Safety in formwork is twofold: safe working conditions for the workers plus adequate design and construction to ensure safety of the structure. To accomplish this requires planning ahead to establish construction methods, rates of pour and work sequence. It requires proper design of the formwork and execution of the construction in accordance with the design. It requires prudent judgment in the loading of the forms and placement of the concrete. It requires knowledge of formwork and understanding of safe form removal and reshoring practices.
The formwork drawing is an important step to safety. By preparing adequate working drawings, the contractor can foresee problems, eliminate hazards on paper, and make corrections with an eraser, not a wrecking bar. The working drawings give the carpenter in the field a clear picture of what is required and how to achieve it. This article includes checklists of important items related to the following areas: necessary information on safe limits of form design and sufficient detail to eliminate onsite improvising; minimum requirements particularly applicable to formwork jobs; construction of wall forms in accordance with the working drawings; and supported forms and shoring.
Because beam and slab forms carry a heavy load of concrete on slender supports one or more stories high, they are potentially unstable and vulnerable to accidents if proper procedures are not followed (checklist includes heavy emphasis on bracing).