Stockpiles, Tips and Lagoons

The Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008 Part 6 covers the safety of excavations (including quarry faces), tips and lagoons.

All excavations, tips and lagoons must be designed constructed and maintained to ensure stability and not place persons at risk to their safety and health. The control measures and inspection regime must be set out in the tips and stockpiles operating procedures. The inspection regime should include the data obtained from the design, normal operations, inspection, appraisal and assessment work.

In addition to the potential failure of a stockpile, tip or lagoon there are risks associated with the loading and unloading of tips and stockpiles presenting dangers to persons working below or operating vehicles in the area. Many incidents occur from rock falling off faces and from equipment falling off tips.


Any tip or stockpile where there is measurable movement is potentially unsafe.  Appropriate procedures should be implemented immediately to determine the risk and required remedial action. This will involve immediate reappraisal or reassessment.

It is important to remember that the legal term ‘tip’ includes stockpiles. These can be as hazardous as other tips, and so they too need to be properly designed and operated.

There have been a number of incidents worldwide associated with inadequate design and construction of stockpiles, tips and lagoons. Three examples are given below

·         Aberfan Disaster,  UK 1966

·         Baia Mare, Romania 2000

·         Hatfield Colliery Landslide, UK 2013

Additional information on the safety of stockpiles, tips and lagoons can be found in Part 6 of the SAFE QUARRY GUIDELINES TO THE SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE AT WORK (QUARRIES) REGULATIONS 2008.