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.

1 comment:

  1. "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."

    Agreed! It's always better to see that steps were taken BEFORE someone got hurt. Too often safety measures are enacted as a reaction. They should be proactive.


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