Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Lives Put at Risk on Scaffolding
Posted by David Cant on November 29, 2012

Warnings from the Health and Safety Executive need to be acted upon. If you have been inspected and are handed a Prohibition Notice it is up to you to sort out the health and safety risks before work continues. By doing so it is possible to avoid prosecution. If you choose to ignore it the inspectors will not hesitate to take you to court where you could face huge fines and court costs.

A Lancashire builder was recently prosecuted at Accrington Magistrates Court after the man ignored the Prohibition Notice when he was inspected in January 2011. On November 2 2012 the builder, Jack Sanderson was fined £2,000 after pleading guilty to breaching two of the Work at Height Regulations and one of the Regulations of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Passing Inspector Noticed the Dangers

The investigation was prompted after an inspector was travelling past the site where work was being carried out on a two storey building. The inspector was able to see that the scaffolding had no handrails in place and a lack of toe boards on the top of the tower. These safety measures are used to prevent falls and would have been required because of the height the builders were working at.  The inspector gave a Prohibition Notice that demanded that all works stops and the men were to come off the scaffolding immediately.

The notice was ignored as the inspector discovered when he passed the site just three hours later. Two men including Mr Sanderson were on the top of the scaffold and there were still no toe boards or railings in place.  Not only were the workers at risk of falling seven metres to the floor below, the public were also being put at risk. The building was part of a terrace and there were shops and a bus stop close by. The public could have been hurt by falling debris and materials.

Ignoring Warnings Will Land You in Court

The charges were necessary as Mr Sanderson had ignored the warnings and had not taken the steps required to create safe working conditions. Mr Sanderson is currently serving time in prison for an unrelated offence and he was fined but will not be subjected to paying court costs.

Contact health and safety consultants If you have been handed a Prohibition Notice and are unsure of what steps to take to make the required improvements. You may simply require further training or guidance, or perhaps require a competent person that will be able to perform the actions required in order to comply with legislation. There are multiple health and safety services available, and the cost is far more reasonable that a court appearance, fine, court costs and Intervention fees.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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