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PC AND SCAFFOLDING FIRM FINED OVER DESIGN FAILURE

Collapse of scaffold caused by lack of design and ineffective management of risk

Potteries Demolition Company Limited and Jacko’s Scaffolding Limited have been fined following a major scaffold collapse involving 70ft of sheeted scaffold that collapsed in Hanley on 30 April 2011.

Workers on the project were on a break so no-one was on or near the scaffolding at the time of the collapse. No members of the public were walking past and no vehicles were driving by, although a row of parked cars received minor damage and a street lamp was destroyed.

Potteries Demolition Company Limited was the principal contractor on demolition project and Jacko’s Scaffolding Limited were engaged to provide scaffolding.

HSE investigators found the scaffold had not been “built to an appropriate bespoke design” and was not sufficiently secured to the structure. It was a windy day and the Met Office recorded gusts of up to 46mph in the area thereby exerting extra pressure on the sheeted scaffold.

Design requirements changed as project progressed

Stafford magistrates hear that the original scaffold provided by Jacko’s was a basic scaffold provided for roof tile removal and as such it did not require a bespoke design.

However, the next stage in the demolition sequence required the scaffold to be altered and sheeting added. This change required that the scaffold be a bespoke design as it could become vulnerable to collapse as the buildings it was tied to were demolished.

Jacko’s failed to construct the scaffold to a suitable design despite knowing that this was necessary. They failed to inform Potteries Demolition that the sheeted scaffold they handed over was not adequately tied for the façade demolition to start.

Both companies failed to ensure that the anchor ties that were fitted were suitably tested.

 ‘Catalogue’ of serious failings by both companies

Jacko’s Scaffolding Limited, of Winghouse Lane, Tittensor, Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,992.

Potteries Demolition Company Ltd, of Burnham Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the same Act. The company was fined a total of £13,320 with costs of £11,967.

After today’s hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Bowker said:

“It was sheer good luck that no-one was hurt when the scaffold collapsed. If anyone had been on it or nearby, it would have been a very different story. This incident was caused by a catalogue of serious failings by both companies.

The failure to construct the scaffold to a suitable design for the work meant that the scaffold ultimately could not withstand the effects of wind loading as the buildings upper walls were demolished and first floor anchor ties were removed.

Potteries Demolition the Principal Contractor failed to effectively co-ordinate, plan and manage the demolition sequence in order to ensure that the scaffold safety was not compromised. 

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