BS 6164 draft in public consultation

19 March 2019

Great Britain – The latest revision to BS 6164, the code of practice for health and safety in tunnelling is now available for public comment. The new revision, being led by Donald Lamont of Hyperbaric Tunnel & Safety, is due to be published either in 2019 or 2020.

Feedback is invited here:

Public consultation will complete on 25 April. At a talk in March, Lamont cautioned potential contributors that the portal is not user-friendly.

The 2011 document has been heavily revised and updated over the past three years. All clauses have been altered; some have been heavily edited to improve readability; some clauses only have minor technical changes; some clauses have major technical changes.

Of the major technical changes:

  • Clause 4 has been extended to cover fatigue and shift length
  • Clause 6 has had the design checking procedures for temporary and permanent works clarified
    • This is now a risk-based approach to checking, matching the consequences of failure to the category of check required
    • The competence of the checker has been clarified
    • A dispute resolution procedure has been set out
  • o The checker must certify that the design brief has been met, the structure is safe and that the structure can be built
  • Clause 11 includes high pressure compressed air work
  • Clause 13 boasts more rigorous requirements for fire suppression on all plant used underground
  • Clause 15 requires ventilation and details more rigorous requirements for dust control in SCL work, where extraction ventilation is the preferred method for dust control
  • Clause 16 says that dust control should be based on real-time monitoring and against 15-minute, short-term limits.
    • Control should be sufficient that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is not required, apart from the nozzle operator. The control of dust should be by ventilation
    • Real-time diesel particulate monitoring should be undertaken if relevant
  • Clause 20 comprehensively extends the scope of guidance on shafts. Shaft technology has changed and diversified, the updated clause reflects the options available
  • Clause 23 has been extended to cover all materials handling systems, particularly embracing things such as conveyor technology
  • Clause 24 requires cabs for operator protection on plant and equipment, where they are exposed to excessive dust, noise, heat or vibration. Cabs are not just there to keep the operator dry.
    • The clause also contains guidance on cleaning concrete pump lines with water and not compressed air, which has caused a number of serious injuries in recent years
    • Guidance on lithium batteries for battery-powered underground vehicles
    • Guidance on the use of the use of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) underground, which has been done in conjunction with the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)
  • Clause 25 is the electrical clause and has been extensively revised by contractor electrical specialists, featuring more rigorous requirements for site installations and trailing cables