11 Feb 2013

Trafford scaffolding firm caught on camera risking lives

A Trafford firm has appeared in court after workers were spotted taking down scaffolding without safety measures to prevent them being injured in a fall.
Workers on unsafe scaffolding outside a row of terraced shops in Oldham
They were witnessed working on the outside of a row of terraced shops on Ripponden Road in Oldham on 4 September 2012 by a passing inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard Stretford Scaffolding Ltd had been hired to dismantle the scaffolding after it had been used by another company for a roofing project.

Neither of the two men standing on the scaffolding platforms were wearing harnesses, despite working up to six metres above the ground, and one of them was not a trained scaffolder. He should therefore not have been allowed to work on a partially dismantled section.

The court was told there were also no guard rails on part of the scaffolding to prevent workers falling. The HSE inspector issued an immediate Prohibition Notice, ordering the men to come down from the scaffolding until they were given suitable safety equipment by their employer.

Stretford Scaffolding Ltd, of Ciss Lane in Urmston, received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £1,849 after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sandra Tomlinson said:

"We are regularly called out to incidents where people have been seriously injured or even killed as a result of a fall from height. That’s why it’s vital scaffolding firms make sure safety is their top priority.

"Stretford Scaffolding should never have allowed the scaffolding to be taken down without making sure workers could do the job safely. The most sensible way of achieving this would have been to use guard rails and harnesses.

"The firm also put the life of one of the men at risk by allowing him to work on a partially dismantled section, despite the fact that he wasn’t a trained scaffolder.

"This case should act as a warning to other scaffolding firms that they risk being prosecuted if they put lives at risk."

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


Apologies for the lack of postings in the last month (snowed under with work - no weather related pun intended). It seems that the small break from blogging has not prevented the continuing mismanagement and disregard for safety when it comes to working at height on scaffolding. Another example is highlighted above with the seemingly recurrent theme of missing guardrails featuring in this particular case. Combine this with work on a partially dismantled structure, lack of harness and untrained personnel and the potential for serious injury soon becomes a distinct possibility. Thankfully on this occasion, action was taken before an accident could occur, but yet again it highlights the importance of good planning, using competent persons and ensuring that the scaffold is fit for purpose by way of pre-use checks to identify any issues (such as missing guardrails).

As ever the need to inspect scaffolding before use should be an integral part of any plan of work. You can find details of the Good to Go Safety checklist and tagging systems at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for a simple and affordable solution.

1 comment:

  1. Extremely high danger hazard, if you were to fall from that height you could break a leg or two, whats wrong with some of these people?

    -Keystone Contracting Corp.


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