Abseil access safest check on buildings

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 September, 1999, 12:00am

I refer to 'New safety law grounds building-check abseilers' (South China Morning Post, September 5), regarding the regulation which bans the use of abseilers from carrying out building inspections.

The change prohibits the use of the boatswain's chair or similar equipment from being used unless there is no alternative.

This is the real issue. What are the safer alternatives? Surely not the notorious bamboo scaffolding which over the years has claimed many lives and been outlawed in other Asian countries.

Or is it the Gondola, which again has claimed the lives of those it is supposed to be protecting.

I have been inspecting buildings for more than 10 years and have used many different methods to gain access. From my experience I have found abseil access the safest, providing one is using the correct equipment and has been properly trained.

Since an unknown government official has decided abseil access is similar to the boatswain's chair, we as an industry are being prevented from using the equipment that protects our lives and must now use inferior methods that have a record of killing operators.

The Labour Department also threatens a 12-month prison term and a $200,000 fine if anybody is caught using the safest method to inspect buildings.

I can only hope that the next piece of falling concrete hits the official on the head. It might knock some sense into him.