Scaffolding helps protect the lives of thousands of roofers, painters, window cleaners and construction workers. The platforms so many tradesmen work from hold a lot of responsibility, but they are no guarantee of safety.
If you inspect 100 scaffolds you would see that not all of them are created equal; some might miss safety features such as netting or security gates, or even use old and compromised equipment. But scaffolding alone does not keep people safe, it’s only good when it is installed properly, by a professional and to the correct standards set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Once the scaffolding is erected, it then needs to be used correctly – conduct on the scaffolding and working safely play an equally important role. Even though scaffolds are supposed to be secure and robust, there’s still a chance of accidents and this is where liability comes into play.
So who is liable?
Work done on the home:
If work is done on your home and not in connection with a business then it is the scaffolding contractor who is responsible. The company should have suitable pubic liability insurance which would pay out in event of an incident involving the scaffolding.
Work done for a business:
If work involving scaffolding is carried out as part of a business’s activity, including landlords and property managers then it is them who may be responsible as well as the scaffolding company. Their main responsibility as per the Construction Design Management Regulations 2015 is to ensure that the project is suitably managed and safeguarding the safety of anyone affected by the work – including the public.
What does this mean?
As per the Work at Height Regulations 2005 a business that hires scaffolding must check it themselves to ensure its safe use.
- Before the scaffolding is first used
- Every 7 days while the scaffolding is up
- After any alterations to the scaffolding
- After any damage caused
- After any extreme weather
The construction company/business hirer must ensure that tradesmen working on the scaffolding are fully aware of how to work on it safely and that they have received appropriate training. Where suitable hard hats etc.. may be deemed necessary.
Scaffolding safety is a serious matter
In April 2018 a principal contractor (not a scaffolder) received a 8 month suspended sentence and had to pay £5000 in compensation and £2000 in costs when a self employed worker fell from height and suffered life threatening injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that scaffolding erected on the site did not extend fully across the intended area of works and did not provide a protective area along the ledge where the operative was working. The principal contractor failed to ensure suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.
If you’re a homeowner and you are looking to hire scaffolding not in conjunction with business activities then be sure any company you hire has adequate insurance in place. If you are a principal contractor, landlord, construction company then you will also need your own insurance in place.
Always do your due diligence and research a well rated and trusted scaffolding company who does things by the book. Blitz Scaffolding is proud to have many 5 star reviews from past customers who testify to the quality and standard of work they received.