A scaffolding company has been fined £5000 after one of its workers fell from an eight-meter-high scaffold.
JR Scaffolding Services has claimed responsibility in court after a cantilever scaffold collapsed leaving a scaffolder with serious injuries in September 2016.
The 47-year-old scaffolder sustained a collapsed lung, a ruptured spleen, and multiple rib and shoulder fractures. His spleen was also removed as a result of the incident.
The Paisley based company pleaded guilty on Tuesday at Glasgow Sheriff Court to failing to make suitable and sufficient risk assessments. The firm also admitted failing to provide a safe system of work to be followed by employees. And it failed to ensure the tower scaffold was attached to the building
The court heard there were not enough anchors to secure the scaffold to the building in Glasgow’s Alexandra Parade and instead used a friction tie.
It was also found the scaffolding structure was erected in the wrong place at the property.
According to reports, JR Scaffolding Services Managing Director instructed a cantilever to be built onto the existing scaffold rather than dismantling the entire structure.
Prosecutor Selina Brown told the court that the cantilever was attached to the existing scaffold with rope. The scaffolder pulled the cantilever up as parts were given to him by his workmates.
He was then asked to put boards on the structure while his colleague attached them to the rope.
Miss Brown said: “As he was carrying out this task, he felt the cantilever and tower begin to move.
“The cantilever then collapsed along with the top of the tower scaffold and he fell eight meters to the ground, sustaining multiple injuries.”
The scaffolder was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment and was discharged two weeks later. It’s understood he made a full recovery but requires to take antibiotics every day to fight off infection for the rest of his life.
An investigation found that due to a lack of anchors and a ballast to support the scaffolding, it was unable to support the weight of the cantilever.
The court was told, “The incident could have been avoided if the task was properly planned, the existing scaffold was correctly positioned and securely attached to the tenement.”
Defence counsel, Susan Duff, said: “This offence occurred in a particular set of circumstances which didn’t reflect the company’s attitude to safety and employees.”
Sheriff Andrew Cubie reduced the fine from £10,000 to £5000 due to the current pandemic.
He said: “The direct consequences of these failures responded to the scaffolding collapsing and the scaffolder sustained serious injuries.
“I accept from the material before me that the failures were not the company’s normal practices and standards. A number of factors appear to have transpired which caused the accident on that day.”