THE Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has launched a good practice guide around the safety of pressurising hydraulic systems using an external energy source for diagnostic purposes.

The move follows a death caused by a pressurising activity where failure of a hydraulic component from an item of lifting equipment occurred. The CPA was approached by the assistant coroner for Warwickshire and tasked to relay information about the dangers involved and what procedures should be in place to avoid such incidents.

The CPA said it was was asked to promote the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance Note GS4 – Safety Requirements for Pressure Testing. CPA’s publication is based on GS4 but has been tailored for the plant maintenance sector with assistance from the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA).

A “key message” of the publication is that employers should consider using organisations that specialise in hydraulic pressure testing and have the correct equipment and knowledge to safely conduct the activity.

Colin Wood, chief executive of the CPA said, “The original incident involved one of our members, and we felt it was right not just to comply with the Coroner’s instructions but go the extra mile in producing something permanent which maintains awareness to the plant sector both of the dangers and how safe systems of work should be constructed. The format is designed to educate as well as inform. Our technical development manager, Peter Brown, has produced this guidance with support from members and in liaison with the BFPA, and we are pleased to be able to publish it and make it available to the industry.”

Chris Buxton, director and CEO of the British Fluid Power Association added, “The job of raising awareness of the risks when using high pressure equipment and the need to train and educate the associated work force is both challenging and continuous. This CPA document is a major contribution to these efforts and it has been our privilege to have been associated with the CPA in helping bring it to fruition.”

The guide can be downloaded free of charge from the CPA website.