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Scaffold collapse leads to fines

23-07-2012

Seventy metres of sheeted scaffold peeled away from a row of houses in Wellington Road, Hanley.Two Stoke-on-Trent companies have been fined for their part in a major scaffold collapse.

Seventy metres of sheeted scaffold peeled away from a row of houses in Wellington Road, Hanley, on 30 April 2011.

Fortunately workers were on a break so no-one was on or near the scaffolding at the time of the collapse. No members of the public were walking past and no vehicles were driving by, although a row of parked cars received minor damage and a street lamp was destroyed.

Potteries Demolition Company Limited was the principal contractor on the Stoke City Council scheme to demolish 15 terraced houses and the former Highland Laddie pub on one side of Wellington Road.  The firm appointed Jacko’s Scaffolding Limited to provide scaffolding.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the scaffold had not been built to an appropriate bespoke design and was not sufficiently secured to the houses. In addition it was a particularly windy day with the Met Office recording gusts of up to 46mph in the area, which put extra pressure on the sheeted scaffold.

Stafford magistrates were told that the original scaffold provided by Jacko’s was a basic scaffold provided for roof tile removal and as such it did not require a bespoke design. However the next stage in the demolition sequence required the scaffold to be altered and sheeting added, as it was to be used as a work platform to facilitate hand demolition of the front upper walls of the buildings. This meant that the scaffold needed to be a bespoke design as it could become vulnerable to collapse as the buildings it was tied to were demolished.

Jacko’s scaffolding failed to construct the scaffold to a suitable design despite knowing that this was necessary. They failed to inform Potteries Demolition that the sheeted scaffold they handed over was not adequately tied for the façade demolition to start.

Both companies failed to ensure that the anchor ties that were fitted were suitably tested.

Jacko’s Scaffolding Limited, of Winghouse Lane, Tittensor, Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Today, Stafford Magistrates’ Court fined the firm £5,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £2,992.

Potteries Demolition Company Limited, of Burnham Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the same Act. The company was fined a total of £13,320 with costs of £11,967.

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