As a specialist in the scaffolding industry, you have a duty of care, both to clients and the public, to act with appropriate care, diligence and expertise.
Failure to assess and minimise risk can result in prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work act as well as costly Public Liability claims under your Scaffolders Insurance policy.
Cambridgeshire Firm In Court After Scaffolding Falls Into Street
Crusaders Scaffolding Ltd appeared in Court in 31st July 2014 after being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation relating to an incident in Stretham on 18th April 2013.
The court heard that the firm erected scaffolding to a property in Stretham High Street to protect passers-by from shot blasting and jet-streaming work which was being carried out.
Large plastic sheeting was attached to the outside of the scaffold around the two-storey home, with the scaffolding itself measuring 11 metres long and 4.5 metres high.
Scaffold Was Not Secured
HSE reported to Cambridge Magistrates’ Court that the scaffold had not been secured to the property in any way.
Once the plastic sheeting was attached, it acted like a sail causing the scaffold to collapse into the street three days after it was initially erected.
Guilty Plea Leads To Fine
Crusaders pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £526 costs.
The firm's Director, Gary Driver, also pleaded guilty to the same charges and was fined £5,000 plus £500 in costs.
Dangers Of Working At Height
While it is the responsibility of firms to ensure that suitable precautions are being undertaken as well as appropriate risk assessments and training is being carried out, the HSE provides guidance and support in terms of “Assessing Height Work”, together with a useful “Scaffold Checklist” via their website.
According to the HSE, height work is the most common cause of severe and fatal injuries in the construction industry.
This is mainly on smaller projects, with over 60% of deaths during work at height involving falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms, roof edges or through fragile roof lights or roofs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector John Berezansky said:
“It was extremely fortunate that no-one was working on the scaffold at the time and that no-one or nothing was hit when it fell. This is a busy High Street used by children to get to and from the local school.
Had the scaffold fell during the morning or afternoon school run, it could have been a different story.
“The scaffold fell well below the required standard. In essence, Crusaders Scaffolding created an unsecured sail that fell over in the wind.
The risks associated with scaffolding are well known in the industry and to have not secured the structure was a basic error.”
FREE Health & Safety Management Tool
Insync Insurance provides access to an online Health & Safety Management Tool for all Scaffolding Contractor clients.
The system provides downloadable Risk Assessment templates, up-to-date legislation support and advice as well as access to a fully qualified H&S Consultant.
The system usually retails for £250+VAT but is made available completely FREE of charge with your Scaffolders' Public Liability Insurance to help you manage risk and your business more effectively.
FREE Insurance Review
As specialist Scaffolding Insurance Brokers, Insync can provide a FREE review of your current Public and Employers Liability Insurance programme.
Our Guru’s can often improve your cover AND save you money by accessing one of our specialist insurance markets.
You can book a slot online via our website at a time that suits YOUR diary. Alternatively call 0330 1240730 for more information, we would love to hear from you.