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CROSS Safety Report

Hoarding incident

Report ID: 278 Published: 1 July 2013 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

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A reporter says that under high, but not severe, wind loads a portion of timber hoarding failed and struck site personnel.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals:

  • Site hoardings are deemed as temporary works and require due attention to ensure their structural stability

  • Having a competent temporary works designer/adviser in place to supply an engineered solution can ensure all temporary works are carefully considered and planned

  • Verification of temporary works erection by a competent person who can oversee and coordinate the whole process can also ensure the works are installed correctly

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A reporter says that under high, but not severe, wind loads a portion of timber hoarding failed and struck site personnel. Investigation showed that the potential risk from these structures, in essence temporary works, had been so diluted over time that examination and checking of them was loose to say the least.

If it looked ‘like the last one’ it was accepted. As in many situations, continues the reporter, fixings, their type and intensity, gives a clue to the failure. It was further determined that once erected it was impossible to see the primary fixings so one had no way of confirming the correctness of the build.

It is suggested by the reporter that hoardings should be designed on a site specific basis and that supervision during construction should confirm, prior to areas being covered up, that primary fixings replicate those on the design.

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

The Temporary Works forum (TWf) is aware of concerns relating to:

  • The lack of design guidance for this common site feature, thus leading to unnecessary repeated effort

  • Inadequate or no hoarding design on some sites

  • Use of inadequate materials, often with inadequate durability

  • Lack of information prior to design

  • Insufficient consideration on inspection and maintenance

TWf has therefore published a good practice guide to Site Hoardings, which covers this situation. In addition, a generic safety principle is that any structure ought to be inspectable and if fittings and key components are hidden this makes the situation difficult.

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