Owner fined for dangerous scaffold
22nd January 2015
The owner of a small, Portsmouth based, construction firm is one of the latest individuals to be fined after he erected a series of scaffolds in and around the town that were riddled with dangerous faults.
Workers lives were put at risk by scaffolds, several metres high, with potentially lethal defects that could have seen builders fall from unguarded platforms or through rotting scaffold boards.
HSE attended one of the sites as a result of a complaint made by a member of the public and found numerous problems. Faults identified on the scaffold were:
- poor stability arrangements, meaning the scaffold was liable to collapse
- bracing was missing, compounding stability issues
- missing baseplates on many uprights, meaning that the scaffold could have sunk into the ground or ‘punched through’ any drains or cavities it was erected on
- there were few, if any, guardrails on the lifts – or working platforms – to prevent falls from height
- many of the boards were rotten and damaged and could have broken under workers’ feet.
The owner of the company was fined a total of £1,600 and ordered to pay £600 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Work at Height Regulations.
In a statement issued after the hearing the HSE inspector reported that he had been relying on outdated knowledge from training delivered in 1979. This incident serves to highlight the importance of training and keeping current with up-to-date legislation and scaffolding guidance as performance standards have changed significantly in the past 20 years or so – most notably through the introduction of TG20:13 early last year. Simian can provide advice on the standards applicable to scaffold and construction activity.