28 Nov 2014

Safety failings land scaffolding firm in court

A Carmarthenshire scaffolding company has been fined for safety failings that exposed workers to serious risks of injury from a fall.

It follows an inspection on 22 May 2014 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at a site in Old Station Road, Carmarthen, next to the safety regulator’s local office.

At the time, a scaffolder was seen standing on a platform only two boards wide at a height of approximately four metres. There were no guard rails in place or any other means to prevent a fall, such as the use of a harness.

Llanelli Magistrates’ Court heard today (27 Nov) that it wasn’t the first time that HSE had been forced to take action against Castle Scaffolding (Wales) Ltd for unsafe work at height.

The company had previously received written warnings from HSE. The first occasion in January 2012 resulted in a Prohibition Notice being issued and the second occasion in September 2013 resulted in the company receiving a Notice of Contravention. Both instances concerned unsafe systems of work relating to the erection and dismantling of scaffolding.

Castle Scaffolding (Wales) Ltd, of Old Coal Yard, Tir Onnen, Station Road, St Clears, Carmarthenshire, was fined a total of £10,600 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Hayley Healey said:

“While it is fortunate that no-one was injured during the work in Old Station Road, the erection and dismantling of the scaffold was clearly unsafe, and those working on the scaffolding were exposed unnecessarily to high levels of risk.

“Death and serious injury following falls from height are all too common, and proper planning is vital to ensure the work is carried out safely and that the correct precautions are identified and used at all times.

“Castle Scaffolding fell far short of the standards required to ensure that work was carried out in a safe manner. It is of particular concern that the company failed to implement adequate monitoring of health and safety standards following previous intervention and advice by HSE inspectors.”

For more information about working at height safely visit the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm

Routine maintenance checks and a systematic approach to equipment inspections will help to keep equipment running efficiently and safely. The Good to Go Safety system offers a simple but highly effective tagging and checklist system to ensure that critical safety checks are completed before the equipment is used. A documented audit trail provides management with invaluable evidence of their safety and management programmes in the event of an accident. The tag itself provides a visual reminder to carry out pre-use checks and will clearly indicate if and when a check has been completed by displaying its findings. For more information visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

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