A Trafford firm has appeared in court after workers were spotted taking down scaffolding without safety measures to prevent them being injured in a fall.
They were witnessed working on the outside of a row of terraced shops on Ripponden Road in Oldham on 4 September 2012 by a passing inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard Stretford Scaffolding Ltd had been hired to dismantle the scaffolding after it had been used by another company for a roofing project.
Neither of the two men standing on the scaffolding platforms were wearing harnesses, despite working up to six metres above the ground, and one of them was not a trained scaffolder. He should therefore not have been allowed to work on a partially dismantled section.
The court was told there were also no guard rails on part of the scaffolding to prevent workers falling. The HSE inspector issued an immediate Prohibition Notice, ordering the men to come down from the scaffolding until they were given suitable safety equipment by their employer.
Stretford Scaffolding Ltd, of Ciss Lane in Urmston, received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £1,849 after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
[quote type=”center”]”This case should act as a warning to other scaffolding firms that they risk being prosecuted if they put lives at risk.” [/quote]
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sandra Tomlinson said:
“We are regularly called out to incidents where people have been seriously injured or even killed as a result of a fall from height. That’s why it’s vital scaffolding firms make sure safety is their top priority.
“Stretford Scaffolding should never have allowed the scaffolding to be taken down without making sure workers could do the job safely. The most sensible way of achieving this would have been to use guard rails and harnesses.
“The firm also put the life of one of the men at risk by allowing him to work on a partially dismantled section, despite the fact that he wasn’t a trained scaffolder.
“This case should act as a warning to other scaffolding firms that they risk being prosecuted if they put lives at risk.”
Advice on how to prevent workplace falls is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls.