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Good safety plans for formwork system ensure execution of construction project as per established construction practice and avoid undesired events such as failure of formwork and consequent delay in construction and possible loss of life. Commonly, safety shall begin in the planning and management of a project.

Construction work supervision, equipment utilization practices, and construction procedure used must ensure the safety of workers and the public. Formwork designers, project planners, and managers need to follow the requirements of applicable standards such as OSHA regulation in order to produce good safety planning.

1. Supervision and Inspection

Practising proper supervision during formwork placement, concrete pouring, and stripping of formworks is essential for obtaining safety in the use of forms. A supervisor’s task is to ensure the erection of formwork according to the design and practising a safe erection procedure to avoid overloading of members.

Filed modification in the falsework, forms, or erection procedure should be permitted unless the form designer is consulted. The exertion of unusual loads shall be prevented if the formwork system is not designed for such loads.

Supervision of Formwork Erection
Fig. 1: Supervision of Formwork Erection

2. Platforms and Access for Workers

Accessible working platform shall be prepared for works executed at elevated positions. Long ladder to the tops of falsework needs to have rest or passing platform. In certain structures such as bridges, it might be necessary to use special scaffolds or any other suitable equipment for stripping decks and piers forms.

Safety signs and barriers should be placed to keep the unauthorized individuals out of the working area during erection and striping formwork system. Platforms and access means for worker need to conform with applicable codes such as OSHA requirements. The provision of accessible and safe working area can be provided if engineers and experienced field personnel cooperate with each other.  

Working Platform
Fig. 2: Working Platform

3. Control of Concreting Practices

Controlling concrete pouring is a major factor in the safety plan establishment. The sequence and rate of concrete placement should consider limitations provided in the formwork drawings.

While concrete is placed, unbalanced form loading shall be prevented. For instance, in beam and slab construction, fill the beams first and then work outward equally on both sides when placing the slab. The stability of the formwork system can be enhanced in a column-and-slab structure by concreting the columns at least a day ahead of the slab.

Hardened concrete in the columns offers additional lateral stiffness to the formwork structure during concreting of the slab. Frequently, reinforced concrete column is constructed and then erection of floor system begins.

Hardened concrete in the columns offers additional lateral stiffness to the formwork structure during concreting of the slab. Frequently, reinforced concrete column is constructed and then erection of floor system begins.

4. Improving Soil Bearing and Bracing

Commonly, the condition of soil is not known when the forms and scaffoldings are designed; assumed bearing capacity is used. So, it would be the task of contractor to check whether the bearing capacity of the soil at construction site is greater or smaller than the one assumed during design stage. If soil bearing capacity is questionable, then it can be stabilized by tamping or covered with layer of crushed stone. Formworks shall be designed to prevent progressive collapse due to localized failures.

Size of Timber Mudsill Increased to Deal with Lower Bearing Capacity of Soil and to Support Large Construction Loads
Fig. 3: Size of Timber Mudsill Increased to Deal with Lower Bearing Capacity of Soil and to Support Large Construction Loads

5. Shoring and Reshoring

Installation of out of plumb shores, bent jacks, and defective timber shall be avoided otherwise these supporting elements would support only a small portion of design loads. During Concreting, forms shall be monitored continuously in order to observe problems and correct them as soon as they arise.

Reshoring Design for Concrete Structure
Fig. 4: Reshoring Design for Concrete Structure

About Madeh Izat HamakareemVerified

Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner at theconstructor.org.