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New concrete pumping code to boost work safety

A new industry code of practice outlining safe concrete pumping standards at Queensland workplaces will improve worker safety and clarify maintenance obligations for employers.

The changes are part of the Queensland Government's commitment to reviewing all construction-related codes of practice preserved under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, including the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2005, to improve worker safety industry wide.

The Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2019 takes effect on Monday 2 December and was developed in consultation with industry stakeholders to ensure it is responsive to industry needs, meets safety concerns and reflects best practice in the construction industry. It was overseen by a steering committee comprising employer and worker representatives and is consistent with the state's work health and safety laws.

Key changes include clarification the pump operator must not carry out the work of a line hand located at the end of the concrete delivery line and workers other than line hands or concreters must not be positioned directly under the placing boom during pumping operations.

Concrete pumping includes using a truck-mounted pump to pump concrete through flexible hoses that run along the ground or to pump concrete through pipework supported by a boom. Using a fixed or trailer-mounted pump to pump concrete through pipework to a concrete placing boom fixed to the structure being built is also common.

The revamped code provides stronger and clearer guidance on maintaining the stability of mobile concrete placing booms and managing the risk of concrete line blockages. It clarifies safe work methods near overhead power lines, while providing stronger and clearer guidance on annual and major (six yearly) inspection requirements.

Concrete pumping operations constitute high risk construction work when carried out near energised electrical services or on or adjacent to a road and the operation of concrete placing booms requires a high-risk work licence. Concrete pumping is more efficient compared to using a wheelbarrow or crane-lifted concrete kibble, but the high pressures involved and pulsating motion of the pump bring a range of safety issues.

The rise in recent construction activity in Queensland also means increased use of concrete pumps and booms, with more than 260 incidents relating to concrete pumping operations coming to the attention of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland over the past decade.

Further information

You can view the Concrete pumping code of practice 2019 (PDF, 1.04 MB) here.