Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure
Consider shoring

Control measure knowledge

Shoring used during the construction of underground structures is of extremely high-grade concrete, steel interlocking sheeting or timber to meet the exacting standards set out in the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance. The design and type of shoring will have been decided following engineering calculations that take into account geological conditions, stability of the ground, soil movement predictions and the depth of the excavation or workings. An inspection of the shoring will be conducted daily before work commences. When the factors mentioned above are adhered to, it is extremely unlikely that failure and collapse will occur. Once the shoring is in place, the area within the shored footprint will be excavated by mechanical means to prevent unnecessary hazard exposure to contractor staff.

If a structural failure does occur, resulting in a non-entrapment situation, the duty of care should be handed back to the responsible person on-site because the temporary emergency shoring used by the fire and rescue service to facilitate a rescue would not be suitable to replace the substantive structure.

In a structural failure involving an entrapment, the technical rescue team tactical advisor must consult with the contractor or civil engineer to determine the rescue strategy and the safe system of work that needs to be implemented. It should be noted that the equipment available to fire and rescue service personnel, even when national urban search and rescue (USAR) teams are in attendance, will have limited impact on larger structural failures and therefore co-operation with contractors and other external partners may be required.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Liaise with the contractor and determine the rescue strategy for a collapse of the structure; this may include arrangements with third-party contractors, for example, providers of cranes
  • Develop and issue tactical guidance and clearly identify the limitations of technical rescue team resources used to provide temporary emergency shoring

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Assess the structural stability of the working environment before committing fire and rescue service personnel
  • Liaise with on-site specialist and rescue teams regarding structural stability and shoring capabilities