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Construction firms fined after workers hurt in scaffold collapse
Published:  04 August, 2014

A house builder and a scaffolding company have been fined after two bricklayers were hurt falling from an unsafe scaffold.

The two men, who have asked not to be named, were working for Persimmon Homes on a development site in Ploughman's Lane, Lincoln, on 4 April 2012 when a scaffold collapsed and they fell two metres on to a platform below.

One, a 69-year-old, broke his left foot and was unable to work for nine weeks. The other, aged 29, bruised his neck and twisted his knee. 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found The Cathedral Scaffold Company used a non-standard configuration of scaffolding but failed to carry out strength and stability calculations to ensure it was fit for purpose. The company issued a Handing Over certificate to Persimmon, setting out restrictions on the use of the scaffold. This identified it as a general purpose scaffold capable of supporting a specified distributed weight load, but because no strength or stability calculations were undertaken by either defendant, this distributed load could not be guaranteed.

Persimmon subsequently overloaded the platform, causing it to collapse.

Persimmon Homes, of Fulford, York, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(b)(i) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,426 costs.

The Cathedral Scaffold Company, of Dixon Way, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(b)(ii) of the same Regulations and was fined £4,000 with costs of £5,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Linda-Jane Rigby said: “Unless a scaffold is a basic configuration described in recognised guidance it should be designed by calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength and suitability. The design information should describe the sequence and methods to be adopted when erecting, dismantling and altering the scaffold. That did not happen in this case.

“Persimmon accepted handover of the scaffold and subsequently overloaded it, causing it to collapse.”