Two injured as tower scaffold collapses
A facilities and construction management company, and its director, were fined following the partial collapse of a six-metre scaffold tower, which left two men seriously injured. One suffered broken ribs, tendon damage and suffered from depression and short-term memory loss ever since. The other suffered three broken vertebrae and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the tower was not suitable for the type of work (demolition) being undertaken. It was not erected by a person trained and competent to do so, had been erected to height above the manufacturer’s recommendation and was loaded with a weight greater than the safe working load stated by the manufacturer.
Invictus Facilities and Construction Management of Pontprennau, Cardiff pleaded guilty to breaching sections of The Health & Safety at Work Act, 1974, and was fined £106,000 plus costs of £8,501. Company director Simon Paul Wright pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 150 hours of community service.
PASMA chairman Roger Verallo said: “This story highlights the devastating physical and mental effects that falling from a tower scaffold can have on people. That’s why it’s so vital that managers are trained to plan and supervise such work and know how to select a suitable tower for each job. In addition, towers must only ever be assembled and dismantled by properly trained workers who know how to ensure it’s safe, stable and structurally secure at each stage. In this case, simply following the manufacturer’s instruction manual would have prevented the tower being erected to an unsafe height and exceeding its safe working load. This prosecution is an example of the financial and personal consequences rightfully imposed on companies and their directors when they fail to meet their responsibilities.”