11 Sep 2009

Firm Prosecuted for Scaffold Collapse

Warning to scaffolding companies after firm prosecuted for collapse

Scaffolding companies need to double check their structures are safe and secure, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned following the collapse of scaffolding at an industrial unit in Caerphilly.

The incident on the Western Industrial Estate resulted in a fine for the Cardiff-based scaffolding company responsible for the unsecured structure which collapsed in June 2006. Fortunately, no-one was injured in the incident, which occurred just 20 minutes before a change of shift at the factory.

Linmar Scaffolding Ltd, of Compass Road, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 8 (b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 when it appeared at Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (8th Sept). The company was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay costs of £5,400.

HSE construction Inspector Dean Baker said: "Our investigation showed that this scaffolding was not properly secured to the building, which is a basic requirement for structures of this type. Scaffolding erection is the stock-in trade of this company but they failed to secure the scaffolding using appropriate ties.

"The scaffolding remained standing for 11 days after it was originally put up, so there was a significant risk of it collapsing while it was in use. Had it collapsed 20 minutes later than it actually did, it would have coincided with a change of shift and there could well have been casualties. CCTV footage shows people walking near the scaffolding just two minutes before the collapse, so it was lucky that no-one was actually hurt."

COI/W/473/09 8 September 2009
Transcript Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2009/coiw47309.htm (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence).

Once again, the importance for routine inspections is highlighted within this report. The Good to Go Safety inspection system for scaffolding is flexible to allow pre-use, pre-shift, daily or weekly inspections. Any one of which would have highlighted the faults in place at this site. Yet again this accident could have been avoided for a cost of around £0.30 for an inspection, rather than paying out costs of £7,200. The potential cost could have been much higher however if workers were actually using the structure at the time of its collapse.

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