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    FAILURE TO MANAGE LOW FALL RISK ENDS IN COURT

    Contractor prosecuted and fined after steel beam lifted on ‘low’ scaffold 

    A small building contractor has been fined after HSE found that heavy building materials had been lifted at height without measures to prevent falls at a Gloucestershire site in December 2009.

    Structural steelwork weighing 92kg had been placed on a house using a 5ft high scaffold platform. Workmen lifted the steelwork from the floor to the scaffold and then from the scaffold to the structure.

    No measures were taken to prevent or mitigate the effect of a person falling from the scaffold. This happened more than once from scaffolding without edge protection.

    There were no injuries, however, HSE concluded the work was not properly planned or managed and the required risk assessment had not highlighted the unsuitability of this method of work.

    Manual handling should be avoided where possible

    DA Cook (Builders) Limited pleaded guilty at Gloucester Magistrates Court of failing to comply with HSW Act Section 2 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,800.

    After the hearing, Tony Woodward, HSE Inspector, said:

    “The way this work was carried out, with four men lifting a heavy piece of steelwork onto a scaffolding platform and then lifting it into its final position was inappropriate and potentially dangerous.

    Manual handling as we have seen here should be avoided wherever possible and appropriate equipment used.

    In this case there was also a failure to eliminate the risk of a fall from the scaffolding platform, or even to minimise the consequences of any fall.

    An adequate risk assessment could easily have been carried out and would have shown this was an unsafe method for carrying out this work. If acted upon and implemented, it would have considerably reduced the risk of harm to those individuals.”

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