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SCAFFOLD COLLAPSE INJURED MEMBER OF PUBLIC

Contractors fined after passer-by seriously injured in scaffold collapse

Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd and  Skyline Scaffolding Ltd have been ordered to pay over £37,000 in fines and prosecution costs after a woman out shopping with relatives was seriously injured when scaffolding collapsed in Newcastle on 14 March 2009.

She suffered fractures to her hip and femur, puncture wounds and severe bruising. Her mobility is still is affected by the incident.

HSE investigators revealed the required precautions had not been maintained. Skyline Scaffolding Ltd had not adequately tied the scaffolding to the building. Ties were removed when the scaffold was reduced in height. In addition, Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd failed to ensure the scaffolding was properly inspected both before work began and at regular intervals as it progressed.

Injured passer-by lucky to be alive

Skyline Scaffolding Ltd, of Birtley was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 8(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,182.30 at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court (16 March 2011).

Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd, of Billingham pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2091.15.

After the case, HSE Principal Inspector Rob Hirst said:

“This incident could, and should, have been prevented. The lady was seriously injured and was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident. And things could have been even worse had the scaffolding collapsed when workers were using it.

Skyline Scaffolding Ltd failed to erect the scaffolding properly by not securing it adequately and Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd failed to ensure the scaffolding was inspected before work began and then regularly once it was in progress.

Each company had varying responsibilities, but were complicit in failing to ensure the scaffold remained stable. Both parties should have been aware that the addition of wooden hoardings and impervious sheeting increased the loading on the structure.

I would urge all those involved in the supply and use of temporary work platforms such as scaffolding, to ensure that they are erected by competent persons and are subject to inspection before work starts and then at least every seven days or following alteration or effects of adverse weather.”

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