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Bolton building firm in court over unsafe scaffolding

Date:
30 August 2013

A Bolton building firm has appeared in court after two workers were spotted replacing guttering in high winds while using unsafe scaffolding.

R Hamer Ltd was prosecuted today (30 August 2013) after a concerned member of the public reported the work to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard the roofing work was being carried out on a house at Timberbottom in Bradshaw. When an inspector visited the site on 1 February 2013, he found the men on two badly-erected scaffolding towers with an unsecured board being used as a walkway between them.

The court was told there was also no edge protection on the scaffolding, such as handrails or toe boards, and the workers were not using harnesses to prevent them being injured in a fall. One of the men was also seen climbing down the outside of the scaffolding rather than using an access ladder.

The inspector immediately issued a Prohibition Notice ordering the workers to come down from the scaffolding until it had been made safe.

R Hamer Ltd, of Dene Bank in Bradshaw, received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £562 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Grayam Barnes said:

“I would like to thank the person who contacted HSE about the scaffolding as the men could easily have been seriously injured or even killed in a fall if the work had continued.

“They were working on scaffolding with numerous missing safety features, and an unsecured board linking the two towers. The fact that they were working in high winds increased the risks to them even further.

“Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the construction industry, and firms should be doing all they can to minimise the risks.”

Information on improving safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls.

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 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

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