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Cambridgeshire company and director in court after scaffold falls into street

Date:
31 July 2014

A Cambridgeshire company and its director have been prosecuted after an unsecured scaffold collapsed into a street.

It fell onto the pavement and road in High Street, Stretham, on 18 April 2013 three days after it was erected in front of a house by Buckden firm Crusaders Scaffolding Ltd and director Gary Driver.

Both parties were prosecuted today (31 July) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the two-storey structure, which was around 11 metres long and 4.5 metres high, had not been secured to the property in any way.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that a large covering of plastic sheeting had been attached to the outside of the scaffold to protect passers-by as the work being carried out on the house involved shot blasting and steam jetting. However, this ultimately acted as a sail that caused it to blow over in the wind.

Crusaders Scaffolding Ltd, registered to High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, but operating from Great North Road, Buckden, was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £526 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Gary John Driver, 51, of Hunts End, Buckden, St Neots, was fined £5,000 with £500 costs after also pleading guilty to the same Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 offence.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector John Berezansky said:

“It was extremely fortunate that no-one was working on the scaffold at the time and that no-one or nothing was hit when it fell. This is a busy High Street used by children to get to and from the local school. Had the scaffold fell during the morning or afternoon school run it could have been a different story.

“The scaffold fell well below the required standard. In essence, Crusaders Scaffolding created an unsecured sail that fell over in the wind. Gary Driver was directly involved in the commissioning and construction of the scaffold. The risks associated with scaffolding are well known in the industry and to have not secured the structure was a basic error.”

A scaffold checklist can be downloaded free of charge from HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce 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 8(b)(i) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that, in the case of a working platform, Part 1 of Schedule 3 is complied with.” Part 1 covers strength and rigidity – including ensuring working platforms and supporting structures are not loaded so as to give to a risk of collapse.
  3. Regulation 8(b)(ii) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that, in the case of a working platform where scaffolding is provided, Part 2 of Schedule 3 is also complied with.” Part 2 covers strength and stability calculations – working to an approved design.
  4. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  5. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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