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Last edited 30 Sep 2019
Innovative construction material protects workers’ health and safety
Durakerb – part of the Econpro Group that transform waste and by-product into sustainable products and solutions – says that alternatives to traditional concrete road kerbs are essential for highway and construction companies looking to reduce the number of accidents at work.
Regular lifting and carrying of considerable loads are a common cause of musculoskeletal problems in construction workers; the HSE reported an average of 2,310 workers per 100,000 in the UK building industry suffering work-related musculoskeletal disorders between 2015-20181. Concrete blocks can be difficult to carry manually, so Durakerb has developed an alternative, composed of 88% recycled polymer, which is far lighter.
Each Durakerb unit is made of the equivalent of 182 recycled plastic bottles and weighs only 6kgs allowing it to be cut with a hand saw and installed manually. In contrast, a traditional concrete kerb unit can be more than 90% heavier and requires strict assessment during installation as well-maintained lifting equipment is necessary. Additionally, further supervision is also needed as the use of power tools are needed to cut the concrete to the correct size and when manually handling the heavy components.
The installation of concrete kerbs, which usually require the use of heavy cutting tools, generates a high level of risk to airborne silica. The HSE’s cancer burden study estimates that 600 people die a year from lung cancer associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), with 450 of these occurring from exposures in the construction sector2. Recycled plastic kerbs, on the other hand, contains no carcinogenic RCS, meaning workers are safe from lung conditions.
Durakerb products can be manually installed in line with the HSE guidelines benefiting the workforce and project managers by reducing working time on live networks by up to 75%, as well as the number of injuries and lost working days.
Phil Sutton, Managing Director at Econpro, commented: “The installation of Durakerb is safe and easy for workers as the product’s lightweight nature and absence of carcinogenic silica mean installation is less risky than traditional concrete, preventing costly and dangerous accidents at work. Since its inception, Durakerb has long been recognised for its safety benefits having been awarded the Institution of Highways & Transportation Health & Safety at Work Award back in 2008.”
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