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WORKMAN IN COURT AFTER ALTERING SCAFFOLD

Life-changing injuries caused by unauthorised scaffold modification 

A court has heard (9 Dec) how a building worker suffered life-changing injuries in a fall after a colleague loosened a scaffolding guardrail which later gave way.

The 42-year-old self-employed labourer from Bristol fractured his back after falling nearly 3m on the site in Cheddar, Somerset. He has been unable to work since and may never be to carry out manual labour again.

Taunton Magistrates heard that fellow builder, David Dix, aged 52, was also working on the care home project in January 2013 when he “loosened a scaffold guardrail to try and resolve a problem he had encountered”.

However, Mr Dix failed to tighten the guardrail properly and, shortly afterwards, the other workman was emptying a muck bin when the guardrail gave way and he fell 2.8 metres to the ground.

Scaffolding should only be altered by scaffolders

David John Dix, of Bath, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 8 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was ordered to pay £700 compensation to the injured party. 

Section 8 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that no person shall “intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions.”

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sue Adsett, said:

“What happened that day could easily have been avoided and will affect the injured man for the rest of his life. Scaffolding should only be altered by scaffolders, but David Dix took it upon himself to adjust some scaffolding when he was not authorised to do so, with disastrous consequences.

He had no ulterior motive – like most construction workers he was simply trying to get on with the job when a problem arose that he was trying to overcome. The consequences of the incident have had a huge impact upon him as well.

I hope this case makes construction workers stop and think before putting themselves and their colleagues at risk by altering scaffolding on building sites.”

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