Health & Safety News

News added on 28.01.2021



Scaffold collapsed due to lack of planning

A substantial scaffold collapsed into a public car park in Coventry. How did this happen, and was anybody injured?

Climar Scaffolding Ltd (C) had erected scaffolding outside an entertainment complex in Coventry to protect the public from falling debris. This scaffolding, which was approximately 13m in length and 4m high, blew down in high winds during Storm Freya in March 2020. It blocked the entrance to the car park. Luckily, no one was hurt, but motorists in the car park were trapped until the scaffolding could be dismantled and removed.

An investigation by the HSE found that the scaffolding had not been adequately fixed into the structure and had not been designed and installed to withstand foreseeable wind loads. The management of the scaffolding operation was well below the expected standard because it did not identify the need for a bespoke design, required to ensure the strength and stability of the proposed scaffolding structure.

Where a bespoke scaffold is required, a specialist scaffold design engineer should be engaged to carry out the necessary strength and stability calculations. The scaffold must then be assembled, used and dismantled in accordance with its plan, including regular inspections to ensure its continued safety.

C pleaded guilty to breaching its duty under regulation 19(2) Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 to ensure the stability of temporary structures. The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £2,500.

Luckily, no injuries resulted from the collapse of this scaffolding in a public area. The contractors made several mistakes that led to the incident. A bespoke scaffold should have been designed by a competent person to withstand foreseeable wind loads and it should have been adequately tied into the building to mitigate the risk of collapse.

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