Working at height is a hazardous business, failing to take adequate risk assessments and health and safety protection can drive significant increases in Scaffolding Insurance premiums.
However, the true cost of poor health and safety can come to bear with much more tragic results.
Scaffold Worker Killed in Fall
A Kent firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the fatality of scaffold worker Grant Dunmall at a site in Notting Hill on 2nd July 2012.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Dunmall was working for WSS Scaffolding who had erected scaffolding outside a domestic property when he tragically fell 14 metres to his death.
Edge Protection Missing and No Harness
During the three day trial which concluded on 3rd September 2014, the court heard that the HSE investigation had established that edge protection was missing from the scaffold and workers were not provided with any safety harnesses which may have arrested, or prevented, the fall.
It was also noted that the company owner, Mark Hayes, had been fined on two previous occasions for offences relating to the non-disclosure of essential documents during the investigative process.
Subsequently, this document highlighted that the firm could have done more to prevent the fall and that adequate risk assessments had not been completed.
15 Month Jail Sentence
Mr Hayes was found guilty of a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for failing to adequately plan, supervise and carry out height work at the site.
The Court issued a 15-month custodial sentence in addition to the previous £12,000 fines and costs of £5,601 for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.
Speaking after the sentencing, HSE Inspector Jack Wilby commented:
“Our investigation into his tragic death was delayed for several months because of Mark Hayes’ total lack of co-operation in supporting our work.
That had a knock-on impact in delaying the Coroner’s inquest, and we had no option but to prosecute before he eventually provided the documentation we needed.
“His wilful obstruction only served to accentuate the fact that his systems and procedures for safely managing work at height were sorely lacking, and fell short of the standards expected from a competent scaffolder”.
“The bottom line here is that Mr Dunmall was killed in a preventable fall that could have been avoided.”
Health & Safety and Risk Management
Managing risk to employees, the public and clients is important to any business, but for scaffolding contractors, it is absolutely critical.
Should you not already employ the services of a Health and Safety consultant, your Insurance advisor should be able to recommend one.
Insync Insurance supports all of its Scaffolding Insurance policyholders with access to a FREE online portal with advice and downloadable Risk Assessments to help clients manage risk more effectively.
The excellent HSE Working at Height Website also provides more free information and support to help businesses mitigate and manage risk.
Free Insurance Review
We have access to specialist underwriters for working at height who understand scaffolding risks and other so-called “high risk” liability trades.
You can book a free review via our website or call 0330 1240730 for more information.