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Firms fined £28k after builders fall from unsafe scaffolding in Lincoln

A house builder and a Lincoln scaffolding company have been fined a total of almost £28,000 including costs after two bricklayers were injured falling from unsafe scaffolding in the city.

The two men were working working for Persimmon Homes Ltd on a development site in Ploughman’s Lane, Bunkers Hill, Lincoln, when the incident happened on April 4, 2012.

On Monday, July 28, Lincoln Magistrates Court heard the men had begun working on a scaffold platform six metres from the ground, which had been loaded with materials, when it collapsed.

They fell around two metres on to a platform below.

One, a 62-year-old from Rossington, South Yorkshire, broke his left foot. He was unable to work for nine weeks.

The second man (29), also of Rossington, bruised his neck and twisted his knee. He missed one day of work.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found The Cathedral Scaffold Company Ltd, based on Dixon Way in Lincoln, had not constructed scaffolding to bridge the gap between two neighbouring properties “to a recognised design”.

The company failed to fit standards to transfer loads to the ground and a four board-wide working platform, as required by Persimmon, into the gap.

Despite giving a Handing Over certificate to Persimmon, setting out weight restrictions, no strength or stability calculations had been undertaken by either defendant.

Persimmon subsequently overloaded the platform, causing it to collapse.

Persimmon Homes Ltd, of Fulford, York, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(b)(i) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,426 costs.

The Cathedral Scaffold Company Ltd, of Dixon Way, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(b)(ii) of the same Regulations and was fined £4,000 with costs of £5,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Linda-Jane Rigby said: “Unless a scaffold is a basic configuration described in recognised guidance it should be designed by calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength and suitability.

“The design information should describe the sequence and methods to be adopted when erecting, dismantling and altering the scaffold. That did not happen in this case.

“Persimmon accepted handover of the scaffold and subsequently overloaded it, causing it to collapse.”