Construction News

Sun February 28 2021

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Site manager knocked son off six-metre tower scaffold

13 May 14 Sandwell magistrates heard yesterday how a site manager knocked his son off a six-metre scaffold tower, smashing his hard hat and fracturing his skull.

The 19-year-old lad was an apprentice working for Pellikaan (Construction) Ltd on the construction of the new West Bromwich Leisure Centre. His dad was the site manager.

The son was standing on a tower scaffold in the empty swimming pool, attempting to cut canvas coverings from wooden roof beams. The scaffold was too high to fit under the beams so he started to take off the handrails.

Meanwhile at ground level, his father and another employee gave the tower a nudge to help get the handrails off, causing it to topple and fall.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Pellikaan had failed to ensure the work on the roof beams was properly planned and carried out safely. The scaffold had been put on a slope within the pool and no outriggers had been used to stabilise it.

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Pellikaan (Construction) Ltd, of Gutter Lane, London, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £1,046 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations.

HSE inspector Gareth Langston said after the hearing: “This incident was entirely preventable and shows the importance of selecting the right equipment for the job. Tower scaffolds can be useful tools but should not be used on a slope when not levelled and should always be used with outriggers.

“The following week painters were due to arrive with a stable and versatile mobile elevating work platform which would have been much better suited to this job. Had Pellikaan waited for this equipment to come on site they would not have tried to use an unsuitable scaffold and a young man would not have suffered a painful injury that could have quite easily proved fatal.”

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