Today The Construction Enquirer have put up a news story concerning the outcome of a Bolton building firm's court case whose scaffolding was deemed to present a risk to the crew.

The firm, R Hamer Ltd, was prosecuted after a member of the public reported the work to the Health & Safety executive. Two workers had been spotted replacing guttering during high winds on what appeared to be unsafe scaffolding, and when an inspector arrive he found the men using two "badly-erected" towers with an unsecured board being used as walkway between them. 

The court was told there was also no edge protection on the scaffolding, such as handrails or toe boards, and the workers were not using harnesses to prevent them being injured in a fall. One of the men was also seen climbing down the outside of the scaffolding rather than using an access ladder. The firm received a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £562 in prosecution costs, which is a rather leniant sentence for something that could have endangered lives.

This news story reminded me of a tweet I had seen earlier last week from @DIYDoctor, which I've shared below:

Falling from heights is one of the biggest causes of workplace death in the construction industry, and can easily be avoided by using safe and secure scaffolding. If you see a construction firm not taking the right precautions, you should report them to the HSE before an accident can happen. Likewise if you're doing a bit of exterior DIY don't think you can just get away with precariously balancing on the roof and a carefully laid out piece of wood like the man above. Otherwise that little job could end up costing you your life.

The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record (CISRS) have announced the introduction of a new, mandatory training scheme for all new entrants to the industry, taking effect from September 1st 2013.

This one day course must be taken before a card will be issues, and will cover;

  • Relevant regulations and codes of practice
  • General responsibilities
  • Basic scaffold terminology (components & application)
  • Servicing of equipment, tube, fittings etc.
  • Boards & stock – quality control
  • Health, welfare, hygiene & housekeeping
  • Electrical safety
  • Fire prevention & control
  • Noise & vibration
  • Work at height
  • Accident prevention & reporting
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Site transport safety (including loading & unloading)
  • Equipment & tools
  • Manual handling (Including a practical element)
  • Lifting equipment using a rope & wheel
  • Questions/test paper.

They will also be required to pass a CITB health, safety and environment test (or possess a recognised exception). Applicants are advised to apply for their card withing two years of their test date or it will expire.

CISRS scaffolding labourers will need to repeat this course every five years to renew their card. Existing cardholders will also be required to complete the course when their current card expires as part of a new CISRS scaffolding labourer refresher training scheme.

Via The Construction Index