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PC DENIES RESPONSIBILITY FOR SCAFFOLD DEFECTS

Drinks firm defends HSE prosecution over supervision of scaffolding ops

If has been reported (05 July 2013) by the Ledbury Reporter an HSE Principal Inspector has told a jury he would have expected a drinks firm to supervise scaffolding used for work at its Herefordshire factory.

Andrew Kingscott told Worcester Crown Court that principal contractor Universal Beverages Limited (UBL):

“should have been responsible for monitoring and supervision even though they had hired a competent specialist firm. It is not necessary to have advance scaffolder training to do this. It is fairly obvious if a board or a rail is missing.”

He told the jury UBL should have ensured that all the safety checks were carried out regularly by a scaffolder with the proper training.

The Ledbury cider-making firm denies exposing non-employees to risks to their safety, and with failing to ensure scaffolding was not used unless it had been checked by a competent person within seven days beforehand. The jury has been told there were faults including missing toe-boards, loose boards lying around, and “excessive gaps” between the scaffolding and the tanks the workers were cladding.

UBL engaged Central Roofing and argued that the firm relied on the “expertise and professionalism” of the company. Peter Smith, defending, said that UBL were not responsible under safety regulations for supervising and controlling every aspect of the work on its site. Mr Smith told the court UBL would not be calling any evidence.

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