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Firm fined for unsafe Oxfordshire scaffolds

03-02-2014

Photo shows the scaffold in Wantage with missing ties, bracing and vehicle impact protection

A scaffolding firm has been fined for dangerous scaffold installations at sites in Wantage and Oxford.

Workers and passing members of the public alike were placed at risk because of faults with the structures, which included missing ties, bracing and vehicle impact protection.

West Hagbourne-based ASW Scaffolding Limited was prosecuted today (3 February) after the deficiencies were identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that the first unsafe scaffold was installed in Grove Street, Wantage, in July 2012, to support the refurbishment of a retail unit.

When HSE inspectors visited the site on 17 July they found a lack of ties and missing ledger bracing, which are designed to provide support and rigidity. The scaffold was also lacking vehicle impact protection, which was vital at the location in question because the scaffold was on a very narrow street and could easily have been struck by a passing car. This in turn could have caused it to fall into the street.

HSE worked with Oxfordshire County Council to highlight the faults because the scaffold did not comply with a street licence that had been granted for the structure.

Satisfactory remedial work subsequently took place, but on 28 March 2013 a passing HSE inspector witnessed unsafe activity on another ASW scaffold on Banbury Road in Oxford.

On this occasion an employee was working on a partially-completed structure with no guard rails or other safety features to prevent a fall.

A Prohibition Notice was immediately served to stop any further work until it was made safe.

ASW Scaffolding Limited, of West Hagborne, south Oxfordshire, was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,438 in costs after pleading guilty to single beaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

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