15 Nov 2011

Scaffold collapse leads to fine for Nottinghamshire director

The director of a scaffolding company from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, has been fined after a roofing contractor was injured during a scaffold collapse.

The 48-year-old, from Nottingham, fell six metres and fractured his pelvis in four places after scaffolding built on behalf of David Knowles collapsed at a house in Montpelier Road, Nottingham, on 20 October 2009. He was off work for four months.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the scaffolding had not been built by a competent scaffolder, was not erected to a standard configuration and had not been tied correctly.

Mr Knowles was prosecuted for failing to ensure that people not in his employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

After the hearing HSE inspector Mark Molyneux said:

"Construction workers’ lives depend on scaffolds. Scaffold businesses must ensure their workers are trained and competent and that scaffolds meet the requirements and are tied correctly.

“If Mr Knowles had ensured the scaffolding had been properly planned and erected and tied by a competent person, this incident would never have happened and a man would not have suffered a painful injury as a result."

David Knowles, 54, of Station Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,944 costs.

HSE Bulletin No: HSE/266/11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Another example of the dangers of scaffolding and the need to have a competent person overseeign the erection and subsequent pre-use inspection. Good to Go Safety can provide a comprehensive tagging and checklist system to help identify the scaffold's current status to all potential users. For more information visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk and see how you can improve your site safety.
11 Nov 2011

Chicken company fined after worker fractures back in fall from ladder

A Norfolk chicken processing firm has been fined after one of its employees fell from a ladder and broke his back.

Factory worker Peter Sherwood, 61, from Corton near Lowestoft, was carrying cladding boards up an unsecured ladder at Crown Chicken Ltd's factory in Weybread, Diss, when it slipped from under him and he fell about 2.5 metres to the concrete floor. He suffered broken vertebrae in his lower spine which meant he had to wear a back brace and was off work for six months. He has since returned to work but is only able to carry out light duties.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that on 24 July 2010 a supervisor at the Crown Chicken factory had allowed Mr Sherwood to help another employee in carrying out a maintenance task, but the work was not adequately planned and the company had not provided information to its staff on how to use ladders safely.

Crown Chicken Ltd admitted breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court today and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell said:

"Mr Sherwood was taken from his usual duties and asked to carry out a task for which he was neither properly trained nor supervised. As a result he suffered a serious and extremely painful injury which caused him to be off work for months.

"More workers are injured by falling from a ladder than any other access equipment. Crown Chicken should have been aware of this and ensured that adequate systems were in place so that its employees were not put at risk.

"HSE will not hesitate to take employers to court and seek tough penalties if they are found to be taking a lax attitude to their workers' safety."

 HSE Bulletin No: HSE-e-45-11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The Good to Go Safety range includes a simple and efficient checklist system, designed to enable a quick and easy pre-use inspection of the ladder to be used. Once completed the checklist is inserted into a tag to clearly display to all potential users when the ladder is 'Good to Go' or if a fault is found a 'Do not Use' message is clearly displayed. A duplicate copy of all completed checklists is also retained in the check book for management records. The system is simple but effective and has proved extremely popular since its launch. You can find more information at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk or there are a number of guides aimed at improving ladder safety available on the HSE website (click on the links below):

    Safe use of ladders and stepladders - an employer's guide
    A toolbox talk on leaning ladder and stepladder safety:
    Top tips for ladder and stepladder safety:
13 Oct 2011

Vehicle checks advice from ROSPA

I came across this video from ROSPA which I thought might be useful to our regular readers. It provides useful advice to drivers including how to check your tyre pressure, look for wear and tear and to top up the various fluids in your car. This can help you to save money, inconvenience and above all keep you safe on the roads. With the winter weather just around the corner, hopefully it will prove a useful reminder to us all of what we should be doing to stay safe on the roads.

In addition to this advice you may be interested to know that Good to Go Safety have recently launched a checklist for fleet vehicles which can be integrated into your fleet maintenance program to ensure drivers carry out their pre-use inspections before getting behind the wheel. 

It includes a comprehensive list of checks, covering all things mentioned in the ROSPA video and one or two more. As always, a duplicate copy of each completed checklist is created for management records which can be collected on a weekly basis to meet your management requirements.

You can find more information on our website at http://www.goodtogosafety.co.uk or visit our digital on-line catalogue at http://www.goodtogosafetydigital.html

For more information and safe driving advice why not visit http://www.rospa.com for a wide range of useful tips and free resources.
20 Sep 2011

Scaffold firm fined after putting workers at risk

A Hastings firm has been fined after handing over unsecured scaffolding to a client, putting builders at risk.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited a site at Claremont, Hastings, on 20 April 2010 where building repairs and external work were being carried out.

The inspector noted that scaffolding erected by Totalscaff (GB) Ltd, trading as Total Service Group (TSG), around the building had not been adequately tied, meaning it was unstable.

By law, all scaffolding must be inspected by a competent person before it can be used.

Hastings Magistrates' Court was told the worker who undertook safety checks, Christian Ball, had been previously been advised of the need to adequately tie scaffolding but had overlooked this advice. He was also fined.

Totalscaff (GB) Ltd, of Ninfield Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, was found guilty and Christian Ball, 35, of West Hill Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 28(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. Totalscaff (GB) Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, and Mr Ball was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,274 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said:

"Scaffold collapses can have serious consequences and tying the scaffold - or something similar - is essential for stability and ensuring it does not collapse while being erected or being used. Its importance cannot and should not be overlooked.

"HSE and the scaffolding industry have worked together to produce guidance to help scaffolding contractors ensure their scaffolding is safe. It is easy to follow. By not following it, people's lives were put at risk unnecessarily.

"HSE will take firm action against individuals and contractors who ignore their health and safety obligations. It is essential that contractors and contract managers equip themselves with the necessary information and guidance material and apply it each and every time a scaffold is built."

HSE Bulletin No: COISE/1909 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It is reassuring to read more and more reports of HSE prosecutions whereby the offence has been spotted before an accident happens. It is much more satisfactory to read about the prosecution of a company flouting safety rules and regulations, without needing to read about injuries or deaths. As ever prevention is better than cure.

It is the same philosophy that we hold at Good to Go Safety. By providing the tools to carry out pre-use inspection of workplace equipment, we hope that the competent person will use our checklist as a reminder as to what he should be looking for. It also provides a clear indication to ALL employees what the findings of the inspection were. For more information about our scaffolding inspection systems visit our website (click here). You will also find details on our range of inspection systems for other equipment including ladders, forklifts, scaffold towers and much more.
26 Aug 2011

Company fined after man dies from fall off faulty ladder

A Barnet-based wholesaler has been fined after a man died of injuries sustained when he fell from a stepladder.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Ovenpride Wholesale Ltd and manager Amjad Mahmood for failing to provide a safe system of work which, led to the death of handyman Rocco Carofalo.

The City of London Magistrates' Court heard on the morning of 22 April 2009 Mr Carofalo, who was employed as a casual handyman at Ovenpride's Finchley Rd Bakery, was asked to build shelving in the storeroom by the site manager.

During the morning Mr Carofalo had been seen standing on a stepladder while working on the shelving using tools and materials provided by Ovenpride.

At around midday he was found lying on the floor bleeding from a severe head wound, with the stepladder beside him. He died as a result of his injuries on 23 June.

Two HSE Inspectors visited the scene after the incident and issued a Prohibition Notice stopping any work at height because of the unsuitability of all access equipment. A stepladder deemed to be in very poor condition, was taken from the bakery by HSE inspectors.

After the hearing, HSE's Inspector Charles Linfoot said:

"The consequences of this tragic incident will be felt by Mr Carofalo's family for ever but it was so easily preventable. As the risk of a fall was foreseeable, Ovenpride and its manager should have carried out a full site-specific risk assessment and planned and organised the work to be carried out in a safe manner.

"Where access to heights is required, even for relatively short term work, they are ultimately responsible for assessing and planning the work and ensuring that it is carried out in a safe manner using suitable access equipment."

Ovenpride Wholesale Ltd, of Empire Way, Brent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £1.

Amjad Mahmood of Donnington Road, Brent pleaded guilty to also breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined a total of £300 and ordered to pay costs of £200.
HSE Bulletin No: COISE/2017(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It would appear that the cause of the accident in this incident may be down to the state of the stepladder being used which was "deemed to be in very poor condition". Stepladders should be checked before use to ensure they are fit for purpose and any potential problems identified. This is a relatively straight forward inspection that a competent person could carry out quickly and easyily. Good to Go Safety can provide you with a simple solution to help avoid incidents like this from happening. 

A tag is attached to the ladder which clearly displays a 'Do Not Use' message until such time that checklist has been completed and inserted inside the tag to indicate it has been checked and found to be 'Good to Go'. A duplicate record of all completed checklists is retained for management records and as proof of an adequate ladder log and/or maintenance schedule. To find out more about the Good to Go Safety Ladder Inspection Systems visit the www.goodtogosafety.co.uk website.
5 Aug 2011

2011 Ladder Exchange to boost ladder safety in the workplace

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) Ladder Exchange Initiative 2011 will commence next month on 1st September and will run for 3 months, ending at close of business on 30th November.

For this year’s initiative, HSE have provided free promotional material including posters and postcards which are available to download by clicking on this link.


HSE has facilitated the Ladder Exchange since its introduction four years ago, in 2007, over which period more than 8,000 dodgy ladders have been removed from the workplace as a direct result. This initiative provides UK businesses with an easy and simple way to replace broken, damaged or bent ladders and trade them in for safe new ones. A number of HSE partners will be offering discounted prices on new ladders when exchanging for their 'dodgy' ones and some are also offering free inspections of their existing ladders.

To find more information on this excellent initiative please visit www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladderexchange.htm

As ever Good to Go Safety are delighted to promote this initiative to promote the safe use of ladders in the workplace. Our ladder inspection system continues to be a best seller for us within the industry. Click here to find out more about our ladder tagging and inspection system which can be easily implemented thoughout your company.
5 Jul 2011

Poole builders fined after scaffold fall

A Poole construction company has been sentenced after a carpenter was seriously injured when he fell three metres off scaffolding while working on a house extension.

Michael McCarthy, 60, from Verwood, was contracted by P O Sharps Landscapes Ltd to construct the roof of the extension at a property in Radipole Road in the town.

The extension was being built above an existing garage which protruded out beyond the face of the main building causing a step in the scaffold at roof level of the garage.

On 20 September 2008, Mr McCarthy descended the ladder and stepped backwards over the open edge, falling three metres and fracturing his spine and ankles.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court, found the platform had no guardrails, and a ladder used to access the working platform above was positioned outward, forcing anybody using the ladder to stand backward at the unguarded edge.

P O Sharps Landscapes pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Frank Flannery commented:

"Falls from height can cause significant and life-changing injuries and duty holders must take steps to prevent falls wherever possible.

"Mr McCarthy's injuries are serious and permanent: he has a steel rod in his back, steel pins in his right ankle, and left foot/heel. He suffers with chronic pain and has no prospect of working again. This incident could easily have been prevented by erecting guardrails along the platform."

In 2008/2009 more than 4,000 major injuries were caused by falls from height at work. 

HSE Bulletin: (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The reasons for this accident appear to be that the platform had no guardrails, and a ladder used to access the working platform above was positioned outward - both fairly obvious and easily spotted issues for a competent user. A pre-use inspection, using the Good to Go Safety checklist would help identify the missing guardrails and possibly prevented the workers from accessing the scaffold until corrective actions had been carried out. This story further emphasises the need for employees to be trained in the correct use of equipment in the workplace and the need to have management systems in place to ensure pre-use checks are carried out on the equipment. For more information on the Good to Go Safety system for scaffolding please visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk
3 Jun 2011

Company fined after scaffold collapse

A Surrey-based company has been fined after a large section of scaffolding collapsed at a site in Walton-on-Thames.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Johnson Scaffold Services Ltd, of Chaldon in Surrey, for breaching health and safety laws which led to the incident on the 18 December 2009.

Staines Magistrates' Court heard how Johnson Scaffold Services Ltd erected sheeted scaffolding around a building in Copenhagen Way, Surrey, to enable a separate contractor to refurbish the roof.

Once the work was completed, the structure was partially removed on 17 December 2009, leaving some of the sheeted scaffolding still standing. During the early hours of the following morning, a 200 foot long, 40 foot high section of the scaffolding was blown to the ground.

The HSE investigation showed the scaffolding was not installed according to the original drawings and had not been adequately tied. It was left in an unsafe condition overnight while being dismantled.

Johnson Scaffold Services Ltd, of Chaldon in Surrey, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

After the hearing, HSE's inspector Denis Bodger said:

"This was a serious incident that could have resulted in severe injury or worse, it was sheer luck that meant no one was in the way of the scaffolding when it collapsed.

"Scaffolds should be designed by a competent person or built to a recognised standard. At no stage during erection, use or removal should they be left in an unstable state where they could collapse. They should be adequately tied or other effective means taken.

"This should serve as a warning to other companies that HSE will not hesitate to take action against anyone that fails to build safe scaffolding."

HSE Bulletin No: COISE/0102 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The use of a Good to Go Safety checklist system can help ensure daily inspections of scaffolding are carried out in line with PUWER regulations. Systematic checks of the scaffold can help identify potential weaknesses or probelms and allow coorective actions to be taken before an incident such as the one quoted above occurs. Visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information about our inspection systems.
28 Apr 2011

£3,000 fine following fatal Bristol scaffold fall

The owner of a Bristol scaffolding company has been fined after the death of one of its employees who fell from a temporary roof he was dismantling.

Shaun Stevens, 41, fell about four metres while deconstructing a temporary corrugated sheet roof at Flooks Scaffolding at the Old Brains Factory, Bridge Road, Kingswood, Bristol, on 4 October 2006.

Mr Stevens from Bristol suffered serious head injuries as a result of his fall and was taken to hospital, where he died 12 days later.

Russell Lee Flook, trading as Flooks Scaffolding, of Tower Lane, Warmley, Bristol, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). He pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The offences related to poor health and safety management practices, and an attempt to fake a method statement for the work. Inspectors asked for this key safety plan following the fall - but were given a document written the day after the incident.

Mr Flook was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Sue Adsett, said:

"Corrugated tin temporary roofs are inherently dangerous to erect and dismantle. Employers need to reconsider how they do this work and not just repeat how they have done it in the past. There are now safer ways of working to be considered, using different materials and technologies.

"All employers have a duty to protect their employees and contractors. It is up to the scaffolding employer to make sure there is a safe system of work for erecting and dismantling temporary roofs and not leave the arrangements to workers.

"The law has changed over recent years with the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR), and employers need to make sure that they are fully aware of their duties."

Mr Steven's wife, Tanya Stevens, said after the case: "Shaun's death has left a huge void in our family: our daughters have no father to support them through life, and he is missing seeing our grand daughter grow up.

"Four and a half years on, we all still feel the loss of Shaun every day. He was a good father and husband and it has been hard for us all. We have struggled to cope with our grief at times and, as well as missing him greatly, I have had to deal with the emotional and financial strain of bringing up the girls single-handedly.

"I hope that Russell Flook has learnt from this and takes health and safety seriously on site, making sure his workers wear harnesses and work safely, so that no one else has to experience what we have gone through."

HSE Bulletin No: 766/SWW/11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The use of the correct equipment when working at height is of paramount importance to reduce risks to the absolute minimal level. A detailed and considered method statement will provide a critical element of completing the work safely and efficiently. It is both frustrating and annoying to see some firms continuing to cut corners and put the lives of their employees at risk in return for saving some money. 

Good to Go Safety have a firm belief in giving employers the chance to implement an easy and affordable solution to their equipment checks - providing them with a comprehensive audit trail of all inspections undertaken. For more information about these SEMS (safe equipment management systems) please visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk where you will find off-the-shelf systems for equipment including scaffolding, ladders, harnesses, MEWPs, forklifts and more.
26 Apr 2011

Construction Inspections

The HSE has launched it's latest podcast which takes a look at construction inspections and follows a walk-through of a construction site in Worcester where the HSE inspector highlights the types of questions he might ask and activities he would look out for during a visit. For a full version of the transcript or to listen to the full podcast please visit the HSE website by clicking here.

Transcript from HSE podcast
The UK construction industry employs more than 2 million people. Last year 42 workers were fatally injured and more than 2500 seriously hurt. We spent a morning with HSE inspector Luke Messenger as he visited a site in Worcester to take a look at what they were doing to protect people during the building works.

Now Luke this morning we're here in Worcester and we're going to have a quick look at this construction site here and looking at it there's a lot of scaffolding up there and it's also in quite a unusual situation, isn't it, in that it's between a road and a railway line?

The way I'm looking at it from this distance is thinking about transport risks around vehicle movements around and about the site, pedestrians on the road here. As far as the railway line's concerned I would have thought that they would need to be thinking about not coming into contact with the railway and any foundations and footings that were going on, taking into consideration the embankment and the stability of railway line.

As we walk forward we can see there's the traditional mesh fencing on the outside and a few road signs saying pedestrians please use the other footpath, is that the kind of thing you expect to see?

Yes, that's right. Contractors have to make sure that the site is kept safe and that people who aren't meant to be in the site are kept out, children in particular, so it's typical to see fencing of that type to keep people out. Signs warning people that it's a construction site and the risks on the site. Protective clothing they might have to wear.

My name's Mark Palfrey and I'm the site manager for Spectus Construction.

So what are you actually building here, what's this project?

It's 19 flats.

So, 19 flats. What is the situation with the inspection of this scaffold? You know it needs to be inspected every seven days?

I inspect it every seven days but every two weeks I actually get the scaffolders back and we go through it together.

Okay. So you've had some training in the inspection of scaffolds Mark?


The sorts of thing we're looking for there is to prevent people falling off scaffold. That we have a top gird rail and a middle guard rail. That we also have a toe board or an up stand so that objects can't fall off. What you've also got up there that's good is, because you've got bricks and blocks that could fall off, is that you've got brick guards up there to stop objects falling off on to people. You've also got debris netting to stop debris coming off. And what I'm generally looking at is, does it look right to me, has it got the right edge protection, has it got some bracing on it so that any movement of the scaffold is prevented? Is it footed on some suitable footing? Some nice stable ground. This is all sitting on concrete so it should be nice and stable. And I can see that there are base plates and wooden boards under the scaffold. Okay. Right I think we've seen as much as we can see from this side of the road. Shall we go and have a look at what some of the lads are doing inside?

Spot and dab. On the walls.

The plastering. Any particular risks with this activity?

Not particularly, no. Just lifting really.

Are they using any hop ups?

They're using hop ups.

To get a bit of access? So that's a relatively low step or something for them to reach up and plaster the ceilings. Just walking around as we walk into the site here as you get to this sort of stage what are you doing in terms of making sure that they keep the amount of debris on the floor to the minimum from the slips, trips point of view?

They're all responsible for their own mess. If they don't clear the mess up they get counter charged for it. If I have to get a labourer in they get counter charged. Plus they get a warning.

Mark, when we were in the site office I noticed up on the wall there that you had some sort of emergency plan, a fire plan. How are you managing fire risks on site?

During the induction they are given all the fire exits the position of all the fire extinguishers, emergency exits, the meeting area and the plan is always on the wall anyway. The only thing I need to do at the moment I think is to adapt it for each flat. There's only one way out of these flats.

As the build is developing you're getting different staircases, doorways and that built, your plan is changing so you'll review that on a regular basis?


So we've come up on to the scaffold, so we've had a good look at it from below so we've seen that it has all its guard rails on it that it needs to have. I noticed when we came up that you've got a bit of good practice there in that you've got there a gate at the top of the access ladder so that should be inwardly opening and shut behind you when you come up so that the access way is kept safe. We've come up to have a look at these guys who are doing some roofing work. The thing I'm interested in here is if they're cutting any tiles are they aware of the risks from breathing in silica dust.

Should be wearing a mask and they should be wearing goggles and ear protection.

So we're here in the site office now and what kind of things are you looking for in the paperwork?

Well the paperwork, what we must remember, is a means to an end. It's what's going on out on site that's most important for me as an inspector, but Mark here as the site manager has certain responsibilities to keep certain pieces of paperwork on site. So initially the sort of things I'm looking for is that he's got a copy of the notification of this site to the Health and Safety Executive up on the wall. I can see that up on the wall as well he's got his loading plans, so a plan of how he's moving materials around the site, a very simple diagram but that's all it needs to be if it's clear to the workers on site then it does it's job.

Mark, just also before we finish today, engagement with the workers, keeping the workers informed of health and safety issues and how you're keeping them safe and them raising issues with you. How do you do that on your site?

Usually first thing in the morning we all meet to discuss the days work and then if there's a certain issued coming up as in dust, noise or anything else, everybody on the site is warned in that sort of little meeting.

So you have a meeting every morning when you can tell them or express to them particular risks on site, or things have changed. Is that also a forum where they can ask you questions and raise concerns?

Yes. I always express to them that if they've got any issues, come and see me. If there's a mess somewhere left by anybody come and see me. If there's a trip issue, come and see me. So yeah, we got quite a good circuit going on there.

Thank you very much.

*End of transcript*

For more information on how Good to Go Safety can help ensure the necessary checks are being completed on your scaffolding please click here to visit the Good to Go Safety website.
14 Apr 2011

Safety alert issued for steel pole ladders

The National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) have recently issued a safety alert after the HSE imposed a prohibition notice on a scaffold contractor (non-NASC member) about the use of a particular type of steel pole ladder following a reported fall from height.

The HSE noted that the steel pole ladder used as ladder access on the scaffold did not have any grip/tread on the rungs and as such was in breach of the provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 4 (1). You can view the full version of the NASC safety alert at their website or by clicking here.

The image above shows the type of ladder in question, issues include the fact that the ladder does not comply with the relevant standards (ie. EN 131), the treads do not provide any form of anti-slip protection in the form of ribbed or textured profiling, nor do the feet appear to offer any form of anti-slip protection.

In general, ladders account for a third of all reorted fall from height incidents. It is important that employers provide ladders in compliance with the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). The Good to Go Safety system provides a list of essential checks to be carries out on the ladder prior to use to help ensure they are safe for use - any signs of damage can be easily logged and the tag updated to inform all employess 'DO NOT USE' until the problem has been resolved. Alternatively, if no issues are identified then the tag will clearly inform workers that the ladders are 'GOOD TO GO' as of that date. 

The use of a ladder tag such as this can go a long way top providing a quick, simple and affordable solution to your workplace safety. The same system can also be used on a wide range of other construction equipment, including scaffolding, forklifts, MEWPs, fall arrest harnesses and scaffold towers to name a few. For more information visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk - don't assume the ladder is safe, put the necessary checks in place and avoid becoming another statistic. On average falls from ladders account for 14 deaths each year and 1200 major injuries to workers in the UK.
13 Apr 2011

Companies fined £400,000 after labourer's fatal fall from scaffolding

Two companies have been fined a total of £400,000 for breaches of health and safety legislation that resulted in the death of a stonemason's labourer at a Glasgow construction site.

James Kelly, a labourer employed by Stirling Stone Ltd, was working on the third level of a loading tower of scaffolding that had been erected as part of construction work taking place at Glasgow Academy, Colebrook Street, Glasgow. Stirling Stone had been contracted as stonemasons on the site by Robertson Construction Central Ltd.

On 26 April 2007, Mr Kelly fell to the ground from the scaffold loading tower platform. He died later from his injuries. A single guard rail was found on the ground close to where Mr Kelly was discovered.

Following the incident, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that there was no safe system of work in place for loading materials onto the loading tower, nor had suitable assessment of the risks involved been made. The investigation also revealed that the loading tower did not have sufficient guard rails and toe boards and that neither company had ensured that the tower and access scaffolding was properly inspected on a regular basis.

Both companies were found guilty of health and safety breaches at an earlier trial. Today at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Robertson Construction Central Ltd of Perimeter Road, Elgin, Moray, was fined £200,000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc 1974 Act. Stirling Stone Ltd was fined £200,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

John Shelton, HSE Inspector for Construction, said:

"What happened to Mr Kelly was entirely preventable and would not have happened if the proper steps had been taken.

"Loading up operations at scaffold loading towers are repeated on construction sites across Scotland probably thousands of times a day.

"There is no excuse for the contractors not to have agreed procedures as to how this work was to be done and ensured that this routine work was carried out safely.

"Where vital edge protection is removed temporarily to allow loading up to take place steps must be taken to ensure persons cannot fall during that work."

HSE Bulletin No: SCO/032/11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Yet another tragic case brought about due to a lack of ownership for site safety; as the inspector states in his summary, this type of work is carried out regularly across the UK and there is simply no excuse for not having a safe system of work (SSOW) in place. Combine this apathy towards safety with scaffolding and working at height and the potential for serious accidents (or in this case fatality) are substantial. The need for a competent person to understand the working of scaffolding and the need for guardrails is further highlighted in this case, as is the need to carry out routine inspections of the scaffolding once erected. 

By carrying out simple inspection procedures such as this it can help identify missing components and with the use of our Good to Go Safety system, allow the quick and easy quarantine of the scaffolding if probems are identified. To find out more about the Good to Go Safety scaffold inspection systems visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk
24 Mar 2011

A step towards workplace safety by Good to Go Safety

Good to Go Safety are pleased to announce the launch of the latest addition to their range of equipment tagging and inspection systems.

Podium steps have seen a surge in usage over the past few years as a result of changes in the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). The need to provide a safe working platform for employees has seen a decline in the number of ladders being used for low level work, in favour of a podium step which can provide the employer with a safer working platform complete with guardrails.

Although the podium step may provide safer working conditions, the need to carry out pre-use inspections in accordance with the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) remain as best practice. Employees should be trained in the safe use of a podium step and routine checks of the steps carried out to ensure that they remain in good working order and fit for use.

The new Good to Go Safety system allows the tag to be attached to the podium steps at the point of access to provide maximum visual impact. The tag will clearly indicate the steps should not be used until an inspection has been carried out. The check book provides guidance and a checklist to be completed prior to using the podium steps - once completed the checklist is placed inside the tag to clearly indicate the status, as of that date. The tag will tell employees if it is 'Good to Go' or 'Do Not Use' whilst a duplicate copy of the completed checklist is retained in the book for management records.

The podium check book can be ordered independently or in kit format. The weekly inspection kit provides everything you need to carry out a weekly inspection for an entire year on the podium steps; alternatively a daily inspection kit provides everything needed to complete an entire year of daily inspections.

More details will be available soon on the Good to Go Safety website, in the meantime should you have a requirement please contact us for information.
17 Mar 2011

Unsafe scaffold collapse leads to company fines and injured shopper

Two North East companies have been fined after a member of the public was seriously injured when scaffolding collapsed during high winds.

A 68-year-old woman was out shopping with relatives when the scaffolding in Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle collapsed on 14 March 2009.

She suffered double fractures to her right hip joint and right femur, puncture wounds to her right ankle and severe bruising and was in hospital for 12 days following the incident. Almost two years on she is still unable to carry shopping bags and is limited in what housework she can do.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Skyline Scaffolding Ltd had not erected the scaffolding properly by failing to ensure it was adequately secured to the building. The scaffold had been reduced in height to a single working platform with the wooden hoardings and sheeting still attached. In reducing the scaffold, the scaffolding company removed the arrangement that retained the scaffold to the building.

HSE also found that Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd had failed to ensure that the scaffolding was properly inspected both before work began and at regular intervals as it progressed.

Skyline Scaffolding, of Drum Industrial Estate, Birtley was found guilty, in absence, to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 14 January and 14 March 2009 and a second offence of breaching Regulation 8(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 between 11 and 14 March 2009 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,182.30 at Newcastle Magistrates' Court today (16 March 2011).

Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd, of Leeholme Industrial Estate, Cowpen Lane, Billingham pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 14 January and 14 March 2009 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2091.15.

After the case, HSE Principal Inspector Rob Hirst said:

"This incident could, and should, have been prevented. The lady was seriously injured and was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident. And things could have been even worse had the scaffolding collapsed when workers were using it.

"Skyline Scaffolding Ltd failed to erect the scaffolding properly by not securing it adequately and Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd failed to ensure the scaffolding was inspected before work began and then regularly once it was in progress.

"Each company had varying responsibilities, but were complicit in failing to ensure the scaffold remained stable. Both parties should have been aware that the addition of wooden hoardings and impervious sheeting increased the loading on the structure.

"I would urge all those involved in the supply and use of temporary work platforms such as scaffolding, to ensure that they are erected by competent persons and are subject to inspection before work starts and then at least every seven days or following alteration or effects of adverse weather."

HSE Bulletin No: NE/042/11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The fact that the scaffolding was not inspected in this case resulted in an accident to an innocent passer by, as the HSE rightly pointed out the outcome could have been even worse had workers been on the scaffold at the time of the collapse. 

The use of a scaffold tag is widely recognised as an integral safety measure, and the Good to Go Safety scaffold checklist enables regular inspections to be carried out on site. The results of the inspection are inserted into the tag to clearly indicate the date and result of the inspection so that employees instantly know by looking at the tag if the scaffold is 'good to go'. A duplicate copy of the completed checklist is also retained for management records. 

This simple but effective scaffold tag system can help prevent accidents such as this from happening, for more information about this and other inspection systems from Good to go Safety please visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for all the latest news.
15 Mar 2011

Extension to Good to Safety range coming soon

Following on from last month's launch of Good to Go Safety's inspection system for fleet vehicles, we are pleased to announce that we will be adding a new application to the range later this month. 

Following on from numerous requests we have designed a checklist which we are sure will prove a popular addition to our range. Full details will be made available over the next week and you will be able to read it here first. Don't forget if you have any suggestions for equipment you would like to see added to the Good to Go Safety range please contact us with information or leave a comment below.

In the meantime why not visit our website for details on the full range of equipment inspections currently available at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

Our Safe Equipment Management Systems (SEMS) are a simple, effective and affordable solution to workplace safety - providing a tagging and inspection system for a wide range of workplace equipment. The use of good to Go Safety can help you meet your duties under PUWER (Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).
4 Mar 2011

Work at Height Maintenance Video

The HSE has released a useful video (click here) for those involved in working at height who carry out building and plant maintenance activities. It aims to make you aware of the steps that should be taken to ensure the work is carried out safely and to demonstrate a number of different types of access equipment in use.

The introduction can be viewed below - for access to the full video please visit the HSE site by clicking here. There is a vast amount of useful information available on the HSE website, all of which can be used to help further reduce the risks associated with working at height.

The video guides you through various stages:
  • Planning the work
  • Avoiding work at height
  • Selecting the correct equipment
  • Training users of the equipment
  • Inspecting the equipment
  • Supervising the work

The video looks at equipment including ladders & stepladders, scaffold towers, podiums, scaffolding, harnesses and MEWPs. Good to Go Safety has developed a range of safety inspection systems for each of these types of equipment which can help to improve safety and reduce the risk of an accident. Visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information or take a look at our online digital catalogue (click on the image below to open the catalogue which will allow you to view and order the full range of Good to Go Safety products).

1 Mar 2011

Tyneside firm sentenced after worker's fall from unsafe scaffold

A Tyneside construction company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries following a fall from unsafe scaffolding.
Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident in the grounds of the Old Vicarage, off Knaresborough Road, Murton, County Durham on 1 May 2009.

Consett Magistrates' Court heard Mr Kevin Clark, 54, from Swalwell, Gateshead, was working on the windows of a new building when the scaffolding platform he was standing on became dislodged, causing him to fall more than four metres to the ground.
Mr Clark suffered several crushed vertebrae in his spine and a fractured left foot and was in hospital for two weeks following the incident. The HSE investigation revealed that the company had failed to control alterations to the scaffolding, failed to conduct inspections of the scaffold at least every seven days, failed to identify and correct unsafe alterations and allowed workers to use unsafe scaffolding.

Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd, of Jesmond Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 at Consett Magistrates' Court.

After sentencing, Mr Clark said:
"I took it for granted the scaffolding I was working on was safe. If it had been checked properly the incident never would have happened and I wouldn't be left with the injuries I have to live with now.
"I've had steel rods put in my spine, I'm in constant pain and it restricts my movement and makes walking really difficult. I'll probably never be able to do the job I did again.
"I hope this prosecution helps make other employers realise the importance of ensuring scaffolding is safe so other workers don't have to suffer as I have."

After the case, HSE Construction Inspector Andrea Robbins said:
"This incident could and should have been prevented. Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd failed in their legal duty to ensure the safety of its employees by failing to manage the scaffolding on site adequately.
"As a result of these failures, Mr Clark has suffered serious injuries and is still living with the effects of those injuries more than a year and a half later.
"Scaffolding is widely used as a temporary working platform or means of access and this incident clearly illustrates the absolute need to ensure that it is safe.
"I'd like to stress to all companies and employees who use scaffolding that it should always be constructed to a recognised standard, any alterations should only be made by a competent person and it should be inspected by a competent person on handover and at least every seven days as work progresses."

Falls from height are the biggest cause of fatal and major injuries in the construction and maintenance industry. During the three year period up to the end of 2010, there were 132 fatalities in relation to falls from height - 85 in the construction industry alone, two of which were in the North East.

HSE Bulletin No: NE/034/11(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Yet another reminder to anyone working at height on the importance of carrying out regular inspections of equipment - whether it be scaffolding, ladders, harnesses or other WAH equipment. The case above emphasises the dangers of assumption in the workplace - assumption that equipment is safe can lead to serious accidents if checks are not carried out as a result. The use of Good to Go Safety systems takes away the risk of assumption - providing a clear reminder that pre-use checks need to be carried out and displaying the findings once they have been. If the tag does not state that the equipment is 'Good to Go' with the relevant date on it then employees instantly know that a check should be carried out before they begin their work. For more information about the Good to Go Safety range please visit the website at http://www.goodtogosafety.co.uk/
24 Feb 2011

HSE clampdown on unsafe construction sites

Over the next week, construction sites across Fife will be visited as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death and injury in one of Britain's most dangerous industries.

During 2009/10, three workers died while working in construction across Scotland, two of them during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities. There were 68 reported injuries on construction sites in Fife in 2009/10.

Starting on 28th February, Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be making unannounced visits to refurbishment sites throughout Fife. The focus of the HSE inspectors will be ensuring that sites are managing work at height safely and that they are in good order, as well as checking that the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.

In a similar campaign last year inspectors visited 276 sites and 376 contractors across Scotland. They issued 82 enforcement notices across 77 sites, and were forced to issue 62 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work - much of it relating to working from height.

HSE Principal Inspector John Blackburn said:

"This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across Britain and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice - those where employers are taking all the measures they can to protect their workers and those where safety is way down the list of priorities.

"A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions. As we've demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice that is putting the lives of workers at risk.

"This year, as part of ensuring risks from asbestos are properly managed, we will also be checking that, where appropriate, asbestos surveys have been carried out prior to any refurbishment work. Many workers believe that, because asbestos has been banned as a building material, it's no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn't true. Any premises built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos."

During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors will be looking at whether:
  • Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place 
  • Equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly 
  • Sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls 
  • Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions 
  • Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste

HSE Bulletin No: SCO/019/11
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

This initiative is not exclusive to Fife, with similar inspections being carried out across the UK. Nearly one in four of Merseyside's construction sites have already failed safety inspections during the first two days of a month-long initiative. HSE inspectors carried out checks at 88 sites during intensive inspections in the county on 14 and 15 February. A total of 21 sites were found not to meet legally-required health and safety standards.

Several of the sites visited received more than one enforcement notice either stopping work activities immediately or requiring improvements to be made. In total, inspectors issued 22 prohibition and 21 improvement notices, with more than half of the notices relating to unsafe work being carried out at height.

HSE Bulletin No: HSE/NW/02ResultsMerseyside
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

HSE initiatives such as these can go a long way to helping raise employee awareness of the potential dangers in the construction industry, hopefully spotting potential problems before an accident occurs. 

One of the areas that the inspectors are looking at is that of equipment safety in the workplace - ensuring that it is correctly installed, inspected and maintained - and that employees are competent to use it. 

The use of the Good to Go Safety system can go a long way to helping meet these requirements. There are a range of equipment inspection systems available from Good to Go Safety for the construction industry which include ladders, scaffolding, forklifts and harnesses amongst the most commonly used. Click here to find out more about the systems which encourage regular checks, provide visual awareness of the findings and produce a complete audit trail of findings for your management records.
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