BM TRADA launches scaffold board safety scheme

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A new inspection scheme for scaffold boards will promote construction site safety and prevent avoidable deaths…

Construction is a dangerous field. Working at height is undoubtedly hazardous if safety measures are not in place or if the equipment used is not set up correctly.

Contractors can face prosecution and hefty fines for serious injuries or deaths as a result of scaffolding accidents. In particular, the failure of timber scaffold boards can have life changing consequences. This can occur as a result of failing to check the boards before they are used.

In a bid to reduce the number of accidents and to increase construction site safety, BM TRADA has launched a Q Mark Used Timber Scaffold Board Inspection Scheme. This will enable certified companies to demonstrate their inspectors are competent to determine if boards should remain in use or be replaced.

Currently there is no legislation that forces construction firms to regularly check their scaffold boards for any weaknesses. However, it is recommended the boards should be checked and assessed before use.

This new inspection scheme, it is hoped, will help contractors to demonstrate competency and alleviate safety concerns. It will provide confidence to the sector and will enable contractors to hire firms that are recognised for their attention to health and safety.

In order to gain certification, scaffolding firms must put forward an individual who can demonstrate their ability to identify damage that could reduce the strength of used timber scaffold board. The employee will be required to complete a training programme, pass an examination, and complete a competence assessment on behalf of their company.

Internal audits will also be undertaken by BM TRADA to ensure documented inspections are carried out. This process must demonstrate only approved boards are used and rejected boards are kept separately.

The certification covers a firm for two years, after which time it will need to be renewed.

BM TRADA is part of the Exova Group, which is based in Edinburgh. The firm is one of the world’s leading laboratory-based testing groups, providing advice on safety, quality, and the performance of products.

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