In some cases erecting scaffolding can appear to be a relatively simple exercise, but it is crucial to the health and safety of those working on or around any scaffolding that it is constructed to a set of standards put in place by the Health and Safety Executive, namely, among others, the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
According to these regulations, unless a scaffold is assembled to the generally recognised standard configuration (NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds), the scaffold should be designed by bespoke calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength, rigidity and stability while it is erected, used and dismantled.
At the beginning of the planning process the user should supply suitable and relevant information to the scaffolding contractor to ensure an accurate and proper design process is followed. Information required by the scaffolding contractor will include among other aspects:
- The location of the site
- The period of time the scaffolding is to remain in place
- Its intended use
- The height and length and any other critical dimensions that may affect the installation
- The number of boarded lifts
- The maximum working loads imposed upon the structure
- The maximum number of people due to be using the structure at any time
- Whether or not the scaffolding will need sheeting or netting
- Type of access to the scaffold
- Nature of ground conditions and state of supporting structure
- Any restrictions which may affect the erection, alteration or dismantling of the scaffold
All employees should be suitably trained and competent for the type of scaffolding work they are undertaking. Employers must always provide appropriate levels of supervision according to the complexity of the work and the levels of training and competence of the scaffolders involved. As a minimum requirement, every scaffold gang should contain a competent scaffolder who has received the approved training and assessment required to be deemed competent.
In addition to this, it is the user or hirer of the scaffolding who is responsible to ensure that all scaffolding is inspected following installation, at an interval of no more than every 7 days after installation, and also following any circumstances liable to jeopardise the safety of the structure (for example high winds).
If you or someone you know has been injured by falling from scaffolding, or from having scaffolding fall on them, you could well be entitled to claim for compensation. Contact one of our solicitors today to find out how much you could claim.