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SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR FAILED TO PLAN AND SUPERVISE

Young scaffolding apprentice fell whilst modifying scaffold

Harris Scaffolding Limited been fined after an inexperienced 18-year-old apprentice fracture his back when he fell more than 3m on a construction site in Worcestershire on 16 November 2011.

Kidderminster magistrates heard (22 March) that the firm were modifying a scaffold erected two months earlier. The teenage worker had signed up to a scaffolding apprentice programme five weeks earlier and was carrying out the alterations when he fell.

HSE found the apprentice worked unsupervised in areas of scaffold with no boards or guardrails and without a harness. On occasions he stood on single-width scaffold boards or directly on tubing and gained access to work areas from an unsuitable ladder and by climbing up the outside of the scaffold. The company did not:

  • follow the company risk assessment by working in accordance with industry best practice guidance;
  • use guardrail or supports during modifications to the scaffold;
  • provide specific instructions or drawings to the scaffolders; and
  • explain the risk assessment and method statement.

A more experienced colleague was sent to work with the apprentice but he had not carried out any scaffold work for 15 years and had not received any refresher training.

No excuse for not following basic precautions

Harris Scaffolding Limited, of Halesowen, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,156. The company failed to properly plan, supervise and carry out the work in a safe manner.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Luke Messenger said:

“Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, and for scaffolding companies working at height on a daily basis the controls required should be second nature.

There is a wealth of guidance available from HSE and the Industry and there is really no excuse for not following basic precautions such as working from a safe area or using a harness. The company fell well below accepted standards and a trainee scaffolder was badly injured as a result. It was lucky his career wasn’t ended before it had properly begun.

This case should serve as a reminder to all those involved in work at height of the need to ensure that their work is properly planned and carried out safely. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff have the right equipment, that safe operating procedures are in place and that persons carrying out work at height have the right training and supervision.”

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One Response to “SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR FAILED TO PLAN AND SUPERVISE”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 29th MAY 2013 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR FAILED TO PLAN AND SUPERVISE […]