Two scaffold inspectors have been prosecuted after a worker fell through a gap on a structure they had signed off as safe. The Court heard how the worker was working on a re-roofing project. As he stepped down from a roof, onto a fixed scaffold, he fell through a gap between the working platform and the building.
The operative suffered fracture injuries to his spine and had to wear a back brace for eight weeks. An HSE investigation revealed that the two scaffold inspectors had not carried out the relevant inspections, before falsifying records and signing the scaffold off as safe to use.
Both scaffold inspectors pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to 170 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,500 costs. Following the hearing, the HSE inspector stated “Scaffold Inspectors are relied upon by workers and must be trusted. Falsely completing reports without carrying out a thorough inspection can lead to serious risks being missed and life changing accidents occurring.”
This incident serves as a reminder of the responsibilities that competent persons have when signing off plant and work equipment as safe to use.