A scaffolding firm has been hit with a £30,000 fine for Health and Safety breaches which ‘could have caused a fatal accident’.
The Health and Safety breaches occurred last March whilst K-Lok Scaffolding was sub-contracted to erect scaffolding works on The Standard Chartered Bank in Castle Street, Jersey.
K-Lok pleaded guilty to two offenses which ‘could have caused a fatal accident’ after both a scaffold tube and a scaffolding spanner fell from a height on separate occasions narrowly missing passing pedestrians.
Details of the offenses were discussed by Crown Advocate Conrad Yates in The Royal Court last week.
The court heard that the erected scaffold consisted of nine lifts. On the first of Three incidents, a tube was dropped weighing 1.5kgs and fell over six meters to the ground landing in front of a pedestrian.
This was reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by a nearby pedestrian.
Health and Safety investigators visited the project the next morning and K-Lok employees admitted to the event. Safe working systems were discussed including working during quieter periods, the closure of the pavement in Castle Street and putting a protection fan in place to provide protection from falling debris.
Later the same day another incident was reported where a spanner had fallen and landed within 10 feet of another pedestrian.
HSE was again informed and revisited the site where the employees of K-Lok denied any knowledge of falling materials and stated that a protection fan had already been put in place.
Advocate Yates stated ‘the pavement had been closed using a tape stretched between the scaffold, with a cone at both ends and an employee directing pedestrians.’
Upon investigation of these two incidents, it was found that one of K-Lok’s employees had lied to the HSE inspectors and had, in fact, dropped a spanner.
A third incident was also reported on March 15 and a stop order was placed on site. After looking into the third incident it was determined there were no failings on part of K-Lok.
Work was resumed on site to complete the project with stipulated instructions that ‘all works had to occur outside peak hours so there was less pedestrian activity.’
K-Lok owner and director Dale Campbell appeared before Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith with Advocate Olaf Blakeley defending.
It was suggested the safety breaches warranted a fine of £35,000 and £3000 in prosecution costs. Advocate Blakeley argued that due to how serious the company had taken these incidents a fine of £20,000 would be more appropriate.
Jurats Robert Christensen and Collette Crill, Commissioner Clyde-Smith noted the area where the incidents occurred was ‘a very busy pedestrian thoroughfare’ and added ‘the breaches could have caused fatal injury, it was just luck no pedestrian was struck.’
K-Lok was fined £30,000 plus £3000 legal costs to be paid on 12 months.