23 Nov 2010

Scaffold inspection initiative targets dangerous scaffolding

Health and safety inspectors will be out in force in Manchester on Thursday 25 November in a bid to tackle dangerous scaffolding.

Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in the UK, with two deaths and 563 serious injuries in Manchester alone last year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors will spend a day making unannounced visits to construction sites across the city as part of an ongoing initiative tackling the issue.

Both construction workers and members of the public can be put at risk of being seriously injured or even killed if scaffolding collapses. Injuries can also occur when building materials fall through gaps where there are no safety boards or netting.

Polly Tomlinson, a Principal Inspector for HSE in Greater Manchester, said:

"We are concerned that companies may be trying to cut down on costs or to undercut competitors by not using suitable scaffolding or other safety equipment. Quite simply, they are putting their own and other people's lives at risk as a result.

"HSE will not tolerate poor health and safety standards on construction sites. When it is necessary to safeguard workers or the public, inspectors will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action."

HSE Transcript Source: HSE/NW/20Scaffolding
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It has been a concern for some time within the industry that good scaffolding comapnies, taking the necessary safety steps and providing a quality of workmanship are being out priced of jobs by firms willing to undercut by skimping on safety and using poor working practices. Often a member of the public will be unaware of the safety of the scaffolding, assuming that they are safe if being installed by a qualifed scaffolder. Hopefully this latest initiative by the HSE will help identify these rogue traders. 

The use of a scaffold tagging system is often the first step to scaffolding safety, helping to identify any concerns throught the use of a checklist system. The Good to Go Safety system clearly indicates when a scaffold has been checked and deemed 'good to go' or when a fault is found it can immediately shut down the scaffolding with a 'Do Not Use' message until further notice. Click here to find out more about the Good to Go Safety system for scaffolding.


  1. "563 serious injuries in Manchester alone last year" that is an astounding figure for one that could have been avoided!

    Although many workplaces are believed to be safe and responsible for their employees, there are many precautions that are still being missed. That is why recieving the right training and advice is so important!

    Thanks for this post

  2. I have done abit of roofing work before and almost weekly someone would drop things from the floor above onto you. I think the biggest issue is the use of inadequate scaffolding boards and incorrect construction. People just need to be more safety conscious on these dangerous sites


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