Dodgy scaffolds cost contractor £15,000

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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A scaffolding contractor has been fined for two dangerous installations at sites in Wantage and Oxford.

Workers and the public were placed at risk because of faults with the structures which included missing ties, bracing and vehicle impact protection.

Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that the first unsafe scaffold was installed by West Hagbourne-based ASW Scaffolding Limited in Grove Street, Wantage, in July 2012, to support the refurbishment of a retail unit.

When HSE inspectors visited the site they found a lack of ties and missing ledger bracing, which are designed to provide support and rigidity.

The scaffold was also lacking vehicle impact protection, which was vital on a very narrow street.

Satisfactory remedial work subsequently took place, but on 28 March 2013 a passing HSE inspector witnessed unsafe activity on another ASW scaffold on Banbury Road in Oxford.

On this occasion an employee was working on a partially-completed structure with no guard rails or other safety features to prevent a fall.

A Prohibition Notice was immediately served to stop any further work until it was made safe.

ASW Scaffolding Limited, of West Hagborne, south Oxfordshire, was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,438 in costs after pleading guilty safety breaches.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Caboche said: “The faults we identified at the Wantage installation should have been immediately obvious from a simple check after it was erected, which is vital to ensure that everything is in place and as it should be.

“The scaffold lacked rigidity and could have been hit by a passing vehicle, putting workers and passers-by in danger had it come down.

“With regard to the Oxford structure, the standards for safe working at height are well known within the scaffolding industry.

“The failings here were compounded by a senior member of the company’s management seemingly turning a blind eye. He was on site at the time but did nothing to prevent the scaffolder working in this way.

“Both scaffolds fell short of the required safety standards and posed a clear risk.”

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