AKM Fabrications


  • AKM Fabrications
  • Unit J, Buckshaw Link
  • Ordnance Way, Buckshaw Village
  • Chorley, PR7 7EL

Manchester school incident highlights importance of sturdy guardrails


A safety failure at a Manchester school offers a valuable reminder that guardrails not only need to be present to provide edge protection; they also need to be strong enough to take any reasonable amount of force exerted on them.
In September 2011, two men were working on the roof of Barlow Moor High School in Didsbury, Manchester, when one of them leant against the wooden guardrails intended to provide edge protection and prevent a three-metre fall to the ground below.
The guard rail collapsed, and the man fell over the edge, while his colleague – who tried to grab hold of him – was also pulled over.
Both men were lucky to fall just 1.5 metres on to some scaffolding, and luckier still to avoid landing on any of the poles protruding upwards from the scaffold.
HSE inspector Laura Moran says the wooden guard rail “”simply wasn’t up to the job and their safety was compromised as a result””.
The incident is a salient reminder of the importance of strong safety barriers when working at heights, which can be combined with man anchors to provide a secondary level of protection where needed.