Formwork operations are risky, and workers are typically exposed to unsafe working conditions. Partial or total failure of concrete formwork is a major contributor to deaths, injuries, and property damages within the construction industry. Another common hazard occurs during stripping of formwork in which loose formwork elements fall on workers under the concrete slab being stripped.
Structural collapses and failures involving concrete structures account for 25 percent of all construction failures. More than 50 percent of concrete structure failure during construction is attributed to formwork failure. Formwork failures result from faulty formwork structural design, inadequate shoring and reshoring, improper construction practices during construction, inadequate bracing, unstable support or mudsills, and insufficient concrete strength to sustain the applied load after construction.
Contractors are generally responsible for stability and safety of concrete formwork. Contractors are guided by several federal, state, and local codes and regulations that regulate formwork safety. Most of these documents provide general guidelines for safety but provide no guarantee against failure. Contractors typically are trying to achieve fast removal of formwork elements without compromising the safety and integrity of structures.