19 Jul 2010

Scaffolding firm prosecuted for dangerous installation

A roofer was seriously injured after plunging almost six metres when a scaffolding platform in Bridlington collapsed.

Local self-employed contractor Stephen Martin fell from the roofline of a domestic two-storey property on St Aiden Road, in Bridlington, on 17 April 2009 when the scaffold beneath him swung open like a trapdoor. He fractured three ribs, small bones at the base of his back and also sustained head injuries in the fall. He was then airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary for emergency treatment.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, magistrates heard the scaffolding was erected two days earlier by Bridlington-based Advanced Scaffolding (GB) Ltd. The installation was signed off by the company but HSE found it was not of suitable strength or rigidity for its intended purpose.

Bridlington Magistrates Court was told the scaffolding was compromised by a bay window at the front of the property, which required a cantilever projection to be added. HSE said this projection was poorly planned, and was not properly braced or supported. Advanced Scaffolding Ltd of North Street, was found guilty of a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. In addition to the £3,500 fine, the company was also ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Geoff Clark said:

"Mr Martin suffered terrible injuries from his fall at St Aiden Road, and could quite easily have been killed. The scaffolding was poorly planned and poorly constructed, and Advanced Scaffolding clearly failed to install a structure that was fit for purpose in this regard.

"Too many lives are shattered as a result of falls from height at work, and I hope today's prosecution serves to remind all employers that proper precautions must be taken at all times."

HSE Transcript Source: YH/190/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)


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