Company fined after scaffolding collapses onto primary school

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A scaffolding company in Cardiff has been fined £24,000 after scaffolding it had erected collapsed onto a nearby primary school

Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard how Swain Scaffolding Limited had erected scaffolding 7m high and 8m long at the gable end of a residential property in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. On 5 May 2017 at 1.30pm, the scaffold collapsed landing on a single storey roof above the playground of a neighbouring school.

At the time of the collapse, a group of nursery children were in the playground only a few metres away and minutes before the collapse the playground had been full of children.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding was not designed or installed to withstand foreseeable loads. It was not tied to the adjacent building, nor did it have adequate buttressing or rakers and was essentially a freestanding structure.

The HSE investigation discovered that it was almost inevitable that the scaffolding would collapse, even in unremarkable weather conditions.

Swain Scaffolding Limited of Heol Y Nant was found guilty of breaching Regulation 19 (2) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £3,452.50 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gemma Pavey said: “Failure to adequately design and install scaffolding, so that it can withstand foreseeable loads, creates risk to workers and members of the public who could be injured by an uncontrolled collapse.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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