removing the opening to the full depth before a permanent support is in the finished position.

A DANGEROUS SHORTCUT

The misleading instructions of the Strongboy increase the risk of the user to dangerously overload and to underestimate the weight of the load and also suppresses the true level of knowledge required to alter masonry safely and correctly.

Without any clear warning a Strongboy dangerously misuses the Acrow  prop which is designed only for axial compression and severely reduces the S.W.L by at least 90%, from 3,400kg down to a maximum 340Kg due to eccentric loading onto the side of the Acrow props inner tube and is designed to be misused due to the length of the tongue, with the H.S.E refusing to do anything about it because of their inability to correct the situation without accepting the responsibility of the fault of which they helped create in the first instance due to allowing incorrect procedures, misleading instructions and insufficient warnings, tests & guidance for over 25 years.

The instructions were changed in November 2015 to suit the length of the Strongboy tongue rather than the maximum 215mm eccentricity permitted as within the very first instructions of use, which is not possible without further research and when the safe working load reduces to an unknown level. And using longer tongued XL Strongboy’s that dangerously increase the eccentricity and reduces the safe working load even further is only a formula to increase the number of accidents not to reduce them!

The Task That Time & The H.S.E Forgot!

(Or hides under the umbrella of temporary works)

To raise safety awareness and to help prevent/reduce the risk of accidents there are now over 20 H.S.E leaflets available for the “busy builder” which provide up to date guidance from ground excavations to avoiding overhead power lines, however there is”still” no H.S.E guidance available for masonry alterations which is the most difficult and dangerous task within the Construction industry and due to the arrival of the Strongboy in the late 1980’s it is now more dangerous than ever before especially when construction design has doubled the cavity size and increased the width of the steels and when the H.S.E have improved the vast majority of work procedures and other construction industry sectors immensely since then.

The number of accidents during alterations will only reduce when everyone works from knowledgeable and up to date guidance and when knowing a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable for the task should be used.

H.S.E “busy builder” leaflets website link;

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/areyou/builder.htm

Below is a Link to the H.S.E Scaffold check list, containing 1275 words even though scaffolding is a specialist task and has trade organisations to take care of it but “still” there is not one word of temporary masonry support guidance provided by the H.S.E at this moment in time!

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

 Conflict of Interest!

“Over £69,000000 worth of fines were collected by the H.S.E between 2016-2017”

Something is amiss when a government body is in charge of educating and raising safety awareness and can also benefit from handing out fines to non-educated builders that aren’t safety aware due to inadequate information, misleading Strongboy guidance & incorrect instructions.

If a builder caused collapse, injury or death during masonry alterations through a lack of knowledge or through a lack of staff they could be fined or even imprisoned, yet the under staffed H.S.E  that have endorsed the Strongboy through their own lack of knowledge and by allowing insufficient and misleading instructions & guidance for over twenty five years receive funding from fines when they themselves should be fined for not carrying out their role correctly in the first instance.

OUR RESEARCH & TESTING

A Strongboy does not have sufficient guidance or a correct procedure for the different tasks of supporting 4″, 9″ and different sized cavity walls, therefore the H.S.E have helped to falsely and dangerously ease a specialist task to reduce time and to cut costs and has allowed less knowledgeable builders think they have adequate skills and knowledge to alter masonry correctly because they know how to put a misused and eccentrically loaded Acrow props fitted with a Strongboy’s under a wall at 900mm apart prior to alterations.

It is not possible to have a safe working load if exceeding the maximum 215mm eccentricity because it is not safe!

For a level of true guidance (to raise safety awareness due to it occurring on a daily basis), what would be the reduced accepted working load in 10mm increments when exceeding the maximum 215mm eccentricity and when the safe working load of a plumb Acrow prop is reduced by 1700kg when loaded 25mm from the centre axis?

Due to dangerous misuse and risk of curving the inner tube, what is the safe working load of the Acrow prop when used for its next concentrically loaded task? Could it be dangerously reduced to an unknown level? How will we know if no real testing has ever taken place?

There are now approximately 15 companies and sole traders that sell similar designed products as the “Strongboy” with the majority sold without the correct level of testing and written instructions of which both are required to comply with the provision and use of work equipment regulations act and yet the H.S.E do nothing about it.

The list of new companies and sole traders that manufacture copies will continue to grow and quality will be sacrificed to become the least expensive if no correct testing is required or when the H.S.E do not police the problem in the correct manner.

Masonry alterations is far safer and easier during the task when a variety of temporary support equipment is used to support 4″ walls, One side of a cavity wall, 9″ walls, 13″ walls and different sized cavity walls.

Through our own research, the H.S.E have endorsed the Strongboy and similar designed products by accepting misleading instructions, insufficient tests & warnings and allowing products to be sold without guidance and instructions of which we know through selling our own temporary support equipment is the only method of re-educating the unaware builder.

To falsely ease a difficult and dangerous task with no warnings and misleading instructions only makes it more difficult and dangerous during the task.

Due to insufficient guidance, every past and future accident caused by misuse of a Strongboy or similar designed product is the responsibility of the H.S.E.

Example

The new misleading instructions (updated Nov 2015) suggest that propping a 9″ wall by over 300mm eccentricity from the centre line of the wall to the centre line of the Acrow prop is safe when 9″ masonry can weigh over 600kg per square metre and when the safe working load of the Acrow prop is severely reduced and unknown at 300mm eccentricity, as seen below on a 215mm tongue.

215mm eccentricity from the centre line of a propped wall to the centre line of the Acrow prop is dangerous enough!

How can any competent person allow a product that dangerously increases the eccentricity by over 215mm when propping from only one side of a wall without correct guidance and when there is already a safer method available within the props and needles method!

Prevention

When tradesmen are warned through correct guidance that propping a wall with a Strongboy dangerously misuses an Acrow prop and the safe working load is reduced by at least 90% at 215mm eccentricity, they would use with the correct caution and a variety of temporary support equipment that is most suitable for the task and until then the main cause of collapse will continue to be overloading equipment due to the H.S.E.’s  severe lack of masonry alterations guidance.

As it stands future generations are also only one lesson away from misusing Strongboy’s as they are taught by misleading instructions and by the majority of structural engineers and builders that think Strongboy misuse is acceptable due to the incompetence of the H.S.E in this field.

Who police the structural engineers that have endorsed the Strongboy for over 25 years, is it the H.S.E that take advice from IstructE and the Twf?

The sentence below was taken from the H.S.E’s main website in 2013 however it was removed in 2014-2015 during our research into the Strongboy instructions.

“The main cause of collapse during masonry alterations is from overloading equipment due to the lack of awareness of the equipment capacity and underestimating the weight of the load”.

This is evidence that the H.S.E  knew of the problems but chose to ignore/hide their findings and did not research any further.

No Progress Without Change!

When a dangerous temporary support product suggests it can support 4″ to 9″ walls, one side of a cavity wall and all sized cavity walls safely & correctly and is accepted by the H.S.E, then safer methods will struggle to join the market place because the public assume there isn’t a problem to resolve and we will be stuck with the Strongboy design and the main cause of collapse will continue to be overloading due to a lack of further temporary support equipment and because the H.S.E can not see any further into the future than the end of their noses!

We “know” through research and testing that a Strongboy or any similar designed product is designed to be misused and the H.S.E have accepted the fact due to either a cover up, ignorance, lack of knowledge and/or their inability to address the issues without accepting fault.

Due to allowing misleading instructions for over 25 years and also permitting the Strongboy to be sold without drawings of correct use & written guidance, the H.S.E have prevented us from teaching the unaware builder safely and correctly.

Incompetence at the highest level breeds further incompetence down the line!

Twenty one questions Andy Gay, Ray Cooke, John Underwood and Simon Longbottom, all from the H.S.E temporary support team can not answer.

And everyone at IstructE & Tim Lohmann, the chairman of the Twf (temporary works forum) can not answer.

1:

Can you confirm that misusing an Acrow prop by eccentrically propping a masonry wall from only one side at a minimum of 200mm from the centre of the wall to the middle of an Acrow prop is safe?

2: Can you confirm that the drawing below is the correct way to support a cavity wall using a Strongboy? And can you confirm it is safe when fitting the tongue three brick courses higher so the web of the Strongboy doesn’t impede the access and the three courses are unsupported.

 And are you aware that using Strongboy’s fitted on the same side and within 215mm of an existing floor height must be misused and the safe working load is reduced to an unknown level?

3: Can you confirm it is acceptable to support 9” brickwork or block work on the 215mm tongue of a Strongboy?

4: Can you confirm that if  Strongboy’s do not require a maximum opening size or a correct procedure then no other temporary support equipment requires it either?

5: Can you confirm this is an acceptable method of supporting one side of a cavity wall when the internal skin of masonry impedes and when safer options are available?

6: Can you confirm that you know the many tasks of supporting masonry are totally different and that the majority of tasks require far more fitting work space than the low safe working load Strongboy can safely offer when maintaining its maximum 340kg safe working load and when not dangerously removing the opening down to the full finished level without the permanent support being fitted as it increases the risk of accidental removal of loaded Acrow props during the removal of the masonry?

7: Can you confirm that a Strongboy has been fully tested upon a size 1 Acrow prop, a size 2 Acrow prop and not just a size 3 Acrow prop. And as a Strongboy is designed for use with an Acrow prop can you confirm Acrow prop guidance is not required within the instructions of using a Strongboy especially when Strongboys are mostly sold with size one Acrow props through mail order due to their lower weight?

8: Can you confirm the new instructions of a Strongboy are acceptable and do not require any revision? And can you confirm the market monopoly of the Strongboy has not fixed the typical builders and retailer’s mind-set and stopped safer methods and further equipment join the market place?

9: Can you confirm that the same amount of accidents and near misses would occur if a written warning was in place, such as; “fitting a Strongboy misuses an Acrow prop and the safe working load is reduced by at least 90%”?

10: Can you confirm that the Strongboy is safe to use when sold without written guidance especially when the internet is still full of the old out of date instructions from unaware retailers that do not know the instructions were changed in November 2015?

11: I have yet to see a Strongboy being used correctly on site. Can you confirm no further research upon the Strongboy’s design is required and please confirm the self certification tests of the Strongboy are acceptable?

12: Can you confirm a Strongboy is designed to reduce masonry damage without being overloaded and is simple and easy to use without compromising the user’s safety?

13: Can you confirm that structural engineers do not specify or recommend the use of Strongboy’s when they do not provide the correct fitting space and when the safe working load can vary to an unknown level depending on the size of the Acrow prop used, the working height of the Acrow prop, how plumb, how tightly fitted and how far the Acrow prop is fitted from the centre of the wall?

14: Can you confirm it is acceptable to change the instructions of a temporary support product and not tell anyone of the changes including the retailer’s and hire associations?

15: A Strongboy is designed to reduce masonry damage and to reduce the number of Acrow props from the work area even though it reduces the safe working load of an Acrow prop by at least 90% , can you confirm that using a Strongboy is suitable and safe to reduce internal 1st floor wall damage on small and larger openings?

16: Can you confirm that the clever marketing of a product with a brand name that implies strength but physically reduces the safe working load of an Acrow prop by 90% with no warning and is sold without guidance and is overloaded with the same amount of ease as the manufacturer says it is to use, has not contributed to the number of accidents and near misses.

17: Can you confirm that when an Acrow prop is fitted with a Strongboy and is either overloaded, over tightened or removed away from the wall the task becomes dangerous as the safe working load is unknown?

18: Can you confirm that using a variety of temporary support equipment most suitable for a task is far safer than only using Strongboy’s for every task.

19: Can you confirm that it is in a builder’s best interest for a so called competent retailer or hire shop to sell Strongboy’s with no written guidance when a variety of temporary support equipment should be used and when the H.S.E are “trying” to change the mind-set of the typical builder.

20: Can you confirm that the H.S.E have not endorsed the Strongboy by allowing misleading and insufficient guidance for over twenty five years.

21, Can you confirm that the structural engineers that specify Strongboy’s when they are not most suitable has not caused the mind-set of the typical smaller builder and retailer? And can you also confirm that structural engineers and the H.S.E have not helped dangerously ease a difficult task by allowing insufficient guidance and instructions of the Strongboy?

——

We recently asked the institute of structural engineers:

“How is it possible for a competent structural engineer to design a task safely with Strongboy’s when the safe working load varies from 340kg down to 0kg and depends on the size of the Acrow prop used,which pin-hole height is used, how tight the Acrow prop is fitted, how plumb and how far the Acrow prop is fitted from the centre of the wall”?

THEIR RESPONSE

“The Health and Safety Panel has discussed in great detail, and over
many e-mails, the comments that you have raised.  The Panel has taken
the time to discuss the situation and the position of the Institution.
With that the Panel thanks you for your query.

As a learned society the Institution exists to promote the art and science of structural engineering and does not comment on the efficacy of proprietary products”

Our response to the above reply!

To whom it concerns, When a builder knows eccentrically propping over 215mm from the centre of the propped wall to the central axis of an Acrow prop is extremely dangerous they will use with the correct caution and the further equipment required.

Any fool can design a work area and use prop attachments without
knowing the weight of the load and unknowingly overload by over
extending from the wall to gain further access, but to tackle a task
safely requires further preparation.

Take responsibility

Not commenting on the efficacy of a Strongboy is why collapse is such
a reoccurring theme on site. Endorsing and Promoting by designing
temporary works with the Strongboy without correct guidance is far
from an art form, only dangerous and so nineteen eighties.

A qualified structural engineer didn’t attend university to design
inferior temporary support works so why have you made it acceptable to prop the rear of a property on a number of 5mm mild steel bendable
tongues that sit eccentrically upon a misused Acrow prop and when the
obvious accident occurs it’s only the builder that’s at fault?

The whole idea of a Strongboy was to reduce the number of Acrow props from the work area on smaller openings when suitable, and in itself, is where all the problems of overloading begin.

Every task of masonry alterations is totally different and further
fitting space is so often required than what Strongboys can safely
offer which I believe is the legal duty of the paid structural
engineer to ensure if he recommends their use for a particular task.
If more Acrow props are required than 900mm centre’s it should make the Strongboy obsolete as too many are required to handle safely and the correct method of props and needles should be used no matter what the cost as safety is so often compromised to save time and costs on too
many occasions.

We live in a society of health & safety and warnings on products which
require them, I now know (as I come across this on a daily basis) when
temporary support equipment is sold without any guidance the user
assumes guidance isn’t required.

How will builders or first time users be aware that the guidance of a
qualified structural engineer is recommended if no warning of this is
in place? It’s in the interest of every member of the institute of
structural engineers that warnings and correct guidance for all
temporary support equipment is in place when sold or hired for an
extra increase in their workload.

A prop attachment can be dangerously overloaded with the same amount of ease as their manufacturer’s say it is to use especially when sold or hired without any warnings or guidance, we created the Brick Brace safety tool to increase safety awareness and to reduce the risk of
overloading and we provide instructions of correct use and guidance
with every purchase.

The fully tested Brick Brace safety tool reduces loads by re-instating
a load-point when lost due to windows above and supports masonry
in-between props when props and attachments are suitable or when using the correct method of props and needles.

The Brick Brace safety system also supports all 91 bricks within the triangle of brickwork within a stretcher bond above a 3150mm opening (approx 14 brick lengths), at any height with no dangerously overloaded props and attachments required and because we provide full instructions of correct use only competent builders that can read and follow instructions use our system. Please read our E-Bay feedback for proof our system is making a difference to the builders that are capable of adapting and completing a task safely.

Due to a severe lack of assistance and wording from the H.S.E it has
become widely acceptable to prop dangerously and with further
assistance from structural engineers as they do not supply adequate written guidance when designing the work place.

It is in the more than capable hands of both parties to take full responsibility and to address these issues.
I am not the enemy! I am someone that looks at a problem from a
different angle, you need my knowledge and different view for progress
and I offer my assistance for free to give an unbiased opinion.

Where you do not take me up on my offer or do not reply and keep me
informed of any progress, my options become limited and I believe I
have a case and if forced I will seek compensation for the loss of
earnings due to the negligence of the H.S.E and the inability of the
learned  ISTRUCT to adapt to progress through a court of law as  the
H.S.E and yourselves have falsely eased a dangerous task by not
enforcing or providing correct guidance and obviously refuse to admit
any fault.

Thank you for your time,

I await your response

Anthony Lundie

Brick Brace Ltd

For the next generation of builder to be taught safely and correctly it is the duty of every structural engineer and tradesman to ensure the temporary support equipment they specify or use provides sufficient fitting work space without overstretching and dangerously overloading itself.

We do not endorse the misuse of any temporary support equipment but anyone that continues to overload Strongboy’s through over extending them away from the wall to gain further fitting space we highly recommend bracing the masonry beforehand to reduce the risk of minor and major collapse.

Due to no correct procedures for 4″, 9″ and cavity walls and misleading instructions, the Strongboy is the most dangerous tool within the construction industry.

If you disagree, please contact us with your knowledgeable opinion?

KEEP IT SAFE!

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