Fines imposed over unsafe scaffolding

A FIRM has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after handing over unsecured scaffolding to a client, putting builders at risk.

A court was told how a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited a site at Claremont, on April 20 last year where building repairs and external work were being carried out.

The inspector noted that scaffolding erected around the building by Totalscaff (GB) Ltd, trading as Total Service Group (TSG), had not been adequately tied, meaning it was unstable.

By law, all scaffolding must be inspected by a competent person before it can be used.

Hastings Magistrates Court was told the worker who undertook safety checks, Christian Ball, had previously been advised of the need to adequately tie scaffolding but had overlooked this advice.

Totalscaff (GB) Ltd, of Ninfield Road, Bexhill, was found guilty and Ball, 35, of West Hill Road, St Leonards, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 28(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Totalscaff (GB) Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, and Mr Ball was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,274 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “Scaffold collapses can have serious consequences and tying the scaffold – or something similar – is essential for stability and ensuring it does not collapse while being erected or being used.

“Its importance cannot and should not be overlooked.

“HSE and the scaffolding industry have worked together to produce guidance to help scaffolding contractors ensure their scaffolding is safe.

“It is easy to follow. By not following it, people’s lives were put at risk unnecessarily.

“HSE will take firm action against individuals and contractors who ignore their health and safety obligations.

“It is absolutely essential that contractors and contract managers equip themselves with the necessary information and guidance material and apply it each and every time a scaffold is built.”.