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12th November 2020

Scaffolding Firm hit with £171k bill for Collapse

A scaffolding business has been fined, after a Court found that training and instruction inadequacies amongst their workforce.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard how the collapse could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life.

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive following the incident that occurred on 30 April 2018. It was found that the underlying cause of the scaffold collapse was a lack of training and adequate instruction

The worker dismantling the scaffold, which involved removal of the scaffold ties, was not adequately trained. It is understood that winds in the area were gusting in excess of 30mph on the day of the incident, and these caused the monarflex sheeting on the scaffold to act as a wind sail, which caused the scaffold to fall into the street.

The South London-based firm did not attend Court, but was found guilty in their absence to breaching section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and they have been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,533.36.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Caboche said: “This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result of it. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, ensure that their workforce is adequately trained and provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

Mike Dean, Scaffolding Health and Safety Advisor at Simian, commented: “Sadly, incidents such as this are all too common, when they are actually very simple to prevent. Any scaffold built to the appropriate standards by CISRS qualified Scaffolders, can withstand the worst that the British weather can throw at it. Scaffolding incidents involving high wind can very often be attributed to poor work techniques and in reality, extreme weather just exploits weaknesses in the systems of work that have been applied.”

The resources section of our website contains a toolbox talks that cover, amongst other things, anchor tie testing and working in windy conditions, and both of those serve as a good starting point for learning the very basics.”

Simian is able to offer guidance and training on all matters relating to scaffolding work sequencing and anchor ties (TG4:19). Customers seeking assistance can contact us via hello@simian-risk.com, or on 0345 602 2418.

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