Unsafe scaffolding prompts prosecution

Simon Donohue

A Bolton building firm has appeared in court after two workers were spotted replacing guttering in high winds while using unsafe scaffolding.

R Hamer was prosecuted after a concerned member of the public reported the work to the Health & Safety Executive.

Trafford Magistrates' Court heard the roofing work was being carried out on a house at Timberbottom in Bradshaw, Bolton.

When an inspector visited the site on 1 February 2013, he found the men on two badly-erected scaffolding towers with an unsecured board being used as a 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 inspector issued a prohibition notice ordering the workers to come down from the scaffolding until it had been made safe.

R Hamer, of Dene Bank, Bradshaw, received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £562 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Grayam Barnes said: "I would like to thank the person who contacted HSE about the scaffolding as the men could easily have been seriously injured or even killed in a fall if the work had continued.

"They were working on scaffolding with numerous missing safety features, and an unsecured board linking the two towers. The fact that they were working in high winds increased the risks to them even further.

"Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the construction industry, and firms should be doing all they can to minimise the risks."

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