Risk assessment to cut opening in wall

If things come in threes there will be one more post like this and then we can get back to business as usual so just hear me out on this one.

It may appear that after delving into the question of health and safety going mad in the UK we are on some sort of crusade to prove health and safety has gone a bit over the top but I promise this is just how things are panning out here at HQ.

Here is a short story we were told by a friend of ours who has clients who he helps out with their paperwork.


BTW, If you do need a risk assessment for a wall opening You can buy one here for just £6.99:

You will receive several powerful variations of the wall opening risk assessment by email.

All unlocked completed word documents that are good to go.

All you need to do is fill out your company name and site address and tweak slightly for you specific wall opening.


OK Back to the story!

Wall opening risk assessment

Mr. X story goes as follows:

“Well this was a first for me! Today I was called to a building site that a very good customer of ours was working on. This was quiet a big overall job held by one of the bigger UK building contractors.”

So my customer (sub contractor) has been asked to cut and break out some openings in an existing brick and block work walls in an existing sports centre to accommodate the new refurbishment and extensions, so far so good!

So we have been called in to help write a method statement and risk assessment to

A) Support, Cut and break out existing brick/block work above proposed opening to accommodate lintel that will take load.

B) Lift Lintel, Fit and secure then remove Acrows & Strong buoys .

C) Continue to cut and break out proposed opening and remove debris.

After taking notes on how this will be achieved and what type of tools and equipment will be used we commenced to write an appropriate method statement and risk assessment.
Now at this point I need to let you in on some details. This customer of ours is 59 years of age and he has been completing this type of work safely for 40 years and to date he has no ailments or injuries.

The method he explained to me is as follows.

He will cut the marked lines with a 9”110v grinder with diamond blade, dust guard and vac. He would then use a mechanical breaker to break out the remaining brick and brick/block work.

After breaking has been completed he is to remove all debris to skip.
Sounds simple enough right?”

Again because it is a delicate subject and hand arm vibration syndrome is a serious condition that has caused many people a lot of misery and pain, I am going to have to leave the finer details out of this post but here is the gist of it.

“ This large company has in the past lost every single compensation claim made against it for hand arm vibration syndrome (also known as white finger to some) even though in some cases the evidence was heaped on the main contractor’s side.

One case even had photographic evidence of the claimant rolling a cigarette even though he claimed he could not hold a pen?

This has obviously made the said main contractor very nervous about using vibrating equipment.

So the main contractor’s safety man would not allow the grinder and breaker to be used on the job until all equipment had been tested and rated.

The equipment had vibration ratings on but this was said to be possibly inaccurate as the equipment was over a year old and taking wear and tear into account.

The conversation went a little like this

Me “So what do we need to do?”
MC Safety Man “Have it tested or purchase/ hire new equipment.”
Me “But the job has not been priced for that.”
MC Safety Man “Sorry company policy your method statement and risk assessment must be cleared.”
Me “and you wont clear them until I have paid to have the exact vibration ratings”
MC Safety Man “correct”
Me “but even then it could result in only being able to break for a few hours a day?”
MC Safety Man “Yes”
Me “So I would have to pay out more to hire the equipment (assuming they have brand new equipment)?”
MC Safety Man “That’s correct”

This back and forth went on for some time with no resolution.”

OK so you’re thinking “what happened in the end did he get the job done?”

Well yes the guy had to do the job in the end with a HAMMER and BOLSTER!


Safer to use a Hammer?
Safer to use a Hammer

Are we evolving or going back in time? You make your own decisions.

Until next time

Bye for now