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Sat August 08 2020

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Collapse of bodged scaffold brings fine

9 Jul A Paisley company has been fined after an employee fell eight metres from a cantilevered section of scaffold that was being added as the main tower had been erected in the wrong place.

An improvisation too far...
An improvisation too far...

JR Scaffold Services Ltd has been fined after the employee fell and sustained severe injuries when the cantilever section of the scaffold he was erecting collapsed.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that, on 2nd September 2016, work was being undertaken at a four-storey property in Alexandra Parade in Glasgow to erect a tower scaffold to repair a roof. An employee was fitting toe-boards to a cantilever section attached to the tower scaffold and the tower partially collapsed causing him to fall eight metres to the ground below.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had carried out a risk assessment and method statement for the initial work and erected an 8m-high tower to allow for access to the roof.

However, the tower had been erected in the wrong place. It was decided that, rather than disassemble and reassemble in the right place, a cantilever section would be added.

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There was no design for the cantilever section and, due to there being insufficient anchor ties available on site, it was decided to support the cantilever by splicing the frame of the scaffold. There was also no ballast/counterweight, which meant that the top section of the tower was unable to support the weight of the cantilever.

The top section of the scaffold and cantilever section collapsed when an employee stood on the cantilever section to fit toe-boards

JR Scaffold Services Ltd, Cardea House, Sandyford Road, Paisley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000.

HSE inspector Helen Diamond said after the hearing: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in Britain and the risks associated with working at height are well known. This incident could have been avoided if the task was properly planned, the existing scaffold was correctly positioned and securely attached to the tenement and any cantilever section properly designed and attached correctly to the main scaffold.”

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