Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Scaffolder fined after pole falls on pedestrian

A Warwickshire scaffolder has been fined ВЈ4,000 after an accident on a site in Coventry city centre in May 2008 when a steel scaffold pole fell 5m onto a pedestrian underneath.

Sky Scaffolding (Midlands) was also ordered to pay costs of ВЈ1,761 after pleading guilty at Coventry Magistrates' Court to breaching both Regulation 10(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 3[1](b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The court heard how two qualified scaffolders were working approximately 5m above ground and one had momentarily leant a short pole against a guardrail.

As he turned away, the steel pole, weighing several pounds, fell onto a passing member of the public, injuring her with a significant gash to her leg, requiring hospital treatment.


Scaffolder fined after pole falls on pedestrian


One of the workmen, working on the pavement to pass materials and poles up to colleagues, had been tasked with asking pedestrians to wait during movement of materials or when materials were being handled overhead but this was not an easy job for one person, as people were passing in both directions.

He did not see this particular lady approaching and did not ask her to stop.

Sky Scaffolding had been charged with not taking suitable and sufficient steps to prevent any person being struck by any falling material or object liable to cause personal injury. They were also charged with not conducting a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

The company had started work at 07.30 which they thought would avoid the busier times of pedestrian traffic but work was still underway at 09.20 when the incident occurred.

The scaffolders had decided to stop the work because pedestrian traffic was too busy and the accident occurred while they were securing materials on the upper level of the scaffolding to make it structurally safe to leave.

HSE Inspector Carol Southerd said: "The work being undertaken that morning, on the pavement, placed pedestrians and workers at risk because the company had failed to take more-robust steps to ensure that the system of work was effective to protect the public from simple human error such as dropped materials or tools during scaffolding erection.

"All employers have a responsibility to ensure that safe working practices are in place, because failure to do so could well cost lives, as well as enforcement action from HSE. The injured lady was immobilised for several weeks and still suffers from anxiety but it could have been so much worse if the pole had struck her head or body."

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