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.

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