Health and Safety Failings – Scaffolding collapse leads to fine

Scaffolding collapse leads to fine

Key Facts: 

  • Scaffold collapse following loft conversion firm’s failure to comply with CDM regulations.
  • A worker fell 6m to the ground after scaffolding gave way under excessive weight.
  • The company was fined £5,000 and £1,019 in costs.

The Case:

A loft conversion firm’s failure to comply with construction regulations led to a scaffolding collapse that injured a worker. After this incident on 4 October 2013, the HSE launched an investigation into the company’s practices.

The scaffold structure was being used for works on a residential property to give access to the roof, but it collapsed under excessive weight. The scaffold structure buckled and tipped on an angle, effectively making a chute that a 24 year old worker then fell down, along with various construction materials – including plaster boards, wood and lead rolls. The worker fell 6m from the scaffolding to the ground below, and broke two ribs.

The weight on the scaffolding at the time of the collapse was around 3.5tonnes – far more than the structure could safely handle. The scaffolding gave way as it could not take the weight anymore.

The case was heard on 11 March 2015 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Clear failings were identified in the design of the scaffolding. The court was told that as the company frequently undertook work at height, they should have known to use an approved scaffold design created by a specialist structural engineer.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £5,000 and £1,019 in costs.

What the HSE inspector had to say:

Speaking after the hearing the HSE Inspector Simon Hester stated that:

The collapse would not have occurred had the scaffold been designed by a competent specialist to carry loads of 3.5 tonnes with an overhanging cantilever to accommodate the bay window.

That didn’t happen and Mr Pastura suffered a painful injury as a result – although he is perhaps fortunate not to have come off a lot worse.

Lofty Creations failed to adequately plan and design the scaffold that collapsed; failed to manage the storage of heavy materials; and ultimately failed to protect its workforce.”

What the law states:

Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 states:

“Every contractor shall plan, manage and monitor construction work carried out by him or under his control in a way which ensures that, so far as is reasonably practicable, it is carried out without risks to health and safety.”



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