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Load Testing of Barriers

Load testing of crush barriers


The Fourth Edition of ‘Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds’, published by HMSO in 1997, requires that all barriers be subjected to an annual risk assessment. Any suspect barriers should be tested. These recommendations replace the earlier requirement that at least 25% of the safety barriers at a sports ground be tested each year.

The risk assessment involves a visual inspection and appraisal of the following points:

  • Available information on the barrier’s design compliance.
  • The adequacy of the barriers construction.
  • The age of the barrier.
  • Any visual evidence of weakness, damage or deterioration.
  • The barriers exposure to moisture.
  • The location within the sports ground.

Detailed recommendations in the report by the Institution of Structural Engineers, ‘Appraisal of Sports Grounds’ 1991 give the procedures for carrying out such tests. The principle is to apply a bedding in load followed by two applications of an overload of 20% above service loads.

The loadings are applied as closely as is possible to horizontally. Forces are applied to both posts and horizontal members, although not simultaneously. The force to be applied is calculated from the slope for the terraces and the barrier spacing. corrections are applied for slope of the loading member.

Measurements of loading and deflections are taken simultaneously by computer and graphs plotted of the response. Tables of the maximum deflections and recoveries are produced for each member.

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