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A&A Scaffolding Solutions Limited fined £35,000 plus costs after a scaffold collapse

28 January 2022

A&A Scaffolding Solutions Limited (the Company) was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs by the Royal Court on 21 January 2022 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989. 

The prosecution followed an incident that occurred on 04 December 2020 at about 05.35 at Jersey Dairy. During high winds 45 linear meters of scaffold guard rails, weighing over 500kg, and erected to the roof as edge protection for persons working on the roof, suddenly failed. A significant length of scaffold collapsed to the ground whilst other sections were left partially suspended on a roof canopy, as can be seen in Figure 1 and 2. 

As a result of the failure, persons working around the scaffold were exposed to a risk of serious injury or death as the scaffold was insecure. Fortunately, due to the time of day, no persons were working on the roof at the time of the incident, however, a Jersey Daily employee had only moments earlier entered the building where the scaffold collapsed. It was very fortunate that no one was injured.

The Company had produced a site-specific risk assessment and method statement (RAMS) for the scaffold work. However, the RAMS was largely generic in nature and did not set out specific detail relating to the scaffold work to assist the scaffolders when erecting the scaffold, or provide any design or technical information to prove the adequacy of the scaffolding structure.

The Company had initially recommended the use of 25 scaffold towers to tie the guardrails to 237 metres of perimeter roofing but reduced that to two scaffold towers on the client’s request. The Company’s solution, in the absence of the planned number of scaffold towers, was to erect a freestanding guardrail system fitted with plastic brick guards to the roof edge using ‘pressure ties’. 

The investigation identified that the Company failed to prepare adequate RAMS and/ or a scaffolding plan in accordance with Schedule 4 of Regulation 27 of the Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016. Scaffolding strength and stability calculations must be carried out before the scaffold is erected and a plan to be drawn up by a competent person for scaffold use, dismantling and alteration purposes.

Unless a scaffold is assembled in accordance with a recognised industry standard configuration, i.e.the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffold or the manufacturers manual for system scaffold, the scaffold should be designed and proven by bespoke calculation by a competent scaffold designer. This may be in the form of a drawing and calculations or even a detailed brief regarding its configuration.  

It is essential that an adequate risk assessment and method statement is prepared for all high-risk construction work, including scaffold assembly, alteration and dismantling work. 

Further information

Guidance on working at height and scaffolding work is set out in the HSI guidance on Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016 

Guidance on preparing a risk assessment 

Specific scaffolding guidance, including TG20:21 e-guide and SG7:14 Risk Assessment and Method Statements is available at National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) 

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