Specification and maintenance, provided by an appropriate programme of independent scaffold inspection, can protect scaffolding contractors from accidents. The law states that scaffolds must be designed, erected then inspected before first use and then weekly thereafter by a competent person. Failure to perform such inspections have led to numerous accidents, many of which have had fatal consequences.
Scaffolders, especially on major contracts, are well trained and will work on a safe structure. Therefore, the scaffolder who erected the scaffold, is deemed to be “competent” to inspect his own scaffold when time and cost pressures of a busy site impinge.
The only problem which comes to light is the aftermath of a major failure. One of the first questions that the HSE will ask is “how did you know it was safe?”. They will be looking closely at the inspection records which will determine who was responsible for maintaining the register as well as examining the training and experience that person possessed in order to enable them to be deemed ‘competent’. If an employee of the scaffolder or even principal contractor made the inspections, however properly, then questions may well be asked.
The HSE portray themselves as willing to prosecute site owners who do not secure the safety of all staff on site. It is more vital than ever that site owners protect themselves legally as well as physically. Especially with an emphasis regarding collective over personal protection in the Work at Height Regulations.
M.E.L. offer an independent scaffolding inspection service. To discuss employing M.E.L. to undertake inspections of scaffolding on your behalf; please contact a member of our expert consultancy team on 01708 555544.