22 Jul 2010

Another scaffold collapse leads to another prosecution

A scaffolding contractor from Teesside has been fined after a scaffold collapsed into a public street.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted William Bedford, trading as B & J Scaffolding, following the incident in Jedburgh Street, Middlesbrough in 2008.

On the evening of 18 January, 85 metres of the scaffold overturned in the wind and collapsed into the street.

The HSE investigation showed that the scaffold was not adequately secured to the houses in Jedburgh Street and was missing elements used to stabilise the structure.

Mr Bedford, whose business is based at Durham Road, Redcar, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court. He was fined £4,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

After the case, HSE Inspector Natalie Wright said:

"The scaffold had been used as a working platform for at least five days before the incident, by workers on site carrying out work to the house fronts. It could have collapsed at any time, creating a significant risk to workers and members of the public.

"This incident demonstrates how important it is for contractors to follow the requirements for the construction of scaffolds.

"Contractors need to ensure that they meet the relevant standards in their work to erect safe and stable scaffolds, so that they do not expose workers and members of the public to risk."


HSE Transcript Source: NE/200/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)


You can read details of this incident from the original newspaper report, which includes pictures of the collapse by clicking on this link
 

It amazes me how often I read reports such as this, where poor scaffolding erection is responsible for an incident which could easily be responsible for serious injury or fatality. The worry is that with businesses struggling due to the economy, people are cutting corners and companies signing up to the cheapest quote - regardless of the quality of work on offer. Good scaffolding firms continue to quote based on quality and safety, but are being undercut by companies willing to turn a blind eye to safety. Who is more culpable? The scaffolder or the company hiring the scaffolder?

If you are responsible for scaffolding work, please visit Good to Go Safety to find out more about our scaffold tagging and inspection systems. You may also be interested to sign up to a forum dedicated to scaffolding where you can air your views and get invovled with all things scaffolding. Click here for access.

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