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Building firm in court after Fulham scaffold collapse

Date:
10 July 2013

A Surrey-based company has been sentenced after a length of scaffolding collapsed on to a Fulham Street, blocking one lane but miraculously missing pedestrians and traffic.

Alliance Building and Contracting Ltd, of Weybridge, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into the incident on 3 October 2011 identified safety failings.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told today (10 July) the firm, which is now in voluntary liquidation, was the principal contractor for a demolition and build project at a site in Lillie Road, Fulham. A 16-metre length of scaffolding collapsed and fell from the first floor level to the ground below, covering the pavement and an entire traffic lane.

The collapse happened at lunchtime on a normally busy thoroughfare, just a short distance from a nursery and local schools.

HSE found that Alliance Building & Contracting Ltd had failed to properly manage the demolition phase of the work. The scaffold had been on the building site for a year and been left free-standing long after demolition had finished. The site had been left unattended for long periods and regular inspections of the scaffold for safety had not taken place.

Alliance Building & Contracting Ltd, of Monument Hill, Weybridge, was found guilty in their absence of a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Magistrates imposed a fine of £10,000 with costs of £7,190.

Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Charles Linfoot said:

"Scaffold collapses are infrequent in the construction industry, but when they occur, they often cause serious injury, fatalities and major damage.

"Lillie Road is a busy one and it is a matter of chance that the collapse, brought about by the safety failures of Alliance Building & Contracting, did not have more serious consequences.

"The case shows how important it is to actively manage all the risks on a construction site and, in particular, to make sure inspections of scaffolding are carried out regularly."

For information and advice about all aspects of construction safety, visit www.hse.gov.uk/construction

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 12(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: every employer shall ensure that a working platform (a) used for construction work; and (b) from which a person could fall 2 metres or more, is not used in any position unless it has been inspected in that position or, in the case of a mobile working platform, inspected on the site, within the previous 7 days.

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