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CROSS Safety Alert

Stadia crash barriers

Region: CROSS-UK Published: 1 February 2001


Some hollow steel posts forming part of a crash barrier, which were only 4-5 years old, had filled with water that had caused the damage on freezing in winter. It appears that water can be drawn into tubular steel structures of this type by capillary action.

This phenomenon has been experienced in other structures; such as roof trusses made from hollow steel sections, and welded box girders.

SCOSS drew attention to this reported experience because tubular or other 'sealed' steel elements in crush barriers; bridge parapets and other structures may be similarly affected. The presence of water cannot be detected merely by an external visual inspection until damage occurs.

Note: this Safety Alert was published by SCOSS (Standing Committee on Structural Safety). Since March 2021, SCOSS is integrated under the name Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS).

Who should read this?

Inspecting engineers, surveyors, maintenance staff and those who prepare and paint existing structural steel.

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