In the interests of disclosure, I will state from the outset that I have a vested interest in what I am about to say. I was a member of the team that compiled the original Guidance Notes on the use of High Reach Demolition Excavators produced by the UK’s National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) back in 2005; and I am also involved in the revisions to that guidance that is being produced, literally, as we speak.
However, even setting aside my own personal feelings, we’re fast approaching the point of high reach guidance overkill. Look at the chronology.
- In 2005, to widespread industry acclaim, a three-man editorial team compiled the world’s first high reach guidance to help equipment owners and their clients to fully understand the correct methods and procedures required when using these highly specialised (and, at the time, relatively new) machines.
- In 2008, the European Demolition Association took that guidance as a base and began work on its own independent guidance.
- In 2009, and following some consultation with equipment manufacturers, the European Demolition Association unveiled a draft guidance of its own.
- In 2010, in agreement with the UK’s the National Demolition Association adopted the original UK guidance, badging it as its own.
- In May 2010, the NFDC held a pair of back-to-back consultation meetings involving owners and operators on day one, and excavator and work tool manufacturers on day two, and began work on a revised guidance.
In September 2010, the European Demolition Association published its own guidance in several European languages (including English, incidentally).
So, just to recap. As it stands today, if you’re seeking guidance on the safe use of a high reach demolition specification excavator, you can use the original UK version which is almost five years old; use a US version that is based almost entirely upon that original; use a European version produced with less direct manufacturer input; or wait a few months for another UK version that will be more up to date and which has been produced as a result of genuine feedback from owners, operators and manufacturers.
Whatever choice you make, one thing’s for sure: If you really want to stay abreast of perceived guidance on the use of high reach excavators, you’re going to need a small library.