Austria: Unacceptable pavement safety at Viennese construction sites: “No uniform standards as in other countries”.

April 12, 2023

Bmst Ing. Thomas Korol: “Recent newspaper articles have made me aware of the problem”.

The newspapers are currently full of complaints from citizens about missing or poorly signposted pavements at current construction projects in Vienna. Basically, the STVO §89 + §90 only contain very insufficient and non-binding regulations on securing construction sites in order to protect pedestrians. “I know the industry and I know that nothing will change if there are no mandatory safety measures. At present, inspections are only carried out retrospectively if an accident has actually occurred and people have been injured. In short, there is an unacceptable safety situation for pedestrians and passers-by at construction sites in Vienna because there are no uniform construction site safety standards as in neighbouring countries like Germany or Italy,” says Viennese master builder Ing. Thomas Korol.
Poor signage, missing footbridges, wobbly wooden beams and pure chaos
In Vienna, pedestrians have to put up with unacceptable safety risks at construction sites. There are no recognised guidelines on how footpaths have to be secured before construction work. A change in this situation is urgently needed. The Austrian Transport Club (VCÖ) also calls for uniform and binding construction site safety measures to better protect passers-by.
“The fact is, very often construction sites are directly on a pavement and very carelessly marked and the pavements are therefore poorly secured. No wonder, signage costs money, so people like to save money there. And yet a sensible construction site safety system would actually be self-protection for the respective construction companies. If an accident occurs, it can be very expensive and in the case of personal injury, those responsible for safety could even go to prison. Therefore, the issue of pavement safety at construction sites should be given a higher priority than it has been up to now,” says Korol.
Demand for uniform safety regulations to which everyone can and must adhere
It is usually not even frugality or wantonness when construction site signage and protection at footpaths is poor. “There is simply no mandatory requirement in the STVO that would give any construction company a clear list of the necessary signage, construction fencing and safeguarding measures that they could adhere to. Therefore, what has been happening for years is happening: Everyone does what is just about acceptable. But not more! Something urgently needs to change here. Also because then there would be more planning security and also legal certainty for the construction companies. In Germany, there have long been uniform guidelines that guarantee the safety of passers-by at construction sites. This must also change in Vienna,” says Thomas Korol.

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