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Bridge Construction

Designers Knowledge Base


In designing a bridge or in designing for bridge maintenance works the designer should be aware of, and assess the risks from the following principal hazards.

Some principal hazards and risks

  • falls from height: caused by inadequate access and unsafe working platform, restricted working space
  • health hazards: caused by materials such as concrete additives, contaminated land, dust, liquid waterproofers and paints and solvents
  • contact with vehicles/plant: such as site plant and road vehicles during work adjacent to roads
  • working in confined spaces with the possible effects of fumes and gases or contact with electricity when working on services concealed in bridge decking etc
  • struck by machinery: possibility of being struck by access gantries and lifting/slewing operations
  • hazards of working over water

Some design considerations

The designer has a duty to avoid or mitigate such assessed hazards. Some possible options for achieving this in the design process are:

  • choose structural form and material with respect to future maintenance
  • consider reducing the number of piers by increasing the length of spans
  • ensure that fabricated components can be safely handled and lifted by incorporating lifting points in the design
  • include facilities for safe access for future maintenance and repair
  • examine demolition and replacement as an alternative to frequent repair of old bridges
  • take account of weather sensitivity when defining the maintenance/repair programme
  • choose repair processes which generate less noise, dust, waste and harmful substances
  • select repair and application methods which use remotely controlled equipment